See Rock City

See Rock City

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bristol, TN

History of Bristol

Before 1852, what is now the heart of the City of Bristol Tennessee/Virginia was part of the vast plantation of Rev. James King. Rev. King had a son-in-law, Mr. Joseph R. Anderson, then a merchant of Blountville, Tennessee, who when learning that two railroads would meet upon the King land, foresaw that the site would be ideal for the founding of a city.

In July 10, 1852, Anderson contracted for 100 acres of the King plantation, forty-eight acres in Tennessee and fifty-two acres in Virginia. On July 16, 1852, he chose the name "Bristol" for his planned city, narrowly edging out the name "Paradise" by only one point. The survey of Bristol began August 1, 1852 and continued for three days. During the summer of 1853, Mr. Anderson had combined residence and business house erected on what is now the southwest corner of State Street and Martin Luther King Blvd. This was the first building erected in the Town of Bristol and was the beginning of this city. Anderson moved his family from Blountville to this house on September 18, 1853. The Bristol post office opened in this house on November 5th. His general mercantile store opened for business on December 24th of the same year. Banking began in 1854. This corner is now called the Birthplace of Bristol.

Samuel Goodson who owned land that adjoined the original Town of Bristol at its northern boundary (Beaver Creek was the divided line), started a development known as "Goodsonville". In 1856, that town and the original Bristol Virginia, were merged to form the composite town of Goodson Virginia. However, the Depot continued to be known as Bristol Virginia. In 1890, all the development on the Virginia side returned to the name "Bristol" and so remains today.

It can truly be said of Bristol that it is a unique city with a unique past and a unique people.

Bristol is a city in Sullivan County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 24,821 at the 2000 census. It is the twin city of Bristol, Virginia, just across the state line, which runs down the middle of State Street. Along with Kingsport, Tennessee and Johnson City, Tennessee the Bristols form the Tri-Cities.

Bristol is probably best known for being the site of some of the first commercial recordings of country music, showcasing Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, and later a favorite venue of the legendary mountain musician Uncle Charlie Osborne. Congress recognized Bristol as the Birthplace of Country Music in 1998. Bristol is the birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Bristol is the site of a NASCAR short track which routinely sells out more than 160,000 seats twice annually. Tickets to Bristol Motor Speedway and DukesFest, a two day festival showcasing the 1980s television show "Dukes of Hazzard" are highly sought-after.

The city is also the home of King College.

Tennessee Ernie Ford

Ernest Jennings Ford (February 13, 1919 – October 17, 1991), better known by the stage name Tennessee Ernie Ford, was a pioneering U.S. recording artist and television host who enjoyed success in the country & western, pop, and gospel musical genres.

The Carter Family was a country music group that recorded between 1927 and 1956. Their music had a profound impact on bluegrass, country, southern gospel, pop and rock musicians as well as on the U.S. folk revival of the 1960s. They were the first vocal group to become country music stars. Their recordings of such songs as "Wabash Cannonball," "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," "Wildwood Flower" and "Keep On the Sunny Side" made them country standards.

The original group consisted of Alvin Pleasant "A.P." Delaney Carter (1891-1960), his wife Sara Dougherty Carter (1898-1979), and his sister-in-law Maybelle Addington Carter (1909-1978). Maybelle was married to A.P.'s brother Ezra (Eck) Carter and was also Sara's first cousin. All three were born and raised in southwestern Virginia, where they were immersed in the tight harmonies of mountain gospel music and shape note singing. Maybelle's distinctive and innovative guitar playing style became a hallmark of the group.

The Bristol sessions are considered the "Big Bang" of modern country music. They were held in 1927 in Bristol, Tennessee by Victor Talking Machine Company company producer Ralph Peer. They marked the commercial debuts of Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family.

Appalachian Caverns

For centuries, the great cavern lay in silence, occasionally providing a challenge for the "week-end warrior", and in days gone by, serving as a home for two brothers, as a shelter for the Indians, and as a secret place for making moonshine.

Today, we proudly boast an elaborate lighting system, and safe, dry walkways. Knowledgeable, well trained guides will allow you to stroll leisurely along savoring the breathtaking beauty the labyrinth of corridors and rooms have to offer. Almost one mile of walkways, some winding through great rooms with ceilings reaching an impressive height of 135 feet, provide a full hour of excitement and adventure.

Beautiful rich colors, provided by manganese, iron, calcium, copper and many other minerals, set the stage for a tour that will long be remembered. Formations ranging from delicate helictites to mighty columns, weighing tons, decorate the giant chambers and provide something new around every bend.

Bristol, TN Train Station

A Norfolk Southern mixed freight waits to pass through Bristol. The historic station can be seen to the left.

BRISTOL, Va. – The first railroad reached this southwestern Virginia community during the 1850s.

The Virginia and Tennessee Railroad connected Bristol with Lynchburg.

In 1870, the Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio railroad was created to link Norfolk and Bristol. The railroad assumed control of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, however, the railroad had financial troubles from the start.

State Street Market

Steele Creek Park is a 2,200+ acre municipal park owned and operated by the City of Bristol, Tennessee. The park is located at 4 Little Lane and features a Nature Center, Golf Course, a multi-use Lodge and shelters available for rent, paddle-boating on our 54 acre lake, 21 miles of hiking trails, soccer fields, picnic tables with grills, and just a great place to bring the whole family!

Bristol Motor Speedway