The town of Burton on an 1883 map
Formed a century earlier as one of the first gold rush towns in north Georgia, Burton was located at the junction of the Tallulah River and Moccasin Creek. Just north of the town was the confluence of Dick's Creek and the Tallulah River, the site of the first discovery of gold in Rabun County.
In addition to gold, the corundum mines of Tate City provided work for area men. The city was located on an old road running from Clayton to the Nachoochee Valley where it joined the old Unicoi Turnpike in the vicinity of the Old Sautee Store.
Andrew Richey, who would become famous as an educator at the Rabun-Nachoochee Gap School and writer of a widely read county history book, served as postman for the area for a number of years prior to 1900. The Byrd-Mathews Lumber Company built a narrow gauge railroad into the city to haul lumber from the nearby mountains to its lumber mill in Helen.
The Tallulah River supplied power for a number of businesses in and near the city.
Commerce grew and by the time the town was bought by the Georgia Railway and Electric Company in 1917 it boasted three general stores. One of the purchasing agents for the railroad was John LaPrade, whose land on what is now the shore of Lake Burton on Georgia 197 would serve as a Civilian Conservation Corps camp and today has a great restaurant and marina.
With the completion of purchasing land around the Tallulah River, Georgia Railway and Electric built a dam and began to flood the surrounding land on December 22, 1919.
As the rivers rose to form the lake, residents watched the homes and businesses were destroyed. Today, Lake Burton covers the town for which it is named.
The town of Burton, Georgia now lies underwater, covered by Lake Burton. The town was located at the confluence of Dicks Creek and the Tallulah River in Rabun County, Georgia and was established in the first half of the 19th century as a result of the Georgia Gold Rush. The first discovery of gold in Rabun County was just north of Burton, at the confluence of Moccasin Creek and the Tallulah River. The town was named after Jeremiah Burton, who owned the post office and general store there. The Burton Post Office was established in 1875 and discontinued in 1916.
Burton was located along the road from Clayton, Georgia to the Nacoochee Valley and became more than just a gold rush town – it served the corundum mines of Tate City. Eventually, the logging industry built a railway to the town so that lumber from the mountains could be transported to the mill in Helen, Georgia. By the early 20th century, the town of Burton had a population of approximately 200, making it the second largest town in Rabun County. In 1917, the Georgia Railway and Electric Company (predecessor of the Georgia Power Company) purchased the town of Burton and the surrounding homesteads. The dam for Lake Burton was closed on December 22, 1919 and before long the town was submerged.
- Burton, Georgia on Roadside Georgia
- Burton profile on Ghosttowns.com
- 1883 Map of Rabun County
- 1915 Map of Rabun County