Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia

Contributors and Resources


Caroline Crittenden, Heritage Site Project Coordinator
volunteer, recipient of the Governor's Humanitarian Award
Allen Stovall, landscape architect
1982 Preservation Study
Jim Johnston, donor of the cabin,
restoration contractor
Chris Brooks, Director
Folk Pottery Museum of North Georgia
David Looper, specialist mover
Andy L. Allen, Bean Creek resident
Barry Stiles, Preservation craftsman
Bob Slack, Interpreter/Raconteur
David Greear, Photographer
David Vandiver, Stonemason
Lawrence Dorsey, Bean Creek resident
Lena Belle Dorsey, Bean Creek resident

Caroline Crittenden, Heritage Site Project Coordinator

Caroline has worked tirelessly to preserve and interpret the heritage of Black people in White County, the descendants of slaves who live in a small rural community in the Sautee Nacoochee Valley area known as Bean Creek.

They shared their stories, loaned their images and memorabilia, and helped her present exhibits and events highlighting the cultural heritage of Bean Creek at the Sautee Nacoochee Community Center, the University of Georgia, and elsewhere.

When Ms. Crittenden learned about a slave cabin in Nacoochee Valley, she realized its historic significance and recognized a unique opportunity to broaden and enrich the story of the area. She acquired a remarkable collection of antebellum artifacts, including the slave cabin, and proposed a new exhibit dedicated to African American Heritage.

She involved descendants of slaves and slave owners in the effort; she enlisted community volunteers and engaged experts to preserve, document, and restore the cabin.


Allen Stovall, FASLA, University of Georgia, School of Environmental Design Professor Emeritus, an authority on natural and cultural landscape analysis and planning. BLA Georgia, MLA Pennsylvania. Allen Stovall has been involved in the planning and design of the African American Heritage Site since 2005. Stovall is a highly regarded advocate for environmental and historic preservation, and he has been involved in many landscaping and preservations projects, too numerous to name, in the Sautee Nacoochee Valley area and elsewhere.

Stovall received dual Honor Awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ALSA) and the National Trust for Historic Preservation for his The Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys - A Preservation Study. Commissioned by the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association, this groundbreaking study provided the basis for placing both the Sautee and Nacoochee valleys on the National Register of Historic Places. Stovall is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and a frequent juror in ASLA award programs. Although he lives in Athens , Stovall's roots are in the Valley.


Jim Johnston, general contractor for the restoration

Jim is a well-known and well-established local contractor with extensive experience in restoring historic properties. His interest and concern about authenticity earned him the confidence of all members of the community.


Chris Brooks, Director, Folk Pottery Museum of North Georgia.

Chris is a native of Atlanta and grew up in Stone Mountain. He attended Young Harris College and enlisted in the Navy in 1979. After serving six years he returned home to pursue a degree in History from the University of Georgia, and received his Masters in Historical Archaeology from The College of William and Mary in Virginia.

Chris worked at the Atlanta History Center for fifteen years serving as administrator of the Tullie Smith Farm, and as Head of Historic Houses from 2002 also managing the Swan House. He has been at the Folk Pottery Museum since it opened in September 2006.


David Looper, professional mover, on November 2nd, 2005, relocated the dilapidated but heavily braced slave dwelling just a few hundred yards from near the Old Sautee Store to a temporary site overlooking Nacoochee Valley. After the cabin was safely resting on its new foundation, project coordinator Caroline Crittenden told enthusiastic spectators, “it only took three years and 15 minutes.”

That was just the beginning of the cabin's restoration. Four years later, on April 17th, 2009, Looper again placed the cabin on steel beams and moved it to the SNCA campus. Patrol cars provided an escort for a parade of utility vehicles, moving equipment, members of the community and press. A fire truck - flashing lights, bells, whistles, horns and a Kazoo(!) announced the arrival of the Nacoochee cabin at its final destination, the African American Heritage Site at the Sautee Nacoochee Center.


Andy L. Allen, Crittenden's friend and collaborator on all Bean Creek initiatives, including the African American Heritage Site. Andy's ancestors were enslaved by the Williams family. Although she could not attend the (white) Nacoochee School, she desegregated public school buses 35 years after Brown vs. Board of Education. Andy recently retired from sewing Cabbage Patch dolls after 30 years but still drives a school bus hauling kids, white and black, to White County public schools.


Barry Stiles, Craftsman, assisted with the planning and preparation of the cabin for relocation in 2005. His work as a craftsman includes the construction of a barn and the renovation of an historic cabin. “It wasn't until working on a house built by my great grandfather that I began working on old structures and it was there that I developed a great sense of caring and respect for historic buildings as well as the original builders.

He worked with the project coordinator, consultants, and architects in planning the preliminary site design and was primarily responsible for removing all additions or modifications that were made to the original slave cabin in the early 1900s.

Mr. Stiles graduated from U.H. at Manoa with a B.S. in Geology and Geophysics. He then worked as a freelance photographer for many years. He currently works at the Fox Fire Museum in Rabun County, Georgia.


Bob Slack, Consultant/Interpreter/Raconteur - Mr. Slack retired from Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Parks & Historic Sites Division where he was the naturalist/program director at UNICOI park and the Folklore Education Specialist for the Conservation Center at Smithgall Woods, where he reconstructed a log cabin, gave tours and demonstrations.

He has been involved with numerous exhibits at the SNCA History Museum and the African American Heritage Site, including exhibit design and construction as well as demonstrations, including basket making, wood working, shingle splitting, and saw milling, to name only a few. He assisted several individuals with the construction of log cabin, rock chimneys, and stone walls.

