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

    Line separator Robert Preston Home Out of gallery 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 Out of gallery 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!

  • Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator BRISTOL HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION How Sweet it is! ​ ​ And how sweet it will be! Don't Miss BHA's special Valentine's Day program February 14th, 2022, at 6:30 PM, in the Bristol Public Library's Kegley Room. What’s red and white striped and wonderfully tasty? Made by the Helms Candy Company, it’s their oldest and most delicious “Virginia Beauty” brand of hard stick candy. For more than a century, the Helms family has managed the manufacturing and distribution of a wide assortment of candies and was among the first to mass produce medicated candies. George Frank Helms, Sr. established his company in 1909. He was a civic leader and served in many capacities in the Bristol area. He built a beautiful home in the Holston Historic District of Bristol, Tennessee, on property obtained from Major A.D. Reynolds. Mark your calendars now to hear the story of one of Bristol’s “First Families" next month on the day everyone celebrates candy, Valentine's Day! Mrs. Emerson Williams (Kitty), current owner of the Helms Home, will share this most interesting story including details about the home at the February 14th, 2022, meeting of the Bristol Historical Association to be held at 6:30 PM in the Kegley Room of the Bristol Public Library. What a sweet way to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day! The Honorable Charles Flannagan passes the gavel to Barbara Smith, BHA's newly elected president, at the December 2021 Christmas Luncheon. BHA is deeply appreciative of Judge Flannagan's leadership efforts, particularly his guidance during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we look forward to the New Year with great anticipation under Barbara's energetic and enthusiastic direction. 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!

  • Links of Interest | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator Links of Interest Bristol History Slide Show Presented by: Bristol Historical Association VIEW City of Bristol VA Visit City of Bristol TN Visit The Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail Visit Bristol VA Historic Preservation Awards Visit Birthplace of Country Music Visit The Paramount Center for the Performing Arts Visit Solar Hill Historic District Association Visit Solar Hill Historic District Walking Tour Visit East Hill Cemetery Walking Tour Brochure & Map Visit The Birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford Visit Bristol Motor Speedway Visit The Rhythm and Roots Reunion Festival Visit The Bristol Chamber Visit Believe in Bristol Visit Historic Emmanuel Episcopal Church Visit The Carter Family Fold Visit Bristol Historical Association Youtube Channel Visit Bristol Historical Association Facebook Page Visit Bristol Train Station Visit Bristol Public Library Visit Collectible Bottles and History Visit King University Visit Tennessee Genealogy Visit Nashville Genealogy Visit Sullivan County Department of Archives and Tourism Visit The Bristol Hotel Visit The Virginia Lewis and Clark Legacy Trail Visit The Session’s Hotel Visit Historic Bristol Pictorials Facebook Page Visit My Hometown Bristol Va/Tenn Facebook Page Visit CONTACT US!

  • 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 Geneva Dillard Mary Lou Sproles Joyce Kistner Pending Isabelle Ladd Brenda Otis Tim Buchanan Linda Kirk Carter Miles Alice Ann Hoffstatter Amy Hopper Named by President Robert Peel Tim Buchanan Isabelle Ladd / Jan Rainero Sid Oakley Tim Buchanan Mary Beth Rainero Gail Fleenor CONTACT US!

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

    Line separator IC Fowler House Out of gallery 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 HOME Learn More FORD HOUSE Learn More E.W. KING HOUSE Learn More I.C. FOWLER 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 Out of 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!

  • Historic Properties | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

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

  • Give | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator GIVE! Your Gift Matters! You can help the Bristol Historical Association and make an important contribution toward preserving the history of our community by making a donation, bequest, or other planned gift. There are a variety of methods to give that will assist us with our efforts and offer you, the donor, or your heirs, a tax benefit. ​ Add an immediate gift or pledge for ongoing work of BHA and see your legacy at work! To donate now via PayPal, please click the link below, or make your check out to the Bristol Historical Association and mail your gift to Bristol Historical Association PO Box 204 Bristol, TN 37621. ​ Please let us know if your donation is in memory or honor of any individual and also if it is intended for a specific BHA program or project, such as the Robert Preston House Project, Archives, Ford House, etc. DONATE TODAY! Country arrow&v DONATE More Ways to Give Bequests Do you want to leave a legacy? Please consider including the Bristol Historical Association in your estate planning. A bequest or gift made through your will and/or trust can help assure the future viability of BHA as well as dramatically shape its future. Charitable Gift Annuities, Charitable Trusts, and Securities Through a charitable gift annuity or charitable trust you retain an interest in the gift, with the remainder to be received by BHA at a later time. BHA also welcomes financial donations in the form of securities. Tax Benefits There may be specific tax benefits to you and your estate in utilizing one of the planned giving tools in support of BHA. Donors may also designate that the funds be used for specifics uses such as the BHA's annual budget, ongoing programs, and/or other special projects. The Bristol Historical Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation and your gift is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. For more information about planned giving, please contact BHA through this web site at BristolTNVA@aol.com , or write to us at Bristol Historical Association PO Box 204 Bristol, TN 37621. We Collect History Too! As we continue to record and collect the ongoing history of our community, we are also pleased to accept donations of historical materials. To arrange a material donation, please email BristolTNVA@aol.com Email Now! CONTACT US!

  • Contact | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Contact Us . ADDRESS P.O. Box 204 Bristol, Tennessee 37621 EMAIL BristolTNVA@aol.com Submit DONATE! Donate to the Bristol Historical Association today! DONATE CONTACT US!

  • Volunteer | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Volunteer . Individual members and committees work to further our mission in many ways, including: Designing and selling merchandise through local vendors Restoring and accrediting the Robert Preston House as a regional museum Maintaining and preserving the Birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford Preserving the V.I. College Legacy Fielding inquires about Bristol’s history Collecting and preserving historic memorabilia Preparing and installing rotating exhibits at the Bristol Public Library Scanning and filing historic photos and documents Making educational presentations at local schools, including historical slides of Bristol Recognizing historically significant buildings through placement of BHA markers / plaques Sharing interesting email and Facebook posts (Bristol History), Publishing newsletters Promoting area sites and places of interest Maintaining this website... and more! ​Wouldn’t you like to be involved? Email us for more information at BristolTNVA@aol.com To join the association, please click the application link below. Download Application CONTACT US!