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Clarke County, Georgia
Map of Georgia highlighting Clarke County
Location in the state of Georgia
Map of USA GA
Georgia's location in the U.S.
Founded 1801
Seat Athens
Largest city Athens
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

121.28 sq mi (314 km²)
120.79 sq mi (313 km²)
0.49 sq mi (1 km²), 0.40%
 - (2006)
 - Density

840/sq mi (324/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Clarke County is a county in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2000 census, the population was 101,489. The 2007 Census Estimate shows a population of 114,063.[1] Its county seat is Athens,[2] with which it is a consolidated city-county. Clarke County is the smallest county in Georgia in terms of land area.

The Athens-Clarke County (balance)[3] is the principal city of and is included in the Athens-Clarke County, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History Edit

Clarke County was created in 1801 by an act of the Georgia General Assembly on December 5. The county was named after Revolutionary War hero Elijah Clarke and included 250 square miles (647.5 km2) of land that was originally part of Jackson County. Clarke was most recognized for being credited with the 1779 victory at the Battle of Kettle Creek in Wilkes County. The Elijah Clarke Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a monument in his name in the middle of Broad Street in Athens that still stands today.

As the population of the county grew alongside the University of Georgia in the early 19th century, its agricultural and cotton industries prospered. The adjacent plantation harvests flowed through city mills and were bolstered by the natural resources of the Oconee River. These early manufacturing and textile production operations were big industries in Clarke County and in Athens, particularly so once the railroad came to the area beginning in 1841. Athens and Clarke County were second only to Savannah and Chatham County in capital invested in manufacturing during the 1840s.

Two skirmishes took place in Clarke County during the American Civil War in 1864, one near Barber's Creek and the other off of Mitchell's Road. An occupation garrison arrived in Athens on May 29 and a provost-marshal government was set up temporarily. Formal military occupation of the area ended before the end of 1864, although federal occupation continued until early 1866.

The original Clarke County Commission had selected Watkinsville, now in Oconee County, as the county seat. All county offices and county business, including the courts and jail, later moved north to Athens when the seat was moved on November 24 of 1871. For four years, county meetings were held in the old town hall in Athens until 1876 when a new courthouse was constructed in the area bounded by Prince Avenue, Hill Street and Pope Street. The current courthouse in use today was later erected on the corner of Washington and Jackson Streets downtown in 1914.

On February 12, 1875, to placate county residents still angry over the relocation of the county seat to Athens three years earlier, the state legislature created Oconee County from the southwest section of Clarke County and named Watkinsville as its seat. Oconee gained one-third of Clarke's population and three-fifths of its land.

During this time, the title of "commissioner of roads and revenue" was proscribed by the legislature to what would be known as county commissioners. The county, as an extension of the state, would operate welfare and health programs, build and maintain roads and conduct courts of law that were part of the state justice system.

In 1973, the Georgia legislature passed legislation on March 29 increasing the number of county commissioners from three to five and allocating a position for a county administrator.

In 1990, the citizens of Athens and Clarke County voted to unify the two governments creating Athens-Clarke County, becoming only the second unified city-county government in the state of Georgia after Columbus-Muscogee County. The citizens of Augusta and Richmond County voted likewise to join their governments in 1996, creating the Augusta-Richmond County unified government.


Clarke County is located at 33°57′19″N 83°22′59″W / 33.95528, -83.38306 (33.955464, -83.383245).[4]

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 121.28 square miles (314.1 km2), of which 120.79 square miles (312.8 km2) (or 99.60%) is land and 0.49 square miles (1.3 km2) (or 0.40%) is water.[5]

Clarke County is the smallest of Georgia's 159 counties.

Major highways Edit

The following highways direct traffic toward Clarke County but end shortly before reaching the county line:

Adjacent counties Edit


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 101,489 people, 39,706 households, and 19,694 families residing in the county. The population density was 840 people per square mile (324/km²). There were 42,126 housing units at an average density of 349 per square mile (135/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 64.89% White, 27.25% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 3.13% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 3.08% from other races, and 1.41% from two or more races. 6.34% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 39,706 households out of which 22.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.60% were married couples living together, 13.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.40% were non-families. 29.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the county the population was spread out with 17.80% under the age of 18, 31.30% from 18 to 24, 27.40% from 25 to 44, 15.40% from 45 to 64, and 8.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females there were 95.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.20 males.

The per capita income in the county was $20,948 in 2008,[7] and the median income for a family was $36,039. Males had a median income of $30,482 versus $23,069 for females. In 2008, 32.2% of the county's population were living below the poverty line.[8] As a result, Clarke ranked #4 on City Data's list of "Top 101 cities with the highest percentage of residents living in poverty in 2007"[9]


Cities and towns Edit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ U.S. Whitehouse OMB Bulletin No. 05-02 Appendix (Code 12020*)
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 33°57′20″N 83°22′60″W / 33.955464, -83.383245

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Clarke County, Georgia. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

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