Athens, Alabama

Athens, Alabama

Infobox Settlement
official_name = City of Athens, Alabama
settlement_type = City
nickname =
motto = "Football changes and so do people." Bear Bryant

imagesize =
image_caption =


imagesize =
image_caption =


mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location in the state of Alabama, USA

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_name1 = Alabama
subdivision_name2 = Limestone
government_type = Mayor Council
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name =Dan Williams
established_title = Incorporated
established_date = 1818
area_magnitude = 1 E8
area_total_sq_mi = 39.4
area_total_km2 = 102.1
area_land_sq_mi = 39.3
area_land_km2 = 101.9
area_water_sq_mi = 0.1
area_water_km2 = 0.2
area_urban_sq_mi =
area_urban_km2 =
area_metro_sq_mi =
area_metro_km2 =
population_as_of =2007
population_note =
population_total =22936

population_footnotes = cite web|url=|title=Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in Alabama|publisher=United States Census Bureau|date=2008-07-10|accessdate=2008-07-14]
population_metro =
population_urban =
population_density_km2 = 186.2
population_density_sq_mi = 482.3
timezone = CST
utc_offset = -6
timezone_DST = CDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
latd = 34 |latm = 47 |lats = 23 |latNS = N
longd = 86 |longm = 58 |longs = 10 |longEW = W
elevation_m = 243.1
elevation_ft = 798
website = [ City of Athens]
postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 35611-35614
area_code = 256
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 01-02956
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0113266
footnotes =

Athens is a city in Limestone County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2000 census, the population of the city is 18,967. According to the 2005 U.S. Census estimates, the city had a population of 20,972. [cite web | url = | title = Population Finder - Athens city, Alabama | accessdate = 2007-01-03 | author = U.S. Census Bureau | authorlink = | work = Population Finder | quote = "The 2005 population estimate for Athens city, Alabama is 20,972."] The city is the county seat of Limestone County, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.


Athens is one of the oldest incorporated cities in the State of Alabama, having been incorporated one year prior to the state's admittance to the Union in 1819. Limestone County was also created by an act of the Alabama Territorial Legislature in 1818. [ [ Alabama State Archives: Limestone County] ]

The Athens area was the home of William Wyatt Bibb, the first Governor of Alabama, and of its second Governor, his brother Thomas Bibb, who succeeded him in office when he died in a fall from his horse. [ [ Limestone County Historical Society: Belle Mina] ]

In 1822, local residents purchased five acres of land and built a building to house the Athens Female Academy. The school became affiliated with the Methodist church in 1842, and was eventually renamed Athens Female College. After becoming coeducational in 1932, the school changed its name again to Athens College. After being taken over by the State of Alabama in 1974, the college was converted to a “reverse junior college,” offering the last two years of instruction for graduates of area community colleges. It is today known as Athens State University. [ [ Athens State University: History] ]

Many homes in the central part of modern Athens date to the antebellum period, and are part of historic preservation districts. [ [ City of Athens: Map of Historic Districts] ]

In May of 1862, during the Civil War, Athens was seized by Union forces under the command of Col. John Basil Turchin, a Russian émigré. The resulting pillage and plunder came to be known as the Rape of Athens. Homes were looted and burned, and Union horses were stabled in local churches. The occupation was eased after Turchin’s superiors intervened. [ [ Limestone County Historical Society: Athens Sacked] ]

Athens was the home of Governor George Houston, Alabama’s first post-Reconstruction Democratic governor from 1874 through 1878. Houston was noted for reducing the debts incurred to benefit private railroad speculators and others by his Reconstruction Republican predecessors. [ [ Alabama State Archives: Gov. George S. Houston] ] During Reconstruction, Athens was the home of the Trinity School, a school founded for the children of former slaves by the American Missionary Association. [ [ Limestone County Historical Society: Trinity School] ]

Athens was traditionally a cotton and railroad town, but since the local aerospace boom of the 1950s and 1960s it has increasingly entered the orbit of nearby industry center Huntsville as the area's cotton production has steadily declined.

In 1934, Athens became the first city to get its electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Athens is the home of Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant, a Tennessee Valley Authority installation first operated in 1974, that was once the world's largest nuclear plant. It provides many jobs to the area and most of the electricity for the Huntsville-Decatur Metro Area. On March 22, 1975, the Browns Ferry plant became the scene of what was, with the exception of the Three Mile Island incident, the most serious nuclear accident in United States history. A worker using a candle to check for air leaks started a fire among control wires, causing a temporary threat to operational control of the reactor. [ [ Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Bulletin No. 75-04A: Cable Fire at Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Station] ]


Athens is located at coor dms|34|47|23|N|86|58|10|W|city (34.789602, -86.969424).GR|1

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 39.4 square miles (102.1 km²), of which, 39.3 square miles (101.9 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (0.23%) is water.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 18,967 people, 7,742 households, and 5,140 families residing in the city. The population density was 482.3 people per square mile (186.2/km²). There were 8,449 housing units at an average density of 214.8/sq mi (82.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.72% White, 18.26% Black or African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.71% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.92% from other races, and 0.97% from two or more races. 4.86% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 7,742 households out of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.6% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 89.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city of Athens was $33,980, and the median income for a family was $44,544. Males had a median income of $37,191 versus $22,748 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,315. About 13.7% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.2% of those under age 18 and 16.8% of those age 65 or over.

Health care

* [ Athens-Limestone Hospital] 101 bed facility


* railroad
* (regional/municipal airport)


* [ Athens-Limestone Public Library]
* Athens City Schools
* [ Athens Bible School]
* [ Faith Christian Academy]
*Athens State University


* [ Athens News-Courier] daily newspaper
* [ WKAC 1080 AM]
*WQXD-LP (97.9 FM).

Notable persons from Athens

*Keith Askins, NBA Assistant coach, former player Miami Heat
*Jane Davis, artist
*P. O. Davis, early radio pioneer, agricultural editor and Alabama Cooperative Extension Service educator and administrator
* Sean Hannity, radio talk show host and Fox News Channel commentator
* Paula Laurita, editor with
*Patti J. Malone, former slave, noted mezzo soprano singer
* Kevin Miller, radio talk show host
*Philip Rivers, NFL quarterback, San Diego Chargers
*Gary Redus, former baseball player
*Lee Vickers professional football player for the Baltimore Ravens
*Roger Murrah, songwriter
*Richard Hendrix, NBA


External links

* [ Virtual Tour of Athens]
* [ Athens Municipal Website]
* [ American Memory's Built in America Collection] which has drawings, photographs, and descriptions of old homes and buildings.
* [ Athens-Limestone Public Library]
* [ Institute of Southern Jewish Life's History of Athens]

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