GRHOF Audio Tour

The Dawsonville History Museum

#1: The Dawsonville History Museum

Dawsonville was founded in 1857 as seat of the newly formed Dawson County, incorporated as a town in 1859 and as a city in 1952 and named for state senator William Crosby Dawson (1798 –1856). Even though Dawson was born and died in Greensboro, Ga., the county and city were named in his honor for distinguished service as a soldier, lawyer, judge and politician.

No matter the season, Dawsonville, Ga. is picture perfect for showcasing the simple life of the North Georgia mountains. The art of making and running moonshine gave way to the early history of NASCAR which speaks to how deeply rooted both cultures are in our local heritage and why Dawsonville is known as THE BIRTHPLACE OF STOCK CAR RACING.

Originally known as Thunder Road – now the Dawsonville History Museum has attractions that offer visitors to Dawson County a grand look at one of the most historic regions of the state.

The Dawsonville History Museum

#2: The Dawsonville History Museum Web & Brick and Mortar Store

Our store provides t shirts, hats, diecasts, decals and much more. Check us out at on line at www.georgiaracinghof.com and at our museum at 415 Highway 53 East Dawsonville, GA 30534.

The Dawsonville History Museum

#3: The Chase Elliott Grand Slam Late Model Display

The Dawsonville History Museum

#4: The Dawson Moonshine Distillery

Our store provides t shirts, hats, diecasts, decals and much more. Check us out at on line at www.georgiaracinghof.com and at our museum at 415 Highway 53 East Dawsonville, GA 30534.

The Dawsonville History Museum

#5: Wise Brothers Special #77

Driver Herman Wise Atlanta, GA – 1971 Winner of the Little 500 at Anderson, Indiana

The Dawsonville History Museum

#6: Fireball Roberts #22 Ford

The 1957 Chevrolet 150 Black Widow was driven by NASCAR driver Buck Baker. This was the first Chevrolet to win a Grand National (now Monster Energy) Championship title. This car won 10 races, $30,000 in winnings in 1957. Buck Baker won 46 races in his career and was the #1 driver of the 1950’s.

The Dawsonville History Museum

#7: The Phil Bonner Thunderbolt on Display

This 1964 Al Means Ford Thunderbolt is owned by Preston Bonner of Atlanta, GA. This is one of the first eleven Thunderbolts built at Dearborn Steel Tubing. It has a 427 CID (7..OL) V8 engine, Dual Holley four-barrel carburetors, Borg- Warren T-10 aluminum four-speed transmission and fiberglass doors.

The Dawsonville History Museum

#8: Welcome to the Stock Car History Theatre

Come on in and sit a spell. You’ve already learned quite a bit about our heritage, so it is no secret that Dawsonville is considered the birthplace of stockcar racing. But let’s go a little further back and learn a little bit about how the revenuers and the moonshiners raced up and down the dirt mountain roads back in the day and how that gave rise to some of today’s great stock car family names along the way.

The Dawsonville History Museum

#9: The Heritage Room

As you enter the heritage room today pay close attention to our state emblem on the floor showcasing each historic racetrack throughout the state of Georgia. Also, the Totem Pole in the center of the room shows the distance of each Georgia racetrack from the museum. The first car on display is the original race car owned and driven by HOF Member Speedy Morelock of Macon, Ga. It is a dirt car raced at Indy from the 1930’s. The second car is 2006 HOF inductee Jimmy Baker’s. It is a midget open cockpit and raced at the paved Peachbowl Speedway in Atlanta, GA . Baker was the midget champion each year until he retired.

The Dawsonville History Museum

#10: Standard Building Supply

The late George Elliott started out with a love of fast Fords and wound up building a racing dynasty. Between his success as a car owner and that of his sons and grandsons as drivers and mechanics, they have successfully established themselves as the first family of Georgia racing.

Elliott, a Dawsonville native, fielded cars for Dan Lingerfelt and Aaron Gailey, picking up wins in the NASCAR Sportsman division in the late 1960’s, including a major win at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway, where Lingerfelt bested great racers such as T.C. Hunt, Joe Lee Johnson, Curtis Turner and “Tiger Tom” Pistone. Elliott would celebrate many times with his drivers in victory lane, and was well known for working barefoot in the pits.

George’s first stint into what is now known as the NASCAR Monster Energy division actually came in 1966, when Don Tilley drove Elliott’s #53 Ford to a 42nd place finish at Rockingham, North Carolina. The car completed just 48 of the race’s 500 laps, collecting $505 for the effort. His second start as an owner came at Talladega in 1971, when Clermont, Georgia’s Harry Gailey drove George’s #94 Ford to a 31st place finish, snagging $990 at the pay window.

