Ellijay, Georgia
Downtown Ellijay looking toward Walnut Mt.
Downtown Ellijay looking toward Walnut Mt.
Location in Gilmer County and the state of Georgia
Location in Gilmer County and the state of Georgia
Coordinates: 34°41′41″N 84°29′1″W / 34.69472°N 84.48361°W / 34.69472; -84.48361Coordinates: 34°41′41″N 84°29′1″W / 34.69472°N 84.48361°W / 34.69472; -84.48361
CountryUnited States
 • Total3.54 sq mi (9.18 km2)
 • Land3.54 sq mi (9.18 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,280 ft (390 m)
 • Total1,862
 • Density525.40/sq mi (202.83/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)706/762
FIPS code13-27092[2]
GNIS feature ID0331651[3]

Ellijay is a city in Gilmer County, Georgia, United States. The population was 1,619 at the 2010 census.[4] The city is the county seat of Gilmer County.[5]

Agriculture is important in Gilmer County, known as the "Apple Capital of Georgia."[6] The city holds an annual Georgia Apple Festival in October.[7]

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn own a pine cabin second home in Ellijay.[8] Other tourists are attracted to the mountains and whitewater kayaking.


This area was long settled by cultures of indigenous peoples. It was known as part of the homeland of the historic Cherokee people. They had a village here, at the confluence of the Ellijay and Cartecay rivers, which together form the Coosawattee River.

Ellijay (sometimes formerly spelled "Elejoy") is the anglicized form or transliteration of the Cherokee name Elatseyi, meaning "new ground".[9] Other sources say it means "green place".[10]

Gilmer County was organized by territory cut from Cherokee County in 1832, and Ellijay was designated as its county seat in 1834.[11] It was a fairly isolated and remote mountain community until the late nineteenth century. After the Marietta and Northern Georgia Railroad (later the Louisville and Nashville Railroad) was constructed through here in 1884, the railroad stimulated a boom in the timber industry by providing a profitable way to get lumber to markets. Many timber companies came into the area with their workers.

More than a century later, another major transportation improvement was construction of the Zell Miller Mountain Parkway (Georgia 515, named for Georgia governor and U.S. senator Zell Miller), which was completed in 1991.



Ellijay is located at the center of Gilmer County, at 34°41'41" north, 84°29'1" west (34.694656, -84.483566).[12] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.2 km2), all land.[4] It is situated at the confluence of the Ellijay and Cartecay rivers, which together form the Coosawattee River. The Coosawattee flows west as part of the Oostanaula/Coosa/Alabama River watershed. The county seat is bordered to the east and south by the city of East Ellijay.

U.S. Route 76 bypasses the city center to the south and east. It leads west 24 miles (39 km) to Chatsworth and northeast 16 miles (26 km) to Blue Ridge. Georgia State Route 52 (Chatsworth Highway) also leads 24 miles (39 km) to Chatsworth, taking a more northerly route over Fort Mountain of the Cohutta Mountains. Georgia State Route 515, the Zell Miller Mountain Parkway, leads northeast with US 76 to Blue Ridge and south 20 miles (32 km) to Jasper. Downtown Atlanta is 78 miles (126 km) to the south via GA-5/515 to Interstate 575 and Interstate 75.


Ellijay lies within the Humid subtropical climate zone along with the majority of the rest of the southeastern United States. The highest elevations in the surrounding region reside in the Subtropical highland climate. Ellijay enjoys cool winters and warm summers, but neither would be considered extreme thanks to its slightly higher elevation than other areas in the south. Winter snowfall is common, but generally on the lighter side. There are a few exceptions, one being the 1993 Storm of the Century which dropped 17 inches of snow in Ellijay. Summers are warm, though mild for southern standards, with temperatures topping out in the mid 80s during the summer months. Rain is evenly distributed throughout the year averaging 57.97 inches per year, as reported from the nearest NOAA reporting station in Jasper, Georgia.

Climate data for Jasper, Georgia (1991–2020 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 47.5
Average low °F (°C) 31.1
Average precipitation inches (mm) 5.53
Source: NOAA[13]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[14]

2020 census

Ellijay Racial Composition[15]
Race Num. Perc.
White 1,215 65.25%
Black or African American 3 0.16%
Native American 3 0.16%
Asian 6 0.32%
Other/Mixed 47 2.52%
Hispanic or Latino 588 31.58%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 1,862 people, 844 households, and 520 families residing in the city.

2000 census

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 1,584 people, 593 households, and 342 families residing in the city. The population density was 591.7 inhabitants per square mile (228.5/km2). There were 662 housing units at an average density of 247.3 per square mile (95.5/km2). There were 662 housing units at an average density of 247.3 per square mile (95.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 81.25% White, 1.39% African American, 0.00% Native American, 1.70% Asian, 0.57% Pacific Islander, 12.50% from other races, and 2.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 25.19% of the population.

There were 593 households, out of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.1% were married couples living together, 16.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.2% were non-families. 37.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.9% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 21.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $22,120, and the median income for a family was $36,250. Males had a median income of $21,875 versus $20,469 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,740. About 20.3% of families and 27.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.3% of those under age 18 and 31.7% of those age 65 or over.

Notable facts

Although filmed further north in Rabun County, the fictional plot of the 1972 movie Deliverance is based on the Coosawattee River and events related to construction of a dam that created Carters Lake upriver, and destroyed the river's wild waters. These places are all located in Gilmer County.[16][17][18]


Ellijay is governed by a five-member city council and a mayor. The current mayor is William Albert "Al" Hoyle.


Dalton State College Gilmer County Center
Dalton State College Gilmer County Center

Higher education

Dalton State College - Gilmer County Center[19]

Gilmer County School District

The Gilmer County School District holds pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of four elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school.[20] There is also Crossroads, which is the alternative school in Ellijay.


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Ellijay city, Georgia". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2016.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  6. ^ "Official website". Gilmer County. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  7. ^ Benefield, Kevin (2015-11-28). "Road Trip: North Georgia Mountains". Atlanta. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  8. ^ Nemy, Enid (1983-07-14). "A Small Blue Ridge Pine Cabin is the Carters' Rustic Retreat". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  9. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 117.
  10. ^ "The Names Stayed". Calhoun Times and Gordon County News. August 29, 1990. p. 64. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  11. ^ Hellmann, Paul T. (May 13, 2013). Historical Gazetteer of the United States. Routledge. p. 229. ISBN 978-1135948597. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  13. ^ [ftp:https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/us-climate-normals/ "Station Name: GA BLAIRSVILLE EXP STN"]. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-04-01. ((cite web)): Check |url= value (help)
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  15. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  16. ^ Gatling, William (2010-06-30). "Deliverance and the Coosawattee". Georgia Canoeing Association. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  17. ^ "Filming Locations for 'Deliverance' (1972), in Georgia". The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  18. ^ "Brown's Guide to Georgia". 2010-12-22. Archived from the original on 2010-12-22. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  19. ^ Dalton State - Extended Campus. Dalton State College. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  20. ^ Georgia Board of Education[permanent dead link], Retrieved June 9, 2010.