The county was officially chartered in 1818 and named for Joseph Habersham, a Revolutionary War hero and the first Postmaster General under President John Quincy Adams. Coastal and deep-south residents travelled to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains during the summer to escape the humidity and mosquitoes. Usually these people stayed in the county until the first sign of frost. Many of these seasonal visitors liked the area so much, they eventually settled here permanently.
Gold was discovered in the mountains and brought a whole new breed of prospectors and fortune hunters. Because of the extreme measures taken to retrieve the gold from the land, a need was identified and the National Forest was created to protect the land from timber depletion and soil erosion. Agriculture thrived and two major products were marketed: apples and grapes for wine making.
Introduction of the railroad expanded the county's marketability and brought more visitors to the area. Tallulah Falls became an increasingly popular spot for honeymooners, second only to Niagara Falls. The gorge came to be known as "the Grand Canyon of the East".
In 1913, Georgia Power harnessed the river in the gorge, diverted the water for electric power. It ceased the powerful roar of the falls, but created a chain of recreational lakes in the area: Lakes Burton, Seed, Rabun, Tallulah, Yonah, and Tugaloo. These are popular for residential cottages and retiree homes.
Today, the county is a hub of activity and gaining in popularity as a retirement area as well as an excellent spot for young families starting out. The close proximity of Atlanta, Athens and Gainesville makes commuting from Habersham County a pleasant option. Industry is making note of the benefits the county offers and more jobs are being created through this effort. All in all, Habersham County is a great place to live and work!
Source: Habersham County Chamber of Commerce