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  • 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!

  • | Bristol Historical

    Bristol Historical Association ABOUT US LANDMARKS AND LEADERS PHOTO GALLERY NEWS SHOP LINKS GIVE/JOIN SEARCH More Donate Now Take Action Facebook Instagram YouTube

  • Newsletter Archive | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator BHA Newsletter Archive September 2007 View November 2007 View March 2008 View September 2008 View December 2008 View August 2010 View July 2011 View September 2011 View October 2011 Announcement View October 2011 View Christmas Luncheon 2011 View December 2011 View March 2012 Program View March 2012 View May 2012 View October 2012 View October 2013 View October 2014 View September 2015 View 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!

  • Contact | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

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

  • Merchandise / Vendors | Bristol Historical

    Line separator Merchandise Bristol Historical Association Merchandise Vendors. Believe In Bristol 6th Street Bristol, TN 37620 423-573-2201 Birthplace of Country Music Museum 101 Country Music Way Bristol, VA 24201 423-573-1927 Blakley Mitchell 517 State Street Bristol, VA 24201 276-669-0116 Boxwood Antiques 533 State Street Bristol, VA 24201 276-644-9520 Bristol Café and Market 2600 Volunteer Parkway Bristol, TN 37620 423-652-0771 CDR Frame Shop & Art Gallery 1010 Commonwealth Avenue Bristol, VA 24201 276-644-9950 Cranberry Lane 623 State Street Bristol, VA 24201 276-669-9899 Gwen's Herb Shop 1061 Old Abingdon Highway Bristol, VA 24201 276-466-0077 H. Johnson Pharmacy 500 Bluff City Highway Bristol, TN 37620 423-969-2895 Red Rooster Gift Shop 1258 Highway 126 Bristol, TN 37620 423-764-0716 Willow Creek Antiques 619 State Street Bristol, VA 24201 276-466-4064 The Bristol Historical Association offers a selection of Bristol-themed fine quality merchandise and giftware, including mugs, cups, hats, t-shirts, note cards, artwork, a cookbook, and many other unique items inspired by our region’s rich history. BHA merchandise can be purchased at the wonderful shops listed below. Please visit them, “shop local,” and support our community businesses as well as BHA. BHA merchandise sales support BHA’s mission, projects, programs, exhibits, and educational initiatives. *Some vendors carry selected merchandise. Please call for availability. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide online shopping or mail orders at this time. 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 To join the association, please click the application link below. Download Application CONTACT US!

