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John Ross House in trouble - Rossville, Georgia
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
N 34° 58.876 W 085° 17.093
16S E 656551 N 3872309
Quick Description: This two-story log house, built in 1797, was the residence of Cherokee Principal Chief John Ross and is located at Lake and Spring in Rossville, Georgia.
Location: Georgia, United States
Date Posted: 5/27/2018 1:25:12 PM
Waymark Code: WMYC0G
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
Views: 1

Long Description:
The John Ross House, a landmark in Rossville that is the oldest building in Northwest Georgia, has been named to the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation's 2011 Places in Peril List. While the designation does not meant the structure is in danger of immediate collapse, it does strongly suggest that steps should be taken now to preserve it for future generations. Such a reminder is both useful and timely.

Though the building was listed on a Georgia preservation list, the history and the importance of the John Ross House transcends the state border. Constructed in 1797 near a spring and the junction of several Indian trails, the Ross House is tied directly and indirectly to early settlements in Tennessee and Alabama as well as Georgia.

The house was built by John McDonald, a Scot who established a trading post on the Tennessee River. The post was first called Ross's Landing, and the settlement around it later evolved into the city of Chattanooga. The house now carries the name of John Ross, a McDonald descendant who became a principal chief of the Cherokee nation.

The building is structurally as well as historically important. University of Georgia researchers say it is oldest two-story log structure of its type in the region. Despite its significance and on-going efforts to preserve it, the future of the John Ross House is uncertain.

The Chief John Ross Association maintains the building and its site, but faces significant challenges in doing so. A relatively new cut shingle roof has slowed deterioration, but problems at the house persist. The most troublesome is noticeable settling that threatens the integrity of the structure. The association is finding it hard to raise or obtain funds for emergency repairs or to take long-term measures to counteract the toll of age and climate. Current economic conditions exacerbate the money issues.

Members of the association are aging, and there appears to be little interest from young people in the region in joining the effort to maintain and preserve the landmark. Those issues, as much as the physical condition of the building, attracted the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation's interest and led to the inclusion of the structure on its imperiled list for 2011. All is not bleak, however.

The Rossville Downtown Development Association has expressed an interest in the structure and its preservation. Other groups and individuals also are starting to work with the Chief John Ross House Association to increase awareness and to raise the funds necessary to stabilize the house in a manner consistent with its historical importance. Such work will take time, but it is vital if an important piece of the region's past is to be preserved for future generations to study and enjoy.

- Chattanooga Times Free Press 15 October 2010



The John Ross House is a two-story square timber log house originally chinked with lime plaster but now with a mixture of cement. The roof is shaked. There are two outside stone chimneys serving fireplaces on both floors. There are porches with simple cross piece balustrades both front and back.

The main block is 50' wide and 16' feet with a breezeway 11' wide through the first floor dividing two rooms. The east room, 16' by 16' has a front and rear door as well as a door to the breezeway; one window opens to the front porch. The larger west room, 23' by 16', has a similar arrangement of doors; two windows open onto the front porch, one onto the rear porch. The stairway is located in the southeast corner of the room.

The second floor contains three rooms each the same dimension as the room or breezeway beneath it. The east room contains no windows. The central room contains four windows, two both front and back. The west room has two windows, one front and one back.

- National Register Application



The John Ross House is a historic house at Lake Avenue and Spring Street in Rossville, Georgia. It was the home of the long-serving Cherokee Nation leader John Ross from 1830-1838, after his lands and fine home near the Coosa River had been taken by the state. Ross (1790-1866) led the Cherokee for many years, notably opposing the Cherokee Removal, which he was unable to stop. His house, now owned by a local nonprofit organization, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973.

The John Ross House is located near Rossville's downtown, on the south side of a lane joining Andrew Street and East Lake Avenue. Its location is not original; it was moved a short distance, from a more central downtown location, in the 1960s. The house is a two-story log structure, consisting of two log pens flanking a first-floor breezeway, all covered by a low-pitch wood shingle gable roof. The logs are chinked with modern cement. The left pen measures 16 by 16 feet (4.9 m × 4.9 m), and contains one room, as does the larger right pen, which measures 16 by 23 feet (4.9 m × 7.0 m). A single-story log-rail porch extends across the front facade.

The house was built near Missionary Ridge in 1797 by John McDonald, a Scots immigrant to the area who had married a Cherokee woman. The entire area was at the time Cherokee land. McDonald's grandson, John Ross, became chief of the Cherokee in 1828, leading a political faction within the tribe that opposed state and federal taking of the Cherokee lands, and of the Cherokee Removal. Ross was dispossessed of his own home by the state's takeover of those lands in 1830, and moved into the house of his grandfather, living there until 1838. Ross was a leading figure in the adoption of the Cherokee Constitution of 1827, and represented the tribe in its unsuccessful legal efforts to retain its lands.

The city of Rossville, chartered in 1905, is named for John Ross. The Ross House is one of the oldest in the area, having survived the American Civil War, in which it was used as a hospital by both sides. The Chief John Ross House Association was formed in the 1950s to preserve the house, which had fallen into disrepair and was becoming surrounded by commercial development. It was moved in the 1960s to its present parklike setting.

- John Ross House (Rossville, Georgia) Wikipedia Entry

Type of publication: Newspaper

When was the article reported?: 10/15/2010

Publication: Chattanooga Times Free Press

Article Url: [Web Link]

Is Registration Required?: no

How widespread was the article reported?: regional

News Category: Arts/Culture

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