Athens’ Past, Present and Future
If you are coming to Athens for your first time, you will quickly discover that the area is rich in history. Athens officially became a town in December 1806 with a government made up of a three-member commission. The university continued to grow, as did the town, with cotton mills fueling the industrial and commercial development. Athens became known as the "Manchester of the South" after the city in England known for its mills. During the American Civil War, Athens became a significant supply center when the New Orleans armory was relocated to the city. Mayor Henry Beusse was instrumental in the rapid growth of the city after the Civil War, and helped to bring railroads to the region creating growth in many of the surrounding communities. Freed slaves moved to the city. Many were attracted by the new centers for education such as the Freedmen's Bureau. During World War II, the U.S. Navy built new buildings and paved runways to serve as a training facility for naval pilots. In 1954, the U.S. Navy chose Athens as the site for the Navy Supply Corps School. In 1961, Athens witnessed part of the civil rights movement when Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes became the first two black students to enter the University of Georgia. Also noteworthy in history, and despite the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling in 1954, the Athens–Clarke County school district remained segregated until 1964, when Athens High School admitted two African-American students.
Upon your move to Athens, you will quickly discover that the city is very technologically advanced. Athens is home to a growing number of young technology companies including Docebo, Roundsphere, and Cogent Education. The city is also home to more established technology companies such as Partner Software, Peachtree Medical Billing, and Digital Insight. Independent publisher Hill Street Press is headquartered in Athens. Authors with previous, or current, residence in the city include Pulitzer Prize winners Deborah Blum and Edward Larson, as well as Judith Ortiz Cofer, Reginald McKnight and Coleman Barks.
The Culture of Athens
Those looking for an exciting nightlife will not be disappointed after moving to Athens. Athens is known for a bustling music and art scene and all types of artistic expression are encouraged and supported. The Downtown area is the cultural center of the city. Several dozen night clubs host performances of local, regional and national bands and artists. The 40 Watt Club and Georgia Theater are among the most well-known night spots where many bands have made the jump to a larger regional or national stage. The Classic Center is a multi-purpose facility containing a performing arts center, convention space, and banquet halls. It was a filming site for Blue Collar TV.
Shopping is great in Athens. Locally-owned fashion boutiques line the streets, including Encore, Heery's and Cheeky Peach that all include designer brands. Catering to the city's diverse populations, vintage shops like Agora and Cillies offer a variety of unique items. Many of these outlets reflect Athens's status as a university town and a small liberal city. In particular, independent music stores such as the world-famous Wuxtry Records and alternative shops are found along Clayton Street, as well as the Georgia Bulldogs fan shop known as The Red Zone.
If you’re looking to move somewhere with high-quality dining choices, Athens may be your ideal city. From a dining perspective, downtown Athens is home to award-winning restaurants including The Last Resort, Farm 255, and Weaver D's. Five & Ten, a five-star restaurant is known for the famous chef, Hugh Acheson, who was named Best Chef Southeast by the James Beard Foundation and also on Top Chef: Masters.
Athens has a humid subtropical climate, typical of Southeastern United States with long and hot summers transitioning into short and cool winters, but with precipitation being consistently high throughout the year.