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Downtown Dalton, GA
|Nickname(s): Carpet Capital of the World, Carpet City, Carpet Town.|
Location in Whitfield County and the state of Georgia
|• Total||19.8 sq mi (51.3 km2)|
|• Land||19.8 sq mi (51.3 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||761 ft (232 m)|
|• Density||1,668.9/sq mi (644.1/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0355424|
Dalton is a city in Whitfield County, Georgia, United States. It is the county seat of Whitfield County and the principal city of the Dalton, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Murray and Whitfield counties.
The MSA received national attention throughout the "Great Recession" as having one of the highest unemployment rates in the United States. The rate remains at 11.9% as of January 2013.
Dalton is located just off Interstate 75 in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwest Georgia and is the second largest city in northwest Georgia, after Rome.
Dalton is home to many of the nation's floorcovering manufacturers. It has many historic houses, landmarks and a rich Civil War history. It is home to the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center, which showcases the Georgia Athletic Coaches' Hall of Fame and holds events year round.
Dalton is located at (34.771088, -84.971553). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.8 square miles (51 km2), of which, 19.8 square miles (51 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (0.10%) is water.
According to the 2010 census Dalton had a population of 33,128 living in 11,337 households. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 42.4% non-Hispanic white, 22.6% Hispanic white (that is a total of 65.0% white), 6.4% black or African American, 0.6% Native American, 2.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.1% non-Hispanic reporting some other race, 22.2% Hispanic reporting some other race and 3.2% reporting two or more races. 48.0% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
According to the census estimate of 2006, there were 88,604 people, 10,689 households, and 8,511 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,408.3 people per square mile (543.7/km²). There were 11,229 housing units at an average density of 516.0 per square mile (199.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 20% White, 22% African American, 1% Native American, 1% Asian, 1% Pacific Islander, 21.15% from other races, and 6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 50% of the population.
There were 9,689 households out of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.9% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.43.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 12.0% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 104.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,312, and the median income for a family was $41,111. Males had a median income of $28,158 versus $23,701 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,575. About 11.9% of families and 16.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.0% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.
Due to the presence of the carpet and textile industries, Dalton has a large population of Hispanic and Latino residents.
Dalton has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), with hot, humid summers, and mild to cool winters, and straddles the border between USDA Hardiness Zones 7B and 8A. The monthly daily mean temperature ranges from 40.1 °F (4.5 °C) in January to 79.0 °F (26.1 °C) in July; on average, there are 41 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs, 2.7 days where the high fails to reach above freezing, and 10.7 nights where the low falls to or below 20 °F (−7 °C) annually, with 100 °F (38 °C) a much rarer occurrence.
|Climate data for Dalton, Georgia (1981–2010 normals)|
|Average high °F (°C)||50.1
|Average low °F (°C)||30.1
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||5.18
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||8.7||8.6||9.3||8.2||8.3||9.7||9.8||8.1||7.1||6.3||8.6||8.5||101.2|
Woodland Indians and Creek Nation held the area of present-day Dalton, Georgia until the mid-18th century, when the Cherokee pushed the Creek to the west and south. The Cherokee Indians called the mountains of north Georgia their "Enchanted Land" until their forced removal in 1838, in a tragedy known today as the Trail of Tears.
By the time the last Cherokees had left, work was underway for a railroad, the Western and Atlantic (W&A), to join the Tennessee River with the Georgia Railroad then under construction. In 1847, Dalton was defined as a mile radius from the city center, the Western and Atlantic Depot. The final segment of this pivotal railway was completed in Tunnel Hill, Whitfield County in 1850. A second railroad, the East Tennessee and Georgia, was completed in 1852.
Catherine Evans Whitener's revitalization of the pre-Civil War-era craft of candlewicking gave rise to a cottage chenille bedspread industry. Homes along U.S. Highway 41 displayed brightly patterned homemade bedspreads on frontyard clotheslines in hopes of luring tourists into a purchase. The stretch of highway passing through Whitfield County became known colloquially as "Peacock Alley" in reference to one of the most common patterns depicted on the bedspreads. The bedspread business booned to a multi-million dollar industry by the 1950s, and from this early origin, the carpet tufting industry grew in Dalton after Glenn Looper developed an adaptation that allowed the mechanism used to tuft yarn into muslin or cotton for bedspreads to tuft into jute, shifting the nation's carpet manufacturers from woven wool products in the northeast to tufted synthetic carpets in northwest Georgia. Today, carpet mills remain the region's major employers and economic drivers.
