Athens ga history

Franklin_House_1845Just below the foothills of heaven Ridge Mountains, near the confluence of the North and Middle Oconee Rivers, lies the city of Athens. Amongst the rolling red clay hills of North Georgia, a city and a university became a center of culture and wealth, supporting people and ideas that have commanded nationwide attention.

The city of Athens started as a small settlement that emerged at Cedar Shoals, where an ancient Cherokee path crossed the Oconee River. Clarke County was enacted on December 5, 1801, and initially consisted of contemporary Oconee County, as well as parts of Madison and Greene Counties. Clarke County was called for Elijah Clarke, who pertained to Georgia from North Carolina in 1774 to combat in Georgia’s fights with the Cherokee and Creek tribes. Clarke was instrumental in protecting treaties with the Creeks in 1782 and the Cherokees in 1792, which briefly stopped hostilities between settlers of European descent and the native Native American populations.

The City of Athens was integrated on December 8, 1806. The University of Georgia had opened for classes in 1801, and the city was called in honor of the center of higher learning that had grown in classical Greece. As great federal homes began to appear around the new school, the role of Athens as the intellectual center of Georgia ended up being progressively evident: the cultured social life surrounding the college brought in prominent families of wealth and nationwide stature. Industry established quickly; Athens’ economy throughout the first half of the nineteenth century was based mostly upon cotton, brick works, fabric mills, and railway transportation.

Wray-Nicholson House ca 1825The War In between the States disrupted antebellum success. Mercantile production was stopped, and the regional citizenry suffered the loss of more than 300 men and young boys who were eliminated during the war. Athens was spared the fate of much of Georgia’s cities, nevertheless, remaining virtually undamaged after hostilities had ended: Sherman’s infamous army did not march through the area.

The Reconstruction period was devastating for the whole South; however, under the management of the University and such men as Benjamin Harvey Hill, Howell Cobb and Joseph Henry Lumpkin, Athens soon regained its momentum. In 1867, visiting naturalist John Muir described Athens as “a remarkably gorgeous and noble town,” where “marks of culture and improvement” were everywhere apparent. Fabric factories and associated services thrived as soon as again, leading to a growth virtually exceptional in the New South. The advantages of economic success were reflected in the community: the Lucy Cobb Institute earned a credibility as one of the finest ladies’ schools in the country, while mansions of ever-increasing grandeur increased throughout the city during the Victorian period. The Athens Street Railway Company was organized in 1870, and, in 1871, the seat of Clarke County was moved from neighboring Watkinsville to Athens.

The 20th century continued the positive advancement of Athens, witnessing the growth of The University of Georgia into an internationally acknowledged academic and research institution. Throughout the last quarter of the century, historical conservation ended up being an excellent top priority. The citizens of Athens worth the stunning architectural heritage of the city, and irreplaceable treasures of the past continue to be restored to their original glory. Today, Athens-Clarke County, the industrial, medical, expert, and academic center of northeast Georgia is the home of 101,489 citizens (2000 U.S. census). The University remains an excellent impact on the way of life, tempo, and outlook for the neighborhood, maintaining a vital link with custom while assisting in Athens’ propulsion into the 21st century.