Toccoa is a city in Stephens County, Georgia, United States located approximately 50 miles (80 km) from Athensand approximately 90 miles (140 km) northeast of Atlanta. The population was 9,323 at the 2000 census. The city is the seat of Stephens County
Stephens County Courthouse in Toccoa
|Nickname(s): City of Beauty|
|Motto: "The Heart of Northeast Georgia"|
Location in Stephens County and the state of Georgia
Annual events include the Currahee Military Weekend, Taste of Toccoa, Cinema on Sage, Costume Parade, Harvest Festival, ChristmasFest, Christmas Parade, Roots Rhythm And Rails Music Fest, and many others.
Toccoa is the center of a thriving music scene and the home of a regional orchestra. The Toccoa Symphony Orchestra is made up of volunteer musicians from the surrounding community, South Carolina, and Atlanta. The symphony exists to provide quality symphonic music to the region and to bring together musicians from throughout northeast Georgia.
The symphony was founded in 1977 by Pinkie Craft Ware and Archie Sharretts, both music educators. Since its founding, the symphony has performed at least three concerts every season. The symphony is supported by a board of directors and an extensive network of patrons.
The orchestra collaborates with many musicians and provides a wide range of concert experiences. The ensemble has premiered works by young composers, presents a yearly Christmas concert with a one hundred voice choir, and incorporates budding performers from nearby Toccoa Falls College.
The Currahee Military Museum, located in downtown Toccoa at the original train station where arriving GIs would disembark, is dedicated to the paratroopers of World War II who trained at Camp Toccoa. Camp Toccoa was located just outside the city proper, at the foot of Currahee Mountain, and was formerly known as Camp Toombs. The museum houses the originalAldbourne stables where paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division were housed temporarily in England in 1944. Only one building remains of the original Camp Toccoa (the building is believed to be a former food supply storage facility, based on its position near the former camp's gates and the foundation's construction), and it was donated to the museum in 2011 by the Milliken company who was using it as a machine shop. The museum intends to restore the building, along with the surrounding grounds.
On the first Saturday of every October, a six-mile race is held along the Colonel Sink Trail, the same trail used by the paratroopers as part of their training for combat. In 2013, Clint Sanders and Jacob Ahle were the top male finishers of the race, while Deanna Lewis and Kathryn Lindquist were the top female finishers. Known as one of the most daunting races in America, the common refrain is "Three Miles Up And Three Miles Down." The race is part of the larger Currahee Military Weekend, which features World War II military reenactments in a staged military camp, weapons demonstrations, book signings by veterans, a parade through the downtown historic district, a hangar dance at the airport, and a special banquet featuring key note speakers and veterans.
Local lore includes the Hanging Tree, located on the western side of the Stephens County Courthouse. The actual tree used for the executions is now just a stump on the courthouse lawn, the tree having been removed in 2011. Facing the courthouse, the Hanging Tree was just to the viewer's left.
The clock at the spire of the courthouse was restored to operational condition in 2010 as part of an overall renovation of the building, and is the highlight of the historic district which features several buildings from the American Civil War period.
The Toccoa Casket Company, now out of business, was the largest supplier of caskets to the military until Vietnam. Its building, located on the main road leading into Toccoa from the south, on the route from Toccoa to Currahee Mountain, was razed in 2014.