Chief Vann House

Referred to as the "Showplace of the Cherokee Nation", in the 1790's James Vann became a Cherokee Indian political leader and a wealthy businessman. He established the largest and most prosperous plantation in the Cherokee Nation that once covered 1,000 acres of what is now Murray County, Georgia. In 1804 he completed construction of a beautiful 2 and one-half story brick home that was the most elegant and expensive in the Cherokee Nation.

Chief Vann was murdered in 1809 and his son Joseph inherited the brick mansion and plantation. Joseph was also a political leader in the Cherokee Nation and became even wealthier than his father. In the 1830's almost the entire Cherokee Nation was forced west by State and Federal  troops on the Trail of Tears. The Vann family also lost their elegant home and plantation and rebuilt near the Arkansas River in Oklahoma.

By the 1940's the once elegant Vann mansion had fallen into disrepair. Concerned local citizens raised $5,000 and purchased the house in 1952. It was donated to the State of Georgia and a six-year restoration began which included the repainting of the mansion according to its original color scheme of blue, red, green, and yellow. Since 1958 the Chief Vann House has been open to the public as a state historic site operated by the Georgia Historical Commission and later the Parks and Historic Sites Division of the Department of Natural Resources.

In 2002 the Springplace Moravian Cemetery next to the Vann House was donated to the State and became part of the historic site and a new interpretive center also opened the same year. 85 additional acres of the former Vann Plantation became state property in 2005 after a successful fund raising campaign, which raised $1.5 million and preserved this historic tract next to the mansion, which was threatened with commercial and residential development.

Today the Vann House survives as Georgia's most original and best-preserved historic Cherokee Indian home. A guided tour allows visitors to see the entire house which features beautiful hand carvings, a remarkable "floating" staircase, a twelve-foot mantle and many fine antiques. The site also includes a museum with film and interpretive exhibits. Special programs include the Vann House Days in July and Christmas Candlelight Tours in December.

Hours: 9-5 Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. (Last tour at 4:00)
Admission: $3-$5. Phone: 706-695-2598
Location: 3 miles of Chatsworth on Georgia Highway 225.