Welcome to the official web site for the Bristol Historical Association. The Bristol Historical Association is dedicated to the identification, preservation, interpretation, and presentation of local history.

Please become a part of our association and enjoy learning about and enhancing our knowledge of the history of Bristol. We have informative programs throughout the year and a Christmas Luncheon each December. Individual members and committees work to further our mission by designing and selling merchandise through local vendors, maintaining the Tennessee Ernie Ford Birthplace, continuing work on The Robert Preston House at Walnut Grove and the V.I. College Legacy, fielding inquires about Bristol’s history, preserving historic memorabilia, preparing and installing monthly exhibits at the Bristol Public Library, acknowledging donations to the association, scanning and filing historic photos and documents, making educational presentations at local schools, awarding commemorative plaques to owners of historic homes and businesses, distributing interesting email and Facebook posts (Bristol History), publishing newsletters, maintaining this website, and more.

Wouldn’t you like to be involved? To join the association, please click here.
To visit our on-line store click here.

Bristol Historical Association

To see previous versions of Inside History go to our newsletters page - click here

Wanna know the big deal about Big Creek that fabled community at what is now the bottom of South Holston Lake?Click here to read the article.

"We would love to hear from those interested in this article about Big Creek. If you want to share your personal stories or photos about Big Creek and/or Anne W. Armstrong, please send them to us via email, using the "Contacts' tab on this web site"

A traditional highlight of the holiday season, this year's luncheon will feature noted author John Flood who will present an exciting program entitled, Buffalo Bill Returns to Bristol.

William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody was one of the most colorful figures of the American Old West. At only 11 years of age, in order to support his family, he was in the saddle and employed by gruff wagon bosses on the Western Frontier. In the middle of nowhere and quite alone, he rode the dangerous trails of the Pony Express as a 14 year old. By his 20's he had been in multiple Indian fights, had scouted much of the American West, and was so proficient at killing bison he had earned the name he would be known by for generations to come, "Buffalo Bill." From 1883 until 1916, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody and his spectacular Wild West exhibition toured the nation, the world, and, yes, even came right here to Bristol on not one, but FOUR visits between 1897 and 1913.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, a described combination of circus, vaudeville and rodeo, featured sharpshooter Annie Oakley, storyteller Calamity Jane, and Lakota Sioux Chief Sitting Bull accompanied by a band of 20 Native American"braves." His Wild West show toured around the world, including a performance before Queen Victoria and many heads of state.

More 2018 Christmas Luncheon Information



Bristol Sign

Preston House Report

Preston House Report & Pictures

Led by Isabelle Ladd and Jan Rainero. 

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.
Sid Oakley, 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.


We invite you to become a member... Application Form


BHA President - Sid Oakley
President Sid Oakley
Read his welcome message on this page...


Add an immediate gift or pledge for ongoing work of BHA and see your legacy at work!



We stock a wide variety of Bristol Historical Association gifts such as Books, Pins, Cards, Clothing and Coffee Mugs. Visit Our Store


Robert Preston Brochure
NEW: Robert Preston Brochure