Palestine is around 34 miles to the south of Athens. The town has an abundance of historical building and homes, over 1800 in all and second only to Galveston. Davey Dogwood Park is alive with colour in Spring with the flowering of the Dogwoods. The old downtown area (Old Town Palestine) is filled with architecture from the 1800’s and the area is currently being rejuvenated. There are many antique stores and specialty shops to browse through as well as restaurants and a candle factory. This Texas State Railroad is a major attraction and the park is operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. There are antique steam engines and cars which operate from March through to October on a 25.5 mile route to Rusk (and return).
Corsicana is about 37 miles west of Athens on Hwy 31. Corsicana was known to have the first oil discovery west of the Mississippi. In 1897 a local company built the state’s first oil refinery. This company was called Magnolia Oil which is better known today as Mobil. The Texas Company (Texaco) was started up shortly after and Corsicana became one of the states wealthiest cities. You will still see many reminders of the oil times, some still pumping away.
Lake Athens lies about 4 miles east of Athens and covers about 1,500 acres. It was previously known as Flat Creek Reservoir. The impoundment is owned by the Athens Municipal Water Authority and supplies the city with their requirements. The lake is popular for boating, swimming and fishing for record setting largemouth bass, crappie, white bass, redear sunfish. The areas around the lake are also popular for camping and picnicing.
There are plenty of campsites, picnicking areas and of course Cedar Creek Reservoir lake offers good fishing (largemouth and striped bass, channel and flathead catfish) This is one of the most popular in North Central Texas.
Location: Cedar Creek Reservoir.
Cedar Creek Reservoir
Cedar Creek Reservoir lies 15 miles west of Athens between US 175 and Texas 274 allowing it to fall in Navarro, Kauffman and Henderson Counties. The lake covers about 34,300 acres and is fed by other area creeks.
This marker sights the vicinity where a sandstone image of a human head-carved by prehistoric men was found in 1929. This discovery was made by workmen of Texas Clay Products company and was dug up from a gravel pit which is now under cedar creek lake. The first stone was found at a depth of 16 1/2ft. The carving weighted 98lbs was 16 x 14 inches with eyes 2 ½ inches wide. Two similar images were dug up in same area in 1935 and 1939. The Malakoff ‘men’ has been set by Archaeologists as being many thousands of years old. Along with the images were fossil remains of extinct horses, elephants and camel species. All these images are now in the Texas Memorial Museum
Location: Hwy 31, Malakoff (between Corsicana and Athens)
Malakoff began firstly as Caney Creek then Mitcham Chapel. The name was changed in 1854 when the town applied for a Post Office. The name was chosen after a Russian town that played some role in the Crimean War. Coal was discovered in 1912 and mining became the dominant industry in the County during the 1920/30s. There has been a Miner's Reunion held every five years in Malakoff since the mines closed in 1945. There is the Walker's Malakoff Antique Mall (in 202 Terry Street) set in what was originally the town's General Store. The Malakoff's Cornbread Festival is held every year. Interesting finds in the area was of the Malakoff Man.
Location: 8 Miles West of Athens.