Chief Vann House Historic Site

Chief Vann House Historic Site

Chief Vann House Historic Site
5
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
During the 1790s, James Vann became a Cherokee Indian leader and wealthy businessman. He established the largest and most prosperous plantation in the Cherokee Nation, covering 1,000 acres of what is now Murray County. In 1804 he completed construction of a beautiful 2 ½ story brick home that was the most elegant in the Cherokee Nation. After Vann was murdered in 1809, his son Joseph inherited the mansion and plantation. Joseph was also a Cherokee leader and became even more wealthy than his father. In the 1830s almost the entire Cherokee Nation was forced west by state and federal troops on the infamous Trail of Tears. The Vann family lost their elegant home, rebuilding in the Cherokee Territory of Oklahoma. Today the Vann House survives as Georgia’s best-preserved historic Cherokee Indian home. A guided tour allows visitors to see the house which features beautiful hand carvings, a remarkable “floating” staircase, a 12-foot mantle and fine antiques.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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  • Frances M
    2 contributions
    Good fall day trip.
    Had a great tour of this historic site with Amber. She answered all our questions and wore a face mask through out, which made us feel safe. It’s a great place to visit on a beautiful fall day. Lunch and shopping in Elijay.
    Visited October 2020
    Written October 8, 2020
  • trojan77
    Gainesville, Georgia381 contributions
    Great for history buffs
    My husband and I are history buffs and appreciate a tour led by a good tour guide. The ranger who led our tour made the house come alive for us by telling us the history of the people who lived there and the house itself. She was very personable and knowledgeable. The mannequins used were awesome and lifelike. Don't believe the house would be feasible for wheelchairs but the grounds would be fine. The 1/16th Cherokee in me loves to hear about the history of the Cherokees even if alot is tragic and sad.
    Visited September 2021
    Written September 5, 2021
  • christienrandy
    Soddy Daisy, Tennessee255 contributions
    Educational stop!
    My daughter and I stopped here on our way to Ellijay. The tours have been shortened to 30 minutes due to Covid but it was still informative and fun to walk through the house. I liked being able to take pictures inside. There is nothing original inside, so it is allowed. They have a few original things in the museum from the Vann family. The grounds are well kept and the history was interesting. Glad we stopped by.
    Visited October 2020
    Traveled with family
    Written October 18, 2020
  • OPMaster1978
    Bowling Green, Kentucky114 contributions
    Well preserved mansion and grounds in the Georgia countryside.
    Visited the Chief Vann House after learning about it from a brochure I picked up at the Georgia Welcome Center on I-75. It's out in the countryside, about 25 miles from the interstate, but worth the drive if you love either history or architecture. The site preserves the manor of the wealthiest family of the Cherokee nation that lived here from 1803 until their forced removal in 1838. The house itself is wonderfully well kept and the authentic buildings on the ground give visitors an idea about the workings of an early 1800s north Georgia plantation. The museum in the visitor's center is small, but informative. Staff were exceptionally friendly as well. I spent 3 hours here between taking the house tour, touring the grounds and going through the museum. Well worth the small admission fee charged to see this well preserved couple of acres of history.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written April 23, 2023
  • Steve M
    Roswell, Georgia60 contributions
    Chief Vann House State Historic Site
    I am a travel writer who covers National Parks (npplan.com) and I visited the Chief Vann House Historic Site, an official site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, in April, 2013. The park is part of the Georgia State Park system. It is comprised of the Vann family mansion and grounds, which contain various out buildings of the 1800s time period. There is also a Visitor Center that houses a small museum about the Vann family, plus historic and natural history exhibits from the area, such as arrowheads and fossils. In addition, there is an interesting documentary film about the Vann family. The mansion and grounds are open to the public for tours on specific days of the week. There is a fee for tours. Check the Vann House web site for details. I suggest beginning your tour of the park by watching the short documentary about the Vann Family, which is shown in the Visitor Center’s small movie theater. The film lasts about fifteen minutes and is shown on demand. It is full of information about the Vann Family, the mansion, and their forced removal by the government during the Trail of Tears period. There are some exhibits in the theater which you can view after