|Athens State University|
|Home of the Annual Old Time Fiddlers Convention|
Located in Athens, Alabama, Athens State University is the oldest schoolhouse in Alabama. It was founded in 1822. It has over 1200 teachers and is the largest school of education in the state. This two-year college is unique. Whereas most two-year universities offer the first two years of a degree, Athens State University offers the last two years in a four-year degree program. This is where community college students go to finish out their education.
Athens State University started out as an ecumenical female academy. In 1942, the Methodist conference took over the school and built Founders Hall (pictured below). Three crystal chandeliers from the Andrew Carnegie estate light up the parlor in Founders Hall, now popular for receptions and weddings. Above the parlor is the chapel with its unique New and Old Testament tulip wood carvings by Eunice McDonnald Meadows, class of 1912. The remainder of the building is now business offices and classrooms.
In 1975, the Methodist church ceded the college over to the state of Alabama. The Maclin/Hobbs family gave five acres of "sturdy oaks and tulip poplars" for the university. Dr. Jerry Franklin Bartlett has been President of the University since 1991 to present. The current university is now co-ed.
The campus includes Brown Hall (built in 1909), McCandless Hall--a showcase for fine arts (built 1912, pictured below far right, second row), Sanders Hall (1924-26), Naylor Hall (1948), Waters Hall (1957), McCain Hall (1962), the Carter Physical Education Center (1965) and the Sandridge Student Center (1967). Groundbreaking in February 1995 for the Athens State University Library led to the opening of the library in 1996. The bulk of the financing for this majestic building was from private gifts. The library is a state of the arts facility and is electronically connected to 17 northern Alabama libraries.
This beautiful campus at Athens State University comes alive during the first full weekend of October each year when they host the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers' Convention. "The back campus is filled with a craft fair, the front campus with the contest, and the courtyard with impromptu combos of cheerful music." Athens State University is a great place to visit and a wonderful compliment to the education system in the state of Alabama.
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©2003 Jean Brandau, licensed