“Growing Up In Athens” Book Project Launched

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A unique book project called Growing Up in Athens is being co-sponsored by the Athens Community Arts, Parks and Recreation Department and the Athens County Historical Society and Museum.

The book will be a collection of hometown memories of people who grew up in or near the city of Athens. The co-sponsors are currently soliciting stories from current and former residents.

Anyone interested in submitting a memory can email for instructions on how to do so.

"People seem to be excited about the idea and we are slowly getting submissions," said Growing Up committee member Linda Phillips. "I think everyone has a favorite memory that they want to share, but some people may be hesitant or unsure of what to send. Send what you want to share; we'll contact you if there needs to be any changes."

Interested contributors may also contact any member of the Growing Up in Athens Project Committee. Along with Phillips, the other members are Janice Huwe, Bosha Green, Jan Hodson, Tom O’Grady, Andrew Chiki and Mary Diles, who provided the inspiration for the project.

Baker Center patio, 1980s (photo: Ohio University Alumni Association)

"The premise for the book came from Mary Diles," explained Phillips. "She approached my children and asked if they would be willing to write a story about growing up in Athens, and it started to unfold from that time forward."

Phillips added that, although the book's structure has yet to be determined, the organizers hope to include stories from the town's oldest-living residents to community members currently "growing up" in Athens.

"We sent out about 500 initial invitation letters to community members with return envelopes for stories," she said.

A website will be launched soon at In the meantime, updates will posted on the project's Facebook page.

A kick-off celebration for participants is being planned, with details to be announced soon.

Varsity Theater, 1977 (photo: Athens County Historical Society and Museum)