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Continuous growth is the everlasting goal of our society. But where does history go when the past is no longer the reality? In the summer of 2021, three researchers from the University of North Georgia (and various members of the Sautee Nacoochee Community) sought to find where the past hides in the shadows of the 21st century as they searched for the original Unicoi Turnpike (Wagon Trail). A path lost to development and unknown to many; the Unicoi Turnpike served as a transportation route for those who wished to venture, whether by foot or by horse drawn carriage, into the interior of the United States in the 1800’s. To elucidate the now forgotten trail, remotely sensed data (light detection and ranging; LiDAR) were used to find the most plausible route. Historical accounts and documentation were then used to identify landmarks that could be used to verify the remotely sensed route. Lastly, the interpreted route was field verified to find original segments of the turnpike and piece the puzzle together. This project revealed that LiDAR when coupled with historical documents and field verification can find fragments of the past. Approximately 6.1 mi (9.8 km) of turnpike were field-verified and an additional 47.1 mi (75.8 km) of the potential historical route were identified. The area east of Toccoa Falls requires continued research to determine the route the turnpike took; however, the methodology has been confirmed to be viable and accurate and will be applied to further research.


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Subject
    • Environmental Spatial Analysis

  • Institution
    • Gainesville

  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 3110

  • Event date
    • 25 March 2022

  • Date submitted

    20 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Jacob Bateman McDonald