New Athens is a village in St. Clair County, Illinois, United States. Based upon common usage, the ‘A’ is always sounded with a long vowel, rather than a short vowel, by its residents, unlike the most commonly used English pronunciation of the city in Greece.
The population was 1,983 at the 2000 census. New Athens sits on the Kaskaskia River and was originally called Athens. The village was laid out in 1836 and later incorporated in 1866. The name change to New Athens came in 1868 after it was discovered there was already an Athens in another part of the state.
The area is known for the water sports recreation, including annual boat races and fishing derby. It is also the home of the Peabody River King Conservation Area. The Village is the home of New Athens Community Unit School District #60 (NACUSD 60) – New Athens Township High School Yellow Jackets.
Since New Athens is in the Metro East area of St. Louis, it also has a place in the local brewery history. At one point New Athens was home to Mound City Brewery until the 1950s. Baseball is a big sport in the area and the village has produced a number of athletes that have played professionally. One of the favorite sons is Whitey Herzog, a former Major League Baseball outfielder and manager. Other former major leaguers with New Athens ties include Larry Stahl, Mickey Haefner, Warren Hacker, and Rich Hacker.
New Athens is home to several churches, including St. Agatha Catholic Church, St. John United Church of Christ, St. Paul Lutheran Church, The United Methodist Church of New Athens, and First Baptist Church.