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ATHENS, TEXAS

Henderson County Seat, East Texas

27 miles S of I-20
Junction of State Hwy 31 and 19,
73 miles SE of Dallas on US Hwy 175
Population: 12, 896 (2010)

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Athens TX
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2011
Historical Marker:

Athens

Founded 1850. Named for Athens, Greece. Supply and military training headquarters during Civil War. Sent army about 1,000 men. Center for manufacturing and agriculture. Home of annual Old Fiddlers' Contest and of Henderson County Junior College. Black-eyed peas capital of the world.
1964

Athens: Where the hamburger was invented

(From "East Texas Sunday Drives" by Bob Bowman)
Here's a Sunday Drive that will clear up the origin of the hamburger, carry you through a countryside that is half-
East Texas and half-Central Texas, and enable you to visit several communties with interesting histories. For good measure, we've thrown in a couple of excellent Mexican food restaurants.

Start your tour in Athens, home of the hamburger and the world-famous black-eyed festival.

The hamburger had its beginning on Athens' interesting courthouse square in the 1880s when Fletcher Davis, who owned a downtown cafe, invented the sandwich. The delicacy was so popular that in 1904 a group of Athens businessmen raised enough money to send the inventor to the St. Louis World's Fair, where the hamburger was introduced to the world.

For many years, the growing, processing, canning and eating of black-eyed peas was a major part of life in Athens--so much so that Athens became the black-eyed pea capitol of the world, eventually spawing an annual jamboree each July.

Athens, the seat of Henderson County, was founded in l850, four years after Texas was annexed as a state by the U.S. The county was named for J. Pickney Henderson, the first governor of Texas, and Athens was named for the Grecian capital by the step-daugher of one of the town's founders in the hope that it could become the cultural center of Henderson County.

There are a number of things to see in Athens, including....more

Athens Hotels > Book Here

Athens Landmarks/Attractions/Images
Athens Texas - Henderson County courthouse
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2011
Henderson County Courthouse
  • Henderson County Historical Museum
    217 N. Prairieville Street
  • East Texas Arboretum & Botanical Society
    100 Acres of trails and paths, including a Bluebird trail.
    On Patterson Road off Highway 175
  • Purtis Creek Recreational Area
    A 1500 acre park including Purtis Creek Lake
    12 miles North of town on FM 316
    Camping, hiking, fishing and boating.
  • Cedar Creek Reservoir
    Between US 175 and Texas 274
    15 miles west of Athens
  • Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
    5550 Flat Creek Road. 903-676-2277
    Open Tuesday through Saturday 9 to 4 Sundays 1 -4
    An unusual opportunity to see every species of Texas freshwater fish in their natural habitat. Exhibits of record fish, largest largemouth bass in captivity and a casting pond stocked with rainbow trout and channel catfish.
  • Athens Hotels > Book Here
  • Athens TX - Faulk-Gauntt Building
    Henderson County Historical Museum
    Faulk-Gauntt Building
    217 N. Prairieville St., NW of the courthouse.
    Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1981

    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2011
    Athens TX - Faulk-Gauntt Building Historical Marker
    Faulk-Gauntt Building historical marker.
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2011
    Athens TX - 1896 Faulk & Gauntt Building
    1896 Faulk & Gauntt
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2011
    See Texas Architecture | More Pitted Dates
    Athens TX Henderson County Jail

    The brick and concrete Henderson County jail
    was completed in 1925 and used until 1991.

    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2006
    More Texas Jails

    Athens TX - First Baptist Church
    First Baptist Church
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2011
    Athens TX - First Presbyterian Church
    First Presbyterian Church
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2011
    Baptist Church, Athen Texas old postcard
    Baptist Church
    1915 Postcard courtesy courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
    More Texas Churches
    Athens TX - Texan Theater
    Texan Theater
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2011
    More Texas Theaters
    Athens TX Train Depot Mural by Charlie Bullock
    Depot mural by Charlie Bullock
    Photo courtesy Byron Browne, April 2009
    More Texas Murals
    Athens Chronicles
  • High Sheriff of Henderson County by Archie P. McDonald
    Old time East Texans refer to some of their revered and feared lawmen as the "high sheriff,"... in Henderson County, the legend was Jess Sweeten.
  • The Old Fiddler by Bob Bowman
    Way back in the l930s, Henderson County storekeeper John Hatton leaped from obscurity into statewide prominence when Athens started its annual Old Fiddlers Reunion.
  • Newspaper Death by Mike Cox
    The Athenian of East Texas
  • Days of Whine, Bear Grass, Nettles and Burrs by Dorothy Hamm
  • Charlie Bullock: “Art’s a luxury” by Byron Browne
  • Nearby Destinations - Worth a Drive
  • See Henderson County
  • Hwy 19: N 25 miles to Canton, or
  • Hwy 19: S 36 miles to Palestine.
  • Hwy 31: E 36 miles to Tyler, or
  • Hwy 31: W 37 miles to Corsicana via Malakoff, Trinidad & Kerens.
  • Book Hotel Here : Athens Hotels

    Athens Tourist Information
    Athens Visitor Initiative Program
    124 North Palestine, Athens, TX75751
    903-677-0775 or 1-888-294-AVIP
    Website: www.athenstx.org

    Athens Hotels > Book Here
  • Athens Texas courthouse square
    Athens courthouse square
    Photo courtesy THC

    Athens, Texas Area Towns:
    See Henderson County
    Dallas
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