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  • Officers/Committees | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator BHA Officers / Committees OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE CHAIRS . Officers. President 1st Vice-President 2nd Vice-President Corresponding Secretary Treasurer Immediate Past President Recording Secretary Barbara Smith Pat Buckles Linda Kirk Amy Hopper Wilma Gill Charles Flannagan Dreama Chapman Directors. 2022 Directors Isabelle Ladd Carter Miles Brenda Otis Jan Rainero Jennifer Surber Mary Beth Rainero Alice Ann Hoffstatter Sid Oakley 2023 Directors Judy Slaughter Vickie Mitoraj Angela Hopkins Joyce Kistner Mary Lou Sproles Julia Davis Daniel Shew Tim Buchanan Standing Committees. Archives Arrangements Collections Display Exhibits Education & Outreach Finance Ford House Historian Historical Markers Membership Merchandising Newsletter/Website Nominating Parliamentarian Pleasant Hill Preston House Programs V. I. College Legacy Ways & Means Website Correspondent Susan Long / Jennifer Surber Pending Mary Lou Sproles Joyce Kistner Pending Isabelle Ladd Brenda Otis Tim Buchanan Linda Kirk Carter Miles Alice Ann Hoffstatter Amy Hopper Amy Hopper Robert Peel Tim Buchanan Isabelle Ladd / Jan Rainero Sid Oakley Tim Buchanan Mary Beth Rainero Pat Buckles CONTACT US!

  • Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator BRISTOL HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION ​ Did you miss our last program?? Did you know that BTES airs Bristol Historical Association programs up to 3 times per day on its local television station (channels 7(SD) and 207 HD) for BTES cable customers? So if you missed one of our wonderful programs, you can view it there! The channel typically airs the same program several times over the course of two consecutive weeks. The times that these programs air changes every day. Not a BTES customer? Don't despair! Chances are you know someone who is, so take the opportunity to arrange a visit during one of the air times and enjoy a friendly visit along with the program! Cable customers can find air times by looking at their channel guide, and the schedule is available online to the public at large at https://btes.net/power7/Program?EpisodeId=342&ProgramId=BHA ​ Welcome to the official web site for the Bristol Historical Association! History is told through the buildings and homes in a city. The mission of the Bristol Historical Association is to promote an interest in the history of Bristol. The Bristol Historical Association is dedicated to the identification, preservation, interpretation, and presentation of local history. Historic Sites . History is told through the buildings and homes in a city. The Bristol Historical Association promotes an interest in the history of Bristol by designating properties with historical significance. A generous contribution from Mr. William W. “Bud” Walling financed the cost of the first twenty-five plaques. Much credit is due to the late Mr Walling for his vital part in the promotion of the Landmark Designation program. Are you interested in applying for a Landmark Marker for your historical building? If so, please complete the Historical Landmark Marker Application Form. THE ROBERT PRESTON HOME Learn More FORD HOUSE Learn More E.W. KING HOUSE Learn More I.C. FOWLER HOUSE Learn More DONATE! Donate to the Bristol Historical Association today! DONATE CONTACT US!

  • Historic Properties | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator Photo Gallery Historic Pictures . Load More Modern Pictures . Load More Historic Markers . Load More Historic Figures . RJ Reynolds Joseph Anderson Rev James King COL James King AD Reynolds Margaret Anderson Caldwell CONTACT US!

  • Latest Newsletter | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator BHA NEWSLETTER Latest Newsletters . See our complete list of BHA Newsletters! If you would like to sign up to receive the monthly newsletter directly to your inbox, click the link below... Sign Up Women’s Suffrage Centennial Presentation August 2020 Read the Newsletter Video credit to City of Bristol, Tennessee/BTN-TV CONTACT US!

