Forest Trail Region


Athens’ first courthouse, a small log structure built in 1850, may have been a relatively simple affair for conducting important county business which may be why trials were often adjudicated beneath the shade of an oak tree growing on the square. Cases were presided over by the future governor of Texas, Oran Milo Roberts, however, providing the surroundings with some gravitas. The shade beneath the oak tree was free but the log courthouse required a bit more funding, costing fifty dollars with an additional fifteen dollars spent for a “good stick wood and dirt chimney”. Citizens may not have gotten their full fifteen dollars worth of chimney because the structure burned down. Two subsequent courthouses served the county until 1913 when the commissioners’ court hired L. L. Thurmon & Company of Dallas to design the Classical Revival courthouse standing today. Elsewhere in Athens, the Henderson County Historical Museum explores area’s past inside its 1896 Victorian-era Faulk and Gauntt Building. For fun and food, hungry heritage travelers enjoy the annual Uncle Fletch’s Hamburger and Bar-B-Q Cook-off celebrating the invention of the hamburger.