During the Civil War, Dalton saw its first action during the Great Locomotive Chase, on April 12, 1862.
More than a year later, on September 19–20, 1863, massive Union and Confederate forces battled a few miles west of Dalton at Chickamauga, and later at Chattanooga. The war came to Whitfield County in the spring of 1864. The First Battle of Dalton included the battle of Rocky Face Ridge and Dug Gap began on May 7, 1864, and ended when General Johnston completed his withdrawal from Dalton on May 12.
The Second Battle of Dalton occurred August 14–15, 1864.
The U.S. government recently declared Dalton and Whitfield County to have more intact Civil War artifacts than any other place in the country. Also of interest is the site of the historic Western & Atlantic Railroad Station; one of the few still standing and restored to its original architectural state, this site is now the Dalton Depot Restaurant. The steel center marker for the original surveying of the city of Dalton is still inside the depot.
Dalton is often referred to as the "Carpet Capital of the World," home to 150+ carpet plants. The industry employs more than 30,000 people in the Whitfield County area. More than 90% of the functional carpet produced in the world today is made within a 65-mile (105 km) radius of the city.
The agglomeration of the carpet industry in Dalton can be traced back to a wedding gift given in 1895 by a teenage girl, Catherine Evans Whitener, to her brother, Henry Alexander Evans, and his bride, Elizabeth Cramer. The gift was an unusual tufted bedspread. Copying a quilt pattern, she sewed thick cotton yarns with a running stitch into unbleached muslin, clipped the ends of the yarn so they would fluff out, and finally, washed the spread in hot water to hold the yarns by shrinking the fabric. Interest grew in young Catherine's bedspreads, and in 1900, she made the first sale of a spread for $2.50. Demand for the spreads became so great that by the 1930s, local women had "haulers," who would take the stamped sheeting and yarns to front porch workers. Often entire families worked to hand-tuft the spreads for 10 to 25 cents per spread. Nearly 10,000 area cottage "tufters," men, women, and children, were involved in the industry. Income generated by the bedspreads was instrumental in helping many area families survive the Depression. Chenille bedspreads became popular all over the country and provided a new name for Dalton: the Bedspread Capital of the World.
When a form of mechanized carpet making was developed after World War II, Dalton became the center of the new industry because specialized tufting skills were required and the city had a ready pool of workers with those skills.
By the 1970s manufacturers had begun to develop techniques to move from plain tufted carpet to sculpted carpet. Improved patterning, stain and wear resistance, and colors have made today's tufted carpet the choice for functional carpet for the vast majority of homes, and moved woven carpet to a decorative role.
Carpets can be treated to give stain resistance with chemicals that have been the subject of investigation. The perfluorinated compound PFOA was the subject of a monitoring scheme—proposed in December 2003 by five fluorotelomer manufacturers and accepted by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency work group—to determine if the industry was emitting PFOA or precursors, but the details were undetermined. A University of Georgia study, with 2006−2007 sampling, found PFOA levels among the highest ever measured for a nonspill location. PFOA was found in the Conasauga River from at a concentration of 1.5 parts per billion (ppb) or up to 1.15 ppb after data was published. Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) levels in the region were found to possibly be a threat to birds with long-term exposure. PFOS is no longer used by the carpet industry, and the eight carbon based chemistry for PFOA has been replaced by a six carbon one that does not have the same toxicological properties as PFOA. However, these compounds persist indefinitely in the environment.
The Dalton City School District holds pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of six elementary schools, a middle school, a high school, and an alternative school. The district has 366 full-time teachers and over 5,739 students.
The Whitfield County School District holds pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of thirteen elementary schools, five middle schools, four high schools, an alternative school, and a charter school. The district has 777 full-time teachers and over 12,190 students.