the movie. For those interested in learning more about the Vann family, following the film you can visit the museum. Housed in a medium size room, you can read all of the information and see all of the exhibits in roughly a half hour. The exhibits in the museum cover the history of the Vann Family and their house. Trail of Tears history is covered mainly in reference to the Vann Family saga. To tour the Vann House, you must go on a Ranger guided tour. There are no set times for house tours and no minimum group size. Visitation is low, so as soon as a Park Ranger is available, a tour will be given—even if you are the only person. When I arrived, the Ranger was currently giving a tour and I was told that as soon as she got done with her group that she would take me for a tour. While waiting for a Ranger I explored the museum and exhibits. A tour of the mansion lasts around twenty to thirty minutes, so if you just missed a tour, you should not have to wait for more than a half hour for the next one. The Ranger will take you through the house at your pace, meaning that if you want to spend more time in a particular room, feel free to do so. Photography is allowed, so take your time and get the photos you want. Once done with the mansion tour, you are free to roam the grounds and visit the out buildings on your own. None of the buildings are original to the property, but most are historic structures transported from the surrounding areas of Georgia to the Vann property. All are buildings representative of the time. There are corn cribs, a reproduction of the kitchen that was manned by the Vann Family slaves (yes, the Indians had black slaves), and historic Cherokee Indian log cabins. The Ranger pointed out that Indians of the area and era did not live in T-pees, but log cabins just like everybody else. The buildings are furnished with period furniture, equipment, and tools. There are no actual Vann Family furnishings, as the Vanns took everything with them when the were forced to move to Oklahoma. The tour and exploration of the grounds should take no more than an hour. There is also a trail opposite the entrance to the Visitor Center that takes you to a pond on the property. Allow fifteen to twenty minutes for the round trip visit. Factoring in the park film and museum, plan to spend no more than three hours for a thorough tour of the Chief Vann House Historic Site. You can breeze through the site in around an hour. For complete information and plenty of photos on this and other Trail of Tears sites, please visit National Park Planner.
    Visited September 2013
    Traveled solo
    Written August 15, 2014
  • Garry K
    106 contributions
    I never knew
    I never knew the Cherokee lived this way until my recent visit to this Georgia Historic site. You hear Indians and you think teepees, and long houses, not brick and mortar homes or even stick build wood frames homes. But the Cherokee did adapt a European way of life in the early 1800's and Chief Vann took that further as a business man. The property is in amazing shape and my park ranger guide of the house was very knowledgable, even passed on a tidbit about my Friends of GA State Parks membership I did not know. Yes because of state cut backs this needs to be a destination visit, as they are only open Thur. thru Sat.
    Visited January 2014
    Traveled solo
    Written January 18, 2014
  • SkipJAtlanta
    205 contributions
    A Well Preserved and Presented History Lesson That You Probably Missed In School
    We thought this would be a 30 minute stop and ended up staying almost two hours. The limited days and hours that this site is now open because of Georgia cut backs requires you to make it a planned destination. You'll come away with an excellent introduction to the story of the Cherokee indians who once lived and prospered in North Georgia along with more bothersome knowledge about the greed and cruelty of the Georgia state legislature during the early 19th century. Ever think about the German holocaust of the 1930's and feel smug, knowing such terrible things could never happen in the United States? Learning about what was done to the Cherokee will teach you differently. The Georgia legislature simply made legal claim to the land that had been given to the Cherokee's by treaty and then sent illegal surveyors into the area to measure it out by grids. They then held a land lottery in which white Georgians could receive free land, and any buildings, crops, etc. that stood there. Never mind that there were Cherokee families already living and farming on these locations. By the stoke of a pen, Georgia's politicians removed any legal right the Cherokees had to their own land. Chief Vann was the wealthiest Cherokee of North Georgia, perhaps the wealthiest of ANY Cherokee. A trader, farmer, merchant, ferry operator, land speculator he was instrumental in bringing in the Federal Road through North Georgia and built the most spectacular house of the region directly by the road where it would be seen. President Monroe once spent the night here. Moravian missionaries opened a school on land Vann provided