Athens-Clarke County has a long and rich history which is interwoven with that of the state of Georgia and the nation. In 1801, the site was purchased for location for the University of Georgia, the first university chartered by a state government (1785) in the United States. Clarke County, named after the Revolutionary War hero Elijah Clarke, was carved out of the existing Jackson County in 1801; in 1806 Athens was incorporated. The area had quickly become a center, not only for education, but also for culture, commerce and industry. In 1991, the City of Athens and Clarke County were unified under one government.
Athens-Clarke County has retained many of its historic resources. The town currently has thirty-two individual resources and twelve districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These designations include several residential districts, the downtown commercial districts, the North Campus of the University of Georgia, as well as historic churches, schools and mill buildings that reflect the diverse history of Athens-Clarke County. One of the most notable, the Taylor-Grady House, located near downtown, is a National Historic Landmark associated with the Southern orator, Henry Grady. Numerous buildings in Clarke County were documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey. In 1986, a local historic preservation ordinance was enacted. Thirty individual resources and four districts are now protected under local designation. - NRHP, 1988