View of Clayton from Black Rock Mountain State Park
Location in Rabun County and the state of Georgia
|• Total||3.1 sq mi (8 km2)|
|• Land||3.1 sq mi (8 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||1,929 ft (588 m)|
|• Density||651.3/sq mi (252.4/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0355183|
The 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.
Claytonsville was founded in 1821 as seat of Rabun County. In 1823, the town was incorporated and renamed 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.
Part of Disney's Old Yeller was shot here in 1957.
Clayton is located at  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.(34.877788, -83.401691)
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.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,019 people, 816 households, and 497 families residing 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.
Rabun County School District
The Rabun County School District holds grades pre-school to grade twelve, that 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
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.
Notable citizens of Clayton
- Lillian Smith (1897–1966), author and civil rights activist
- Billy Redden, banjo player in the film Deliverance
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Hellmann, Paul T. (May 13, 2013). "Historical Gazetteer of the United States". Routledge. p. 224. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
- Top Ten Snowiest Years in Clayton
- Georgia Snowfall Extremes Table
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Georgia Board of Education, Retrieved June 25, 2010.
- School Stats, Retrieved June 25, 2010.