Gordon Lee Mansion

Gordon Lee Mansion looks similar today to the way it looked more than a century ago. / Contributed

One of the most notable historic landmarks in Walker County resides in the heart of Chickamauga.

Gordon-Lee Mansion, once referred to as the Gordon Residence, was bought by James Gordon after the removal of the Cherokee in 1836. Gordon had previously built Gordon Mill, which served as the first general store in Walker County. He decided, with that success, to continue by building himself a permanent estate. Construction began in 1840. The home was built by slave labor, and due to labor and financial issues, was not completed until 1847. 

During the Civil War, the estate served as Union headquarters for Gen. William S. Rosecrans just before the Battle of Chickamauga. During and after the battle, it served as a hospital. According to local historians, wagons were often backed up to the windows so that severed limbs of soldiers could be tossed out the windows and easily disposed. The floors were so bloody that mats were placed to cover stains. Many soldiers even wrote their last words upon the walls, and women of the Gordon family would copy their words down and send them to family members of the fallen. 

James Lee later bought the house from the heirs of the estate and married Elizabeth Gordon, becoming married into the Gordon family. In the early 1900s, after his parents' deaths, their son, Gordon Lee, bought the house and remodeled it. He made the double porch into one with tall pillars, which is the state the front porch is in currently.

The home stayed in the Gordon family for 107 years, until it was bought by a Dr. Green in 1974. While he owned it, the house went under reconstruction and now looks very similar to the way it did more than 100 years ago.

The home was sold to the city of Chickamauga in 2007. The house and grounds, along with the fully restored Lee & Gordon Mills, serve as a beloved centerpiece around which area historic tourism rotates.

Jordan Mooney is a reporter for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and The Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.