When the local historian William W. Scott
wrote about Athenia back then , in the 1920s , his
fondness for the quiet , humble place was tinged with dread.
The author of Passaic and its Environs saw what was coming.It wasn't long after Athenia had become part of the newly incorporated city of Clifton that it had two railroads , one of which Scott
castigated for running an unsightly embankment through the pretty old pond.The rails , in turn , had lured the Manhattan Rubber Co.
and other big factories.
There is every indication of great growth , Scott
continued , noting the creeping influence of Passaic and Clifton proper on either side.Athenia , he
worried , with the march of improvement will soon lose its identity..
For all the historian's prescience of the neighborhood's irrepressible development , that last fear was unfounded.
In the jumble of what's now a sprawling city and a vast metropolitan area , Athenia maintains a rare continuity.
And so it came about , Scott
wrote in his
local history , that two Centrevilles existed contemporaneously within half a mile of each , which as was natural , created confusion , uncertainty , leading to trouble..
In 1868 , the Erie railroad laid the track for its Paterson-Newark line -- now a freight-only spur along Athenia's western border -- through the area , with a minor station called Centreville.At the time , there were a mere five homes nearby , one the estate of the big linen merchant , George Hughes , according to an account by his
nephew , Frank Hughes , in Scott's book.