  • Previous Leaders | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator Bristol Historical Association Past Presidents Joyce A. Kistner 1979-1981 Fred P. Entler 1984 Edith M. Davis 1985-1986 Victor N. (Bud) Phillips 1987 Ruth C. Keller 1988 Joyce A. Kistner 1989-1990 Anna F. Horne 1991-1992 James Otis 1982-1983 Robin H.W. Bagnall 1993 Ruby A. Reynolds 1993 Thomas K. Finks 1994-1995 Roy J. Williams 1996-1997 Frazier King 1998-1999 Kermit Lowry, Jr. 2000-2001 Bill King 2002 Frank Blanton 2003 Linda Brittle 2004-2005 Mary Beth Raniero 2006-2009 Isabelle Ladd 2010-2013 Tim Buchanan 2014-2017 Sid Oakley 2018-2019 Charles (Butch) Flannagan 2020-2021 Barbara H. Smith 2022-Present VICTOR N. (BUD) PHILLIPS LEARN MORE JOYCE A. KISTNER LEARN MORE Victor N. (Bud) Phillips City Historian, Author of Bristol History, and former owner of the historic home on Solar Hill known as "Pleasant Hill" Bristol's beloved historian, V.N. "Bud" Phillips, was born on August 25, 1929, in the Big Piney Valley, Beech Grove Community, near Ft. Douglas post office in Northeastern Johnson County, Arkansas, the youngest of seven children. In 1945, at the age of fifteen, Bud began preaching and traveling as an evangelist. Bud arrived in Bristol in 1953, and quickly fell in love with the twin cities. For a time he was connected with the Graham Institute and Evangelistic Association and also had a social work ministry with the Bristol Salvation Army. In November of 1982, he moved to Solar Hill in Bristol, Virginia, and began renovating an historic house built in 1873 which he named “Pleasant Hill". ​ In addition to his vocation of ministering to his fellow man, Bud had a number of varied talents and interests throughout his life. He founded the Hudson Realty Company at Hudson, North Carolina and later operated the Bus Station Café at Clarksville, Arkansas. He also enjoyed antique dealing and collecting as well as interior design and decoration. But it was as an author and historian that Bud achieved widespread fame. Bud's adopted home of Bristol inspired him to pursue one of his lifelong ambitions, writing. Bud was fond of saying, "I will here state my honest belief that if a thing can happen, it has happened in Bristol." He used information he had gathered from early residents beginning with his arrival in Bristol and continued to research the history of the Bristol area for the rest of his life. He became the author of many books of local history, authored a very popular newspaper column, "Pioneers in Paradise," hosted two television shows and one radio show, gave countless speeches and conducted many tours, all dedicated to the history of his adopted town. Bud served on the Board of the Bristol Historical Association for many years and was the Association’s official Historian. Bud Phillips Day was celebrated in Bristol on May 5, 2004. On April 27, 2008, he received the Mayor’s Outstanding Citizens Award. In 2006, he was made the Official Historian of Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee. ​ Bud passed away in his sleep on Monday, January 9, 2017, at age 87. He is buried in historic East Hill Cemetery, established in 1857, the site of many of his famous tours, where he rests in good company with other important figures of Bristol's past, including city founders, Civil War soldiers, Revolutionary War General Evan Shelby, and many more who have made contributions to Bristol and the nation. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ Video credit to City of Bristol, Tennessee/BTN-TV Video credit to City of Bristol, Tennessee/BTN-TV Bud Phillips Antiquities of Bristol Playlist Pleasant Hill 214 Johnson Street READ THE NEWS STORY Pleasant Hill was the third house built on Solar Hill after the great Johnson land sale of July 5, 1871. It was built by William H. Smith, an early Bristol contractor, for local attorney Capt. John Harvey Wood. Construction began in 1872 and was completed in the spring of 1873. The Wood family moved into the house in May of that year. The brick cost one cent apiece at the time and one cent each to lay. Originally, a small portico was over the front door. In 1875, a chimney was damaged by lightning. While having it repaired, Capt. Wood decided to add a veranda extending across the front of the house. The first telephone in Bristol was installed in what is now the dining room. ​ The story has long been told that Jefferson Davis, ex-president of the Confederate States of America, spent the night in the home in 1873. He slept in the north upstairs bedroom. Standing on the portico the next morning, Mr. Davis delivered an address to a large crowd of Bristolians who had gathered in the front yard and on the lot across the street. The first wife of Capt.Wood was Laura Lucretia James, a daughter of a very prominent early Bristol merchant, W.W. James, from Blountville, Tennessee. She died in 1891. Later, Wood married Virginia Holmes, a widow from Winchester, Virginia. It was at that time that he built the late Victorian home which still stands next door at 210 Johnson Street. Capt. Wood and his second wife moved into this house, and he gave Pleasant Hill to his daughter, Mary, wife of Samuel Harris. Gertrude, one of the Wood children who was reared at Pleasant Hill, married a Dillard, moved to New York City, and became the first licensed woman driver in that city. Over the years, the house had several owners. At one time it served as the parsonage for State Street Methodist Church. Later, the house became a rental property. In 1982, the late Bristol historian and author, V.N. “Bud” Phillips took possession of the home and began restoring it. Following Bud’s death in 2017, the house was sold, and the new owners have furnished it in keeping with the style and period of the home. The new owners care deeply about Bristol’s history and allow the Bristol Historical Association to use