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These walls can talk: Collection tells story of historic Dahlonega buildings

The Bella Lynn Collection, which is approximately 6 linear feet of materials, is slated to open for research this summer.

While much has been written about the events and people that shaped Lumpkin County's past, the Bella Lynn Collection, recently donated to the University of North Georgia (UNG), is one of few to document the places where history happened.

Isabella Lynn moved to Dahlonega in the late 1970s after retiring from the U.S. Air Force and dedicated herself, along with Madeline Anthony, to preserving the history of her new hometown. Their research was used in state applications to the National Register of Historic Places, which has strict criteria regarding a property's age, integrity and significance.

Lynn, who was a member of the Lumpkin County Historical Society and The Georgia Trust for Preservation, died earlier this year and her family donated the material based on Lynn's wishes.

“Lynn's collection provides the story of Dahlonega,” said Allison Galloup, special collections and digital initiatives librarian at UNG. “While other historians documented the people, Lynn documented the buildings and their history.”

The collection includes handwritten index cards detailing the history of the lots surrounding the square, files that were used to develop walking tours of downtown, and materials related to the preservation of buildings like the Holly Theater.

“We currently have a professor on campus who is working with legal records at the Clerk of Court’s Office and he can use Lynn’s research to see the buildings referenced in those documents,” Galloup said. “This collection will be preserved for everyone to use. Therefore, even genealogists can come in and look at the documents and see where their family lived and how much they paid for their lot.”

The collection is approximately 6 linear feet of materials and is slated to open for research this summer.

UNG Special Collections and Archives include university archives, rare and special books, and manuscript collections related to Northeast Georgia, Appalachia, the military, Asian and Latin American studies, local manufacturing, and the poultry industry.

The collections are located in the libraries on the Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses. To view the Special Collections and Archives online, visit

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