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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Huckleberries Online

Throwback: Proud Atholians protest name change

My former NIC journalism prof, Nils Rosdahl, loved making cracks about Athol. He told me that one time the town leaders grew tired of being the butt of jokes and proposed changing the town's name. I thought he was ribbing me, but I recently found an old newspaper clipping in with family photos belonging to my Granny (former Athol Citizen of the Year) that proves there were indeed attempts to rename my hometown. It was suggested that the town be renamed "Farragut," because of its proximity to the old Navy base turned state park. People who haven't experienced firsthand all that makes Athol special might not understand the pride Athol folks, like me, have in our town name. I absolutely love this quote from a Mrs. Olston, daughter-in-law of Athol grocer Mrs. Johnson, "It has always been Athol, and I want my children when they grow up to be able to say they were born here." I was just at the Athol Legion Hall yesterday for our pool league's end-of-year banquet and had a chance to reflect on what the town means to me. Since I was a child, I've seen so many different events held at the Legion hall, from family weddings to family funerals to benefits for down-on-their-luck Atholians. I've never encountered a more real, more generous-beyond-their-means group of people anywhere else. We're a special sort of special, no doubt.

Question: What makes you proud of your hometown?

Huckleberries Online

D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.