Just South of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the Central Northeastern part of the state of Georgia, lies the city of Athens.

The city of Athens began as a tiny settlement, and Clarke County was created on December 5, 1801. The county originally encompassed what is now present-day Oconee County, as well as parts of Madison and Greene Counties. Clarke County was name after Elijah Clarke, who came to Georgia from North Carolina in 1774 to fight in Georgia’s battles with the Cherokee and Creek tribes. Clarke was played a big part in securing treaties with the Creeks and Cherokees that temporarily halted hostilities.

The City of Athens was incorporated on December 8, 1806 which was five years after The University of Georgia had held its first classes. The city was named as a nod to the classical Greece namesake. Athens quickly became the intellectual and cultural center of Georgia.

Post-Civil War reconstruction was devastating to entire South; however, under the leadership of the University and such men as Benjamin Harvey Hill, Howell Cobb and Joseph Henry Lumpkin, Athens was quick to regained momentum. Textile factories and related businesses soon began to thrive again, and as a result fostered prosperity for the area.

The Athens area continues to enjoy a positive evolution to this day. The University of Georgia has grown into an internationally recognized educational and research institution, and the city of Athens and Clarke county has prospered.

Today, historical preservation has become a great priority to the local citizens, and heritage restoration continues throughout the area. Athens-Clarke County, is now the commercial, medical, professional, and educational hub of northeast Georgia, and is home to over 100,000 residents (2000 U.S. census). The University remains a great influence on the community, maintaining a crucial link with tradition while assisting in Athens’ propulsion into the new century.

Check out this video from 1947 to see Athens of old.