W. C. Smith House, Circa 1890, Elberton

Anna King O’Neal writes: W. C. Smith was a prominent merchant, arriving in Elberton in 1880. He was also a prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He died in 1909. 

Elberton Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --ELBERT COUNTY GA--, Elberton GA

William J. Clark House, Circa 1856, Elberton

William J. Clark was a merchant and one of the leading citizens of Elbert County when he built this home, which may have originated as a Plantation Plain with Greek Revival elements added later. Clark was killed in the Civil War. Thanks to Anna King O’Neal for the identification.

Elberton Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Georgian Cottage, Hancock County

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Filling Station, Arcade

A 2014 article in the Jackson Herald Today notes: …The town was the first local place to sell beer in the 1940s when the rest of Jackson County and most of North Georgia was dry. It was reincorporated in 1961 with a low local beer tax, a move that made the town the beer capital of the state because of its overall low prices. For several decades, the town supplied cheap beer not just to thousands of nearby UGA students, but also bootleggers all across North Georgia.
In the early 1970s, Arcade became the first local town to sell liquor, again with very low local taxes. Changes in state law eventually gutted Arcade’s ability to sell cheap booze and more towns in North Georgia went wet, moves that undermined the town’s boozy political and economic standing. It was no longer the beer capital of the state, but its seedy reputation had been firmly established in the public’s mind.

I was unable to locate any other history of the town, but it’s barely distinguishable as a separate community today, with just a few remaining commercial structures from an earlier era. A Bulldog Package store and Bulldog Tavern seem to be the only businesses in town.

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Historic Storefront, Arcade

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Jackson County Courthouse, 1879, Jefferson

Designed in the Italianate style, the old Jackson County Courthouse was modified to its present appearance by the addition of the portico and Neoclassical clock tower in 1908. Sitting on a high point visible over much of downtown Jefferson, it occupies a commanding position in the identity of the place. Though a modern courthouse just outside town replaced it in 2004, it now houses the Welcome Center and Historical Archives.

It should be noted that Jackson County is named for James Jackson (1757-1806), the “colossus” of 18th century Georgia politics. Born in England, he was sent to read law in Savannah in 1772. During his studies, the American Revolution intervened and Jackson distinguished himself in the unsuccessful defense of Savannah (1778), the Battle of Cowpens (1781), and the recoveries of Augusta (1781) and Savannah (1782).

He was elected to the First Congress where he was a prominent opponent of Federalism. This aligned him with the growing Jeffersonian faction. In his 1791 bid for re-election, he was defeated by his former commander Anthony Wayne in a race marked by voter fraud. After being elected to the state legislature, Jackson influenced the removal of Wayne’s campaign manager from a state judgeship.

By 1793, he was serving in the U. S. Senate but resigned in 1795 to return to the state legislature to help oversee the dissolution of the Yazoo Act, a land fraud perpetrated with the approval of Governor George Matthews. After being elected Governor in 1798, Jackson made sure anti-Yazoo language was included in the Constitution of 1799. His exposure of the Federalist involvement in the Yazoo fraud helped drive Georgia’s support for Jefferson. When his term as governor ended in 1801, he was again elected to the United States Senate, where he served until his death in 1806,

National Register of Historic Places

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Crawford W. Long Museum, Jefferson

2017 marked the 175th anniversary of Dr. Crawford W. Long‘s first use of ether as a surgical anesthetic in Jefferson (30 March 1842). Long first apprenticed under Dr. Grant in Jefferson in the mid-1830s before moving to Philadelphia and New York to complete his medical training. In 1841, Dr. Long was an astute observer of one of the social trends of the day, known as “ether frolics”, in which the participants enjoyed recreational use of the substance. Noting that they felt no pain, he theorized ether could be used as a surgical anesthetic and made his first test case removing a cyst from the neck of James Venable. Three witnesses confirmed the success of the operation and the absence of pain in Venable.

The circa 1858 Pendergrass Store building was transformed into an 1840s doctor’s office and apothecary to better interpret Long’s discovery, which paved the way for modern medicine. It serves as the Crawford W. Long Museum. After making my way from the courthouse to the museum to pick up a historic walking tour brochure, I had a nice visit. And better, I purchased a “got ether?” t-shirt, one of the coolest of its kind to be found in Georgia.

Jefferson Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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