them next to his plantation to educate Cherokees. The house is fully restored and although the furniture inside is not original, it is from the period. If you are fortunate, you will have "Julia" as your guide (we never caught her last name!). She is a wonder and knows the history of the house, the Vann family and the Cherokee experience backwards and forwards. She escorts you through the house and tells story after story about the Vanns and what happened, including what happened when Georgia militia showed up in the 1830's and told the family there to leave since they no longer had legal ownership under the signed Georgia law. Local missionaries were arrested because they were assisting the Cherokees. All of this led to the well known "Trail of Tears" as thousands of Cherokees, living on land they had lived for generations, were forced by bayonet to leave. They were put into stockades, mini-concentration camps, until set on the path to Indian Territory across the Mississippi. Its a complex story, but this is a place to learn some of the major pieces. Highly recommend.
    Visited July 2013
    Traveled with family
    Written July 21, 2013
  • richmona
    145 contributions
    Cherokee Indian Mansion?
    Beautiful brick home, tour of home was awesome. We never learned this stuff in school!!! The Cherokee Indians were an amazing group of people. Lots of history to be had here.
    Visited May 2015
    Traveled with family
    Written May 30, 2015
  • ERNEST C
    Ranger, Georgia42 contributions
    Chief Vann had it Right
    This is a great day trip and very educational for those who think of teepees when you talk about Native Americans. The house and all the amenities are a real eye-opener to how "Europeanized" some of the Cherokees had become before their removal during the "Trail of Tears." It reminds me very much of some of the colonial homes we visited in Virginia. The attention to detail in the woodwork and the period furniture are clear indicators that people who care have spent a lot of time restoring this home. Not very interesting for children, but my wife and I found it very enjoyable to see such a fine historical house in excellent condition. You could combine a trip here with a short drive over to Fort Mountain State Park for a picnic and some fun for the kids.
    Written June 2, 2013
  • Rich K
    Toccoa, Georgia13 contributions
    Very educational
    An important part of our history that demonstrates what whiskey, greed and racism can breed. The house and grounds are not all authentic but the restorations and reproductions are as close as one could possibly expect. Iriana(sp?) was an awesome interpreter. She had knowledge and a passion for her tour guiding. We will try to get back for the candlelight tours in December. We hope Iriana is our tour guide!
    Rich, thank you so much for your kind words! We appreciate your visit and we certainly hope to see you for Christmas. We do not have hourly guides for Candlelight Tours, its more free-flowing with a volunteer in every corner of the house to help answer your questions. Thank you!
    Written August 7, 2019
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited June 2019
    Written June 23, 2019
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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OPMaster1978
Bowling Green, KY114 contributions
Apr 2023 • Solo
Visited the Chief Vann House after learning about it from a brochure I picked up at the Georgia Welcome Center on I-75. It's out in the countryside, about 25 miles from the interstate, but worth the drive if you love either history or architecture. The site preserves the manor of the wealthiest family of the Cherokee nation that lived here from 1803 until their forced removal in 1838. The house itself is wonderfully well kept and the authentic buildings on the ground give visitors an idea about the workings of an early 1800s north Georgia plantation. The museum in the visitor's center is small, but informative. Staff were exceptionally friendly as well. I spent 3 hours here between taking the house tour, touring the grounds and going through the museum. Well worth the small admission fee charged to see this well preserved couple of acres of history.
Written April 23, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steve M
Roswell, GA60 contributions
Sep 2013 • Solo
I am a travel writer who covers National Parks (npplan.com) and I visited the Chief Vann House Historic Site, an official site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, in April, 2013. The park is part of the Georgia State Park system. It is comprised of the Vann family mansion and grounds, which contain various out buildings of the 1800s time period. There is also a Visitor Center that houses a small museum about the Vann family, plus historic and natural history exhibits from the area, such as arrowheads and fossils. In addition, there is an interesting documentary film about the Vann family. The mansion and grounds are open to the public for tours on specific days of the week. There is a fee for tours. Check the Vann House web site for details.

