Georgia County Government - May/June 2008 - (Page 22)

Feature Clayton County Strategiz for Metro Region’s Boom By Deborah Dewberry, Editor A s it is referred to in the first few l i nes of “Gone With the Wind,” the “north Georgia county of Clayton” was formed from western Fayette and eastern Henry counties in 1858 and named after prominent local judge and state legislator, Augustin S. Clayton. Its birth came, appropriately, on the heels of the South’s ante bellum days of great plantations and the immense wealth they fostered, bestowing rightful laurels on cotton-exporting Georgia as “the Empire State of the South.” Owing to Margaret Mitchell’s framing it as the county home of fictional “Tara,” the plantation inherited by literary heroine Scarlett O’Hara after it fell to ruin at the hands of Union troops in the legendary Civil War epic, Clayton County would forever be linked in the public’s imagination with the heyday of ante bellum prosperity. Clayton County’s five-member Board of Commissioners includes (from left) Michael Edmondson, Wole Ralph, Chairman Eldrin Bell, Sonna Singleton and ACCG 2008-09 President Virginia Burton Gray. Today tourism, thanks to “Gone With the Wind,” is an important contributor to the county’s economy. Altogether, Clayton County boasts 181 historic sites, including significant Civil War battle sites, and the public’s appetite for the romantic South represented in the fiction of Margaret Mitchell shows no signs of letting up. Perhaps because the novel so brilliantly reflected the South’s authentic Civil War experience – which was realistically translated to the silver screen in the 1938 film that came to define the term, “blockbuster” – the myth of Tara has always seemed real. Individuals continue to pilgrimage here, as though the great plantation might actually be found, restored to its original ante bellum majesty. The fast-paced urban environment visitors do find may surprise many. The county’s “main street,” busy Tara Boulevard, an eight-lane thoroughfare extending through the large municipalities of Jonesboro and Riverdale, then southward to the county line, is the only immediately visible reminder of the jurisdiction’s starring role in “Gone With the Wind.” That the novel featuring Clayton County as its setting also followed the South’s first harrowing travails through reconstruction is appropriate too. Clayton County and its county seat, Jonesboro, spent long decades of their early history in the bitterest throes of that reconstruction, giving the patina of a hard-won justice to the great economic Stately Oaks Plantation. 22 2 Image is courtesy of the Clayton County Convention and Visitors Bureau. GE RG COUNTY GOVERNMENT GEORGIA COUNTY GOV RNMENT GEORGIA COUNTY OV MEN Y VER

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - May/June 2008

Georgia County Government - May/June 2008
President’s Message
County Matters
ACCG 2008 Annual Meeting: Highlights
County Focus: Clayton County
Negotiating a Professional Service Firm Contract: Part 3
Counties Get Involved in Efforts to End Sexual Abuse of Children
Smart Growth Scorecard Gives Communities a Way to Grade New Developments
Wireless Technologies Critical for First Responders
Research Corner: The ACCG Policy Process
RDCs Assist the USS Georgia Flag Project
Extension News: Animals Take Spotlight in Disaster Planning
Georgia’s Grand Old Courthouses: Grady County
NACo News: Green Initiative Launches Searchable Database
Insurance News: ACCG Announces New Inmate Medical Savings Program
County Parade
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - May/June 2008