Other drivers to wheel Elliott’s Fords included Georgia Racing Hall of Fame members Jody Ridley and Charles Barrett. George made a big push into NASCAR Cup competition in 1974, as fellow Dawsonville native Charles Barrett piloted the #09 Ford in four races while family friend and future Georgia Racing Hall of Famer Jody Ridley drove Elliott’s Ford in one event. Georgia’s Charles Barrett piloted this #09 Torino for George Elliott in 1973. Elliott’s car showed promise. Barrett recorded an 18th place finish at Atlanta, and then followed that up with a top 10 at Talladega, including leading nine laps during the event. Mechanical woes foiled possible good runs for the Dahlonega Ford Sales team at Charlotte and in the fall race at Atlanta, where they ran 27th and 40th, respectively. Jody Ridley’s lone stint for Elliott that year came at Rockingham, where a bad clutch relegated the team to a 31st place finish. After the team’s lone start in 1974, with A.J. Reno behind the wheel, ended with a 45th place finish. George’s greatest days in NASCAR Cup levelcompetition would come later with his oldest son Ernie working as crew chief alongside middle son Dan and Bill, the youngest, doing the driving. From a humble start at Rockingham in 1976, the Elliott Family team, from the rural community of Dawsonville in the northern GA mountains soon became one of the powerhouses of the Cup series with their No. 9 Fords.

The Elliott legacy is now three generations deep as Ernie Elliott’s late son Casey was a short track standout, winning major races including the Budweiser 300 at Lanier Raceway in 1993 while also competing in the NASCAR’s Busch Series. Casey Elliott’s promising career was cut short by cancer, and he died in 1996. Today the Elliott family’s reputation is again being showcased, this time by Bill and Cindy Elliott’s son Chase.

To view George’s car owner stats, visit http://racing-reference.info

The Dawsonville History Museum

#11: The Elliott Famly Room

MATRIARCH AND PATRIARCH GEORGE AND MILDRED

SETTING THE FOUNDATION OF A FAMILY RACING LEGACY

When Erving George Elliott Jr. and Mildred Reece Elliott married in 1943, they had no idea they would become the patriarchs of one of NASCAR’s most iconic racing families.

George was born in nearby Lumpkin Campground in 1924. And so, it goes that the Elliott’s have been calling this hilly section of rural north Georgia home for a long time. Bill Elliott remembers, “Our little corner of the county is just outside "downtown" Dawsonville on Route 183. When I was growing up, if you counted parents, spouses, kids, and "Mama" Reece, there were twelve members of the Elliott clan living in four brick houses alongside this winding, wooded country road.

George recalls how he and Mildred met in the book “Fastest Man Alive” written by Al Thomy in 1988.

“First met Mildred in 1940 when I was sixteen,” George said. “She worked in the Dawsonville Agricultural Office, and I used to go there and quite often. We became good friends. Two years later I started college at North Georgia, but, the war was heating up, that lasted only through 1943 when Mildred and I got married and I enlisted in the Navy. That was a hectic time in everyone’s lives.

“With the war ending in 1945, I finished up my hitch at Brunswick (GA.) as supply officer at the blimp base, came back in 1947 and finished college, (George was a very educated man; he was a sharp geometrician in the Navy), and joined the Burrough’s Machine Company in Fitzgerald, where I worked in blueprints, sales and machinery. I guess I was born to tinker.”

Mildred Reece Elliott, spent virtually her entire life in the Dawsonville area. Records show her childhood address simply as "Route 2, Dawsonville." She was fiercely intelligent, completing high school at the ripe old age of fourteen and was valedictorian to boot. The original and meticulously handwritten manuscript of her valedictory speech appears framed above. The excerpt below, wisdom beyond her years.

"Whether that voyage will be prosperous or disastrous ... God knoweth. But this we know: It will depend on ourselves-upon the use we make of the gifts and powers we've been given-upon the ends toward which we choose to work."

These words, universally true, would turn out to be particularly prophetic where her children were concerned. Mildred was a pioneer. At a time when very few women-particularly rural southern women-were pursuing higher education, she studied business and finished two years at North Georgia College. She was quite a lady, usually observing and monitoring ever situation closely, although it was said she never met a stranger. If she walked into a store and both the town drunk and the preacher were in there, she'd probably hug the drunk first, but she'd hug both before she left. She loved everybody.

Under the guidance of George and Mildred, the trio of Elliott’s forever made their marks as some of the greatest competitors in NASCAR’s history, and so their stories began…. On July 25, 1947 Ernie Elliott is Born - January 1, 1951 Dan Elliott is Born - and on October 8, 1955 Bill Elliott is Born.

The Dawsonville History Museum

#12: The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame

The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame located on Highway 53 in Dawsonville is a must for race fans visiting the area. Opened in 2002 with Red Byron, Bill Elliott, Tim Flock, Roy Hall, Raymond Parks, Lloyd Seay, Gober Sosebee and Red Vogt being named inaugural inductees. Nearly 100 additional drivers, team owners and motorsports personalities from Georgia have been added to the Hall since then. Numerous race cars and prominent artifacts from the past eight decades are on display throughout the facility.

The Dawsonville History Museum

#13: The GRHOF Hall of Fame Inductees

The Dawsonville History Museum

#14: Jody Ridley Car and Trophies

The Dawsonville History Museum

#15: Ernie Elliott Motor Dyno Room