New England City… in Georgia!

R.M. Williams, C[ivil] E[ngineer] / Geo. H. Walker & Co. Photo-Lith. Boston, MAP OF NEW ENGLAND CITY DADE COUNTY, GA. Boston, [ca. 1890.]
Lithograph, 16"h x 26 ½"w plus margins, uncolored

Rare plan for the proposed development of New England City, in Dade County in the far northwest corner of Georgia. New England City was one of any number of similar post-War developments in the South, conceived by northern investors attracted to its natural resources and abundance of cheap land and labor.

The New England Company was chartered by the State of Georgia in November 1888. Its board was dominated by northern men and money, including former Vermont Governor Roswell Farnham, nine other investors from Boston and New Hampshire, and but two from the South, one of them Thomas Lumpkin of Trenton, the Dade County seat. The Company’s lands consisted of “10,000 acres of iron ore lands, 6000 acres of coal lands and 1400 acres for a city site.”

“The COAL LANDS of this company, comprising more than 6000 acres, contain three seams of valuable coal, averaging three feet each in thickness; and it is conceded that at no point in the South are coal and iron found in such quantities and in so close proximity to each other as on the property of the New England Company.” (New Hampshire Sentinel, vol. XCII no. 3 (Jan. 14, 1890), p. 4)

The nearby Alabama Great Southern Railroad, Nashville Chattanooga & St. Louis Railroad, and Tennessee River all provided the Company with access to major markets.

Charter in hand, the Company laid out an ambitious plan for a city with the help of R.E. Williams, Civil Engineer. The map offered here appears to be the result of their work, and it must have been printed and distributed for promotional purposes in New England and the South. The plan shows a city flanking the Alabama Great Southern Railroad, with more than a thousand residential lots, areas to accommodate manufacturing and railroad facilities, and even a large lot for a centrally-located hotel adjacent to a public park.

The town was named New England City and incorporated in 1890. Lots were sold at auction, with many of the bids coming in by telegraph.

“A second sale of choice city lots will be held at New England City, Dade County, Ga., only 14 miles from Chattanooga, on the Alabama Great Southern Railroad….

“Where, at public auction, purchasers can avail themselves of the rare opportunity of securing a business or residence lot in the Coming City of the World, at nearly acreage price! This is the finest mining, manufacturing, business and residence property to be found in the south.” (The Knoxville Journal, vol. VI no. 73 (May 9, 1890), p. 3)

Construction of homes, a bank (the New England City Loan and Banking Company, incorporated 1890) and the Hotel Dade commenced almost immediately, along with a printing office at the Record Building. The New England Company seems not to have been a success and in fact became insolvent within a few years (Reports of Cases Decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia, Volume 135, p. 604) However, the City prospered to the extent of growing to a population of around 4000 by 1900, though a look at MapQuest shows only a tiny hamlet today, still bearing streets named Maine, Vermont and New England.

OCLC lists examples at the Boston Public Library (Leventhal Map Center) and New Hampshire Historical Society only. Not in Phillips, List of Maps of America. Antique Map Price Record lists no examples having appeared on the market.


Couple of vertical creases and an annotation in blue pencil at upper right