part of the house for administrative purposes. Joyce Kistner Joyce Allison Kistner’s interest in and devotion to Bristol history began when she was only a child. Riding in the family car through downtown Bristol, she recalls often asking about many of the interesting buildings that lined the streets. Later, as an adult, she wondered why Bristol did not have an historical organization to protect and preserve the many unique and important buildings along with their histories –the structures and stories that form the very fabric of our community. So Joyce, with the help of eight dedicated friends, founded the Bristol Historical Association in 1979, with Joyce serving as the organization’s first president. They began with an adult group and a children’s group to start working toward the objectives of preservation and the goals of educating the public as to Bristol’s history. Early speakers included Fred Entler, Tom Daniel, Mary Landrum, Dr. Kermit Lowry, and David Edwards from the Department of Historic Resources who spoke with business leaders about preservation and architectural features of buildings. In 1982, the association sponsored a visit from the president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Michael Ainslie, who presented a program and included a workshop on the theme, “Preservation Downtown U.S.A.” Ainslie advocated for revitalization and economic redevelopment through historic preservation. ​ After several years of sponsoring public programs and archival exhibits of Bristol, the group published A Pictorial History of Bristol in 1985. The book was a great success and helped raise community awareness of the association and its work. Other notable examples of BHA’s work were the sponsorship of the placement of a number of historic markers, including markers for the founders of Bristol, Col. Samuel E. Goodson and Joseph Rhea Anderson, in East Hill Cemetery; the Founding of Goodson-Bristol Virginia marker at the Bristol Virginia courthouse; and the Bristol Sign marker on State Street. ​ Joyce’s interests and community service efforts are not confined to BHA alone. She is a talented and award winning artist. She is an active supporter of the YWCA and its programs for young girls. She has traveled to Venezuela on a church mission trip, supported the American Red Cross, served on the Virginia State Historic Register Advisory Board as well as the electoral board for Bristol, Virginia, and is a member of many other organizations including the 17th Century Colonial Dames and the Blue Stocking Club. Joyce was a teacher in the Bristol Virginia school system for twenty-eight years and a member of the School Board after she retired. She made sure her students learned the history of the Twin City, the state, and the country by taking field trips around Bristol and to places such as Williamsburg, the Virginia Governor's Mansion, and Richmond, Virginia. Joyce owns a very old and authentically furnished log cabin that was relocated to her property, and she often gave tours of it to her students. Joyce is passionate about teaching the public, especially young people, the importance of preserving and honoring the past. In a 2014 interview, Joyce stated: “We need to know the past in order to appreciate the future and to preserve it. I think Americans really don’t know enough about their history. It was called civics, and I think it lost some of its importance. It’s really our heritage and where we came from, and we should be preserving it.” The importance of Joyce’s efforts to preserve and promote Bristol’s rich history may be best summed up in a resolution passed by the Virginia Legislature’s House of Delegates on April 3, 2013. House Resolution No. 506 states: Commending Joyce Kistner. WHEREAS, Joyce Kistner of Bristol has enriched the lives of countless fellow residents with her civic involvement and community service; and WHEREAS, a retired educator, Joyce Kistner taught fourth grade at Stonewall Jackson Elementary School for many years, creating a nurturing environment in which all of her students could thrive; and WHEREAS, Joyce Kistner also advocated for strong schools to prepare Bristol students for their futures as a member of the Bristol Virginia Public Schools Board; and WHEREAS, Joyce Kistner continues to influence young people as a member of and volunteer with the Bristol Historical Association, sharing Bristol’s history with fourth grade students in Bristol, Virginia, and Bristol, Tennessee, public schools and two area private schools; and WHEREAS, Joyce Kistner gives to each student she teaches a special bookmark she designed and created; the bookmark depicts scenes from Bristol’s history and serves as a reminder to students of the information they learned; and WHEREAS, Joyce Kistner also wrote and illustrated Tracking Bristol VA.-Tenn. History, a history book for young people that provides interesting facts and games to help them learn about their city’s rich history; and WHEREAS, a model citizen, Joyce Kistner exemplifies the role that committed residents can make in the well-being of their communities; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, That Joyce Kistner hereby be commended for her many contributions to the City of Bristol and its residents. After 40 years, Joyce is still actively involved with the Bristol Historical Association. She presented BHA’s 40th Anniversary Celebration program, held virtually due to COVID-19 in 2020, and curates and coordinates BHA’s rotating library exhibits, a program she initiated in 2016. As one of Joyce’s long time friends observed, “She’s such a perfectionist at everything. She is so civic-minded. She is so community oriented that she has more energy than any person I have ever met.” Joyce’s contributions to the Bristol community continue to enrich our history. Video credit to City of Bristol, Tennessee/BTN-TV CONTACT US!

