Historic Sites in Johnson City
Whether you’re a history buff, someone curious about the town you’re in, or simply looking for an interesting way to spend an afternoon, visiting a historic site can be an eye-opening experience. Although some entire towns in the country function as living museums (say, Williamsburg, Virginia, for example), every town has a bit of history to it, even the places you wouldn’t expect. Although Johnson City may not have the historical-site reputation that a place like Boston, Massachusetts, it does have its fair share of places for history buffs and casual visitors alike. Here are a few historical options to check out when you find yourself in the mood.
Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site
Also known as the Tipton-Haynes House, this Tennessee State Historic Site located at 2620 South Roan Street is an absolute must-visit for Johnson City residents and tourists alike. Whether your interest in history is casual or intense, there is something for everyone at this 45-acre site. Purchased by Colonel John Tipton in 1784, this site tells the rich history of Northeast Tennessee and of the several families that lived there. Containing eleven historic buildings, the Tipton/Gifford/Simerly cemetery, a limestone cave, a natural spring, a buffalo trace, a nature trail, and a visitor center, the Tipton-Haynes House is a virtual hotbed of activity for history lovers. From sorghum-making to Civil War re-enactments, springtime celebrations, and summer history programs, the Tipton-Haynes House is a great place for the entire family to visit.
Technically located in Piney Flats, this site is so close to Johnson City that the distance is hardly a factor for Johnson City residents. Passing through the doors at Rocky Mount is essentially stepping back in time. To be precise, it is stepping back in time to 1791, when George Washington was president of the United States and has appointed William Blount as Governor of the Southwest Territory. For 55 years, this living history museum has delighted and entertained countless visitors to the area with its re-enactors and guided tours.
Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area
Again, although located in nearby Elizabethton, the distance between Johnson City and here is so small, it shouldn’t prevent anyone from checking out this wonderful place. A 70-acre state park, Sycamore Shoals is situated on the, you guessed it, Sycamore Shoals of the Watauga River, a National Historical Landmark where events critical to the establishment of the states of Tennessee and Kentucky, and the settlement of the Appalachian frontier in general, took place. Along with the historic shoals, the park includes a visitor center and museum, as well as a reconstruction of Fort Watauga. A great place to learn a bit about local history, or even just to take a relaxing stroll, you will not regret a visit to Sycamore Shoals.
These are just a few of the many great locations to experience a little bit of Johnson City and/or East Tennessee history. Feel free to visit any of the places above, and don’t be afraid to find your own favorite Johnson City historic sites!