I suggest beginning your tour of the park by watching the short documentary about the Vann Family, which is shown in the Visitor Center’s small movie theater. The film lasts about fifteen minutes and is shown on demand. It is full of information about the Vann Family, the mansion, and their forced removal by the government during the Trail of Tears period. There are some exhibits in the theater which you can view after the movie.

For those interested in learning more about the Vann family, following the film you can visit the museum. Housed in a medium size room, you can read all of the information and see all of the exhibits in roughly a half hour. The exhibits in the museum cover the history of the Vann Family and their house. Trail of Tears history is covered mainly in reference to the Vann Family saga.

To tour the Vann House, you must go on a Ranger guided tour. There are no set times for house tours and no minimum group size. Visitation is low, so as soon as a Park Ranger is available, a tour will be given—even if you are the only person. When I arrived, the Ranger was currently giving a tour and I was told that as soon as she got done with her group that she would take me for a tour. While waiting for a Ranger I explored the museum and exhibits. A tour of the mansion lasts around twenty to thirty minutes, so if you just missed a tour, you should not have to wait for more than a half hour for the next one.

The Ranger will take you through the house at your pace, meaning that if you want to spend more time in a particular room, feel free to do so. Photography is allowed, so take your time and get the photos you want.

Once done with the mansion tour, you are free to roam the grounds and visit the out buildings on your own. None of the buildings are original to the property, but most are historic structures transported from the surrounding areas of Georgia to the Vann property. All are buildings representative of the time. There are corn cribs, a reproduction of the kitchen that was manned by the Vann Family slaves (yes, the Indians had black slaves), and historic Cherokee Indian log cabins. The Ranger pointed out that Indians of the area and era did not live in T-pees, but log cabins just like everybody else. The buildings are furnished with period furniture, equipment, and tools. There are no actual Vann Family furnishings, as the Vanns took everything with them when the were forced to move to Oklahoma.

The tour and exploration of the grounds should take no more than an hour. There is also a trail opposite the entrance to the Visitor Center that takes you to a pond on the property. Allow fifteen to twenty minutes for the round trip visit. Factoring in the park film and museum, plan to spend no more than three hours for a thorough tour of the Chief Vann House Historic Site. You can breeze through the site in around an hour.

For complete information and plenty of photos on this and other Trail of Tears sites, please visit National Park Planner.
Written August 15, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Garry K
Atlanta, Georgia, United States106 contributions
Jan 2014 • Solo
I never knew the Cherokee lived this way until my recent visit to this Georgia Historic site. You hear Indians and you think teepees, and long houses, not brick and mortar homes or even stick build wood frames homes. But the Cherokee did adapt a European way of life in the early 1800's and Chief Vann took that further as a business man. The property is in amazing shape and my park ranger guide of the house was very knowledgable, even passed on a tidbit about my Friends of GA State Parks membership I did not know. Yes because of state cut backs this needs to be a destination visit, as they are only open Thur. thru Sat.
Written January 18, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SkipJAtlanta
Atlanta205 contributions
Jul 2013 • Family
We thought this would be a 30 minute stop and ended up staying almost two hours. The limited days and hours that this site is now open because of Georgia cut backs requires you to make it a planned destination. You'll come away with an excellent introduction to the story of the Cherokee indians who once lived and prospered in North Georgia along with more bothersome knowledge about the greed and cruelty of the Georgia state legislature during the early 19th century. Ever think about the German holocaust of the 1930's and feel smug, knowing such terrible things could never happen in the United States? Learning about what was done to the Cherokee will teach you differently. The Georgia legislature simply made legal claim to the land that had been given to the Cherokee's by treaty and then sent illegal surveyors into the area to measure it out by grids. They then held a land lottery in which white Georgians could receive free land, and any buildings, crops, etc. that stood there. Never mind that there were Cherokee families already living and farming on these locations. By the stoke of a pen, Georgia's politicians removed any legal right the Cherokees had to their own land. Chief Vann was the wealthiest Cherokee of North Georgia, perhaps the wealthiest of ANY Cherokee. A trader, farmer, merchant, ferry operator, land speculator he was instrumental in bringing in the Federal Road through North Georgia and built the most spectacular house of the region directly by the road where it would be seen. President Monroe once spent the night here. Moravian missionaries opened a school on land Vann provided them next to his plantation to educate Cherokees. The house is fully restored and although the furniture inside is not original, it is from the period. If you are fortunate, you will have "Julia" as your guide (we never caught her last name!). She is a wonder and knows the history of the house, the Vann family and the Cherokee experience backwards and forwards. She escorts you through the house and tells story after story about the Vanns and what happened, including what happened when Georgia militia showed up in the 1830's and told the family there to leave since they no longer had legal ownership under the signed Georgia law. Local missionaries were arrested because they were assisting the Cherokees. All of this led to the well known "Trail of Tears" as thousands of Cherokees, living on land they had lived for generations, were forced by bayonet to leave. They were put into stockades, mini-concentration camps, until set on the path to Indian Territory across the Mississippi. Its a complex story, but this is a place to learn some of the major pieces. Highly recommend.
Written July 21, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

