Throughout the year, tourists who fancy themselves history buffs flock to Floyd County, which has 47 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Chieftains Museum, originally the home of Major Ridge, was built in 1792 and was the first site in Rome proper to be nationally registered in 1971. Ridge is notable for his role in negotiating and signing the Treaty of New Echota of 1835, which ceded the remainder of Cherokee lands in the Southeast to the United States.
According to the Register, the home was originally a log dogtrot house with additions to the home added later. In 1971, the home was converted into the Chieftain’s Museum, with exhibits delineating the life of Major Ridge and Cherokee culture.
Other places listed in the Register include the Dr. Robert Battey House at 725 E. Second Ave., which was registered in 1982. The Between the Rivers Historic District was registered in 1983 and is roughly bounded by the Etowah and Oostanaula rivers, Seventh Avenue and West Fourth Street. Both the upper and lower Avenue A Districts were registered in 1983.
The Clocktower that stands atop Neely Hill was built in 1871 and is 104 feet tall and was nationally registered in 1980. Built under the direction of James Noble Jr., it was originally constructed to hold 250,000 gallons of water to serve the citizens of Rome. On top of the 63-foot tall and 26-foot-wide water tank, the bell and four clock faces — that were added in 1872 — are 41 feet tall. The Clocktower can be seen from almost any part of downtown Rome.
One of the seven hills of Rome, Myrtle Hill Cemetery is at the confluence of the Etowah and Oostanaula rivers and covers 21 acres on six terraces. It is the final resting place of more than 20,000 people including 377 Floyd County Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War. First Lady Ellen Axton Wilson, the first wife of President Woodrow Wilson, is buried at the cemetery, as well as American’s Known Soldier Pvt. Charles W. Graves. Several founders of Rome are buried at the cemetery along with numerous notable people in history.
For more information about Rome’s historical sites, visit the National Register of Historic Places website at www.nps.gov.