Courtesy Athens CVB
Published May 01, 2014
With tall, peaked-roof homes that look more like New England schoolhouses than the plantation homes more typically associated with 1800s Georgia, Old Clinton is a unique architectural attraction within the state’s historic heartland.
Clinton became the seat of newly created Jones County in 1807. Many of the settlers had made their way down from New England and brought both their architectural style and town-planning sensibilities with them. Visitors will find these influences apparent in the common central square — a place to graze livestock — and street names honoring revolutionary heroes like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
During the Civil War, Clinton was hit especially hard by battles and plundering, which destroyed the prosperity of a town that had grown into one of the state’s largest less than two decades after its founding. But while many early 19th century homes were burned in the looting, economic stagnation helped preserve the remaining ones for groups to enjoy today.
Thanks in large part to the Old Clinton Historical Society, which oversees major renovations, 12 homes and one church dating back to 1808 to 1830 are available year-round for group tours. Just outside the historic city center, the Jarrell Plantation re-creates farming conditions as they were in Clinton’s heyday with a working cotton gin, mills and a sugar cane press.