Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
It was at the merging of Sope Creek with the Chattahoochee River that General Sherman passed the final natural threshold between his men and Atlanta. The robust creek declines dramatically in its last half-mile in a gorge created along the Brevard Fault Line.
With more than ten miles of serene hiking trails, Sope Creek can be used to journey the hills of the Chattahoochee River valley, Sibley Lake and the ruins of the Marietta Paper Mill.
Sope Creek is named after Old Sope, a.k.a. Chief Sope, a Cherokee Indian who lived next to the Chattahoochee River between Roswell and Marietta. The chief was well-known with early settlers because he could speak English. He would also teach the children Cherokee arts like flint knapping. When the Georgia Guard came to Marietta to gather the Indians nearby for the Cherokee Trail of Tears in 1838, local residents told the Georgia Guard to leave Old Sope be.
Paper Mill History
The Marietta Paper Mill, located on Sope Creek, began producing in 1855. Initial output was focused on linen writing paper and newsprint. In December of 1859, the Marietta Paper Mill was incorporated.
In March, 1864 the mill was the biggest in the state of Georgia and was a primary target of the Atlanta Campaign due to it producing the cartridge paper for Rebel firearms.
In July, 1864 General Sherman’s cavalry seized the mill and they burned it to the ground.
The mill was rebuilt after the Civil War, but an unintentional fire in 1870 ruined the main building but did not touch the powerhouse.
The final manufacturing date at the paper mill is 1902.
Sibley Pond is a reservoir inside the Sope Creek Unit. It is named after the Sibley family who owned the property prior to it becoming part of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. John Adams Sibley was best known as chairman of the Sibley Commission, which made recommendations to Governor Ernest Vandiver on possible resolutions to the federal rulings against Georgia’s segregated schools.