The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, located in Atlanta, is a popular tourist destination and includes the King Center, which features exhibits on the Civil Rights Movement and King's life and legacy.
Rabun County is located in the northeast corner of Georgia, nestled in the picturesque Appalachian Mountains. The area was originally inhabited by the Cherokee people, who cultivated the land and established a vibrant community. However, in the early 1800s, pressure from white settlers led to the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation in what became known as the Trail of Tears. This tragic event marked the beginning of a new era for Rabun County.

Following the Cherokee removal, European settlers began moving into the area, attracted by the fertile soils and abundance of natural resources. The county was officially established in 1819 and named after William Rabun, the 11th governor of Georgia. The early economy revolved around agriculture, with residents growing crops such as corn, wheat, and tobacco. The completion of the Tallulah Falls Railroad in 1882 further boosted development, facilitating trade and bringing tourists to the area's natural attractions.

In the late 19th century, the discovery of gold in Rabun County sparked a new wave of interest and economic growth. The region saw a surge in mining activity, with gold mines dotting the landscape and attracting prospectors from far and wide. However, by the early 20th century, the gold rush had subsided, and the county shifted its focus to other industries, such as timber and tourism. With its picturesque landscapes, including waterfalls, lakes, and hiking trails, Rabun County became a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

In recent decades, tourism has continued to play a significant role in Rabun County's economy. The area's natural beauty, combined with attractions such as the Tallulah Gorge State Park and the Lake Rabun, have drawn visitors from across the state and beyond. Today, Rabun County maintains its rural character while embracing the opportunities brought by tourism and modern industries. It serves as a gateway to the stunning beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and remains a cherished destination for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Rabun County, Georgia.

  • 1819 - Rabun County is established on December 21.
  • 1823 - The county courthouse is built in Clayton, the county seat.
  • 1828 - The famous natural landmark, Tallulah Gorge, is discovered in Rabun County.
  • 1832 - The Georgia General Assembly designates Rabun Gap as a state road.
  • 1835 - Rabun County's first newspaper, the "Xenophonian," is published in Clayton.
  • 1861-1865 - Many residents of Rabun County serve in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.
  • 1904 - Rabun County is the first county in Georgia to establish a county school system.
  • 1912 - The county's first hydroelectric power plant, Tallulah Falls, begins operation.
  • 1932 - The county's tourism industry begins to flourish with the opening of Lake Rabun Hotel.
  • 1977 - The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest is established, encompassing parts of Rabun County.
  • 1996 - Hurricane Opal causes significant damage to Rabun County and the surrounding area.
  • 2019 - Rabun County celebrates its bicentennial.