Built of locally made brick in 1804, this house, the finest in the Cherokee Nation, was the home a Town Chief, James Vann, son of a Scotch trader, Clement Vann, and his wife, a Cherokee chieftain's daughter. Around his home were several of his business ventures and many acres of land tilled by his slaves. Sponsor of Spring Place Mission, shrewd, amiable but violent, James Vann shot his brother-in-law in 1808 and, in accordance with tribal law, was killed by relatives in 1809. His son, Joseph (Rich Joe) Vann (1798-1844), inherited this estate. Increasing the wealth and influence of the Vanns. When expelled in early 1834, Joseph Vann fled to Tennessee and settled, finally at Webbers Falls, Oklahoma. Racing his steamboat The Lucy Walker on the Ohio river, he died when the overheated boiler exploded near Louisville, Kentucky, in October, 1844.
A tempting prize to white men, the Vann House was the scene of a bloody battle between rival claimants in 1834. Deteriorating since, it was purchased in 1952 by a group of public-spirited citizens of Atlanta, Chatsworth and Dalton, and deeded to the Georgia Historical Commission. Restored to its original grandeur, it is a monument to the culture of the Cherokees.