The Town of Burton

Copied extensively from a neighbor’s blog

Named for Jeremiah Burton, a well respected area citizen who occasionally served in various elected positions, the town of Burton was a small community of 200 people on the banks of the junction of the Tallulah River and Moccasin Creek. It began as one of the first gold rush settlements in North Georgia, and the first in Rabun County. Shortly after the US entered into WWI, the Georgia Railway and Electric Company bought the town. Gold and corundum mines in Tate City employed most of the men in the area. The lumber industry also provided employment.

The town was located on an old road running from Clayton to the Nacoochee Valley where it joined the old Unicoi Turnpike near the Old Sautee Store.

Andrew Richey, an educator at the Rabun-Nachoochee Gap School and local historian, served as postman for the area for several years prior to 1900.

The Byrd-Mathews Lumber Company built a narrow gauge railroad into the city to haul lumber from the nearby mountains to its lumber mill in nearby Helen.

The Tallulah River supplied power for various nearby businesses. Burton quickly grew and by the time the town was bought by the Georgia Railway and Electric Company in 1917 it supported three general stores. John LaPrade, one of the purchasing agents for the railroad whose land became the shore of Lake Burton on Hwy Georgia 197 served as a Civilian Conservation Corps. A marina and restaurant on the land to this day maintains his name.

With the final purchase of  land around the Tallulah River, Georgia Railway and Electric built a dam and began to flood the surrounding area on December 22, 1919. From embankments above the rivers, residents watched as the town was engulfed by the rising waters.

Today, the town of  Burton lies beneath the lake which bears its name. Generations since have enjoyed Lake Burton which is now dotted with residences, from cottages to estates, much of which is still owned and controlled by the Georgia Power Company.

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