Enjoy history? There's much to see in McMinn, Meigs
More than 50 sites in the McMinn-Meigs area have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but some remain occupied by families or are no longer open to the public.
Those sites open to the public include:
Governor Joseph McMinn's gravesite located in the old Presbyterian Church cemetery in Calhoun. The county is named for the governor, Joseph McMinn, who served three terms from 1815 to 1821.
McMinn was a member of the state Constitutional Convention of 1796, when the state was formed. He was a member of the state Senate and served as Speaker of the Senate. Upon his retirement as governor, he was appointed agent in charge of the Cherokee Indian Agency.
Niota Depot, located in downtown Niota. The Depot, the oldest in the state, was built in 1854 on land transferred by the Willson heirs to East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad, which had maintained service through Niota for 78 years.
The Depot currently serves as governmental offices and is open during regular business hours Monday through Friday.
Samuel Cleage Building located on North Jackson Street across from Mars Hill Presbyterian Church. The building reflects early 19th Century architecture and in 1836 served as the central office for the Hiwassee Railroad.
The building was constructed by Samuel Clegg, a contractor who had settled in the Mouse Creek community in 1825. Clegg, whose name was spelled Cleage after the Civil War, contributed to the architecture of East Tennessee.
Old College Building, an antebellum architectural building located at Tennessee Wesleyan College. The 1850s-era building was the original building on the school's campus.
In 1854, the McMinn County Chapter of the Odd Fellows had obtained a charter from the state of Tennessee to operate a college. Later, the college became the property of the Holston Conference of the Methodist Church in 1857.
Mars Hill Presbyterian Church, located on North Jackson Street. The oldest church in Athens was built by Samuel Clegg and organized in 1823 by the Rev. William Eagleton. In 1878, members decided to tear down the church and rebuild it. It was heavily damaged by fire in 1942 but was later restored.
M.E. Trew General Merchandise Store, known as Trew's Store, located on Highway 163. The store, operated until 2000 by Mortimer E. and Oneta Trew, is no longer in operation. The store came into existence in 1890 and provided services ranging from a feed store, farm equipment center and post office to a cotton gin, shoe store and grocery store.
Beth Salem Cumberland Presbyterian Church, located just off Highway 30 about halfway between Athens and Etowah. The church was organized in 1866 by the Rev. George Waterhouse and Jake Armstrong and was the first African-American church in McMinn, Meigs and Polk counties. Every August, people return for August Meeting to remember ancestors and celebrate Beth Salem's history with preaching, singing and dinner on the grounds.
Meigs County Courthouse, located on the square in Decatur.
Erected in 1903, the courthouse has served as a church, school and a bank. It currently houses governmental offices and is open for business on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until noon.
The building is currently under renovation to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
Decatur United Methodist Church, located on Vernon Street. The church was organized soon after the town was established in 1837 and some of the early meetings were held in the county courthouse. The present sanctuary is the original church, which was built in 1857.
Robert H. Smith, Culvahouse Law Office, located off Main Street. Its design, with an emphasis on the Gothic Revival architectural style, represents one of three pre-1900 examples of a commercial building in Decatur. The building was originally located on the courthouse square but has been moved twice. It has been restored as part of the county's museum.
Mt. Zion Church, located near McMinn County and Big Sewee Creek. Established in the 1830s as a Baptist church, it appeared on post-Civil War records as a Methodist church. The original church was a log structure, but the current church is made of heart pine and was built in 1908.