The Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association in conjunction with the State of Alabama Tourism Department has designated the month of April as “Historical Walking Tours” month. Athens and Mooresville of Limestone County are 2 of thirty-three communities participating in this state promoted activity. All participating communities conduct the tours on each Saturday in April from 10AM to11AM.
Athens had their largest number of people participating in their tours this past Saturday, April 12th. Teresa Todd, president of the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association said, “We had a total of 50 guests. It was so impressive to see families coming in to register for our historical tours. It just shows how much interest there is in our past and how it relates to our future and generations. People of all ages were signing up with one of our guides; when they returned, they were all agreeing to come back next week for one of the other tours. ”
Mr. Bill Ward of Athens is the guide for the Historical Beaty District tour. He led 26 people on his walk down Beaty, Washington and East Streets. He paused at one of our residents’ homes, Ms. Mary Nell Clem, who invited his guests in for lemonade during the early morning tour. Mr. Ward lives on Beaty Street with his beautiful wife Cherry Ann. Their home was the first residence built when the Beaty Mason property was sold and began selling lots around the Beaty Mason Mansion around 1902. Mr. Ward is also a regular ghost impersonator during our Annual Cemetery Stroll in September.
The Beaty District is named for Robert Beaty, co-founder of Athens along with John Carroll. The Beaty Mason Mansion, on the street that bears its name, is currently owned by Athens State University. It traditionally serves as the residence of the University President. At present, it is undergoing renovations. It was once featured in Architectural Digest magazine. This home has the unusual feature of two square and two round columns on the front porch and is also the first split-level house built in Alabama.
If you miss the annual Historical Walking Tours this year, be patient. They will return next April, as they do every year. You may want to keep a watch for the September Athens City Cemetery Stroll and for the October Haunts Walks to learn more about our very brilliant and colorful movers and shakers in Limestone County.
Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association
100 N. Beaty Street