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Athens City

McMinn County, Tennessee

Athens City Hall is located at 815 North Jackson Street, Athens, TN 37303.
Phone: 423‑744‑2702.


Athens was created in 1822 and in 1823 the county seat was moved here from Calhoun.

Athens as described in 1939 [1]

Athens, seat of McMinn County, is surrounded by wooded knobs. The distant peaks of the Unakas are along the southeastern horizon. Athens is a true courthouse town, and the shady square is filled to overflowing with country people on Saturdays. They come on horseback, in mule-drawn wagons, and in cars spattered with red clay. When their trading is done the men lounge around the courthouse square, swapping gossip and political views while their women-folk attend the movies. Soap-box evangelists, musicians, and dancing Negro boys add to the holiday air.

In 1835, when the tide of pro-slavery sentiment was running high in the State, a bundle of abolition papers arrived at the post office here. A number of people united to demand their surrender by the postmaster and made a bonfire of them in the street. The editor of the Athens Journal loudly advocated a law against distribution of "these filthy and wicked productions" and State feeling was such that the legislature enacted a law "to prevent the publication or circulation in this State of seditious pamphlets and papers," meaning those advocating the abolition of human chattels.

Tennessee Wesleyan College, in the center of town, is a co-educational junior college. It has a 20-acre campus shaded by splendid trees. There are eight buildings of various designs. Old College Hall, a square 3-story brick structure, is the oldest on the campus. There are several large frame buildings with mansard roofs built during the President Grant era. The Administration Building, an attractive and imposing brick structure of neo-classic design, has an auditorium seating more than 1,000, a gymnasium, and a basketball court, besides administrative offices and lecture halls.

  1. Works Progress Administration, Federal Writers' Program, Tennessee: A Guide to the State, American Guide Series, Tennessee Department of Conservation, Stratford Press, 1939.