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Clayton, Georgia
Savannah Street in downtown Clayton
Savannah Street in downtown Clayton
Location in Rabun County and the state of Georgia
Location in Rabun County and the state of Georgia
Country United States
State Georgia
County Rabun
 • Total 3.39 sq mi (8.78 km2)
 • Land 3.39 sq mi (8.77 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.01 km2)
1,929 ft (588 m)
 • Total 2,003
 • Density 591.38/sq mi (228.30/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 706
FIPS code 13-16656
GNIS feature ID 0355183

Clayton is a city in Rabun County, Georgia, United States. The population was 2,003 at the 2020 census. The city is the county seat of Rabun County and is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains.


The area that would eventually become Clayton was called the Dividings because it sat at the intersection of three important Cherokee people trails. Explorer and naturalist William Bartram came through the Dividings in May 1775 while exploring what would later be organized as Rabun County. Much later, after Clayton had grown to include the Dividings, two of the old Cherokee trails were improved as the main roads for Clayton and the county: U.S. 23/441 and U.S. 76.

Claytonsville was founded by European-American settlers in 1821 as the seat of Rabun County. In 1823, the town was incorporated and renamed Clayton. It 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 being elected as a US Representative from Georgia, serving two terms from 1831–1835.

In 1824, 67 acres (270,000 m2) were purchased from Solomon Beck for $150, and city representatives laid out a site for a courthouse and the surrounding streets.

In 1904, the Tallulah Falls Railway was completed to Clayton from Cornelia, Georgia; it was 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.

Much of William Gibson's 2014 novel The Peripheral is set in Clayton in the not too distant future.


Clayton is located at 34°52′40″N 83°24′6″W / 34.87778°N 83.40167°W / 34.87778; -83.40167 (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 3,500 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.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 70
1880 180 157.1%
1900 199
1910 541 171.9%
1920 677 25.1%
1930 798 17.9%
1940 1,088 36.3%
1950 1,302 19.7%
1960 1,507 15.7%
1970 1,569 4.1%
1980 1,838 17.1%
1990 1,613 −12.2%
2000 2,019 25.2%
2010 2,047 1.4%
2020 2,003 −2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 2,047 people living in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 74.5% White, 1.4% Black, 0.5% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.3% from some other race and 1.9% from two or more races. 20.8% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,019 people, 816 households, and 497 families living in the city. The population density was 653.2 people per square mile (252.3/km2). There were 1,006 housing units at an average density of 325.5 per square mile (125.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.55% White, 2.77% African American, 0.89% Native American, 1.34% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 9.41% from other races, and 0.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.71% of the population.

There were 816 households, out of which 22.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.7% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.0% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 18.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.79.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 19.2% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 23.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,600, and the median income for a family was $36,164. Males had a median income of $25,823 versus $18,304 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,977. About 7.9% of families and 14.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.3% of those under age 18 and 11.2% of those age 65 or over.


The 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.
  • Camp Blue Ridge


Rabun County School District

The Rabun County School District holds pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of two 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 County Primary School
  • Rabun County Middle School
  • Rabun County High School

Private education

  • Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School

Notable people

  • Mike Ciochetti – stock car racer
  • Celestia Susannah Parrish – educator, is buried here
  • John H. Pitchford – lawyer admitted to the bar in Clayton, later moved to Indian Territory, where he became a justice on the Oklahoma Supreme Court on 1923
  • Billy Redden – actor who played the young banjo player in the film Deliverance (1972)
  • Nancy Schaefer – Georgia State Senator
  • Lillian Smith (1897–1966) – author and civil rights activist

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Clayton (Georgia) para niños

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