About the series
These days, small towns are beginning to look more and more alike, with a fast-food chain on the corner and a big-box retailer down the street. But this winter, The Times will take you to the unique communities within Hall County, sharing their history, their characters and their charm. Look for a story each day through the New Year. To see previous profiles, go to gainesvilletimes.com/hamlets.
Terry Roberts describes his home in Wauka Mountain as “God’s country.”
After being raised in North Hall County, where the Wauka Mountain, Brookton and Quillians Corner communities are located, Roberts couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
“When I was a kid, my grandfather and I would ride around, and he would tell me, ‘Terry, this is God’s country. This is where you want to build a house,’” he recalls. “I’ve been here ever since.”
Wauka Mountain, Brookton and Quillians Corner surround the area around the town of Clermont and remain communities rich in history with residents full of stories.
Although some of the area has undergone name changes over the years, like when Walker Mountain changed to Wauka Mountain on June 10, 2004, the Brookton and Quillians Corner communities have stayed the same since being named after the families that settled there.
At one time, both Brookton and Wauka Mountain, through Clermont, were the sites of the busy Gainesville and Northwestern Railroad line, which was primarily used to transport timber but also served as a passenger train. Over the years, the tracks were replaced with a paved road, U.S. 129, that ran through the center of Clermont and was eventually moved to the east of town.
And while the relocation of U.S. 129 may have quieted Wauka Mountain and Brookton, many of the residents continued to raise families whose descendants still live there.
Every morning for the past 20 years, Roberts has been meeting a group of friends at their favorite local breakfast spot in Wauka Mountain for coffee and to build on the relationships many of them have had for years.
“We have a very tight-knit community. I think North Hall is the heart of Hall County. Everybody’s eager to help each other, and most of the people know each other,” said Roberts. “That’s the kind of community it is.”
Aside from making time for breakfast, Roberts is also a member of a bluegrass gospel band called the Wauka Mountain Boys and maintains the organic Roberts Family Blueberry Farm outside his home.
“My days are busy, but I love digging into the history of Wauka Mountain and this area. Of course, there’s been a little change over the years, but not a whole lot. We really want things to stay how they have been,” said Roberts.
For Beth Henry, who spent much of her childhood in North Hall and recently returned to Wauka Mountain, each community offers a flavor all its own.
“The thing I love about Clermont, and really all of Quillians Corner and Wauka Mountain and Brookton, is the richness of the history here,” she said. “So many towns and cities have lost their heritage as things get more modern, but these places are trying to preserve it. I appreciate that about them, and they’ve got a lot of history to be proud of.”