Welcome to the official web page for the Bristol Historical Association.

Become part of our history and help celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Bristol Historical Association! Click here to go to news page for more information about the celebration and the new BHA Cookbook. Or Click here to visit our store page to BUY.

Preserving and retelling the story of Bristol is the ongoing mission of the association. As we embark into the thirty-fifth year of the BHA there is a renewed focus to be faithful to our founding principles and broaden our efforts to educate a new generation.

Bristol Historical Association

President’s Message:

It’s an honor to serve as President of this great organization during its 35th Anniversary.  Even though I wasn’t a member in 1979 it was on the first Anniversary of the association that I joined at a public meeting at the Bristol Tennessee Courthouse.  I’ve held many positions throughout the years and have grown by the many friendships I’ve been blessed to have made.  These thirty-five years have been exhilarating and challenging for the association. We’ve made much progress toward preserving and telling the story of Bristol.

In November we will be commemorating our 35th Anniversary with several planned events.  On Monday, November 10 we will be recognizing our Charter Members.  In 1979 under the leadership of Joyce Kistner we started our first year with 58 members.  Many of these visionaries have now passed from the scene and it is in order to recognize and thank them for giving us such a good start.  I invite each member to join us for this General Membership Meeting to personally recognize these charter members and former officers for their years of service to our organization.  On Sunday, November 16 we will also celebrate with Exhibits and a Reception at the library from 2:30 – 4:30pm.

This has been a very successful year with the association.  We continue to have wonderful and well attended public lectures and programs, educational programs in the schools and we are progressing very well in the restoration of the Eighteenth Century Robert Preston House at Exit 7.  With the support of donors, property donated by the Trammel Foundation and our excellent committee this homestead will be a showplace for our heritage for upcoming generations. There are numerous projects and programs set for 2015 and you will want to be a part of what the association is doing.  The Tennessee Ernie Ford Legacy Project will be our next promotion and you can learn about this at our November 10th Meeting.

We’re also excited to welcome Buck Ford and Murphy Ford as our guest speakers to our annual Christmas Luncheon to be held at The Virginian on December 7th.  They are the son and daughter-in-law of Bristol’s Own Tennessee Ernie Ford.  Get your reservations in early and be a part of an exciting event and time of fellowship.

With Friendship,
Sincerely, Tim Buchanan. BHA President

Bristol Sign

Current Projects include, but are not limited to:
  • Restoration, establishment, and accreditation of Robert Preston House as a regional museum
  • Continued restoration and maintenance of the birthplace home of Tennessee Ernie Ford
  • Recognition of historically significant buildings through placement of BHA markers / plaques
  • Collection, preservation, and exhibition of memorabilia
  • Continued promotion / celebration of area sites and interest

Members of the Bristol Historical Association enjoy a variety of service and fellowship opportunities, receive quarterly newsletters, and, most importantly, take pride in the part they play in preserving and promoting the history of our area. Please consider lending your support to this worthwhile endeavor by becoming a member of our Association.

Thank You.
Tim Buchanan, President.

Our History

History is told through the buildings and homes in a city. The intention of the Bristol Historical Association is to promote an interest in the history of Bristol by designating properties with historical significance.

In 1988 the Bristol Preservation Society launched a program to mark structures and sites throughout Bristol which would date back seventy-five years or more. Historian, V .N. (Bud) Phillips initiated a search for sites which would qualify for designation and receive a plaque. Markers were placed on four sites at that time: Troutdale Restaurant at 412 Sixth Street, the Billy Wood house on the corner of Locust and Sixth Street, East Hill Cemetery, and the Tennessee Ernie Ford House on Anderson Street.

In 1999 the Bristol Preservation Society and the Bristol Historical Association merged. The combined organization has continued the marking program with renewed interest. A generous contribution from Mr. William W. Walling has enabled the program to move forward. Mr. Walling has financed the cost of the first twenty-five plaques. Much credit is due to Mr Walling for his vital part in the promotion of the Landmark Designation program.


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BHA President - Isabelle Ladd
President Tim Buchanan
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Robert Preston Brochure
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