A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 09, 2008
Athens of Texas (nickname of many Texas cities)

Athens, Greece, in the classical period was widely known as a city of arts and learning. Boston, Massachusetts, was called the “Athens of America” in the early 1800s. Many cities thoroughout the United States have attempted to compare themselves to ancient Athens, Greece.
Athens, Texas, was named in the 1850s, but that hasn’t stopped many other Texas cities from claiming to be the true “Athens of Texas.” Cities claiming at one time to be the “Athens of Texas” include Austin, Independence, Larissa, Marshall, Seguin, Sherman, Tyler, and Waco.
Wikipedia: Athens of Texas
The Athens of Texas is a nickname that has been coined to describe several cities in Texas including:
. Marshall, Texas
. Sherman, Texas
. Waco, Texas
Athens, Texas is a city in Northeast Texas.
Wikipedia: Athens
Athens, the capital and largest city of Greece, dominates the Attica periphery: as one of the world’s oldest cities, its recorded history spans at least 3,000 years.
The Greek capital has a population of 745,514 (in 2001) within its administrative limits and a land area of 39 km² (15 sq mi). The urban area of Athens extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3.37 million (in 2005). The area of Athens prefecture spans 412 km² (159 sq mi) and encompasses a population of 3,192,606. The Athens Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) is the 8th most populated LUZ in the European Union with a population of 3,894,573 (in 2001). A bustling and cosmopolitan metropolis, Athens is central to economic, financial, industrial, political and cultural life in Greece. It is rapidly becoming a leading business centre in the European Union. In 2008, Athens was ranked the world’s 32nd-richest city in a UBS study.
Classical Athens was a powerful city-state. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum, Athens was also the birthplace of Socrates, Pericles, Sophocles and its many other prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of the ancient world. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then known European continent.
The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by a number of ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon on the Acropolis, widely considered a key landmark of early Western civilization.
Wikipedia: Athens, Texas
Athens is a city in Henderson County, Texas, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 11,297. It is the county seat of Henderson County. According to the Texas Legislature, Athens is the “Original Home of the Hamburger”. The city also calls itself the “Black-Eyed Pea Capital of the World”, due to their annual black-eyed pea festival.
Handbook of Texas Online
ATHENS, TEXAS. Athens, the “Black-Eyed Pea Capital of the World,” is located thirty-five miles west of Tyler on State highways 19 and 31 and U.S. Highway 175 at the center of Henderson County. The county seat of Henderson County was first Buffalo (1846), then Centerville by election (1848), and finally Athens (1850); neither of the first two county seats was within the new county boundaries delineated in 1850. The earliest settlers, E. J. Thompson and Joab McManus, arrived early in 1850. Matthew Cartwright donated 160 acres for a county seat, and the commissioners had Samuel Huffer survey the streets, the city square, and 112 lots. The district court first met in October 1850 under an oak in the square, with Oran Milo Roberts presiding. The first courthouse, a sixty-five-dollar log building, was ready the next month. A jail of hewn logs was built in 1856 on the same site and cost $500. Dulcina A. Holland suggested the name Athens, hoping that the town would become a cultural center.
By 1855 a Presbyterian congregation was organized, Joab McManus ran a hotel, E. A. Carroll had a store, and the Masonic lodge had been built. Athens was first incorporated in 1856, and a mayor and city marshall were elected in 1874; but the town, in one historian’s words, “never moved a peg” until 1900. There were no improved streets or sidewalks, weeds covered the square, and the few houses were unpainted.
Wikipedia: Sherman, Texas
Sherman is a city in Grayson County, Texas, United States. The population was 35,082 at the 2000 census. The population had increased to an estimated 37,710 in July 2007. It is the county seat of Grayson County. It is also one of two principal cities in the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Travel Texas
Region: Prairies and Lakes
Established as county seat when Grayson County organized in 1846. First laid out a short distance west of present location, but because of scarce firewood and water, moved to present site in 1848. City named after Gen. Sidney Sherman, the Republic of Texas cavalry officer credited with the famous slogan, “Remember the Alamo!” Early establishment of several colleges, as well as a drama club, earned Sherman title of “Athens of Texas.”
Wikipedia: Marshall, Texas
Marshall is a city of the northeastern region of the U.S. state of Texas. It is a major cultural and educational center in East Texas, and the multi-state Ark-La-Tex region. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the population of Marshall was 23,935. It is the county seat of Harrison County.
