Only 12 miles from Atlanta, Jonesboro is the county seat of Clayton County. Jonesboro received much acclaim in 1936 with the release of the novel Gone With the Wind, as many of the book's scenes were set in Clayton County. It was also the site for many of the scenes from the 1977 cult classic film Smokey and the Bandit.
Jonesboro sits on a total area of less than three square miles. Its relatively mild year-round climate (average January lows run just above the freezing mark) attracts people from around the world seeking a warm place to visit or live.
One of Jonesboro's most notable residents was writer Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind. In fact, so many people called the city "Home of 'Gone with the Wind' " that the State Legislature made it Jonesboro's official motto in 1986.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Many residents commute to Atlanta, but there are plenty of businesses in the Jonesboro area as well. In fact, more than 6,000 publically and privately owned companies make Jonesboro their home.
Leading industries in Jonesboro are educational, health and social services, utilities, warehousing and retail trade. The unemployment rate for the city is 3.5 percent.
Some of the biggest employers in the city include Clayton County Board of Education, G.T. Architecture Contractors Corp., Southern Homes Mortgage Corp. and Low Temp Industries Inc.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Jonesboro has a population of around 4,000. The city accommodates around 1,610 houses with 1,515 houses occupied. Renters occupy around 720 houses and owners occupy about 800 houses.
This historically significant and revitalized Atlanta bedroom community has a mostly African-American and white population. An unusually large percentage of the population (nearly 34 percent) falls below the poverty line. This high number, however, could be a result of some lower-income metro Atlanta neighborhoods that have Jonesboro ZIP codes.
Old Downtown Jonesboro is reminiscent of pre-Civil War Georgia, especially between Mill Street and Church Street. Although many of the structures were burned during military skirmishes, their brick facades have remained intact and in the interest of historical preservation, many of their interiors have been rebuilt.
- 1867 Train Depot: Constructed as a replacement for the original train depot that was burned during the American Civil War, this structure saw dozens of passenger and freight trains each day during its height of operation. Today, it is the home of the Jonesboro Welcome Center.
- 1869 Jail: Although it is now known as the Clayton County Historical Museum, the 1869 Jail was, as its name implies, a prison. Cells were located in the upper portion of the structure while the jailer lived on the first floor.
- Arnold-Lyle-Oaks House: A private home on Cloud Street, this 19th-century residence has changed little since its construction.
- Ashley Oaks Mansion: Open since 1879, this fabulous residence is constructed of more than 1 million handmade bricks. Open for tours and lunch, and groups are encouraged to visit.
- Crockett-Blalock House: Today the home of a bank, this structure was originally constructed as a private residence in the mid-19th century. Although no longer used for the intended purpose, it has been painstakingly restored to its original splendor.
- Gayden-Sims-Webb House: Prior to the American Civil War, this home was the residence of Francis T. Gayden, a captain in the Confederate Calvary. It has the historical significance of being the only brick residence in Jonesboro before the War Between the States broke out.
- Key-Carnes-Brown House: Built just prior to the American Civil War, the Key-Carnes-Brown house has been extensively renovated by a private family. Now open to the public, it is popular with tourists because of its accurate representation of that period.
- Looney-Hanes-Smith House: Built in 1880, this magnificent home was intended for Georgia College president G.C. Looney's family and the out-of-town students who boarded with them. Today, this residence is the Jonesboro Greenhouse Bed and Breakfast.
- Mundy-Crowell-Burrel House: Architecturally interesting because of its early 1900s design and architecture, this home is now a private residence but can be viewed from the outside.
- Methodist Superannuate Home: Originally constructed as a home for retired Methodist ministers, this house is now privately owned.
- Stately Oaks: This home, built in 1839, was a landmark during the American Civil War for both Confederate and Union soldiers. Featuring stately and grandiose Greek Revival architecture, it is open to the public.
- Stephen Carnes House: This home boasts gingerbread trim made by original owner Stephen Carnes, a local wagon and carriage shop owner. This house in now privately owned and not open to the public. It can, however, be viewed from the outside.
- Confederate Cemetery: This graveyard is the final resting place of as many as 1,000 unidentified Confederate soldiers from the Battle of Jonesboro. The unmarked headstones have been arranged in the shape of a Confederate Battle Flag.