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What First Began as “The Enchanted Land”

The first known people to inhabit Big Canoe were the Paleo Indians as many as 15,000 years ago. What is Big Canoe as we know it today was once referred to by Native Americans as “The Enchanted Land”. Something magical about this part of the North Georgia Mountains has attracted people to it for Centuries. Today, an unexplained set of rock mounds is all that remains, and can still be seen in the 50-acre green area called Indian Rocks Park near Lake Petit. Much later, the Cherokee Indians lived in the region. Their relations suffered with the white settlers after they sided with the British in the War of 1812. They eventually signed a treaty to withdraw to Oklahoma in the late 1830s. Today a sizeable number of Cherokees still live in North Georgia.


Nearby Dahlonega became the heart of the first real gold rush in America until news from California prompted the gold fever to migrate west. Closer to Big Canoe, another valuable commodity was discovered. Sam Tate, who ran a hotel on the Federal Road, found rich marble deposits on his land. This marble would be used to build the Lincoln Memorial, as well as other monuments. As the Tate family began mining the marble, they found the veins of valuable stone extended well beyond their property. Grandson Sam Tate, also known as Colonel Tate, began buying as much of the surrounding land as he could-including what is now Big Canoe. Marble quarries still actively mine the stone in Marble Hill and Tate. Colonel Tate supported an effort to build schools and create a community for his Big Canoe neighbors. Wolfscratch School was established and operated in the building now housing the tennis pro shop. Crops were grown on the golf course. The two large chimneys standing next to the Big Canoe Realty office are all that remains of a house built in 1913 for the school faculty members, which eventually became the principal residence for Steve and Lucille Tate. It burned down in 1959.

A Vision Brought to Life

Following the death of Steve Tate, the Wolfscratch property was sold. It lay unused for a number of years until Cousins Properties in Atlanta commenced development in the early 1970’s. In 1987, Bill Byrne of the Byrne Corporation acquired the development rights for Big Canoe. In 1997 the Byrne Corporation joined forces with Greenwood Communities and Resorts, and formed Big Canoe Company, LLC. In the years since, they have shaped and executed the master plan for the community. A key to Big Canoe Company’s financial viability has been its conservative management which includes zero debt. How fortunate it is to be in a community that is still on course with its vision and most importantly today, financially sound. We are also unaware of another residential community that has an active developer such as Big Canoe Company, working jointly with the POA for over 25 years.

A Community Like No Other

Big Canoe Company continues to invest in the community through its financial commitment to infrastructure, neighborhood development, home construction and powerful marketing and real estate sales programs directed toward both resale and new product. Big Canoe Company works effectively and harmoniously with the Big Canoe Property Owners Association (POA), which creates value for owners and visitors via its adept management of amenities and delivery of exceptional customer service. With over $40 million in assets, the POA has been judicious in maintaining Big Canoe’s facilities and infrastructure. An example of excellent management is the Insurance Service Organization (ISO) rating of 3. Not satisfied with the already impressive rating of 4, the POA and Developer together worked to lower the rating even more; only 3.6% of all communities in the United States have an ISO Class 3 rating. Having an ISO rating of 3 is great for the Big Canoe property owners who save hundreds of dollars when it comes time to pay for homeowners insurance. Local ratings outside the gates of Big Canoe range from 6 to 10 (worst). Simply put, the developer and the POA ensure that the community is current, fresh and viable. As developers, our number one priority is to maintain the high standard by which the Big Canoe community is being developed, built, marketed and sold.