  • IC Fowler House | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator IC Fowler House Bristol Herald Courier Article The History . Isaac Chapman Fowler was born in Tazewell County, Virginia, on September 23, 1831. He attended Emory and Henry College and became a merchant and postmaster of Emory, Virginia. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Fowler worked for the Commissary Department of the Confederate States of America under General John C. Breckenridge and eventually lost all his property. After the war, in 1868, Fowler came to Bristol, known as Goodson at the time, and along with his brother Elbert, purchased the Bristol News from A.C. Smith who had started the newspaper in 1865. Fowler became the paper’s editor and remained in charge until February 1884. He was very involved in the community, serving as Mayor five times, from 1871-1875, and serving as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates twice, 1875-1879 and 1881-1883. He was the Speaker of the House in 1881-1882. Fowler remained in Bristol until he was appointed as Clerk of the U.S. District Court in Abingdon in 1884, at which time he moved there to a house on Main Street. He resigned in 1904 just prior to his death in 1905. Fowler is buried in Bristol’s historic East Hill Cemetery. The I.C. Fowler House at 417 Spencer Street was built by Fowler in 1867. It is one of the oldest standing structures from the original town limits of Goodson, Virginia. It was constructed by carpenter and furniture maker George Blackley in the Greek Revival architectural style. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Virginia Landmarks Register as a contributing structure to the Virginia Hill Historic District. It was in the parlor of this house that I.C. Fowler, W.W. James and several other businessmen formed the committee to establish Sullins College. Following Fowler’s move to Abingdon, Charles Finch and his family became the second owners of the house. Finch worked for the Norfolk & Western Railway and was a member of the Goodson Town Council. It was Finch who made the motion that Goodson be renamed Bristol. Over the years, the home had many owners. Finally, Blevins Funeral Home acquired the I.C. Fowler house and used it for the storage of funeral equipment for a number of years. In the fall of 1988, Heritage Family Funeral Services bought Blevins and its property, including the Fowler house. Blevins donated the house to the Bristol Preservation Society which later merged with the Bristol Historical Association, and the house then became the property of BHA. BHA sold the house in 2009 to Scott Otis, who along with his father, Dr. Jim Otis, spent years working on restorations before selling it to Tom and Vickie Mitoraj in 2019. The Mitorajs completed the restoration in 2021. The house retains many of its original features, including fireplaces, a central staircase, plantation windows and casings, and flooring. Thanks to the preservation efforts of BHA, the Otis family, and the Mitorajs, the I.C. Fowler House remains standing as both a testament to one of Bristol's early leaders and a tangible part of the historic fabric of our community. ACT NOW! Donate to the Bristol Historical Association today! DONATE CONTACT US!

  • Historic Properties | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator BHA Historic Properties Historic Properties . BHA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and has owned and preserved a number of properties over the last 20 years including the E.W. King House, the Tennessee Ernie Ford House, the I.C. Fowler House, and the Robert Preston House. Although BHA's original charter did not include acquiring real estate, its mission to identify, preserve, interpret, and promote Bristol's heritage and culture has led to the ownership and protection of a number of historic structures. Most notable of the properties that BHA has been instrumental in protecting is the Bristol Train Station. By placing the Train Station under its non-profit umbrella until the Train Station Foundation acquired tax exempt status, BHA was able to initiate fundraising for the successful restoration of what is now a thriving downtown asset and source of pride for the community at large. In other cases, through temporary ownership of important properties like the E.W. King House and the I.C. Fowler House, BHA has found new owners with the vision and ability to restore these pieces of Bristol's historic fabric and preserve them for future generations to learn from. The Robert Preston House Learn More The I. C. Fowler House Learn More The Birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford Learn More The King-Lancaster-McCoy-Mitchell House Learn More The E. W. King House Learn More The Development of Early Bristol After Bristol was planned and laid out in 1852, one would have expected the earliest development to have been along Main (now State) Street. The first two buildings erected in the new town, the homes of Joseph R Anderson and Dr. B.F. Zimmerman, did face Main Street. It is clear that an effort was made to be near the railroad and depot, and that was the trend in those early years of Bristol’s existence. Instead of quickly moving down State Street, early builders sought lots along Fourth Street that ran parallel with the railroad. It should be told here that Fourth Street became known as Front Street. It is now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Business houses and residences were built along its course. Third and Washington Streets, running parallel with the railroad on the east side of the tracks, saw much of the town’s early residential development. It may come as a surprise to many to know that for years these two streets were the most elite residential sections of Bristol. Many of the “first families” of Bristol lived there. The time came when people avoided building along the tracks. However, in early Bristol such a location was regarded as a status symbol. The first hotel in Bristol was located within a half block of the depot. This was the Columbia, erected in 1854. The second hotel, the Virginia House (sometimes called Langhorne’s Tavern), quickly followed the Columbia. It was erected on Fourth (later Front) Street across from the depot. The large mercantile firm of W.W. James early located on the corner of