History of Athens by Frances Thomas

A Portrait of Historic Athens and Clarke County

A Portrait of Historic Athens and Clarke County is a comprehensive account of the history of Athens, Georgia, from its beginnings to the present day. The book covers settlement patterns, key events, institutions, architecture, landscape, economics, and the highly distinctive personalities that have molded Athens into what it is today. The author emphasizes the coevolution of Athens’s natural and built environments into one of the modern South’s most dynamic small cities.

The book includes two new sections of color photographs as well as a comprehensive new chapter tracing the milestones that led town and gown into the twenty-first century. Topics include the emerging cultural importance of the Classic Center; restoration and revitalization of many historic sites; vast building projects under two presidents of the University of Georgia; the progression of the greenway along the North Oconee River; and initiatives to address rising poverty rates within the county.

What I Liked

I found this book to be fascinating – but mainly because of my personal connection to Athens (I lived there and have family there) and I graduated from the University of Georgia. I loved the detail, historical maps, and photographs. I also liked how much she drew an arrow between the University and the city.

What I Did Not Like

It’s extremely detailed and has an an academic bent. It’s a bit boring if you don’t have a connection to the city or university.

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