Many people who knew Madeleine Anthony might be surprised to know that she was not born and raised in Dahlonega, Georgia, where she was such a staunch supporter of the town and the North Georgia mountain region. Madeleine was born in Anniston, Alabama on March 30, 1903. After she graduated from high school, she met and married school teacher John D. Anthony, a native of Wintersville, Georgia. The couple moved to Tifton for John’s teaching position at the Georgia College for Men (now Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College). In 1933, they moved to Dahlonega, where Professor Anthony taught biology at North Georgia College. The Anthony family included a daughter and two sons.
Madeleine embraced her new hometown with enthusiasm and boundless energy. She has been honored for many things, but a few stand out. Her passion was evident in her work in Dahlonega for historic preservation and the development of tourism for the North Georgia mountain region. She helped form the Dahlonega Chamber of Commerce in 1954 and served as its Executive Secretary/Treasurer and as Director. She corresponded with travel writers all over the country, inviting them to visit Dahlonega.
Madeleine worked tirelessly to have the public square in Dahlonega achieve Historical Commercial District status. She collected original records and objects dating back to 1830 and was responsible for saving those pieces of history.
Gold held a special place in Madeleine’s heart. She worked hard to establish Dahlonega as the site of the first gold rush in the U.S. She was a major factor in the creation of the Gold Museum, housed in the old courthouse, and served as the museum curator until she retired in 1973. Madeline was a prime mover in the effort to have the Georgia State Capitol dome gilded in Dahlonega gold. As Co-Chair of the 1958 Gold Dome Project, she got local people to collect 43 ounces of gold for the cause. Madeleine accompanied the wagon train to Atlanta, where she personally presented the gold to the governor on the capital grounds. She was later on the commission for re-gilding the dome in 1979.
Madeleine Anthony would literally do anything to promote Dahlonega. At one point she had an operating still set up on the State Capitol grounds to help Secretary of State Ben Fortson in his infamous battle with the birds – pesky starlings that were fouling his beloved capitol.
This woman’s passion for the preservation of history in Dahlonega and for the promotion of tourism is remarkable and makes her a Georgia Woman of Achievement.