Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Athens, TX. Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. Athens Eggfest. Fiddler’s Contest. Go Texan Spring Show. Outdoor Fools Day. Balzac Botches Publicity Stunt. Nevada Legalizes Gambling. War in Iraq.


For “Travel Tuesday”, let’s visit Athens, TX.

#Region.R_Description#“Athens is located in The Texas Prairies and Lakes Region which offers a wide variety of destinations & attractions, from the fast-paced cosmopolitan excitement of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex with the best in shopping, dining & entertainment, to the beautiful lakes & laid-back country lifestyles found throughout the region. Discover the Excitement of the Texas Prairies & Lakes.”

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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 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.

The early years witnessed a pottery (Levi S. Cogburn, 1857), a brick plant (H. M. Morrison, 1882), a cotton gin, a cottonseed oil mill, a compress, a newspaper (1873), the arrival of the Cotton Belt (1880) and Texas and New Orleans (1900) railroads, a bank (1887), and a telephone company (1901). In 1901 Athens was reincorporated, and newly elected city officials began building roads. From 177 people in 1859, Athens grew to 1,500 in 1890 and 4,765 in 1940.

Cotton was the major agricultural crop until the 1930s. During the Great Depression farmers shifted to livestock and vegetable production. Oil and gas exploration in the region began in 1928, and some production occurred in the 1940s. In the 1950s Athens had a furniture plant, an electronics manufacturer, an apparel manufacturer, and a cannery. In the 1980s the town businesses included three banks, two savings and loans, oil, gas, and clay production, and manufacturers of televisions, clothing, bricks, steel buildings, mobile homes, medical supplies, boats, and bridge bearing pads.

Corn, cotton, tomatoes, and black-eyed peas were once raised in the area, but agricultural revenue in the 1980s came principally from livestock, hay, and nurseries. The town had forty-two churches, a radio station (KBUD), a newspaper (the Athens Review, since 1885), and a library. Athens had grown to 10,967 people in 1990. By 2000 the population was 11,297. The Old Fiddlers Reunion in May and the Black-Eyed Pea Jamboree in July attracted crowds of visitors. In the fall 1990 semester Trinity Valley Community College, which was founded in Athens in 1946, enrolled more than 4,460 students. For recreation the town offers parks, a YMCA, swimming, golf, tennis, a theater, and Lake Athens.

Panel Image: Lake Athens 1Lake Athens, formerly known as Flat Creek Reservoir, is on Flat Creek in the Neches River basin eight miles east of Athens in Henderson County.  While fishermen are hooked on the catfish, crappie, white bass and sunfish in 1,799-acre LAKE ATHENS, the lake is most popular for black bass fishing. imagesCAC0OC8R

With underwater visibility of up to 70 feet, there’s no telling what you might see in the 7.5 acre spring-fed lake at ATHENS SCUBA PARK.


Texas Farm Pond Exhibit

The Texas Farm Pond exhibit is a favorite at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center!  Catch some memories at the TEXAS - Texas’ premier aquatic nature center and hatchery. Tour the visitor’s center and discover life under the water of Texas streams, ponds, and lakes as you’ve never seen it before.




















“The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens will host the third annual Athens Eggfest on April 13. Described as "the ultimate tailgate cookout" and a "tasting frenzy," participants whip up tasty foods in ceramic cookers.”




Athens - Home of the Hamburger!

“Surrounded by lush forests, Athens’ natural beauty provides a strong base for attractions promoting eco-tourism.

Only 75 miles southeast of Dallas/Fort Worth, Athens, Texas combines the charm of a small southern town with many amenities offered by larger cities. Its rolling hills, lakes and streams, make Athens a favorite getaway for hiking, biking, fishing, boating, antiquing, or just relaxing.

East Texas Arboretum

Take a stroll in the colorful gardens of the East Texas Arboretum

The EAST TEXAS ARBORETUM offers year-round natural beauty. Enjoy a hike on the walking trails or meander through the colorful gardens.

  • 85 acres comprise the beautiful CAIN PARK and provide a wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities including tennis courts, two fishing ponds, and a walking/hiking trail. Inside CAIN CENTER, you’ll find a wealth of fitness opportunities.  

    Zipline Adventures

    NY-TX Zipline Adventures

Soar through the skies on 6 different zip lines with beautiful panoramic views of the countryside at NY-TX ZIPLINE ADVENTURES.

