The man the pioneer the hero who brought this short line to Tallulah Falls was Colonel Rufus Lafayette Moss Sr. Now any of you who wish to Google him will find some interesting reading about him. He was the Warren Buffet of his time in the 19th century. He was a wealthy Millionaire. He lived in Athens Georgia. He owned two cotton mills.The Princeton,and White Hall mills. Two Banks.The Athens Manufacturing Company. The Moss Company. Pioneer paper company.
Athens steam engine company. Athens Gas light company. In 1870 he and his partners were granted by the State of Georgia Legislature rights to build a short line railroad north from Athens to what is today Commerce Ga.Back then was Harmony Grove.The terminus was Lula Georgia. At the time Moss needed the railroad to move his cotton to the main Georgia Southern Railroad running from New York to New orleans La. This made him think about the future.He thought if he could continue the line north to connect with the Asheville &Knoxville lines he could run cotton out west to the new states and yet to be states. But it never made it past Franklin North Carolina.
While all this was happening Colonel Rufus Lafayette Moss Sr. bought Tallulah Gorge.He built his second home a summer home in town. It's here still today. Built in 1879 by Moss is the oldest man made structure in town . oldest and largest house. oldest house in the town.the 4th oldest house in Rabun County via the Rabun County Historical Society and courthouse records. He built a hotel across the street from the railroad depot that he built and owned.the hotel was named the Cliff House. Because he owned the gorge he thought the train would bring visitors which it did. And after he sold part of his gorge to Georgia power company in 1909. He was responsible for the first electric in our state. The second part of the gorge was sold by his son Rufus Lafayette Moss Jr. (Rufus Sr. Died in 1912.) to the state of Georgia for the very park all of you enjoy today and the very trail you walk on was once where Colonel Rufus Lafayette Moss Sr.train carried people and freight as far north to Franklin North Carolina. Rufus Lafayette Moss Sr brought the train to town in 1882.
Because no one could figure out how to put a trestle across such a deep gorge.It took a while to get to clayton Georgia from Tallulah Falls.
But Moss finally built a 1200 foot trestle to span the town to and over the gorge. Colonel Rufus Lafayette Moss Sr also with 5 other business men went to the state of Georgia legislature and on October 7th 1885 the state legislature apionted Colonel Rufus Lafayette Moss, Thomas Abraham Robinson,JM Cartledge,William D Young, and William Berry Commissioner's to Incorporate the town of Tallulah Falls. I hope you all enjoyed the history lesson. And these are the facts pulled from the state of Georgia Archives and the UGA Archives. The reason I wrote this is to get the real truth out about one great man the the state of Georgia will not recognize as the pioneer who brought the first tourism into the northeastern part of our state and all people interested in the rails to trails should know the history that they walk on. Enjoy your walk.