richmona
GA145 contributions
May 2015 • Family
Beautiful brick home, tour of home was awesome. We never learned this stuff in school!!! The Cherokee Indians were an amazing group of people. Lots of history to be had here.
Written May 30, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ERNEST C
Ranger, GA42 contributions
This is a great day trip and very educational for those who think of teepees when you talk about Native Americans. The house and all the amenities are a real eye-opener to how "Europeanized" some of the Cherokees had become before their removal during the "Trail of Tears." It reminds me very much of some of the colonial homes we visited in Virginia. The attention to detail in the woodwork and the period furniture are clear indicators that people who care have spent a lot of time restoring this home. Not very interesting for children, but my wife and I found it very enjoyable to see such a fine historical house in excellent condition. You could combine a trip here with a short drive over to Fort Mountain State Park for a picnic and some fun for the kids.
Written June 2, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rich K
Toccoa, GA13 contributions
Jun 2019
An important part of our history that demonstrates what whiskey, greed and racism can breed. The house and grounds are not all authentic but the restorations and reproductions are as close as one could possibly expect. Iriana(sp?) was an awesome interpreter. She had knowledge and a passion for her tour guiding. We will try to get back for the candlelight tours in December. We hope Iriana is our tour guide!
Written June 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Rich, thank you so much for your kind words! We appreciate your visit and we certainly hope to see you for Christmas. We do not have hourly guides for Candlelight Tours, its more free-flowing with a volunteer in every corner of the house to help answer your questions. Thank you!
Written August 7, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

TBMutiny
Woodstock, GA227 contributions
Jun 2019
This is a unique place of Georgia history that is part of the larger history of the Cherokee removal from the US southeast. The house, grounds and furnishing revile what one could find in Charleston, SC or Savannah but yet this house is located in a very rural part of the state.
Our tour guide, David, was fantastic and shared his knowledge about the Vann family and sounding area.
This house is amazing!
Written June 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your feedback, TB. We are glad to hear you enjoyed your tour here, we take a lot of pride in our heritage. Come see us anytime!
Written July 10, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

JonquilCity
Smyrna, GA60 contributions
May 2018 • Couples
We visited recently as we loved it on the first trip so we wanted our family members to see it. We saw the film and had a very personable guide who grew up in this area and had ties to this site. He was more informative that our first guide and took the time to answer our questions about possible repositories for Cherokee and Creek tribe information. We love this house although it is sad to know these Americans were forced out of their home and made to relocate to Oklahoma.
Written May 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your visit and for your support of Georgia State Historic Sites! We appreciate your feedback. We train all of our employees but it is true, some people have an advantage of location and time spent in Springplace to help make their tour fantastic. It is a sad story that we tell here, but it must be remembered. Thank you for allowing us to help keep history alive through you and your family.
Written June 20, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

lees57967
Rome, GA1 contribution
Mar 2018 • Couples
grounds were overgrown trash needs picked up ..staff was haveing morning meal in office and where bickering as who was to give the tour.
Written April 21, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
On behalf of our staff I would like to apologize for your unsatisfactory experience. In our 60 years of public service we have prided ourselves on giving guests a welcoming experience, and it brings us no joy to see that we missed the mark with your visit. Currently, we are understaffed and if the weather has been uncooperative, we don't always get a chance to mow our 135 acres as frequently as we would like. I respect that tall grass can represent a danger for slipping and falling, so moving forward we will be training more of our staff to operate our mowing equipment. We have mowed the grass every week for the last four weeks but in the spring, grass grows out of control so we will try to mow twice a week. I do not recall a specific instance of bickering among the staff but I have taken time to train them on proper guest relations. Our staff is passionate about public education and historical preservation, and happy to give tours. You did not mention whether you enjoyed your guided tour of the historic Vann House, but I do hope that you and your family found our museum and tour educational and entertaining. Thank you for visiting and I hope that you will visit us again to see our continued progress. We have begun restoration construction on our Cherokee Farmstead, extended our gardens to incorporate more historical plants, installed a new projector in our video room, and more. Thank you for your feedback and we will continue to improve.
Written April 26, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Chief Vann House Historic Site - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Chief Vann House Historic Site

Chief Vann House Historic Site is open:
  • Thu - Sun 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM



Chief Vann House Historic Site Information

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