Trenton, the county seat, was first settled in the 1830s and was called Salem. The city, incorporated February 18, 1854, was later renamed Trenton in honor of industrial engineers from Trenton, New Jersey who came in search of coal and iron.
The county courthouse, a 1926 brick structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places, stands at the center of the town square.
Rising Fawn is a small unincorporated community in the southern part of Dade County. It is part of the Chattanooga, Tennessee-Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area and home to Lookout Mountain Flight Park, the largest hang gliding school in the country. Bobby Bowden, Florida State's famed football coach, and his wife Ann Estock were married here in 1949.
Wildwood is another small unincorporated community located in the northeastern corner of the county. It is close to the Tennessee state line and the Chattanooga city limits, and is considered part of the Chattanooga Metropolitan Area. It sits in the diagonal valley between Sand Mountain and Lookout Mountain, which runs through all of Dade County and is home to most of its population. According to the 2000 Census, the 30757 Zip Code Tabulation Area had a population of 1,923 - therefore accounting for about 11.98 percent of Dade County's population of 16,040.