In 1797, Rufus Putnam, leader of the Ohio Company, sent a party of eleven men west into the Hocking Valley to evict squatters and begin a permanent settlement that is now the City of Athens. As one of the oldest communities in Ohio, Athens has a rich heritage. Historian and raconteur Robert L. Daniel provides a timely assessment of the community's past as Athens enters its third century. Drawing on reminiscences by Athens residents over the past two centuries, and on newspaper accounts, archives, census records, and historic photographs and drawings, Daniel traces how the Athens community grew in the years before white settlement to its emergence as a city by 1920. Highlights of the narrative include disastrous fires and floods, the controversy over slavery, temperance fever, and the impact of the Civil War. Daniel rounds out the story by looking at such elements as the black community, the asylum, the churches, and King Coal and the railroads.