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We are now open from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM on alternating Saturdays from May 18 to August 24.

     McMinn County Est. 1819 from Cherokee lands

            in the heart of East Tennessee                

McMinn County Historical Society & Archives

Preserving our History. Dedicated home of the archives of McMinn County

Now open 10 am-2 pm weekdays (call ahead) and by appointment at our new location

107 W. College Street, Athens, TN  37303   Phone: 423-744-3911 Email:

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McMinn County's Unique History

In August 1920, Niota native Harry T. Burn cast the deciding vote in the state legislature to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting suffrage rights to women across the nation. He credited his mother, Febb E. Burn, for persuading him to take a stand and vote for ratification.

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In August 1946, a group of World War II veterans, who supported the "G.I. Non-Partisan League,"rebelled against an entrenched political machine when the sheriff and his deputies stole the ballot boxes on election day. Miraculously, no one was killed in what became known as The "Battle of Athens." The incident drew national attention to the small city of Athens, Tennessee. It remains the only successful armed rebellion on American soil since 1776.

Niota is home to the oldest rail depot still standing in the state of Tennessee. It was completed in 1854 along the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad. It was standing prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, and a slave auction was once held nearby, according to the Athens Post, in April 1863. Gun ports, used during the Civil War are still visible on some of the walls. 

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