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Dawson County, Georgia facts for kids

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Dawson County
Dawson County Courthouse in Dawsonville
Dawson County Courthouse in Dawsonville
Map of Georgia highlighting Dawson County
Location within the U.S. state of Georgia
Map of the United States highlighting Georgia
Georgia's location within the U.S.
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Country  United States
State  Georgia
Founded 1857; 165 years ago (1857)
Named for William Crosby Dawson
Seat Dawsonville
Largest city Dawsonville
 • Total 214 sq mi (550 km2)
 • Land 211 sq mi (550 km2)
 • Water 3.6 sq mi (9 km2)  1.7%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 106/sq mi (41/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 9th

Dawson County is a county located in the north-central portion of the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 22,330. The county seat is Dawsonville.

Dawson County is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its natural resources include Amicalola Falls, the highest falls in Georgia and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the state.


Dawson County was created on December 3, 1857 from Gilmer and Lumpkin counties. It is named for William Crosby Dawson, a U.S. Senator from Georgia.

Civil War

The 1860s brought war and hardships to the people of Dawson County. The men of Dawson County answered the call and went to Fight in the Civil War. The following Confederate units were raised in Dawson County

21st Regiment, Georgia Infantry, Company E Concord Rangers

22nd Regiment, Georgia Infantry, Company I, Dawson County Independents

38th Regiment, Georgia Infantry, Company I (Wright's Legion), Dawson Farmers

38th Regiment, Georgia Infantry, Company L (Wright's Legion)

52nd Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Company I

Post Civil War

The county is known in auto racing circles for its long tradition of involvement in the sport as many of the original NASCAR racers were from this area. Many racing skills originally developed as a consequence of running moonshine down highway 9 to Atlanta, also known as Thunder Road. Celebrations of Dawson County's history and of its involvement occur every October with the Moonshine Festival.

Locals have referred to Dawson County as the Moonshine Capital of the World. This title is claimed by many other areas but is fiercely defended by residents of the area. This is due to the secluded area and the ability to move so much moonshine to the larger cities, especially Atlanta.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 214 square miles (550 km2), of which 211 square miles (550 km2) is land and 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2) (1.7%) is water.

Part of Lake Lanier is in the southeastern part of the county and the boundary line with neighboring counties pass through the lake. The 729-foot (222 m) Amicalola Falls, are located in the county. The Amicalola Falls are the highest in Georgia, the tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River and are one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia. The highest point in the county is Black Mountain, with an elevation of 3,600 feet (1,100 m). 6,760 acres (27.4 km2), which is located in the Chattahoochee National Forest. The Chestatee and Etowah rivers flow through Dawson County.

The vast majority of Dawson County is located in the Etowah River sub-basin of the ACT River Basin (Coosa-Tallapoosa River Basin). The southeastern tip of the county is located in the Upper Chattahoochee River sub-basin of the ACF River Basin (Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin), and a very small northern section of Dawson County is located in the Coosawattee River sub-basin of the larger ACT River Basin.

Major highways

  • US 19.svg U.S. Route 19
  • Georgia 9.svg State Route 9
  • Georgia 52.svg State Route 52
  • Georgia 53.svg State Route 53
  • Georgia 136.svg State Route 136
  • Georgia 183.svg State Route 183
  • Georgia 400.svg State Route 400

Secondary Highways

  • Cowart Road
  • Steve Tate Highway
  • Burnt Mountain Road (Old SR 108)
  • Dawson Forest Road (Old SR 318)
  • Lumpkin Campground Road (Old SR 9E)
  • Harmony Church Road (Old SR 9E)
  • Auraria Road (Old SR 9E)
  • Keith Evans Road (Old SR 342)
  • Bailey Waters Road (Old SR 342)
  • Shoal Creek Road (Old SR 136 Spur)
  • Nix Bridge Road (Old SR 226)

Adjacent counties

National protected area

  • Chattahoochee National Forest (part)


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 3,856
1870 4,369 13.3%
1880 5,837 33.6%
1890 5,612 −3.9%
1900 5,442 −3.0%
1910 4,686 −13.9%
1920 4,204 −10.3%
1930 3,502 −16.7%
1940 4,479 27.9%
1950 3,712 −17.1%
1960 3,590 −3.3%
1970 3,639 1.4%
1980 4,774 31.2%
1990 9,429 97.5%
2000 15,999 69.7%
2010 22,330 39.6%
2019 (est.) 26,108 16.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2019

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 22,330 people, 8,433 households, and 6,390 families living in the county. The population density was 105.9 inhabitants per square mile (40.9/km2). There were 10,425 housing units at an average density of 49.4 per square mile (19.1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.6% white, 0.6% Asian, 0.5% black or African American, 0.4% American Indian, 1.6% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 4.1% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 18.9% were American, 18.8% were Irish, 14.7% were English, and 13.6% were German.

Of the 8,433 households, 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.7% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 24.2% were non-families, and 19.7% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 2.97. The median age was 40.6 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $51,128 and the median income for a family was $60,236. Males had a median income of $41,726 versus $31,978 for females. The per capita income for the county was $25,557. About 7.8% of families and 12.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.0% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and Communities

Incorporated Cities

Unincorporated Communities

Private Communities

There are large, gated private communities that function similar to a municipality providing many municipal-type services that operate independent of county government.

  • Paradise Valley Resort (a private residential/recreational community)


Dawson County currently serves grades K-12. It has a total of seven schools - one for pre-K, four for grades K-5, one for grades 6–7, one for grades 8–9, and Dawson County High School (grades 10-12).


Major highways

  • US 19.svg U.S. Route 19
  • Georgia 9.svg State Route 9
  • Georgia 52.svg State Route 52
  • Georgia 53.svg State Route 53
  • Georgia 136.svg State Route 136
  • Georgia 183.svg State Route 183
  • Georgia 400.svg State Route 400

Pedestrians and cycling

  • Springer Mountain Trail

Notable people

  • Bill Elliott - NASCAR racer, 1988 Cup Series champion, and Hall of Fame member
  • Chase Elliott - NASCAR racer and 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, and 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion
  • Gober Sosebee - stock-car racer (three-time Daytona champion)
  • Jerry Glanville - National Football League head coach, NASCAR driver
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