Southeast Ohio History Center

24 W. State Street, Athens, OH 45701 - United States




The Southeast Ohio History Center's mission is to preserve and share our region's unique cultural and natural history. We believe that the stories of our region are significant and that they are worthy of preservation. History preserved and shared is the foundation for future generations of Ohioans to understand what it means to be from Ohio.

Southeast Ohio is rich in history. Initially inhabited by American Indian mound-building people, settlers arrived soon after the Revolutionary War and began to plot out the first permanent settlement of the United States in the territory north and west of the Ohio River. The region quickly began to take shape, giving birth to the Northwest Territory’s first institution of higher learning, Ohio University; its first public library; and one of the first state-chartered banks. It thrived on agriculture and trade. It forged successful industries using the abundance of the land’s salt, coal, and clay. Its waterways – the rivers and canals – became important assets for commerce. Later, it would send its sons into Civil War battles and serve meals to soldiers on their way to Europe during World War I. A lunatic Asylum would become an integral part of the community as employer and treatment center; and, more recently, the city of Athens would find itself embroiled in the chaos resulting from a youthful generation’s opposition to America’s involvement in Vietnam.

One might say that Southeast Ohio embodies our incredible national journey over the years. What happened here – and what continues to happen here – is important and relevant. The Southeast Ohio History Center is the central place where people can truly experience the richness of Southeast Ohio.


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