  • Our History | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator BHA Our History In April 1979, a group of nine women devoted to preserving the history of Bristol VA/TN met to organize The Bristol Historical Association. The group consisted of Joyce Kistner, president; Christine Caldwell, Faith Dillow Esposito, Mary Geiger, Ann Greear, Tina Hitt, Martha Marshall, Janice Martin, and Margaret Mitchell. They chose an image from a 1930s button showing the Bristol sign and a view of State Street as the logo for the Association. Since that beginning, the Bristol Historical Association has been dedicated to Identifying, Preserving, Interpreting, and Presenting the history of Bristol. In 1988, a group called the Bristol Preservation Society launched a program to mark structures and sites throughout Bristol which would date back seventy-five years or more. BHA’s late historian and noted author of local history, V .N. (Bud) Phillips, initiated a search for sites which would qualify for designation and receive a plaque. The first four markers placed were at 412 Sixth Street, the Billy Wood house on the corner of Locust and Sixth Streets, East Hill Cemetery, and the Tennessee Ernie Ford House at 1223 Anderson Street. In 1999, the Bristol Preservation Society and the Bristol Historical Association merged. During Bristol’s Centennial Celebration, the city of Bristol, Virginia, and Bristol Historical Association jointly placed markers at important historic locations: the Bristol Virginia Courthouse; two grave sites in East Hill Cemetery (those of Col. Samuel E. Goodson, founder of Bristol, VA, and Evan Shelby); placed black iron chains around the graves of Col. James King and others in Ordway Cemetery; and installed a marker at the historic Bristol Sign. When Michael Ainslie, then president of The National Trust for Historic Preservation, visited Bristol to present a program for BHA and a workshop for over 100 business people in 1982, he stated: “The Bristol Sign should stand as the centerpiece of downtown revitalization effort.” It is thought that his advocacy of revitalizing economic development through historic preservation led to a rebirth of the city - - business as well as residential areas. Both sides of town have several individual properties and districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To be listed, the location must be historically or architecturally significant. BHA was successful in nominating three of them, the King-Lancaster-McCoy-Mitchell House, the Robert Preston House, and the Bristol Sign. Bristol Historical Association has saved three historic homes from demolition: the I.C. Fowler Home, built in 1867, the oldest standing structure from the original town limits of Goodson (later Bristol, VA); the E.W. King House in Bristol, TN; and the Robert Preston House, one of the oldest homes in Washington County which the association owns and is in the process of restoring. In addition, the association restored and still owns the Birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford. Once history is preserved, it must be interpreted and presented. To accomplish this, Bristol Historical Association each year takes a program to fourth grade classes in Bristol’s public and private schools which is not only educational but fun for the children. Sometimes the students dress in historic costumes portraying Bristol and pioneer people of interest, and artifacts are exhibited and discussed. Pictures and slide shows further add to the students’ knowledge. Another educational avenue can be found in the publications by BHA. The first was in 1985, A Pictorial History ; then came The Passing Years...History in Pictures ...Bristol Virginia-Tennessee 1700s to 1950s in 1993. Honoring our Heritage, Faces and Places From the Past was a Sesquicentennial Edition in 2006. Finally in 2014, Past and Repast - - A Fine Collection of Recipes was released containing recent and vintage recipes from local ladies (and a few brave men) along with pictures and stories from the BHA Archives. The public face of Bristol Historical Association continues to be excellent programs free and open to the community. These are held at the Bristol Public Library. Also at the library, BHA maintains two showcases of theme oriented items, some historical, some whimsical, often from private collections. Past exhibits have included 1939 love letters, radio and country music memorabilia, lamps (1910-1960), political campaign buttons, antique bottles, and vintage postcards. Since its inception in 1979, Bristol Historical Association has been collecting and preserving thousands of items for their Archives. Collections include antique and vintage as well as current items of memorabilia, photographs, magazines (especially “Bristol Magazine” from the 1940s), newspapers, maps, City Directories, post card collections, obituaries, various newspaper articles including all by Bud Phillips, pamphlets, books, scrapbooks, Kelly & Green negatives, posters, and more. The Archive Committee is appreciative of gifts from generous donors. ​ BHA celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2020 with a special program created and presented by founding member and first president, Joyce Kistner. This program may be viewed at . You may also visit BHA's Youtube channel to view the presentation slides in greater detail at From an impressive beginning, through years of steadfast effort, The Bristol Historical Association is ready and eager to continue identifying, preserving, interpreting and presenting the history of Bristol for future generations. CONTACT US!

  • Our Mission | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Line separator OUR MISSION 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. CONTACT US!

  • Volunteer | Bristol Historical Association | Bristol, TN

    Research . BHA receives many inquiries regarding the rich history of our area, its people, and its historic buildings and landmarks. BHA does not maintain a library or archives for local historical research by the public at this time. Researchers and Genealogists may visit the Bristol Public Library for local research. 701 Goode Street Bristol, VA 24201 Phone: (276) 645-8780 Fax: (276) 669-5593 For inquiries received that require research, BHA volunteers may conduct in depth research for a fee for those individuals unable to visit the library. The research fee is $40 per hour excluding the scanning of documents and research findings and the costs of postage/shipping where applicable. Other Resources for Research: Shelia Steele Hunt Director, Department of Archives and Tourism Government of Sullivan County, Tennessee P.O. Box 3179 3425 Hwy. 126, Suite 100 Blountville, TN 37617 Office 423.323.4660 / fax 423.323.46352 Sharon Steele-Smith The Washington County, VA Historical Society The Archives of Appalachia 423.439.4338 or

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