Historic Markers Across Alabama

Town of Mentone

Marker ID: ABT 
Location: 5972 Alabama Highway 117, Mentone, AL
County: DeKalb
Coordinates: N 34° 34.737    W 085° 35.24
  34.57895    -85.58733333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None


The first Lookout Mountain settlers arrived shortly after the Cherokee Indian removal of 1838-1839. These pioneers had been too late for homesteading the good farmland in northwest Georgia. They now turned their attention to Lookout Mountain. With stubborn determination they put their axes to the grindstone and with a keen edge hacked their way through the mountain wilderness. They chopped logs and built primitive houses, cleared land for patch farming, and hunted the abundant wildlife for food. Among these early settlers were the families of Force, O'Rear, Crow, Jones, Smith, and Hammit.

For years not much changed in their lives. Times were hard. During the Civil War Federal troops were on the mountain. They dealt severely with the settlers taking their animals and meager stores of food. Still these hearty souls managed to survive and remain on their homesteads.

In the post Civil War era more affluent settlers arrived. Among these was the Mason family from Bellefountain, Iowa. They were great community workers and generous with their resources. John Mason and his son Edward were the founders of Mentone. John was instrumental in the opening of the Vernon Gap and the new road from Valley Head to Menlo, Georgia in 1882. John and Edward bought the hardware for the covered bridge and the community did the work. Edward gave money for a church and a school. They shared Moon Lake for community activities. Alice, daughter of John, named the town Mentone and gave the land for Bankhead Cemetery.

Mentone eventually became incorporated in 1936. Those opposed to incorporation feared losing their independence and higher taxes. The threat of becoming part of nearby towns convinced a majority to support incorporation.

Despite great progress in Mentone since its founding, the advice of John Mason still has a ring of truth. "Don't come here expecting to make a fortune, but if your fortune is made, Mentone offers the good life."

Ernest H. Smith

End of Town of Mentone