Named for Jeremiah Burton, a popular area citizen who would occasionally serve as baliff in the local superior court and served in other civic positions.
Situated on the Tallulah River, Burton was a thriving community of some 200 people when the Georgia Railway and Electric Company bought the town. The purchase was completed shortly after United States entry into World War I.
The town of Burton on an 1883 map
Formed a century earlier as one of the first gold rush towns in north Georgia, Burton was located at the junction of the Tallulah River and Moccasin Creek. Just north of the town was the confluence of Dick's Creek and the Tallulah River, the site of the first discovery of gold in Rabun County.
In addition to gold, the corundum mines of Tate City provided work for area men. The city was located on an old road running from Clayton to the Nachoochee Valley where it joined the old Unicoi Turnpike in the vicinity of the Old Sautee Store.
Andrew Richey, who would become famous as an educator at the Rabun-Nachoochee Gap School and writer of a widely read county history book, served as postman for the area for a number of years prior to 1900. The Byrd-Mathews Lumber Company built a narrow gauge railroad into the city to haul lumber from the nearby mountains to its lumber mill in Helen.
The Tallulah River supplied power for a number of businesses in and near the city. Commerce grew and by the time the town was bought by the Georgia Railway and Electric Company in 1917 it boasted three general stores. One of the purchasing agents for the railroad was John LaPrade, whose land on what is now the shore of Lake Burton on Georgia 197 would serve as a Civilian Conservation Corps camp and today has a great restaurant and marina.
With the completion of purchasing land around the Tallulah River, Georgia Railway and Electric built a dam and began to flood the surrounding land on December 22, 1919.
As the rivers rose to form the lake, residents watched the homes and businesses were destroyed. Today, Lake Burton covers the town for which it is named.
Moccasin Creek State Park