The HENDERSON COUNTY FAIR PARK offers rodeos, horse shows, cowboy concerts, and much more! Something is going on virtually every weekend!

imagesCAJ519U9 Visit the oldest winery in Henderson County, established in 2004, TARA VINEYARD & WINERY is a full service winery and offers premium wines available for tastings.

Consider a day of shopping in a variety of specialty stores and unique gifts and antique shops.  Or, perhaps enjoy a leisurely meal in one of our culturally diverse restaurants.
Speaking of food, have you heard about our flavorful past? That All-American icon - the hamburger - is said to have originated in Athens. That’s right, even McDonald’s University says so! “Uncle” Fletcher Davis introduced his wonderful new sandwich at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, and it has since imagesCACRL2Y1become an American favorite. 

Another culinary favorite has its roots in Athens as well - the humble cow-pea, also known as the black-eyed pea. As a matter of fact, the legume was so popular that in 1971, Texas Legislature proclaimed the town the “Black-Eyed Pea Capital of the World.” For more on early life in Athens, be sure to visit the HENDERSON COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM.”


Athens Old Fiddlers Reunion

Fri May 31, 2013 7:00 PM to 10:30 PM and Sat Jun 1, 2013 9:00 AM to 12:00 AM


Fiddlers Statue in Courthouse Square, Athens.  This cute bronze character was sculptured by Albert Stewart and was erected for the Sesquicentennial Project 1839-1986. The statue is in dedication to the Athens Fiddlers Association. This style of music once brought courage to the starving troops at Valley Forge and was also an admired instrument of great men such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.

“Athens is home to the Annual Texas Fiddlers Contest and Reunion, the oldest such event in the U.S.

Panel Image: Fiddler's Reunion 1The big attraction is the Fiddlers Contest, which is broken down into 5 divisions, Senior Ages 66 & over, Adult Ages 30-65, Young Adult Ages 19-29, Youth Ages 18 & Under and the Open Division which is All Ages. There will be a playoff between the 1st place winners of each of the five divisions. This will be the Grand Champion and this person will get a Grand Prize of $600.00, in addition to the $200.00 which he or she has already won by being the 1st place winner of his/her division.

At 6:00 p.m., there will be an Acoustic Guitar Picking Competition for all ages. The Fiddlers Contest will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, June 1st and will run throughout the day. Beginning at 8:00 p.m., there will be a country western band with professional musicians playing until Midnight for the famous Street Dance.

Panel Image: Fiddler's Reunion 2On Friday night, before the Fiddlers Contest, a Jam Session will take place on the courthouse lawn at 7:00 p.m. There will be concession stands along the sidewalks, and a carnival will be set up just off the Courthouse Square.”




Go Texan Spring Show, Apr 5-7, 2013 

imagesCAZ5KYDP “The Spring Show is hosted each year the first weekend in April and is a fundraiser for the Henderson County Go Texan Committee for the scholarship fund.  Those scholarships go to Henderson County youth who are actively involved in FFA or 4-H.

The Spring Show begins at 8 a.m. each day and concludes once all classes are completed. Each day is a separate show.

Please click here to download the event flyer for more information. Admission is free to the public.”


Outdoor Fools Day, 2013, Sat Apr 6, 2013 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Panel Image: Outdoor Fools DayPanel Image: Outdoor Fools Day snake show

“Learn a variety of outdoor skills and engage in activities such as archery, fishing and kayaking.  Members of various divisions of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and representatives of conservation groups and outdoor businesses will lead hands-on activities that will make you a better camper, angler and hunter.

This annual event will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and all activities are free with regular paid admission.  At Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center”


I hope you enjoyed your trip to Athens, TX.


On this Day:

Balzac botches a publicity stunt, Mar 19, 1842:

“French writer Honore de Balzac's play Les Ressources de Quinola opens to an empty house thanks to a failed publicity stunt on this day in 1842. Hoping to create a buzz for the play, the writer circulated a rumor that tickets were sold out. Unfortunately, most of his fans stayed home.

By this time, Balzac was already a well-known literary figure. Born in Tours, France, Balzac was educated in Paris, where he started writing plays at the age of 20 while working as a lawyer's apprentice. His plays bombed, and he took to writing thrillers under an assumed name. Needing money, he launched disastrous ventures in printing and silver mining and went bankrupt. While struggling under his debts, he resumed writing, and by 1929 he was publishing under his own name, convinced he was a genius. By 1830, he had become a celebrated writer who frequented literary salons. Balzac drove himself ruthlessly, working 14 to 16 hours at a stretch, aided by some 50 cups of coffee a day. He completed 90 novels, all part of a single series, "La Comedie Humaine," and died in Paris in 1850.”