Fourth and Main, a choice location near the depot. Other business firms soon opened along Fourth Street. Within a very short time development did push westward along Main Street. This was both commercial and residential. As late as the 1890's, homes still stood here and there in the business section of downtown Bristol. I have talked to older citizens here who well remembered when the 800 block of present State Street was largely residential. This mixture of business – residential long existed on Shelby and Cumberland Streets. The big residential expansion came in 1874, when Solar and Virginia Hills were opened for development. These were quickly followed by King’s First Addition to the south and the Burson- Delaney additions to the west. And now, more than one hundred fifty years later, Bristol continues to spread outward, further and further from her beginning point. Historic Markers . History is told through the buildings and homes in a city. The Bristol Historical Association promotes an interest in the history of Bristol by designating properties with historical significance. A generous contribution from Mr. William W. “Bud” Walling financed the cost of the first twenty-five plaques. Much credit is due to the late Mr Walling for his vital part in the promotion of the Landmark Designation program. Are you interested in applying for a Landmark Marker for your historical building? If so, please complete the Historical Landmark Marker Application Form. Download Application Historic Marker Gallery Bristol, Virginia Markers . BRISTOL UNION RAILWAY STATION (DHR, 2018)* – On the east side of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard near State Street at the Bristol Train Station. BRISTOL, VIRGINIA (VCC - 1948)* – At the entrance to Sugar Hollow Park on Lee Highway. COL. JOHN S. MOSBY (DAR, 1962) – At the northeast intersection of Piedmont Avenue and Scott Street. FIRST BURIAL IN EAST HILL CEMETERY (PM, 2012)* – Near the grave of Nellie Gaines in East Hill Cemetery. HISTORIC BRISTOL (CDC, 1927) – On the southwest corner of State Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. SLAVE SECTION OF EAST HILL CEMETERY (PM, 2012) – In East Hill Cemetery WALNUT GROVE PLANTATION (DHR, 2018) – Beside the Preston House on Lee Highway. Bristol, Tennessee Markers . BIRTHPLACE OF BRISTOL (THC) – On the southwest corner of State Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. BRISTOL SESSIONS (THC) - On the southwest corner of State Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. CITY HISTORIAN (PM) – Near the grave of V.N. “Bud” Phillips in East Hill Cemetery. CONFEDERATE HOSPITAL (JKC 52, SCV) – On the south side of State Street just west of the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks. EVAN SHELBY (THC) – On the south side of State Street just west of Pennsylvania Avenue. EVAN SHELBY’S FORT (THC) – On the front wall of the historic E.W. King Building on the south side of Shelby Street just east of 7th Street. FIRST IRONWORKS (THC) – On the east side of Volunteer Parkway just south of Avoca Road. FOUNDER OF BRISTOL (PM) – Near the grave of Joseph Rhea Anderson in East Hill Cemetery. ISAAC SHELBY (FCC, NSDAR, 2009)* –At the Old Custom House (former Bristol Tennessee Post Office), 620 Shelby Street. JOHN ISAAC COX (THC) – At the intersection of Maplehurst Drive and Highway 394. KING COLLEGE (THC) – On the east side of Volunteer Parkway just north of Avoca Road. MISSISSIPPI COUNTRY: THE BRISTOL SESSIONS (MCMT, 2019)* – On the southwest corner of State Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. ORIGINAL SITE OF KING COLLEGE (PM)* – On the grounds at the front of Gregory Pharmaceutical Holdings, 501 Fifth Street. TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD’S BIRTHPLACE (THC)* – In the yard of his home at 1223 Anderson Street. THE BRISTOL MUNICIPAL STADIUM: THE STONE CASTLE (THC) – On the stone wall of the stadium at Bristol Tennessee High School on Weaver Pike near Edgemont Avenue. Marker Sources FCC, NSDAR – Fort Chiswell Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. ​ CDC – Conservation & Development Commission. ​ DAR – Erected Dec. 8, 1962 by Anne Carter Lee Chapter, Mathew Fontaine Maury Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy. ​ DHR – Virginia Department of Historic Resources. ​ JKC 52, SCV – James Keeling Camp 52, Sons of Confederate Veterans. ​ MCMT – Donated to Bristol by the Mississippi Country Music Trail in recognition of “Blue Yodeler” Jimmie Rodgers and his Mississippi-bred music and style. Rodgers was among the artists participating in the 1927 “Bristol Sessions” considered by some music historians to be “The Big Bang of Country Music.” ​ PM – Private Marker. ​ THC – Tennessee Historical Commission. ​ VCC – Virginia Conservation Commission. CONTACT US!

  • Join | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator JOIN! Become a Member Today . Join us now and enjoy learning about and enhancing our knowledge of the history of Bristol. ​ Members of the Bristol Historical Association enjoy a variety of service and fellowship opportunities including informative programs throughout the year and a Christmas Luncheon each December, receive quarterly newsletters, and, most importantly, take pride in the part they play in preserving and promoting the history of our area. Our focus is to be faithful to our founding principles and broaden our efforts to educate a new generation. Please consider lending your support to this worthwhile endeavor by becoming a member of our Association. Just click on the link below to join BHA or to renew your annual membership. And remember, BHA memberships make great gifts! A variety of membership levels are available. When you renew or join this year, please consider doing so at one of the following levels: ​ Individual $30 Family $45 Researcher $50-$99 One-Hundred Club (membership and donation totaling $100 and above) Historian $100-$249 Curator $250-$499 Preservationist $500-$999 Lifetime Member (Individual) $1000 and above Lifetime Member (Family) $1500 and above Virginia Intermont Legacy $50 ($20 supports preservation of VI Records) Business Partner $100 and above Student Membership (under 21 years old) $5 Please also consider adding a donation to your membership dues. Any gift is very greatly appreciated! Download Application CONTACT US!

