Tennessee February 20, 2019
The Tennessee Town That Was Founded Before The Civil War And Is Packed Full Of History
The beautiful state of Tennessee was officially founded in July of 1796, a golden day in history for the United States of America. It’s when the land of rolling hills and rushing rivers, craggy mountaintops and tree-encrusted plateaus officially became part of the Union. Still, every state needs its oldest city, its staunchest ally, and the town of Jonesborough pre-dates the state itself as well as the famed War Between the States.
Jonesborough, Tennessee is the proud owner of the title "Tennessee's Oldest Town," first incorporated in 1779, 17 years before the state was officially recognized as a part of the union. It was named for Willie Jones, a North Carolina legislator, who was influential in the expansion across the Appalachian Mountains.
Named and spelled "Jonesborough," there was a time when locals lived in "Jonesboro." The name was eventually reverted back to its original spelling, although you may find historical documents and mentions with the "Jonesboro" spelling.
Jonesborough was originally the capital of the State of Franklin, an area of land that was reclaimed by North Carolina in 1788. It was named after none other than Benjamin Franklin, but unfortunately, the state wasn't widely recognized and never came to fruition. Here you can see the historic Chester Inn still stands, a testament to its initial construction in 1797.
Jonesborough has long been attributed as the center of the abolitionist movement not only in Tennessee but amongst the states that would eventually secede and join the Confederacy. The famed publication, "The Emancipator," was printed in Jonesborough.
The beautiful Central Christian Church remains a pinnacle of architectural beauty. Nowadays, Jonesborough attracts reams of tourists because of its historic status as the oldest town in the state and famed "Heritage Days" that celebrate the history of the town and area.
Wander through town long enough, and you just might find the oldest surviving building in the town. The Christopher Taylor house was built in 1777, and was relocated within the Jonesborough Historic District.
The gorgeous Cunningham-Clayton House, a structure that pre-dates the war with an 1840 construction date. If you're in town for the wildly popular National Storytelling Festival in October, it's a must-see.
You can see at first glance that the Blair-Moore House invites inspiration from Greek Revival architectural influences. It's another nod to Jonesborough's expansive history, a beautiful tribute to a town that once was and continues to grow in leaps and bounds.
If you’re hungry after this incredible history lesson of a town, you should
check out these East Tennessee donuts that have stood the test of time. They’re pretty dang good!