Athens, Illinois, USA
Created | Updated Jan 28, 2002
A small farming town of approximately 1,400 people, Athens is quirky in that it is pronounced 'Ay-thens', unlike its Greek namesake. The population of Athens is made up mostly of wannabe cowboys. The town has one secondary school, several churches, two petrol stations and three bars. Of these, the bars are the most popular.
Main Street in Athens can be a popular place in the evenings. When it gets crowded, there can sometimes be two, or even three cars 'cruising the strip', driving back and forth down Main Street, a trip which takes approximately 45 seconds driving at the speed limit. It is not uncommon to see someone riding a lawn mower down Main Street, and not just during the summer.
Land of Lincoln
Athens' biggest claim to fame is the fact that Abraham Lincoln, of US$5 bill notoriety, used to live in the area. A few miles down the road from Athens is New Salem, a restored 'Lincoln era' town, and Athens is very proud of its Long Nine Museum, a run-down old house with some old Lincolnesque stuff in it, and a sign outside that says 'Long Nine'.
Don't. There is nothing to do in Athens. The most common pastimes of the unfortunate souls living in the town are driving trucks through mud and drinking beer, or more likely a combination of the two.
If circumstances conspire such that you are required to go to Athens, don't be afraid. Most of the people are quite friendly. It's just generally not a good idea to, say, be on the Springfield/Athens blacktop late Friday night unless you are familiar with the driving habits of drunk Athenians.