  • IC Fowler House | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator King-Lancaster-McCoy Mitchell House LEARN MORE The History . I The King – Lancaster – McCoy – Mitchell House is the most historic house in Bristol, Virginia. The handmade brick residence was built 1816-1820 by Colonel James King on the highest point of his property overlooking the meadows where he raised cattle. The settlement was once known as “King’s Meadows” before it took the name of Bristol nearly half a century later. ​ Colonel James King and his son, the Reverend James King, were key figures in the founding and development of Bristol. They contributed to the business world through the iron business and the commerce of buying and selling. The Reverend James King gifted the land needed to create Bristol’s King University and served as pastor for two early Presbyterian churches. The King family occupied the house until 1853. President Andrew Jackson was a frequent visitor to the house and was escorted to Washington for his inauguration by William King. The house has watched a city grow up around it. Although it was located close to downtown, the property was not actually included inside the town limits when Goodson (Bristol) was incorporated in 1856. The residence housed the Sapling Grove post office from 1839-1853, and it was a stopping point for stagecoaches traveling from Abingdon to Blountville from 1839-1856. Mountain View High School, which later became Sullins College, began in the house in 1869. ​ In 1991, the Bristol Historical Association initiated a study to determine the oldest section of the home, the remainder of Colonel James King’s original dwelling. An elaborate map of Washington County, drawn by John Wood in 1820, marks the presence of the house with a small square and the legend “Colonel James King’s brick house.” Analysis by the Department of Historic Resources in Richmond, Virginia, revealed that the original structure consisted of a two-room plan, divided by a central winding stair case leading to two bedrooms upstairs. The formal entrance was originally on the north elevation. The central portion is presumed to be part of the original structure. The rear wing housing the kitchen is believed to have been added shortly after the original structure was constructed. Several changes to the house were made by subsequent owners. In 1881, John J. Lancaster, a prominent wealthy banker of New York City, remodeled it for his mother and two maiden sisters as a gift. This work was done by prominent Bristol builder John Crowell. Crowell built the north half of the house in the late summer and autumn of 1881. In 1891, H.E. McCoy, the founder of Bristol’s Dominion National Bank, built a major addition to the house for a new living room entrance hall and portico redirecting the formal entrance to the east elevation. The addition completed an ingenious composition by connecting an identical two-story gabled façade1820 structure with a flat roofed “hyphen” which housed the bathroom above and formal entry hall below. ​ The house was purchased by Joseph D. Mitchell in 1899. Mitchell had arrived in Bristol in 1882, with only two dollars in his pocket, and he boarded at the house with Mrs. Thomas Lancaster. She put him in what is now the dining room, and when he later became wealthy, he confessed that on the first night he spent there, he vowed he would someday own the grand house on the hill overlooking the town. About nineteen years later, his dream came true. In 1903, Mitchell added a kitchen wing that is distinguished only by the ornate Carpenter Gothic wood columns. The house belonged to the Mitchell family for over 100 years. Mitchell’s daughter, Margaret, was born in the home in 1901 and lived there for 99 of her 102 years. Margaret willed the house and its contents to King College (now King University). The property has now been restored as the private residence of Daniel and Monica Shew. The King – Lancaster – McCoy – Mitchell house, located two blocks from State Street at 54 King Street, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 and included in the Solar Hill Historic District in 2001. ACT NOW! Donate to the Bristol Historical Association today! DONATE CONTACT US!

  • Robert Preston Home | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator Robert Preston Home The History . The Robert Preston house at Walnut Grove Plantation, constructed circa 1790, is the oldest frame house in Washington County, Virginia. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Robert Preston, born in Londonderry, Ireland in 1750, immigrated to Virginia in 1773. Preston apprenticed as a surveyor under his cousin, William Preston of Smithfield Plantation, in what is now Montgomery County, Virginia. Robert Preston moved to Washington County, Virginia in 1779. Granted a surveyor’s bond signed by then-Governor Thomas Jefferson in 1780, Robert Preston became the first surveyor in Washington County, Virginia. In the summer of 1780, Robert Preston married Margaret Rhea and acquired 800 acres of what is now part of Bristol, Virginia. He named the tract of land Walnut Grove. A Department of Historic Resources highway marker along Lee Highway documents “William Clark, of Lewis and Clark, breakfasted at the home of Preston’s son John at Walnut Grove in 1809.” A Lewis and Clark Portrait Sign on Lee Highway documents the property’s Lewis and Clark connection. The property is featured as the first stop on the Virginia Lewis and Clar Legacy Trail at https://valewisandclarklegacytrail.org/along-the-trail/ . For more information contact: ​ Jan Rainero Email: janrainero@hotmail.com ​ Isabelle Ladd Email: isladd@gmail.com A! Magazine for the Arts Article Walnut Grove is one of oldest homes in Washington County Read Article WATCH NOW Learn More! Click the link below to download the Robert Preston House pamphlet and learn more about this historical site. Note: Significantly more funds have been invested in the Robert Preston House project since the publication of the pamphlet. As of January 12th, 2022, the Robert Preston House has received $400,000 in donations and gifts. Also, thanks to a generous supporter, a right of way has been donated which will greatly facilitate entrance to this historic property. Download Now ACT NOW! Donate to the Bristol Historical Association today! DONATE CONTACT US!

