The history of Athens reveals a dynamic community centered around a bustling business district. In this section, commerce is organized into eight categories. Services grew as townspeople required them. Postal and banking services were among the first and, of course, they remain. But many may not know that Athens once had its own power and telephone companies, and acquired an electric railway company in 1910. Many of us who grew up in later years didn't realize that building we knew once served other purposes. Perhaps the best examples are three landmarks that we passed daily, all now demolished, that were hotels that accommodated guests to Athens.
During our years we hadn't heard of the Raven Hill Gold Mining Company incorporated in Athens. But we enjoyed several grocery stores, drug stores, and specialty shops. There were several dining options, and sundries such as Jennings and Bradley's that served light lunches and snacks. There was a department store and a jewelry store, dry cleaners, and laundramat. You didn't have to go far to buy an appliance, especially if you were interested in a Maytag. And you had your choice of a Zenith or RCA radio and television.
Many businesses and services from the early days to the present are featured below. We've also included some advertisements, many which appeared in high school and college yearbooks from 1905 - 1960, to help illustrate the relationship of businesses to the community they served.
Innovation, Self-Reliance and Determination Made Athens a Town
Advertisements in school yearbooks and local publications reflected commerce in Athens over the years. In 1960 the yearbooks stopped using advertisements to fund the publications but many businesses in Athens were loyal and regular supporters of local schools for over half a century. In this section you may quickly review the ads which appeared from 1905 until 1960. Read more...