The city was a political and production center of the Confederacy during the Civil War, and was a major railroad center of the T&P Railroad from the late 19th century until the mid-20th century. The city’s large African American population and the presence of black institutions of higher learning made Marshall a center of the civil rights movement in the South. The city is known for holding one of the largest light festivals in the United States, the Wonderland of Lights, and, as the self-proclaimed Pottery Capital of the World, for its sizable pottery industry.
Marshall is also referred to by various nicknames; the Cultural Capital of East Texas, the Gateway of Texas, the Athens of Texas, and the City of Seven Flags.
Athens of Texas
Wikipedia: Waco, Texas
Waco (pronounced /ˈweɪkoʊ/) is a city in and the county seat of McLennan County, Texas. The city has a 2005 estimated total population of 120,465. It is the 26th largest city by population in Texas, and 195th in the US. The Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of McLennan County and has a population of 226,189. It is served by Waco Regional Airport.
The city is the fly-in point for George W. Bush for his visits to his Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas and support personnel and reporters stay in the city’s hotels. It is the home of Baylor University. The Dr Pepper soft drink (originally referred to as “Waco”) was established there.
Handbook of Texas Online
WACO, TEXAS. Waco is in central McLennan County about seventy miles south of Dallas near the confluence of the Brazos and Bosque rivers.
Even as Waco became an increasingly important commercial center, during the late nineteenth century the city also attracted a number of educational institutions and in some circles was known as the “Athens of Texas.” Waco Classical School, established in 1860, became Waco University in 1861 and in 1887 merged with Baylor University, which moved to Waco at that time
Wikipedia: Independence, Texas
Independence is an unincorporated community in Washington County, Texas, United States. Located twelve miles northeast of Brenham, it was founded in 1835, and it is the original location of Baylor University and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Some of the features of Independence are: the Texas Baptist Historical Center, the home of Judge Coles, Baylor College Park, Old Independence Cemetery, the Margaret Houston House and Houston-Lea Family Cemetery. President Sam Houston was a well known member of the Independence Baptist Church. President Houston was baptized in Independence in 1854 and his wife, Margaret Moffette Lea, is buried there.
Independence, Texas
Founded in 1823 as Coles Settlement, the town was renamed in 1836 in honor of the March 2nd Declaration of Independence. Known as the “Athens of Texas,” it was an early center of education, culture, and religion. The ruins of Baylor College still stand here. Chartered as an institution of higher learning for men and women by the Baptist Church in 1845, it was moved to Waco in 1887.
The Independence Baptist Church, founded in 1839, is the oldest Baptist congregation still in existence. It was here when Sam Houston converted to the Baptist faith and was baptized by Dr. Rufus Burleson in the waters of nearby Rocky Creek.
Texas Tripper
Seguin, Texas Travel Guide
Once called “The Concrete City” and later the “Athens of Texas,” Seguin (pronounced “se-GEEN”) was the home of a 19th century chemist who held several of the first patents on the production of concrete. His invention was used to construct over 90 area buildings, many still seen downtown.

Texas Ghost Town
NAME: Larissa
COUNTY: Cherokee
CLIMATE: Warm winter, hot summer
BEST TIME TO VISIT:Winter, spring, fall COMMENTS: One of the early cultural centers of Texas.
REMAINS: Unknown.
A family from Alabama first settled Larissa in 1837. The family was Isaac Killough and his wife and the families of his four sons and two daughters. While harvesting their crops, a Cherokee war party swept down on the settlement and killed or carried away most of the family—eighteen men, women and children. The settlement did not come back to life until 1846 when a group from Tennessee led by a Thomas H. McKee moved into the area formerly occupied by the Killough family. The following year, Mckee laid out a townsite and named it Larissa after a Greek center of learning. That Larissa became known as “The Athens of Texas” was a result of establishing the educational institution named the Larissa Academy. In time, the Academy became Larissa College and was one of the centers for higher education in Texas. The school was closed during the Civil War and reopened after the war but never regained its former stature.
14 October 1837, Houston (TX) Telegraph, “Geography of Texas - Nacogdoches County,” pg. 2:
These circumstances and many others that might be adduced, strongly indicate this portion of country as the one in which the future “Athens” of Texas will be located.
4 September 1879, New Haven (CT) Register, pg. 2:
Houston has a perfect right to call itself the Athens of Texas. Ten thousand mules change hands there every year.—Detroit Free Press. They had rather “bunch the pack” than to change heels.
9 January 1886, Texas Siftings (Austin, TX), pg. 5:
In spite of the University, Austin is destined to become the Athens of Texas, a title claimed by the town of Waco.
