Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Athens began as a small agricultural center. Over the years, Athens has grown industrially but has maintained the attitude that gained it the nickname of "The Friendly City." Athens retains a certain amount of charm, which has been a part of its heritage through the years. There are a number of historic homes scattered about the city; a constant reminder of bygone days. The downtown business area, with its quaint buildings and shops, also offers a glimpse of yesteryear when things were simpler and life was less hectic.