Select Page

It still feels weird, living in the Nacoochee Valley folks!

It still feels weird, living in the Nacoochee Valley folks!


Just wanted to explain to readers that I am extremely busy, moving in and renovating this house.   I will not have time to write articles for awhile.  I have been coming to this valley since age 8, when our family had friends living in one of the old houses that is now a bed and breakfast.  During my college years I would take special young ladies up here from Atlanta for the Sunday brunch at the Old Sautee Inn.  Throughout my adulthood, even while living in North Carolina and Virginia, in mid-December we would stop by the Old Sautee Store, which was owned by a Norwegian family, in order to get the “Spirit of Christmas.”  From 2012 to 2016, I frequently drove over to the Valley to study its ruins.   Now I drive by the Old Sautee Store,  Sautee Inn and famous Nacoochee Mound nonchalantly on the way to get more boxes from a rental storage facility or to buy groceries at Ingles Supermarket.  The feeling is surrealistic. So many memories for so many years . . . of this special place being an unattainable Shangri la . . . but now it is real.


The following two tabs change content below.
Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    I cant think of a more fitting & special place for you to call home.

    Hope everything works out for you.


    Is there a way I can email you? I live in Virginia. I’ve found something, actually ALOT of things, ranging from palm size to mounds with giant Effigies clearly carved in them. I have a feeling that without a doubt you will recognize these artifacts, because they jive with The Migration.


    Richard, Have you seen or read “Smithsonian Institute Ethnology Bulletin 118”, “An Archaeological Survey of the Norris Basin in Eastern Tennessee”? I think it was written around 1938. It’s available online.
    It’s very interesting especially from page 374 – 382. It supports your beliefs about the length of time the Cherokees have existed in this area.
    Congratulations on your new place.


    So glad you’re no longer living in the old place!

    I just finished reading the book to which you referred me: “A Sacred Path” by the Chaudhuris. It was absolutely amazing! Thank you for letting me know about it.


    I’m really pleased for you to finally get into such a wonderful place. Settle in, and I’ll look forward to when you get back to “work.” My best wishes!


    How nice to be back in a place of your memories. It sound fascinating. Wishing you all the very best.


    Welcome Home!!! I have been keeping up with you for sometime now. All my life I’ve known the Woodland period was that of my Creek ancestors,not at all Cherokee! I would like to meet you,I have much to share with you! I’m in the South end of White County.I Have some places to show you that I have yet to see you mention.Wanna show you an Altar I found over my way that’s carved and So much more!!! Please contact me…Thanks 😉

    • Actually . . . the Woodland Period was Uchee and Chickasaw and the Creeks really are the descendants of many ethnic groups, who lived in Georgia then joined together. That being said, the original name of Sautee was Itsate . . . which means Itza (Maya) People. The Chickasaws continued to live in the southern half of White County until after the American Revolution then joined in with the Creeks living around present day Atlanta. Chickamauga Creek in the Nacoochee Valley is a Chickasaw word. We are going to sponsor hikes in this area. Contact me at


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to POOF via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this website and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 809 other subscribers

The Information World is changing!

People of One Fire needs your help to evolve with it.

We are now celebrating the 11th year of the People of One Fire. In that time, we have seen a radical change in the way people receive information. The magazine industry has almost died. Printed newspapers are on life support. Ezines, such as POOF, replaced printed books as the primary means to present new knowledge. Now the media is shifting to videos, animated films of ancient towns, Youtube and three dimensional holograph images.

During the past six years, a privately owned business has generously subsidized my research as I virtually traveled along the coast lines and rivers of the Southeast. That will end in December 2017. I desperately need to find a means to keep our research self-supporting with advertising from a broader range of viewers. Creation of animated architectural history films for POOF and a People of One Fire Youtube Channel appears to be the way. To do this I will need to acquire state-of-art software and video hardware, which I can not afford with my very limited income. Several of you know personally that I live a very modest lifestyle. If you can help with this endeavor, it will be greatly appreciated.

Support Us!

Richard Thornton . . . the truth is out there somewhere!

Pin It on Pinterest