City Of Commerce27 Sycamore St, Commerce, GA 30529
Present-day Commerce lies in an area that once was the dividing line between the Cherokee and Creek Indian tribes. Originally, the area was known as the Groaning Rock community because of an interesting rock formation that made an eerie sound as the wind passed through it. The first permanent settlement was established in 1784. The site that would later become Commerce developed on the dividing watershed between the Oconee, Grove and Hudson rivers and was the meeting place of several old wagon trails based on even earlier Indian paths. Located midway between the mountain communities of north Georgia and the market towns of Washington, Augusta, and Athens, this trading spot called Harmony Grove was founded by Eli Shankle and his wife Rebecca in 1808. In 1876, the transportation mode that would forever change and define the face of Harmony Grove/Commerce arrived. The Northeastern Railroad line was completed and the city began to develop linearly along the tracks. Although the railroad line has changed hands over the last 120 years, with the Southern Railway purchasing it in 1899, Commerce was well on its way to becoming "A City on the Right Track." Harmony Grove was officially incorporated in 1884 with the city limits stretching for one mile in each direction from the railroad depot along the tracks and for one half mile east and 400 yards west. Its population in 1886 was 579, four years later in 1890 it had grown to 611. Ten years later, the population had more than doubled reflecting the city's status as a major trading and distribution center for north Georgia. The city fathers reflected that such a growing city needed a name that reflected its commercial nature and in 1904, the name was officially changed to Commerce.