The Reese Street Historic District dates back to the 1860s and was an important educational center for the Black community. After the Civil War, African-American families settled into and developed areas near downtown. They built their own schools in this area (Knox Institute and Athens Industrial High School).
A broad spectrum of Athen's black citizens, from educators, doctors, and lawyers to unskilled laborers, settled in the area because of racially segregated housing segregated housing patterns.
Some of the prominent blacks who lived in the district were Dr. W. H. Harris, a physician; Dr. Charles Haynes, who founded the nursing department at Athens High and Industrial School in 1918; and Drs. Ida Mae and Lace Hiram, dentists.
The Reese Street Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.