A Tale of Two Athenses (and several more)

I took a trip to Athens recently, but this time Athens was pronounced with a long A.

I left in the morning from Athens (pronounced Ath-ens), Ohio and ended up in Athens (Ae-thens), Illinois. When I arrived, I was not sure if I should use the bathroom or the batheroom.

I have a brother who lives in Athens, Illinois, so the visit was a good opportunity to see him (and his wife) while we compared our Athenses.

Both of our towns have an Athens Fire Department, an Athens High School and a Dollar General, but the Illinois version has plenty of different items, including some interesting Abraham Lincoln history (written I suppose in the Lincoln logs of text). The village is close to Springfield (the Illinois version, not the Ohio version), which also has plenty of Lincoln history (including Lincoln since he is buried there).

Springfield also boasts an outstanding barbershop quartet group that my brother is a part of and more Dollar Generals.

Athens, Illinois is smaller than Athens, Ohio, but the population of Claussens in each town is equal, and it seems like a nice place to live.

The visit also got me thinking more about other towns named Athens, so I did some quick research and found there are more than 20 places named Athens in the U.S. and several more around the world. Here are some Athens items I found interesting:

Athens State University is located in Athens, Alabama, which is one of the oldest incorporated cities in Alabama. The city has a population of 20,000 and the college has an enrollment of 3,000. I could not find any information on how many Claussens live there.

Athens, Georgia is probably the most famous Athens in the U.S. The city of more than 120,000 houses the University of Georgia and is responsible for musical groups such as The B-52s and R.E.M. It is unclear why bands from Athens, Georgia are only allowed to use single letters and numbers for band names. I can only assume it is a zoning issue.

Athens, Texas is known as the Black Eyed Pea capital of the world. They are a fine musical group, but I don’t know why they need a capital.

Athens, Indiana is pronounced with a long A and is being incorporated into the city of Rochester. So for every other Athens out there, watch out for any nearby Rochesters.

Athens, New York (located a safe distance away from Rochester, New York) at one time was a hub for shipbuilding, brick making and ice harvesting. Ice harvesting! That seems like something I could actually grow. Anyway, Athens, New York appears to be a very nice little community today. It has a great website with Athens information and council meeting minutes that include a recent controversy about one couple having “neighbor issues” with one person who had  been complaining about the noise from the couple’s art business or something like that. It’s good reading if you have time to spare and enjoy reading random city and village websites and meeting minutes as I do.

Athens, Michigan is actually named after Athens, New York and not Athens, Greece.

Athens, Pennsylvania includes Athens Township and the Athens Borough along with the Athens Area School District and a Dollar General.

We have them beat in Athens, Ohio, as I shop at a Dollar General located in the city of Athens, which is in Athens Township in the Athens City School District in Athens County.

Athens, Kansas is located in Athens Township in northern Kansas and has a population of just 74.

Athens, Maine has a population of more than 1,000 and was incorporated on March 7, 1804, which is only a few weeks after Ohio University was founded (Feb. 18, 1804) in Athens, Ohio. That was a good few weeks for the name Athens.

Athens, Vermont is a small town with a population of more than 300. The town boasts the Athens Tree Farm and a very active town Facebook page.

Athens, West Virginia is the home of Concord College, which was founded in 1872 and has an enrollment of 2,451.

Athens, Wisconsin has the slogan of “Village of Athens, a friendly town that bands together.” This Athens of 1,100 people even has a bandstand on its village square to allow its friendly citizens to band together easily.

Athens, Louisiana only has about 300 people in the village, which was the parish seat of the Claiborne Parish until a fire destroyed the courthouse and all of the records in it back in 1848. After the fire, the parish seat was moved to Homer, a village named for the Greek poet. At one time, Homer was home to the awesomely named newspaper The Homer Iliad.

Athens, Kentucky, also with a long A, was founded near a fort that was established by Daniel Boone in 1775.

Athens, Tennessee calls itself “The Friendly City,” and has a new city plan named “Athens Alive 2035” looking at the top items that city residents want the city to address. This is much better than the “Athens Done 2021” plan. The 2035 plan shows that city residents want new recreation facilities (we are getting a new pool in Athens, Ohio!), more pedestrian and non-motorized vehicle paths, more parental involvement in education and some other interesting items. Also the Athens City Manager has a dog named Tensy. I’m telling you, I love reading these random city and village websites around the country!

Athens, California is an unincorporated area in South Los Angeles and is home to Los Angeles Southwest College.

Athens, Utah and Athens, Virginia both exist, but I can’t find much information on either Athens.

Athens, Arkansas also has very little information online except a few homes that are for sale there. Arkansas also has the Athens-Big Fork Trail, which is a 17.8 mile path that I can only assume is great for hiking and running as long as you don’t accidentally step on any big forks in the path.

The Battle of Athens State Historic Site is located near Athens, Missouri and commemorates a Civil War battle from 1861. Not much seems to be left of the town today.

Athens, Mississippi is a town that has pretty much disappeared except for the old Athens Jail, which according to an interesting article in The Daily Journal may be haunted.

New Athens, Ohio is in Harrison County, Ohio and has a population of about 320. It was once home to Franklin College, which was founded by abolitionist John Walker.

New Athens, Illinois is located in southern Illinois and is near St. Louis.

Several websites state that cities named Athens are located in numerous countries around the world, but I can’t find much information on most of them except Athens, Greece.

I should point out that according to mythology, Athens, Greece, was named after a contest between Athena and Poseidon. It’s a good thing that the contest was won by Athena, or many of us would be living today in towns, cities, counties and other locations named Poseidonville or something like that.

8 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Athenses (and several more)

  1. The US appears to outnumber the UK in places named Athens by a fair amount. Well, by however many you have actually because we don’t have any at all.

    This may account for when someone here says ‘I’ve just been to Athens,’ we don’t even think ‘I wonder which one they mean?’ to ourselves because to a Brit it’s unlikely to be the non-Greek one unless you’re talking to Michael Stipe.

    What we do have is some lovely sculptures that a bloke called Elgin um.. ‘recovered’ from the Athens in Greece between 1801 and 1812. Where, and to whom, they ‘belong’ has been argued about since then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s funny about the recovered items. In the U.S., most people probably think of Athens, Greece, first and then maybe Athens Georgia and then whatever Athens is closest to them. I never knew there were so many Athenses in the U.S. before. Thanks for the comment and the information!


  2. I had no idea there were so many Athenses in the States! Impressive!
    If I had to choose to live in one, it would be Athens, Indiana: I’d love to be hired by a Rochester as a governess, because he would inevitably fall in love with me. Great plot for a book, by the way.

    In my corner of the world, of course, there is only one Athens: that big, loudmouth, dirty, badass city we call a capital. I still miss it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a great plot for a book! We have that main part, and if we throw in the bad guy with the desk chair and the trap door somewhere in the story, we are sure to have a best seller. Thanks

      Liked by 1 person

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