A Community on the edge of Atlanta
The City Of Clarkston owes much of its beginnings to the Georgia Railroad. In the 1830’s, the Georgia Railroad built a rail line through what is present day Clarkston to connect the merchants of Athens with outlets in Augusta and South Carolina. Originally called “New Siding” after Jake New, a Section Foreman that worked for the Georgia Railroad, the City of Clarkston was officially chartered by Governor Alexander H. Stevens on December 12, 1882. Clarkston was named in honor of Colonel W.W. Clark, a Covington Lawyer and a Director of the Georgia Railroad.
Because the railroad made Atlanta so accessible for commuting, Clarkston became a community of homeowners who worked in Atlanta. Clarkston became one of the South’s first “suburban” communities. Commuting citizens accounted for much of Clarkston’s early growth.
Around the turn of the century, one colorful folktale mentions the early origination of “Goatsville” and “Angora Heights” as names bestowed on Clarkston. It was said that in the early 1900s high prestige was derived in the number of goats a person owned so many Clarkstonians owned fifteen to twenty of these prized creatures. The goats, believed to be the high quality Angoras variety, grazed open range and therefore had to be run out of the school house and other establishments for the citizens to conduct their business. Visitors soon nicknamed the city “Goatsville” which was later changed to the more prestigious “Angora Heights.” Though these monikers have faded from current usage, the Clarkston High School pays homage to this history, by having adopted the Angora Goat as their school mascot.
The City of Clarkston is centrally located in DeKalb County approximately 10 miles northeast of Atlanta and 5 miles east of Decatur and 5 miles west of Stone Mountain. Clarkston has remained a small city, encompasses approximately 700 acres or 1.1 square miles. The residents and elected officials of Clarkston have enjoyed the small town feel and have therefore never striven to greatly expand the boundaries of the City. Today the railroad still runs through Clarkston as a steadfast reminder of the cities historic beginning.