Chattahoochee Bend State Park is a state park located in the northeast corner of the U.S. state of Georgia, along the banks of the Okefenokee Swamp and Lake Burton Millhopper Creek. The park has more than 1,100 acres (450ha), making it one of Georgia’s largest parks. It was named after the Cherokee word for “tumbling waters”, referring to its swampy nature.
Work began immediately on building roads and trails, and other infrastructure such as water and septic systems. New buildings constructed by the CCC included the bathhouse, cabins, picnic shelters, and the dining hall/lounge. During World War II, the park served as Camp Lawton-Jackson, where soldiers undergoing training at Fort Bragg were assigned to combat duty in the Pacific theater. Remnants of the camp remain at the park today, including concrete observation bunkers and fire control towers. An interpretive trail explains the history of the site.
In 1881, Henry Ware, a prominent Atlanta businessman, acquired land near what is now the park with the intention of creating a plantation similar to those he had seen in the South Carolina upcountry. He died before his dream could be realized, but his daughter Alice managed to build the Lodge at Willowbend, which she leased to wealthy guests. Among the notables who visited were Jefferson Davis, Oliver Cromwell, John Marshall, Sam Houston, and Robert Fulton. At age 90, Alice built another lodge on the adjoining property, naming it Whitehall. She continued to operate both lodges until her death in 1915. After her death, the properties fell into disrepair.
However, when the city of Atlanta sought to acquire the land to create Peachtree Parkway, local citizens rallied around the two lodges and purchased the lands in 1934. They presented them to the city, which set aside 300 acres for public use as a park. A year later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps, which engaged in various conservation projects in the park, including construction of the original group camp, which still stands. On May 15, 1935, FDR signed the Executive Order 8881, officially designating the area as the “Okefenokee National Recreation Area”. This order stated that the federal government would provide $150,000 toward the development of an initial plan for the national recreation area, with each state receiving an amount of funding based upon their respective populations. As part of this plan, the CCC developed a master plan for the park, designed by architect George T. Patrick.