Discovering Athens Texas
When most people think of Athens, they do not think of the town that is located in East Texas but the one in Greece filled with lots of history, bright blue water, stark white buildings and incredible food and a part of every culture in the world.
So, come down the road with me to take a look at Athens, Texas. Athens is 27 miles South of Interstate 20 at the Junction of State Highway 31 and 19 and is 73 miles Southeast of Dallas on Highway 175. It is the County seat of Henderson County!
Athens is a quaint rather relaxed town. It is a perfect place for the weekend traveler and outdoor enthusiasts alike who consider the surrounding countryside and lakes the perfect playground for their outdoor activities like fishing, hiking and exploring. There are eclectic galleries and shops to peruse as well. Athens has something for everyone and every age!!
The founding people of Athens are E. J. Thompson and Mrs Dull Averiette. These two families knew that East Texas needed a town like Athens. Thompson was the County Clerk of Henderson County and is credited with being the first citizen of Athens. Mrs. Dull Averiette named Athens in honor of Athens Greece. She was determined that Culture needed to be at the forefront of the East Texas area. She felt the town would be the cultural center of the county!! It has not disappointed the townspeople.
The Cultural Center (Athens) is nationally acknowledged as “The Home of Original Hamburger” and is also home to the Annual Texas Fiddlers Contest and Reunion, the oldest such event in the U.S..and the Black Eyed Pea Capital of the World!
According to Athens history, there is more cultural here that has not only affected the area but the entire world. Let’s look at the story of J. B. Henry – a local farmer who, when faced with losing his entire crop to weevils devised a way to preserve black-eyed peas that is still used today. As a result of his achievements, Athens eventually became home to two canning factories focusing solely on black-eyed pea production. In 1971, the town capitalized on the success of the industry by introducing the Black-Eyed Pea Jamboree – one of the first heritage festivals on the scene.
Then, there’s Fletcher Davis – a potter living in Athens who is credited for introducing us all to that beloved American sandwich – the hamburger. Uncle “Fletch” as he was known ran a little lunch counter on the courthouse square providing sandwiches to hungry workers. In 1904, the townsfolk pooled their resources and sent him off to the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri where he introduced the sandwich to the public at large. While at least three other towns lay claim to being the birthplace of this gastric creation, only Athens has been recognized by McDonald’s University as the home of the original hamburger.
Lastly there are 65 historic markers dispersed throughout the town, and in the county.
Take a look at a video of Athens!! You will want to visit this Cultural Center of East Texas. Just as Mrs. Dull Averiette desired it to be!You will take the culture of the area back home with you!!
Join me tomorrow as we travel to Bethlehem!!