  • Ernie Ford House | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator Ford House Birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford The History . In 1991, the Bristol Historical Association discovered that the Birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford, located at 1223 Anderson Street in Bristol, Tennessee, was available for purchase. The house, while outwardly unassuming, had historical significance. The Association decided that this house was just what was needed and would be a great location for meetings and display of memorabilia. The Ford House, as it has since become known, was ideal for the organization and provided an opportunity to preserve a bit of Bristol's history. Prior to proceeding with the plan to restore the house, Ernie Ford was contacted to determine his feelings about the project. He was elated to discover the intentions of the Association. When he returned to Bristol for the grand opening of the Paramount Center for the Arts, he met with members of the organization on several occasions. Later, upon his return to California, BHA received several phone calls from him desiring to know how the restoration was progressing. While researching the history of the house, it was discovered that it was built in the early 1900's. Years later, following a severe fire, many repairs were necessary, thus altering the original design. Aluminum siding had been installed over imitation brick siding, which previously had covered the original clapboard siding. Inside, the house had taken on a modern look, with narrow woodwork and small windows. The two original fireplaces had been covered over following the installation of electric baseboard heaters. Restoration of the interior began with replacing the narrow woodwork. The next big project was to uncover the two fireplaces and locate suitable mantels. These were found in a nearby old house that was being demolished. Four windows needed to be replaced and were obtained from another old house. The original pine floor, which was heavily damaged by the fire, had been covered with carpeting which was removed and a new pine floor installed.. The dropped ceiling, not original to the house, was replaced with bead board. The property surrounding the house was in need of landscaping. A driveway alongside the house was graded and graveled. The association purchased an adjacent house and razed it to provide space for off-street parking. All rooms have furnishings from the era when the Ford family resided there. The living room includes a Victrola, a settee and a matching chair, a rocker, and a Bible table which were purchased; and a beautiful antique piano and floor lamp, both donated. Over the mantle hangs a large oil portrait of Ernie, which was painted and donated to the Association by Patricia Woody, a local resident. The center room houses a large collection of the star's personal memorabilia. Most of these plaques, awards, photos, and other items were donated by Mr. Ford's son Brion. One of Ernie Ford's favorite features of the house was the original clawfoot bathtub. On his last visit home in 1991, Ernie reminisced about being bathed in that bathtub as a small child. A modern kitchen was restored as an early 1900's kitchen, featuring a wood-burning cookstove and large porcelain cast iron sink. The back room has been returned to its original use as Ford's parents' bedroom. Much time and effort went into the entire project. The house restoration was completed in 2007. An historic marker, 1A 142, installed at the house by the Tennessee Historical Commission reads as follows: ​ Tennessee Ernie Ford’s Birthplace 1919-1991 Ernest Jennings Ford was born 13 February 1919 in Bristol, Tennessee. In 1937 he began his career at WOPI Radio in Bristol. Known professionally as Tennessee Ernie Ford, he began his rise to fame in1948 with Capital Records. The 1955 success of Sixteen Tons brought him to prime-time TV as host of the Ford Show (1956-1961) and the Tennessee Ernie Ford Show (1961-1965). His 1990 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, placement of three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his achievements in radio, television, and recordings, and receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom all reflect his status as one of America’s top entertainers. ​ In February of 2019, an exciting lineup of special events commemorated the 100th birthday of Bristol's most famous son, Ernest Jennings "Tennessee Ernie" Ford. Ford, who was born in Bristol, Tennessee, on February 13, 1919, went on to become an international TV, radio, and recording star in the 1950s. Ford hosted his own TV variety show and earned three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Grammy Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His song "Sixteen Tons" sold more than 20 million copies and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Congress National Recording Registry. Along with the Birthplace of Country Music and the Bristol Historical Association, a committee led by former Bristol VA mayor Don Ashley worked tirelessly to put together a variety of events that celebrated the life and legacy of "The Ol' Pea-Picker." ​ Festivities began on February 10th, when Anderson Street United Methodist Church, the Ford family's home church, hosted a special service followed by tours of its Ford archives. Tours of The Birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1223 Anderson Street, were held that afternoon from 2-5 p.m. On February 12th, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum hosted the "Buck and Sid Show" in which Ernie's son, Buck Ford, reminisced about his father's career and life with long time Ford family friend Sid Oakley of the Bristol Historical Association. The program also included the screening of Ford family home movies. On February 13th, Ernie's actual birthday, the Bristol Post Office on 6th Street offered a special stamp and