Jeff Harvey

Before continuing our look at Athens circa 1969 through the notes of Ella Holroyd as printed in the 1987 Mercer County Historical Society’s “History of Mercer County”, I must acknowledge Bill Robertson who thanked me for mentioning him in last week’s column and Concord men’s soccer coach Steve Barrett who asked if his home would be included in the column. The answer is yes, in a few paragraphs.

Coming to the intersection of Center and Weaver streets and looking to the left on the end of the latter street, we come to the Brammer house. Mrs. Brammer’s daughter Garnett married H.W. Straley III and moved to Atlanta.

The next house belonged to Rose Fogelsong Thompson, who moved from Bland, Va., to educate her children. The family had largely passed away by 1969.

Beulah Cooper Via was the sister of Nora Archer. Her husband Ed and son Gilford passed away at young ages, leaving son Meredith who married Becky Jennings to take care of her. She was known as a person who sent out birthday cards and making people feel remembered.

Now, we come to the Barrett house, formerly the McNeill house. Dr. Meade McNeill was the longtime chair of the Concord biology department and a well known botanist. I met him once in junior high school and he was a gentleman. His wife, Beulah McManaway, taught at Knob School in Princeton.

Going back to the Center-Weaver corner, almost directly across from the Robertson home, was the home of James “Boney” Bowling and his wife Elizabeth. She was the only living heir of the Dickinson family and inherited a large farm as well as real estate in Athens. He worked at Celanese and on the farm and she taught school. They had two daughters.

Going back up Center St., we come to the Joseph, Sr., and Sallie Friedl home. Joe was a former football coach at Concord and physical education instructor. Sallie taught at Montcalm High School. Their sons Dexter and Chester were pharmacists, Joe, Jr., who recently passed away,worked for the government and Henry and Sally were teachers.

At the corner of Center and Cooper streets was the Hobbs home occupied by Chester and Laura Hobbs. It later became a student rooming house owned by the Butcher family.

J. Arthur Butcher, his wife Pearl and son Jed built their cottage. The elder Butcher was the longtime chairman of the Concord art department and namesake of the Butcher gallery.

Jeff Harvey is a freelance reporter and columnist for the Princeton Times. Contact him at

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