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Modern Helen
About North Georgia

Modern Helen, Georgia's BavariaGeorgia's Alpine city and the surrounding area has experienced tremendous growth over the last four decades. The tiny city had been planned as a small business center, but the success of Helen's business model began to draw larger corporations interested in locating in the booming tourism center. Thirty years ago large chains were discouraged from locating in the town. Today it is hard to walk very far without seeing a well-known franchise, from the Wendy's downtown to the Hampton Inn on quiet River Road.

The growth has begun to impact the Chattahoochee River that winds through the center of the town. Helen is the first major population center on the struggling river and the increasing population is decreasing the quality of the water as the river heads south towards Lake Lanier. Pollution is not the only problem. Homes are constantly encroaching on the land that once formed the watershed. Chemical run-off adds to the problems.

Helen's popularity with tourists has alienated some long-time residents, who charge the city government with being too commerce-oriented and complain bitterly about noise and traffic. County and state officials also face additional challenges as Helen's growth remains unabated. While population within Helen was stable from 1970 to 1990, outside the city limits it has grown rapidly.

One great addition is Smithgall Woods Conservation Area. Built on land recovering from indifferent owners, Smithgall Woods encourages conservation of our natural resources while adding outdoor activity to the area. Trophy size trout now come from Duke's Creek, where the earliest gold was found in the area. City officials are working with local landowners to achieve a balance between the promotion of Helen as a tourism center and a place to live. And plans are being hammered out to preserve as much of the Chattahoochee River as possible.

In 1993 Unicoi Lake was drained while the state made improvements to the dam which GA 356 runs over. Because of cost overruns and budget shortfalls, the project took four years to complete.

Helen:Her Story

Archaic Indians in Sautee-Nacoochee Valley
Early Cherokee Influence
Spanish Influence in Helen
First Settlers Arrive
Unicoi Turnpike
Gold Discovered in Georgia
After The Gold Rush
Captain Nichols and Anna Ruby Falls
Wood is the new Gold
End of the Wood Era
Charlie Maloof and Arthur Woody
A new road for Helen
A Park named Unicoi
Helen 1954-1969
Rebirth of Helen
Modern Helen
Helen-Her Fun
Directions to Helen


Alpine Helen
Popular tourist destination in Northeast Georgia

Article Links
A Park named Unicoi
A new road for Helen
After The Gold Rush
Archaic Indians in Sautee-Nacoochee Valley
Captain Nichols and Anna Ruby Falls
Charlie Maloof and Arthur Woody
Chattahoochee River
Directions to Helen
Early Cherokee Influence
End of the Wood Era
First Settlers Arrive
Gold Discovered in Georgia
Helen 1954-1969
Helen-Her Fun
Modern Helen
Rebirth of Helen
Smithgall Woods Conservation Area
Spanish Influence in Helen
Unicoi Turnpike
Wood is the new Gold

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