City DopeNews

Walking Tours Are a Chance to Learn More About Historic Neighborhoods

Hattie Thomas Whitehead stands in the courtyard of Creswell Hall, mere feet from where the shotgun house she was raised in once stood. Credit: Grant Blankenship / GPB

The preservation group Historic Athens is offering walking tours of historic Athens neighborhoods this fall.

A tour of Linnentown led by former residents Hattie Thomas Whitehead and Bobby Crook already happened Sept. 12. The majority Black neighborhood off Baxter Street that was razed in the 1960s to make way for UGA dorms was featured in a segment on ESPN2’s broadcast of the Georgia-UAB football game.

This Saturday, Sept. 18, Steven and Beth Brown will lead a tour of Holman Avenue, focusing on its history as one of Athens’ first suburbs built during the automobile age. Future tours will cover the enslaved people who built UGA’s North Campus, queer spaces in Athens, the historic Black neighborhoods of Morristown and Newtown, Boulevard’s mill village, Oconee Hill Cemetery and King Avenue. Tickets are $12 for members and $15 for non-members. For more information, visit or

On a related note, Historic Athens Executive Director Tommy Valentine also sent out word that, despite the cancellation of AthFest, Porchfest is still on for Oct. 10. Started in 2019, the festival pairs home- and business owners in local historic districts with local bands that play short sets on their front porches. (Be sure to check out Monsoon at the Flagpole office.) It went virtual in 2020, but Valentine said the average crowd will be 30-50 people per home, and after consulting with public health officials, he is confident the festival can go on safely with in-person attendance this year. As a festival that takes place largely on private property, the permitting rules differ from events on public streets. Masks and social distancing are encouraged.