June 5, 2012
by Monica Burge
The tale of the Great Locomotive Chase connects Bartow County to a significant part of the Civil War.
There’s the role local hero Uriah Stephens played, there are the many stops made in Bartow County by the General and the trains that pursued it, and there is the small triumph of thwarting James Andrews and the Union army.
“When you look at the facts, you can see why Bartow County is the heart of the chase,” said local historian and author Joe Head. “I’ve been advocating for years that we in Bartow County have not taken enough credit for our role. You cannot deny that the most thrilling and important part of the chase happened in Bartow County. I think it gives us bragging rights.”
Head said 42 percent of the Chase happened in Bartow County, making it the epicenter for most of the action and in honor of its anniversary locals will have the opportunity to tour the route the famous chase took through Bartow County.
The Bartow History Museum, Etowah Valley Historical Society, and Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau will present The Heart of the Chase Bus Tour Head June 9.
Head will lead the tour, which will depart at 9:00 a.m. from Emerson Elementary School. The bus will return to Emerson around 5 p.m. Tickets are $40 and must be purchased in advance at the Bartow History Museum or by calling (770) 387-2774. Stops include Allatoona Pass, Cooper’s Furnace, Cartersville, Kingston, and Adairsville.
“There are so many tangible sights to see,” said Head.
Bartow History Museum Executive Director Trey Gaines said organizing a bus tour to trace the route of the chase is a special opportunity to honor the past.
Having Head along as the resident expert makes it all the more enjoyable Gaines said.
“Joe has spent years researching and writing about the Great Locomotive Chase and its connections to Bartow County. He has even written a book on the subject,” Gaines said. “Because of his knowledge and passion for the subject, he was a perfect choice to lead this tour.”
The tour is a family-friendly event that the young and young at heart can enjoy and Gaines said it also is a great way to honor history.
“There have been several programs and events across this region recognizing the 150th anniversary of the Great Locomotive Chase, and because much of the chase occurred right here in Bartow County, we wanted to offer a special opportunity to experience the route the chase took through our own backyard,” Gaines said.