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Ellijay is considered to be the oldest continually inhabited town within Georgia’s present day boundaries. Located just an hour North of Atlanta, it is still recognized for it’s rich history, authentic mountain culture and traditions. Whether you come for antiquities, adventure, mountain lore or just an experience we welcome you to Ellijay. Ellijay is located in Gilmer County, a 432 square mile forest covered county in North Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Ellijay was once a large Cherokee trading center at the headwaters of the Coosawattee River where the Cartecay and the Ellijay rivers merge. Ellijay is a Cherokee word and is translated ‘the land of many waters’ or ‘place of green things’. Ellijay’s history is a fascinating story from timber booms with the arrival of the railroad in 1884 to a tragic fire in 1912 that required extensive rebuilding. From the mid 1930’s to 1950, Ellijay received much assistance from the Federal WPA Programs, helping launch the city’s infrastructure making it the town it is today.


  • The Peach became the official fruit of Georgia in 1995. It is a member of the Rose Family and symbolizes longevity in Chinese Culture.
  • The official state crop of Georgia is the peanut. One acre of peanuts makes 30,000 PBJ sandwiches. Two US presidents were peanut farmers: Jefferson and Carter.
  • The state vegetable of Georgia is the Vidalia onion, officially designates in 1990. The sweet onion was a farming mistake during the depression in GA

Ellijay Timeline

1832 First land lottery
1834 Incorporated and designated as the Gilmer County Seat
1834 -1838 The Trail of Tears began. Cherokee Nation was forced to leave Georgia.
1837 20 dwellings, 3 stores and one attorney.
Most of the early buildings were log construction
1854 A new Courthouse was built on the town square
1875 First newspaper in the county was published called the Ellijay Courier
1875 New stagecoach line stop was established in Ellijay.
1884 The railroad arrived in Ellijay at which time a depot,several hotels including the famous Hyatt Hotel and stores were built making Ellijay a booming town at the beginning of the 20th century
1900’s were prosperous for Ellijay the primary employer was the Shippen Brothers Lumber Company who exported lumber to Europe.
The population grew from 659 to over 1910 the town was acquiring many modern conveniences such as electric lights and telephone, while new businesses arrived as well.
1912 A fire ravaged the city destroying 23 buildings and the population began to decline rapidly.
1920’s The town began to grow again apples and chickens became the new industries.

Gilmer County has earned the official designations of;

Georgia’s Apple Capital:

Producing over 600,000 bushels of apples each year in 22 varieties. There are seven main orchards surrounding the city of Ellijay

Mountain Biking Capital of Georgia:

100 miles of single-track mountain biking trails

Appalachian Trail Community:

The beginning of the AT is at Springer Mountain which is located in Gilmer county. Stretching from Georgia to Maine, the A.T. is approximately 2,180 miles in length, making it one of the longest, footpaths in the world.