Nevada legalizes gambling, Mar 19, 1931:

“In an attempt to lift the state out of the hard times of the Great Depression, the Nevada state legislature votes to legalize gambling.

Located in the Great Basin desert, few settlers chose to live in Nevada after the United States acquired the territory at the end of the Mexican War in 1848. In 1859, the discovery of the "Comstock Lode" of gold and silver spurred the first substantial number of settlers into Nevada to exploit the territory's mining opportunities. Five years later, during the Civil War, Nevada was hastily made the 36th state in order to strengthen the Union.

At the beginning of the Depression, Nevada's mines were in decline, and its economy was in shambles. In March 1931, Nevada's state legislature responded to population flight by taking the drastic measure of legalizing gambling and, later in the year, divorce. Established in 1905, Las Vegas, Nevada, has since become the gambling and entertainment capital of the world, famous for its casinos, nightclubs, and sporting events. In the first few decades after the legalization of gambling, organized crime flourished in Las Vegas. Today, state gambling taxes account for the lion's share of Nevada's overall tax revenues.”


War in Iraq begins, Mar 19, 2003:

“On this day in 2003, the United States, along with coalition forces primarily from the United Kingdom, initiates war on Iraq. Just after explosions began to rock Baghdad, Iraq's capital, U.S. President George W. Bush announced in a televised address, "At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger." President Bush and his advisors built much of their case for war on the idea that Iraq, under dictator Saddam Hussein, possessed or was in the process of building weapons of mass destruction. (WMD)

In a January 2002 speech, Bush identified Iraq as one of several "rogue nations" that financed or trained terrorists. In addition, the Bush administration pointed to now-disputed intelligence that seemed to indicate that Iraq was negotiating with Niger to purchase vast quantities of uranium yellowcake (a product associated with the production of uranium ore) with the intent of creating WMD.

Though Saddam Hussein had declared in early March 2003 that, "it is without doubt that the faithful will be victorious against aggression," he went into hiding soon after the American invasion, speaking to his people only through an occasional audiotape. Coalition forces were able to topple his regime and capture Iraq's major cities in just three weeks, sustaining few casualties. President Bush declared the end of major combat operations on May 1, 2003.

After an intense manhunt, U.S. soldiers found Saddam Hussein hiding in a six-to-eight-foot deep hole, nine miles outside his hometown of Tikrit. He did not resist and was uninjured during the arrest. A soldier at the scene described him as "a man resigned to his fate." Hussein was arrested and began trial for crimes against his people, including mass killings, in October 2005.

In June 2004, the provisional government in place since soon after Saddam's ouster transferred power to the Iraqi Interim Government. In January 2005, the Iraqi people elected a 275-member Iraqi National Assembly. A new constitution for the country was ratified that October. On November 6, 2006, Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. After an unsuccessful appeal, he was executed on December 30, 2006.

No weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.”



Misty got me up at 3.00 AM wanting to go out, very unusual for her.  Then I had trouble going back to sleep.  I think Misty got the sneezles from the cat, or maybe it was the yellow pollen that’s everywhere right now.  I know my sinuses are all messed up, too.

But I still managed to hold up my end of the non-cooling Heat/Air unit to help Ray load it on the dolly, into it’s box, and into the van.  My back yard and the little sitting area back there were a mess from fallen twigs, pine cones and pine needles.  So Ray and I each manned and ‘womanned’ rakes and got it cleaned up.  We put it all in a big bin and Ray drags it to the burn pile, it took 7 trips.   But it was too windy to burn it.  Every day I pick up any big twigs so that blind Misty won’t run into them, but she trips over the pine cones, so she was very happy to have her back yard smooth again.  Jim came up here and ascertained that the 220v. plug was working properly.

After lunch, I went to Conroe Home Depot to return the defective Heat/Air unit, and bought another one.  This new one is a slightly different model number, so maybe it will be better. 

After the van had been sitting in the sun, it was hot in there. That’s why I don’t like going anywhere on sunny afternoons.  It was just too hot to stop anywhere else and have to get the van cooled off again, so I came straight home yesterday.

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