Clarkesville was chartered in 1823 as the county seat of Habersham County, which it remains today. It was the first of the major resort towns of Northeast Georgia, with wealthy families escaping the heat and malaria of the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia venturing north for the milder summers of Clarkesville.
At one time, downtown Clarkesville was sprinkled with hotels for these tourists. Soon the visitors were building fine homes in the area, some of which are part of this walking tour. Life in Clarkesville huddled around the square, with women shopping, and men gathering to talk about business and politics.
Gone are the hotels, but life in Clarkesville still represents the same peaceful respite of earlier years and remains a gentle, friendly place.
Mauldin House/Millinery Shop/Big Holly Cabin
corner of East Waters and Jefferson Streets
The Mauldin House, a large Victorian cottage, and the adjacent millinery shop, date from the late nineteenth century. A.M. Mauldin and his wife, a hat maker, were the first owners of the house and their descendants occupied it until 1990. Originally the property occupied an entire city block with barns, pasture, and a vegetable garden. The house was previously known as the "Little Pink Cottage."
Grace Calvary Episcopal Church
295 Green Street
Founded in 1838, the building was completed in 1842. The church was started by families who vacationed in Clarkesville to escape the heat and danger of fever in Charleston and Savannah, and is the oldest church building in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Built by Jarvis Van Buren, the building's historic features include over 42 hand-blown glass windows, straight-backed box pews, and a pipe organ which is the oldest working church instrument in Georgia.
142 Amilee Graves Circle
Built by Jarvis Van Buren, first cousin of President Martin Van Buren, in 1840 as his personal residence. The cottage is significant for its Gothic design. Van Buren moved to Clarkesville to operate the Iron Works south of the town, but soon turned his attention to building homes and furniture.
Old Clarkesville Cemetery
Wayne and Washington Streets
The original Methodist Church was located in the center of the present cemetery until and remained there until 1881. The cemetery contains the graves of many historically interesting people, including Jarvis and Eliza Van Buren; Mr. and Mrs. Ezekiel Fuller, whose son, Captain W.H. Fuller, drove the locomotive Texas in pursuit of the General, captured by Andrew's Raiders in the famous Civil War incident known as "The Great Locomotive Chase," later made into a movie; Richard Habersham, U.S. Congressman and nephew of Colonel Joseph Habersham; Revolutionary War soldiers Matthew Rhodes and R.D. McCroskey; Judge C.H. Sutton, Habersham County's first Ordinary.
172 Jefferson Street
This Georgia Revival house was the original site of the summer home of General Robert Toombs. Toombs was a U.S. Senator and later the Confederate Secretary of State. Another owner, Judge Logan Bleckley, was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia. The entire Supreme Court of Georgia would often meet at this house to write their decisions. The house partially burned in 1904, but was rebuilt by Judge Bleckley.
855 Washington Street
Built in 1901, this Victorian home was built by Master Craftsman Rusk Church and his nephew Cornelius. The house is significant as the former home of prominent Clarkesville citizens Dr J.K. Burns and Judge I.H. Sutton.
751 Washington St.
This home, built in 1920 by Idus and Vertie Lee Brewer, is an example of the Craftsman Bungalow style popular from 1905-1930. Mr. Brewer was the Habersham County Clerk of Court and the owner of Brewer's Drugstore.
The Charm House
1050 Washington Street
This Greek Revival house was built in 1907 by W.R. Asbury and named "Oak Heights." Mr. Asbury was a leading merchant and owned a store on the Square. He also founded Habersham Bank with his two brothers. The Asbury's owned the first automobile in Clarkesville. In the mid-20th century it was used as a hospital, and many current day Clarkesville residents were born in the Charm House. In recent years, the Charm House has served as a Bed and Breakfast and restaurant.
First Presbyterian Church
N. Washington St
This Greek Revival style church is historically significant as a major public works project built by Jarvis Van Buren. The church was organized in 1832 and built in 1848. In 1907 the building was turned around to face Washington Street instead of Jefferson Street.
Washington and Marion Streets
This Gothic Revival style house was moved to its present location from Turnerville, GA around 1900 and served as a boarding house. Later this early 20th century structure served as the home of Mitchell Franklin, who served as Habersham County's Ordinary.
On the Square
This brick two-story structure was the first commercial building on this side of the square. Named for V.C. Baron's Feed and Seed store and M.C. York's dry goods store. This is one of two surviving 19th-century commercial buildings in downtown Clarkesville.