Heritage Alliance/Museums

tour-chester-inn

 The Chester Inn State Historic Site & Museum

Located in the heart of downtown Jonesborough, the Chester Inn Museum chronicles the history of Jonesborough from its inception in 1779 to the present. The museum is located on the street level of the oldest commercial building in town. The Chester Inn is a state owned historic site operated by the Heritage Alliance.

 Chester Inn 7sm

Exhibits include information on the State of Franklin, a diorama of Jonesborough in the 1850s, the history of the Chester Inn and much more. Many of the exhibits feature Jonesborough's extensive collection of photographs. The upstairs parlor,  dining  and lodging rooms of the Chester Inn, restored to the Victorian era style of the late 1800s, are also open for viewing. Kids' activities include a museum scavenger hunt, a coloring book that features some of Jonesborough's historic buildings, and a primary source activity with the cholera epidemic of 1873. The Chester Inn Museum also offers a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages throughout the calendar year. 

 

Hours of Operation

 

January & February: by appointment only

 

March & April:

Monday, Friday & Saturday 11 am - 6  pm and Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm, 

 

May - October: 

Monday 11 am - 6 pm, Wednesday through Saturday 11am - 6 pm and Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm

 

November - December:  

Monday, Friday & Saturday 11 am - 6 pm and Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm

 

There are no admission fees, but donations are welcomed.


Museum  Archives 2sm

Jonesborough/Washington County History Museum

Founded in 1982, the Jonesborough/Washington County History Museum and Archives collects artifacts, documents, and photographs to help tell the stories of the land and people who constituted the “mother of Tennessee.”

 

Our collection of artifacts, newspapers and other ephemera focuses clocksmon the social, cultural, and economic history of Jonesborough and Washington County – creating a fascinating historical record of our region. Our extensive photographic collection spans the period from 1850 through the 1980s, and features a number of photographs from early Jonesborough photographers L.W. Keen and O.L. Hensley.

 

We invite you to visit our gallery space located in the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at 117 Boone Street. Exhibits include information on frontier life in Tennessee, local educational history, a rotating exhibit that honors local veterans, and much more. Come and see Jonesborough’s very first fire fighting equipment, purchased in the late 1800s, and view the clock that used to keep time in the 1847 Washington County Courthouse.

 

Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday: 9 am - 5 pm

Saturday & Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm

 

There are no admission fees, but donations are welcomed.

 

TourwAnnesmTown Tours & Cemetery Tours

Main Street Jonesborough and the Heritage Alliance are excited to offer a regular schedule of historic walking tours of downtown Jonesborough.  Available at 1 pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and at 7 pm on Thursday, these tours depart from the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum.  There are some seasonal changes in the schedule, so please call ahead 423.753.9580 or 423.753.4580 to confirm.  Costumed guides will discuss the history of the town, its people and the lives they built.  Tickets are $5 per person and can be purchased at the Chester Inn Museum.

 

During the fall, the Alliance also offers tours of the Old Jonesborough Cemetery at 2:30 pm on Saturdays. Tickets for the cemetery tour are $3 per person. Purchase a combo ticket or both tours for $7 per person. Tickets are available at the Chester Inn Museum.

 

The Oak Hill School
OHS interiorsm

Oak Hill School was built in 1886 to serve the community of Knob Creek. The building served local residents as a school and as a center for community events until the school was closed in the 1950s. The school building was moved seven miles from Knob Creek to Jonesborough and placed in its current location behind the Visitors Center. Once in the new location, Oak Hill School was lovingly restored to the way it may have appeared in the OHSoutsidesm 1890s. From finding the original wall color, to collecting the oral histories of living alumni, every effort was made to ensure that those who enter the doors today would see what students in Knob Creek would have seen over a century ago. Today, students experience a school day during 1892 as a part of the Oak Hill School Heritage Education Program. If you're interested in booking a school group, or family day, please contact the Heritage Alliance

 

Hours of Operation

Tours of Oak Hill School are by appointment. Call us at 423.753.9580 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

 

The Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee & Southwest Virginia

The Heritage Alliance is dedicated to the preservation of the architectural, historical, and cultural heritage of our region and to providing educational experiences related to history and heritage for a wide range of audiences. 

 

Our mission combines historic preservation with history education. We believe that blending these dimensions enables us to provide uniquely effective services to a wide range of public audiences, including adults and children, local citizens and tourists.  The Heritage Alliance is dedicated to advocating and providing technical support for the preservation of our region’s architecture, developing innovative museum experiences that bring history onto our public streets, and providing unique history education opportunities for both the people who live in our region and the people who visit it.  Our goal is to influence and encourage individuals, businesses, and local governments to actively participate in the nationwide movement to preserve, revitalize and appreciate the past that is part of the fabric of our everyday life.

