I am Habersham: Caleb Gaines

Caleb Gaines has served as Clarkesville’s Zoning Administrator for over four years.

This week’s I am Habersham spotlight falls on Caleb Gaines, Zoning Administrator for the City of Clarkesville.

Caleb has so many personal traits, beyond the typical, that he could well be named a true Renaissance Man. His daily routine might include a zoning compliance visit in Clarkesville, a helpful discussion about zoning ordinances for a new Clarkesville business, all followed by a late night city council meeting. But in between all that official stuff, Caleb is in another world, and it’s an exciting, engaging one.

Photo by Caleb Gaines: Turnagin Arm Trail, AK
Photo by Caleb Gaines: Turnagin Arm Trail, AK

His dream is one day to move to Alaska, a place he has already visited three times. Here is a photo he took during a recent journey to the North Country. It could easily be a wall-size poster for Travel Alaska. He has been a City of Clarkesville team member for six and a half years, and has served as Zoning Administrator for over four years. But in his big brown eyes, you can almost see the outline of the 49th state. He loves it.

When asked if he had a quotation he lived by, Caleb responded: “One of quotes that I try to live by is actually from the gentleman who trained me for my current position, Barry Johns. When he handed over the reins to me he told me this, ‘Do not allow yourself to be compromised!’ There is a post-it note that has been on my desk for four and a half years with those words on it.”

Gaines, a former Piedmont College student in the early 1990s, originally hails from Stephens County, and though he has lived in Habersham County for five years, he now hangs his hat just outside The Hab in the Northern Woods. Like Thoreau, he loves it that way. Caleb’s world is hiking, fishing and Disc Golf. He is a man of many adventures and journeys. But it seems, all roads eventually lead him back to Alaska.


Those who know Caleb very well, like me, when I taught him Public Speaking a quarter-century ago, have found him to be a soft spoken, gentle man. Open, caring and a heart the size of, well, the Alaskan Frontier. So, until he packs his backpack one last time, with Habersham in his rear view mirror, we honor Caleb this week as …I am Habersham!

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