N.B.—Wonder if Athens was ever called the Waco of Greece?
24 December 1887, Dallas (TX) Weekly Herald, pg. 1:
The Athens of Texas;
Sends Greeting to the World.
Population 13,000.
Connected With All Trunk Lines Leading to the State.
The Heart of the Northern Cotton belt.
The Garden Centre of the State.
11 January 1888, San Jose (CA) Mercury News, “The Athens of Texas,” pg. 2:
“Is there much interest taken here in literary matters?” asked a newly arrived stranger of Col. Percy Yerger.
“I should say. Why, sir, Austin is the Athens of Texas.”
“Well, I should snicker to say she was. Hardly a day passes that some citizen of Austin is not fined for chasing a book agent out of his yard with a shotgun or a coon dog.”—Texas Siftings.
7 November 1891, Dallas (TX) Morning News, pg. 3:
The anvils boomed and the band played until the train was out of hearing, when the crowd dispersed, feeling happy over the consummation of rail connections with the “Athens of Texas.” (Waco—ed.)
10 July 1892, Dallas (TX) Morning News, pg. 12:
Dallas is moving toward a position where it will merit the name of Athens of Texas.
27 December 1892, Dallas (TX) Morning News, pg. 4:
The Waco News says:
Waco deserves to be called the Athens of Texas. It is in the heart of a splendid farming section and enjoys a splendid trade.
6 July 1895, Dallas (TX) Morning News, pg. 4:
Sherman as a Railroad Center, Com-
mercial Market, Manufactur-
ing and Educational City.

6 December 1895, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Sherman Siftings,” pg. 5:
In an educational point of view Sherman is widely and justly known throughout the United States as the Athens of Texas. Her public school system is excellently managed, being under the supervision of a board of school trustees. Of her private educational institutions the Sherman institute, the North Texas female college and conservatory of music, the Carr-Burdette Christian college, the Austin college, St. Joseph’s academy, Mahan’s commercial college, Sherman private school, are more important ones.
23 July 1899, Dallas (TX) Morning News, pg. 8:
I left this resort the other day and have since ridden on horseback to Tyler, a town which is called “the Athens of Texas” by its own people.
19 August 1899, Dallas (TX) Morning News, pg. 6:
And it will not be the fault of the Waco newspapers. They have left nothing undone to advertise the town. Twenty years ago they boasted that she was the “Athens of Texas.” Then they expected her to become a city because of the refinement of her citizens. An artesian well was bored and then their thoughts turned to manufacturing and she was called the “Artesian city.” Now she is the “gem of Central Texas.” No town in the state has ever been advertised and pushed more by its newspapers than Waco.
28 August 1901, Dallas (TX) Morning News pg. 6:
Sherman Democrat: Sherman is the Athens of Texas. That should be another point in her favor when the selection of a site for the Girls’ Industrial School is made.
If the Waco Times-Herald is not too busy in its labor of skinning minks it might pay some attention to the pretensions of Sherman. There is but one Athens. Where is it?
16 May 1906, Dallas (TX) Morning News, pg. 6:
...and an excellent presentation of facts regarding the city of Marshall, which is set down as the “Athens of Texas.”
11 May 1930, New York (NY) Times, pg. 1:
SHERMAN, Texas, May 10.—Following a day and a night of mob rule and vandalism in which the $60,000 county court house was destroyed and a Negro, about to be tried, was taken dead from its ruins, dragged about the streets and burned, the National Guard attacked and besieged and homes and stores in the Negro quarter burned and wrecked, this city, known as the “Athens of Texas,” is now under martial law.
20 March 1933, New York (NY) Times, pg. C14:
In name Smith County of Northeastern Texas has no such historical, heroic and euphonious splendor as attaches to Deaf Smith County in the Panhandle; and yet there are those, even among the outlanders, who love it. Tyler, the county seat, has a college and used to be known as “the Athens of Texas.”
15 December 1957, New York (NY) Times, book review, pg. 257:
Waco was a sort of “Athens of Texas.” It had a Roman Catholic academy, a college for Negroes and the great Baptist school, Baylor University.
MySA.com blogs - Roy Bragg
November 06, 2007
Satan Tonio welcomes you
Then there’s Marshall, which claims to be “The Athens of Texas.” What does that mean to Athens, Texas, which is the real “Athens of Texas?” I see another East Texas municipal beatdown on the horizon.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Saturday, August 09, 2008 • Permalink

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