Athens is, first and foremost, home to the University of Georgia. This college town was created initially to house the school, which is responsible for the subsequent growth of the city. The Athens-Clarke County area has an overall population of about 103,239 (2005). In 1801, John Milledge, a trustee and later governor of Georgia donated 633 acres to the university. Milledge named the area surrounding the site of the school after the ancient Greek city that was home to Plato and Aristotle's academy. The University's first buildings were made from logs.
Athens has come a long way since the 19th century, having evolved into a remarkably liberal community that stems from a thriving intellectual environment. The city is renowned for its music scene; in particular, its contributions to rock, country and bluegrass. Athens has been called
the Liverpool of the South,
the mother of modern music, and
the birthplace of New Wave music. Some of the best known bands of the Athens music scene include The B-52's, R.E.M., Pylon, the Drive-By Truckers, Widespread Panic, Neutral Milk Hotel and Sound Tribe Sector 9.
Like most major college towns, Athens is home to many bars, music venues and coffee shops. It is in these places where the creative and artistic energy is the strongest. In addition to music, the city boasts a vibrant art and literary scene. For these reasons, Athens has been, and will continue to be a mecca for the youth of the Southern U.S.