Known as Athens-Clarke, the Clark County and the City of Athens operate under a unified, consolidated government since 1990. Clarke is the smallest of the more than 150 counties that make up Georgia. Other Georgia city/county governments: Augusta-Richmond and Columbus-Muscogee.
Formed on December 5, 1801 Clark County was named for General Elijah Clark (1733-1799) who was a hero of the American Revolution; Elijah was father of John Clarke who served as Georgia's governor from 1819 to 1823.
The Athens-Clarke County Courthouse is located at 325 East Washington Street, Athens, GA 30601.
The consolidated Athens-Clarke County is home to Georgia University.
The area that is now Clarke County was originally part of Franklin County until after the American Revolution. In 1784, by act of the Legislature, the county of Jackson was cut off from Franklin, thereby including the territory which was afterwards allotted in 1801, by similar legislative act, to the county of Clarke. There is a spot near the northern boundary of the county marked by the remains of old chimneys, as the site of an Indian trading station, named Clarkesborough. This town was named in honor of General Elijah Clarke, of revolutionary fame, and suggested, no doubt, the name for the new county cut off in 1801.
In 1801 Governor John Milledge, by a gift of 633 acres of land near the center of the northern half of the county, secured the location upon it of the State University, known as Franklin College, and induced Josiah Meigs, LL.D., a professor in Yale College, to assume the presidency and open the college. Dr. Meigs left a safe abode to come to Georgia, settle in a wilderness, and there, in a log house, within hearing of the war whoop of the Cherokee Indians, taught and graduated the first class of the University in 1804.