envelope cancellation marking Ford's birthday. Buck and Murphy Ford were the guests of honor for special events that afternoon beginning at 2 p.m. at the Paramount Center for the Arts. Episodes of Ford's TV shows and specials were shown, followed by a birthday celebration at 4 p.m. complete with birthday cake, courtesy of Food City. Local musicians performed Ford songs. During Radio Bristol's Farm and Fun Time on Thursday, February 14, from 7 - 9 pm, the "Heirloom Recipe" segment featured two of Tennessee Ernie's favorite recipes, "Betty Ford's Gumbo" and "Ernest Ford's Cornbread and Sausage Dressing" read aloud in grand style by Buck Ford. Bill and the Belles performed for the event. In addition to the events listed above, a special month-long collection of Tennessee Ernie Ford memorabilia was on display at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in addition to their permanent Ernie Ford exhibit. ​ BHA photographer Amy Hopper recorded some of these activities in short videos which may be viewed on BHA’s Youtube Channel: Many photos and other links were included in the BHA newsletter highlighting this event which can be viewed here: ​ ​ ​ Also, the newsletter commemorating Ernie's 97th birthday can be read here: ​ Ernie's 100th Birthday Videos Ernie's 100th Birthday Newsletter Ernie's 97th Birthday Newsletter ACT NOW! Donate to the Bristol Historical Association today! DONATE CONTACT US!

  • E.W. King House | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator E.W. King House LEARN MORE! The History . The E.W. King House is one of the few remaining homes built at the beginning of the 20th Century in Bristol and provides an excellent example of Victorian architecture in the Queen Anne style. It was constructed by one of Bristol's most prominent businessmen, Mr. Edward Washington King. The architect was George Franklin Barber who published a catalog of “Modern Dwellings” in 1901, and it included the plan that E.W. and Alice King chose for their home. The McCrary brothers, renowned builders in Bristol, constructed the Anderson Street home, and John Jay Fowler, a local African American master brick mason, provided the beautiful brick work for this job as well as other prestigious buildings in Bristol, including some at King College. As a respected citizen and philanthropist, E.W. King had a profound impact on the growth and development of Bristol. Mr. King was praised for his progressive community action and his support of education. This view was exemplified in the many buildings he blessed Bristol with over the years, both residential and business structures. The location of the E.W. King House is of further historical importance because the house rests on a hill overlooking downtown Bristol near the grounds of the 18th Century fort built by General Evan Shelby which served as an important Revolutionary War era outpost through which countless settlers passed during the westward expansion of the United States Completed in 1903, the Edward Washington King house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. The house design incorporated energetic details such as decorative chimneys, molded bricks, and a Renaissance Revival rooftop balustrade. The building has three full floors in addition to attic space and a basement. It boasts beautiful views of downtown Bristol and the surrounding mountains. The house retains many original architectural features and fixtures. Among the home's accouterments are original hardwood floors, paneled doors, stairways, windows, elaborate mantels and tiled fireplaces, handcrafted wood moldings, and stately wainscoting. The house was divided into apartments during the latter half of the century and later weathered years of vacancy. During its thirteen year ownership of the house, BHA spent over $170,000 to repair, maintain, and stabilize the home. The property was dried in with a synthetic slate roof, guttering was replaced, the chimneys rebuilt, and other necessary exterior repairs were performed to protect the home and begin the renovation to a new era of one of Bristol's premiere homes. Even restored, a true value could never be obtained when the historical significance of this Bristol treasure is factored in. Following several years of fundraising efforts in hopes of restoring the house as a museum dedicated to local history and culture, the Bristol Historical Association made the difficult decision to sell the property, citing the double impact of the economic downturn and sharp increases in construction costs. In October of 2016, the Board of Directors of BHA accepted an offer to purchase the E.W. King House. The stipulations of the sale included covenants to protect the integrity of the exterior of the house. However, three years later, the purchaser decided to pursue other ventures and sold the house to Brad Fluke, CEO of Honey Do Service, Inc., a home repair firm. Following restoration of the property, the Honey Do Service’s offices will be headquartered in the historic Anderson Street home. The Bristol Historical Association is proud to have been the steward of this historic property and has accomplished its mission of protecting and preserving the E.W. King House. Additional goals of educating the public about its owner and builder, Edward Washington King, and his tremendous influence on the growth and development of our twin cities have been accomplished through events held for and on the property. BHA's E.W. King House committee, chaired by Nedra Hartley, was especially instrumental in this process. Thanks to the combined efforts of these individuals and many others who volunteered their time and talents, Bristol Historical Association was able to preserve the E. W. King House, and it will continue to be a treasured landmark in Bristol and a tribute to the outstanding contributions of E.W. King and his family to the community. ACT NOW! Donate to the Bristol Historical Association today! DONATE CONTACT US!