He was consulted on the DNR Hardman Farm project and regularly presents programs and demonstrations for State Parks, museums, public schools, fairs and festivals. Mr. Slack constructed many of the interior exhibits in the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia and he demonstrates a variety of folk life skills for tour groups occasionally.


David Greear, Photographer - Graduated North Georgia Technical College Photography Program in 1975, and graduated from UGA with a BA in Journalism/Mass Communication.

He is a self-employed commercial photographer and videographer. See Silver Image Studio


David Vandiver is a native of White County and has been a stone mason for nearly 30 years. His ancestor was E.P. Williams' foreman during the construction of the White County Courthouse.

David recognized the 1850 window in the cabin as one crafted by this craftsman ancestor and has photographs of other windows made by his great grandfather that are identical.


Lawrence Dorsey, a Bean Creek resident and novice wood carving demonstrator at the African American Heritage Site. Melissa Roberts made Lawrence's shirt, which is made of historically authentic materials, based on research into slave clothing.


Lena Belle Dorsey, born in 1935, the blind Bean Creek matriarch has been involved in the Heritage Site since its inception. Lena attended the black Oaks Springs public school in Cleveland, GA. At her graduation, a young James Brown performed at her class prom.


Appalachian Regional Commission(ARC), under the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), provided significant access to resources and financial assistance with a $50,000 matching grant. ARC is a federal-state partnership that works with the people of Appalachia to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life.

James Thompson, ARC Program Manager

Mike Beatty, DCA Commissioner


Georgia Department of Economic Development (DEcD) provided financial assistance with a matching Tourism Product Development grant of $8,665. DEcD also provides on-going access to resources, publicity and promotion of programming via DEcD's official tourism website, Explore Georgia, as well as the on-going services of the NEGA Mountains tourism representative.

Cheryl Smith, NEGA Mountains, GA DEcD Tourism Regional Project Manager


Georgia Dept of Natural Resources (DNR), Historic Preservation Division (HPD), offered advice about historic preservation and access to historic sites and DNR representatives in the field of preservation, including those focused on African American history and historic sites. DNR/HPD provided templates, recommendations, and guidelines for preservation and the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

Jeannie Cyriaque, DNR/HPD African American Program Coordinator and editor of Reflections, a publication of the Georgia African American Historic Preservation Network posted online by HPD. Cyriaque provided encouragement and access to an extensive network of people and places, and she has promoted the African American Heritage Site in Reflections since the project's inception and with on-going articles about future plans and programming.
Cyriaque also promoted publicity of the Heritage Site in the DNR/HPD Preservation Posts online monthly journal.

John Erbele, DNR General Manager for Smithgall Woods and Hardman Farm


Georgia Mountains Regional Commission (GMRC) formerly (GMRDC) provided essential planning assistance and advice for the ARC/TVA grant.

Chip Wright, Preservation Planner, compiled the Conditions Assessment Report.

David Sargent, Director of Economic Development, provided invaluable advice and access to a network of resources.

Heather Feldman, Economic Developmen, submitted the ARC grant proposal and applied for a national award on behalf of GMRDC and the SNCA Heritage Site.


Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) administered the ARC grant with federal and matching local funds for the restoration of the slave cabin.


White County agencies have given significant financial support and encouragement for development of the Heritage site.

Craig Bryant, Commissioner representing the Sautee Nacoochee area, District 4, championed the completion of the Heritage Site and the cabin restoration in 2011 ($6,000). With the restoration complete, Craig Bryant championed the construction of a fully functioning blacksmith shop at the Heritage Site in 2012 ($15,000) to enhance the experience of visitors and Valley residents by providing opportunities for living history demonstrations of blacksmithing and other crafts, tools, and technologies of the 19th century.

Travis Turner, White County Commission Chairman

Terry Goodger, White County Commission District 1

Lyn Holcomb, White County Commission District 2

Edwin Nix, White County Commission District 3


White County Development Authority sponsored a Tourism Product Development application for a matching grant submitted to the Georgia Department of Economic Development for the completion of the cabin restoration. The Heritage Site was awarded $8,665 by DEcD.

John Erbele, chairman, manages many local historic sites, serves on several boards of directors, and champions numerous cultural, environmental, and historic preservation projects.


White County Community Planning/Economic Development

Tom O'Bryant, Director, has promoted several Bean Creek initiatives, not the least of which is the African American Heritage Site at the Sautee Nacoochee Center. According to Tom O'Bryant, this preservation project preserves and interprets a uniquely significant and largely untold history of the Valley for White County and Northeast Georgia.


White County Rotary Club provided a very early and generous grant of $15,000 for the initial relocation and restoration of the Nacoochee slave cabin.


UGA School of Environmental Design/Department of Historic Preservation provided initial assessments, on-going collaborations, historic and environmental preservation research services, site planning and landscaping design, and an Historic Structures Report for the cabin restoration.

Linda Aaron, Hargrett Rare Books and Manuscript Library archivist and conservation assistant

Mark Reinberger, PhD, UGA/SED/Historic Preservation Department, with assistant, Tim Welsh, and two graduate students compiled the Historic Structures Report.


Linda Aaron - University of Georgia in Athens(UGA), Hargrett Rare Books & Manuscript Library - Ms Aaron earned degrees in art and architectural history from Mercer and UGA, where she has been archivist and conservation assistant at the University Library for more than twenty years. She has worked on several preservation projects in Athens and elsewhere in the state of Georgia.

Ms Aaron was contracted to research the history of slaves and slavery in the Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys. She has done this while concentrating her efforts on learning more about the slaves owned by E.P. Williams.