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Dade County

County Courthouse View large image

Source: David Seibert

Date Built1926
Architecture StyleDutch Colonial Revival influence
Seat InformationThe legislation creating Dade County made no provision for a county seat. In an act of Dec. 21, 1839, the General Assembly designated the community of Salem as county seat and incorporated it as a town (Ga. Laws 1839, p. 212). The origin of Salem's name is unclear, but it apparently was first settled around 1830. In 1840, the legislature changed the name of Salem to Trenton (Ga. Laws 1840, p. 36). Reportedly, the name change was requested by local leaders in response to a delegation of businessmen from Trenton, New Jersey, who came to the area interested in developing Dade County's coal and iron resources.
Courthouse DetailsIt is not known what served as Dade County courthouse after the county's creation on Christmas Day of 1837. Usually, when the General Assembly created a new county it provided for an inferior court or a special commission with power to select a site and contract for building a county courthouse. However, the legislation creating Dade County was silent on a courthouse. Often, officials and judges of a new county initially met in private homes or utilized Masonic lodges or other buildings for county business. Although one source says that Dade County's first courthouse was built in Trenton in 1849, likely the first courthouse was constructed earlier. Whenever built, the first courthouse burned in April 1853, and the legislature appropriated $1,200 to help the county build a new courthouse (Ga. Laws 1853-54, p. 156). At some point thereafter, a new courthouse was built - but this was burned by Union troops in November 1863 in connection with the Chattanooga campaign. It is not clear what Dade County used for the next six years, but in 1869 a new courthouse was constructed. While a plaque at the present courthouse indicates that the 1869 courthouse burned in 1895, local newspaper articles document that the 1869 courthouse was used until torn down in 1925 to make way for a new courthouse. Dade County's fourth and present courthouse was built in 1926. More recently, the Dade County Justice Building a block west of the old courthouse, was completed in 1989. The largest county government facility is the Dade County Administrative Building adjacent to the justice building, constructed in 2000-2001. Today, the superior court, district attorney, and state probation office remain in the old Dade County courthouse, with other judicial and law enforcement offices in the Justice Building,
County Data
Population 200013,183
Population Growth9.8
County SeatTrenton
County Area174.1 Square Miles
Location MapDade County Location Map

Dade County was created on Dec. 25, 1837, by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1837, p. 65). Created entirely from Walker County, Dade County’s original boundaries were specified as:

  . . . That from and immediately after the passage of this act, the Inferior Court of the county of Walker, shall be authorized and required to cause to be ran and plainly marked a line as hereinafter designated, beginning at Lot one, in the ninth District of the fourth section, originally Cherokee now Walker county, thence a south west direction for its general course, so as to run as near as possible on the middle on the top of the Look Out Mountain, until it strikes the line of the State of Alabama, at or near Lot No. one hundred and forty-five (145,) in the eighteenth (18) district of the fourth section, and all that portion of said county lying west of and north west of the aforesaid line, shall constitute a new county, to be called Dade.

Georgia’s 92nd county was named for U.S. Army Maj. Francis Dade (1793-1835), a Virginian who was stationed in central Florida to help enforce the treaty that ended the First Seminole War. In Dec. 1835, a group of militant Seminoles angry about the treaty ambushed Dade’s detachment on the trail, killing Dade and all but three of his 108 men. Nationally, the attack was viewed as a massacre and resulted in the U.S. launching the Second Seminole War.

Web SiteVisit Web Site
Legal OrganThe Dade County Sentinel
Chamber of Commerce Web SiteVisit Web Site
Historical Population
2010 16,633
2000 15,154
1990 13,147
1980 12,318
1970 9,910
1960 8,666
1950 7,364
1940 5,894
1930 4,146
1920 3,918
1910 4,139
1900 4,578
1890 5,707
1880 4,702
1870 3,033
1860 3,069
1850 2,680
1840 1,364