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Whitfield County



Courthouse
LocationDalton
Date Built2004-06
Architecture StyleModern
DesignerJKH Architects, LLC
Seat InformationThe 1851 act creating Whitfield County authorized the justices of the county's new inferior court to designate the location of the county seat, purchase land, and make arrangements for a county courthouse and other public buildings. Subsequently, they designated Dalton as county seat. Dalton was originally known as Cross Plains, a name perhaps indicative of its location on the plains just east of Mill Creek Gap, an important transportation corridor through Rocky Face Mountain. Around 1837, a white settlement sprang up on the old trading path just southeast of the gap. In 1839, surveyors for the new Western & Atlantic Railroad selected a route through the gap, with a train station planned at Cross Plains. On Dec. 21, 1839, the legislature incorporated Cross Plains (Ga. Laws 1839, p. 83). On Dec. 29, 1847, the legislature changed the name of Cross Plains to Dalton, enlarged the municipal limits, and reincorporated the town. Reportedly, the new name was in honor of the Dalton family of Massachusetts, notably U.S. Senator Tristram Dalton; his daughter, Mary Dalton White; and her son Capt. Edward Dalton White (1811-1898), an early Cross Plains settler who donated land for a town park and local churches.
Courthouse DetailsWhitfield County's first courthouse was a wooden structure built in Dalton at some point after the county's creation in 1851. That building was burned by Sherman's forces in 1864. It is not clear what served as courthouse for the next 27 years, but in 1891 a new two-story brick was completed. Around 1960, this building was torn down and the present courthouse erected in its place in 1961. In later years, the Whitfield County Courthouse Annex was built directly across the street from the county courthouse. In November 2000, Whitfield County voters approved a 5-year $58 million special-purpose local option sales tax to relieve overcrowding in the county jail, expand the county courthouse, and fund a number of other projects. Approximately $29 million of the total was dedicated to a new courthouse and parking deck. Rather than tear down the 1961 courthouse, the county built the new courthouse to completely absorb the old structure. The result is a much larger and totally redesigned courthouse.
County Data
Population102,599
Population 200083,525
Population Growth22.8
County SeatDalton
County Area290.7 Square Miles
Location MapWhitfield County Location Map
History

Whitfield County was created from Murray County on Dec. 30, 1851 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1851-52, p. 56). According to that act, Whitfield County’s boundaries were specified as:

  Beginning at the south-west corner of the county of Murray; running from thence east with the line between Murray and Gordon counties, until it strikes the mouth of the Conasauga river; thence up and with the meanders of said river, to the mouth of Sugar Creek; thence with the meanders of said creek to the Tennessee line; thence west with said line to the line of Walker and Murray county; thence south with the line of Murray and Walker to the [place of] beginning.

Georgia’s 98th county was named for the famous Anglican evangelist George Whitefield (1714-177), who is perhaps best remembered in Georgia for establishing the Bethesda Orphanage near Savannah in 1740. Apparently to insure the correct pronunciation of Whitefield’s name (which is “Whit-field” not “White-field”), the legislature dropped the “e” from Whitefield in the legislation creating Whitfield County.

In 1853, part of Whitfield County was used to create Catoosa County.

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Legal OrganThe Daily Citizen
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Historical Population
YearPopulation
2010 102,599
2000 83,525
1990 72,462
1980 65,789
1970 55,108
1960 42,109
1950 34,432
1940 26,105
1930 20,808
1920 16,897
1910 15,934
1900 14,509
1890 12,916
1880 11,900
1870 10,117
1860 10,047