Like many towns in Alabama, Athens was occupied by Union troops during the Civil War. In fact, it was the first town in the state to be occupied. It also holds the distinction of being the first town to receive electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1934.
Today, and for nearly 200 years, education has been at the core of the community. Athens State University dates back to the early 1800s, making it the oldest in Alabama. Excellent examples of beautiful Greek Revival architecture dot the campus, providing a beautiful backdrop for one of the most unique events in the state, the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers' Convention. Every October the campus fills with lively music of not just the fiddle- but the mandolin, banjo and guitar as well. Dancing, singing, crafts and food compliment the event. The convention culminates with the naming of the prestigious Tennessee Valley Fiddle King.
While Athens is certainly influenced by Athens State University, visitors will happily discover that it is much more than a "college town." Its quaint tree-lined streets and wonderfully maintained Greek Revival homes offer the feeling of serenity. Its location to the much larger cities of Decatur (less than 20 miles) and Huntsville (about 30 miles) make Athens a nice base for exploration of northern Alabama.
Athens is located about one mile west of Interstate 65, just north of US Highway 72, in the center of northern Alabama. Athens is just 15 miles south of the Tennessee state line.