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Athens Ohio

The city of Athens Ohio is home to the main campus of Ohio University. This institution is not only one of the largest colleges in Ohio, it is also the biggest employer in Athens County. That being said, Athens Ohio has a rich history and culture that extends beyond it being a university town.

Located along the Hocking River, Athens was first settled in 1797 and built its reputation on salt mining, coal mining, and iron production. A small city, Athens has less than 10,000 permanent residents and did not earn official city status until 1912. However, during the 1960's, when fear of nuclear attack was at its peak, Athens was selected as the alternate state Capital of Ohio and, in case of emergency, all government activity would then be centered in Athens.

Athens has earned a reputation throughout Ohio as a haunted city. This fact was noted in the Fox special "World's Scariest Places" in which the city was featured. Much of this lore revolves around the remains of the Athens Lunatic Asylum. This set of buildings opened in 1874 and still stand today as a disturbing reminder of the city's past.

On a lighter note, the town in home to one of the largest block party gatherings in the nation. Every Holloween 20,000-30,000 costumed people from all around Ohio flood the streets of Athens for an entire night of food, dancing, and celebration.

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