Clayton is a city in Rabun County, Georgia, United States. The population was 2,019 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Rabun County and is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
HistoryThe area that would eventually become Clayton was called the Dividings because it sat at the intersection of three important Cherokee trails. Explorer and naturalist William Bartram came through the Dividings in May, 1775 while exploring what would later become Rabun County. Much later, after Clayton had grown to include the Dividings, two of the old Cherokee trails became the main roads for Clayton and the county: U.S. 441 and U.S. 76.
Clayton was incorporated December 13, 1823 as Claytonville but the name was later shortened to Clayton. The city was named after a prominent jurist and congressman, Judge Augustin S. Clayton who served in both the Georgia House of Representatives and Georgia Senate before becoming as a representative of Georgia in the United States House of Representatives from 1831–1835. In 1824, 67 acres (270,000 m2) were purchased from Solomon Beck for $150 and a site for a courthouse and the surrounding streets was laid out.
In 1904, the Tallulah Falls Railway was completed to Clayton from Cornelia, Georgia and was later extended to Franklin, North Carolina by 1907. Clayton has had public water and sanitary sewer service since the 1920s. Initially, the water supply was two springs on nearby Buzzard Roost Mountain, but today Clayton uses Lake Rabun as its water supply.
In 1936, Clayton recorded 30.0 inches (760 mm) of total snowfall making that year the snowiest year in the city. The recorded snowfall in Clayton in 1936 is also a state record.
Part of Disney's Old Yeller was shot here in 1957.
GeographyClayton is located at (34.877788, -83.401691) and is situated at the southern base of 3,640-foot Black Rock Mountain. Immediately to the east of the city is 3,000-foot Screamer Mountain. Other Blue Ridge Mountain peaks between 2,500 and 3,000 feet surround the city.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2), all of it land. The elevation of Clayton's downtown area is 1,925 feet (587 m). A number of hilltops within the city limits exceed 2,200 feet.
Rabun County School DistrictThe Rabun County School District holds grades pre-school to grade twelve, that consists of three elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school. The district has 140 full-time teachers and over 2,221 students.
- Rabun County Elementary School
- Rabun Gap Community School
- South Rabun Elementary School
- Rabun County Middle School
- Rabun County High School
CampsThe area around Clayton has long been the location for a number of camps for young people, mostly operated during the summertime.
- Camp Ramah Darom is located in the Persimmon Valley northwest of Clayton.
- Camp Rainey Mountain is located 4 miles (6 km) southeast of Clayton.
Notable citizens of Clayton
- Lillian Smith (1897–1966), author and civil rights activist
- Billy Redden, banjo player in the film Deliverance
- Official website for the City of Clayton
- Clayton, Georgia restaurants, attractions, and local merchants.
- History of Clayton from Claytoncityhall.com
- Georgia Place Names by Kenneth K. Krakow