Famous landmarks in Athens
Sanford Stadium, home of the University of Georgia Bulldogs, is an Athens landmark. (Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images )
Athens, Georgia, approximately 70 miles east of downtown Atlanta, may be best known as the home of the University of Georgia. Athens is a college town, no doubt, and several of its most notable attractions are on campus. However, visitors to the city itself can experience several historical sites that serve as local landmarks.
City Hall and the Cannon
Athens-Clarke County City Hall sits in the center of town and houses the mayor's office and various city and county offices. Constructed in 1903 of Lexington granite, brick and limestone trimmings, the building is 103 feet wide, 85 feet deep and has a 99-foot-tall wooden tower topped by a copper dome with a bald eagle perched on top. City Hall features distinctive square porches on three sides, with two columns on each end of the porches. On the grounds of City Hall sits a double-barreled cannon, the only one of its kind, that was built at a local foundry in 1863.
The Morton Theatre (mortontheatre.com) in downtown Athens, one of the oldest surviving Vaudeville theaters in the country, opened in 1910 and was restored in the early 1990s. The theater, built by prominent black businessman Monroe Bowers "Pink" Morton, hosted performances by celebrities such as Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Louis Armstrong in its early years before serving as a movie theater in the 1930s. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Morton seats 500 and is still used today for concerts, plays, weddings and other community events.
The Church-Waddel-Brumby House (athenswelcomecenter.com), a Federal-style wooden structure, was constructed in 1820 and is believed to be Athens' oldest residence. The home is open for free tours seven days a week, and serves as a launching site for self-guided tours of Athens' other historic sites, including three other home museums that are also open to the public and landmarks in their own right. The Taylor-Grady House (taylorgradyhouse.com), a circa-1844 Greek Revival home, is the epitome of a Southern mansion. The T.R.R. Cobb House (trrcobbhouse.org) is an 1852 antebellum residence painted a distinctive pastel color, with a columned portico and octagonal wings. The Ware-Lyndon House (athensclarkecounty.com), a circa-1850s home, has Italianate elements; it's now part of the Lyndon House Arts Center complex.
University of Georgia Chapel
This distinctive white chapel lies at the heart of the University of Georgia's Old North Campus. Dedicated in 1832, the chapel has six massive Doric columns and was one of the first Greek Revival structures in Athens. In the chapel's early years, students and faculty attended services three times a week. The chapel still hosts assemblies, concerts and lectures. The chapel's original bell rests atop a wooden tower at the back of the building. The bell still rings after athletic victories and for other special occasions.