 

Our offices are located in the Duncan House (212 East Sabin Drive), right behind the Jonesborough Visitor’s Center and in the same parking lot as the Jonesborough Library.  We are normally in the office Monday - Friday from 9 am - 5 pm.  Give us a call at 423.753.9580, or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Heritage Alliance Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. can be reached at 423.753.9580. Please visit our website at heritageall.org   or Like the Chester Inn Museum or the Heritage Alliance Facebook pages to stay up to date on all the latest programs and changing exhibits.

 

Chuckey Depot Museum of Jonesborough

Railings frontCDsmThis train depot was originally located in Chuckey, TN, approximately 15 miles southwest of its present location in Jonesborough, TN.  With the coming of the railroad, Fullen’s Depot, as it was originally called, established itself as one of the many stops for water and wood, to feed the steam powered engines. The original depot was described as a “simple shack with sides planked vertically”.  A tin freight warehouse was located nearby. During this time, Fullen had officially changed its name to Chuckey City, which was shortened to Chuckey by the US Postal Service in 1904. The original depot burned in 1905 and a new depot was built in 1906.  This new Chuckey Depot consisted of two public waiting rooms and a ticket office.  The freight warehouse was a kit construction brought in by the Southern Railroad and erected on site.

 

Communities such as Chuckey thrived as long as railroads remained the dominant mode of both travel and shipping. But as the interstate networks expanded and alternate modes of shipping became popular, businesses began to move away and the community of Chuckey, whose prosperity was so closely tied to the railroad, turned to larger towns such as Greeneville for commercial and retail needs.

 

The Chuckey Depot ceased to be used in the mid-1900’s and sat abandoned for decades.   Sitting on the railroad’s right of way, the depot was threatened with demolition.  Due to railroad policy, the building could not stay in its original location. The next step was to find another location for this iconic building. The Babb family, who owned the depot, worked diligently within the community to identify alternate locations. Eventually the decision was made to relocate the building to Jonesborough.  Jonesborough was eager to have the structure, there was a plan in place for its eventual use and Jonesborough has a proven culture of historic preservation.

 

In a perfect world, the building would have been saved in its original location, or at least found another home, along with a plan to properly care for and maintain the building in Chuckey. In the time provided by the railroad, that was not to be. Relocating a historic structure is never a good thing to do, but sometimes it is the only way to save it.

 

The job of moving the Depot from Chuckey to Jonesborough was a meticulous task undertakenSign CDsmby the Town of Jonesborough and the Heritage Alliance.  A numbering system was created to identify the individual pieces of the structure prior to demolition.  Specific codes were developed for each room of the building, with coordinates representing the compass ordinate of each element, its corresponding room number, and its position within that room.  This similar coding system was repeated on the building’s exterior. For example, a window assembly removed from the north wall of the depot’s ticketroom received the code N-TR-1 Window.  A piece of interior crown molding from that wall of same room received the code N-TR-CM 1.  This process was repeated for literally thousands of different components throughout the structure.  Each was entered into a corresponding database and entered onto the measured drawings, completing the documentation process.

parkinglotCDsmDismantling, labeling and bundling the building took just over a month and was completed in August of 2011. During that time, the Town of Jonesborough was putting in place the necessary property agreements and identifying the team who would be tasked with its reconstruction. In almost all instances, original material from the depot was used in its reconstruction. Only in places where the original material was deteriorated beyond repair (such as the roof) were newer materials used.

 

Many of the artifacts found within and around the building while on its original site were preserved by the Babb family and were a part of their donation to the Town. These items are displayed throughout the museum and include an original waiting room bench, light fixtures, and public notice boards. Tusculum College’s Museum Studies Program, the Town of Jonesborough, the Heritage Alliance and the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society have been working over the past year to develop exhibits for the public.

 

The Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society will staff the Museum with volunteers after the opening, Wednesdays – Sundays and make it available and open to the public.  The facility and caboose will be available for rentals sometime after the opening in Fall 2017.  

As the Chuckey Depot renovation was nearing completion, an Advisory Board was formed by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The board is tasked with recommendations for the successful development and long-term operation of the railroad museum. The seven member board  includes the Mayor or his appointee, the president of the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum or their appointee, and the president of the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia or their appointee. The additional four members are chosen from the community at large. 

 

The board will be setting programmatic goals and directions for the Museum, establishing policy to govern the operations of the program, seeking artifacts and information that will enhance the interpretations program, approving acceptance of artifacts and interpretive materials and developing fundraising activities to support the operation and development of the museum. Additionally the board will determine how money is spent, make recommendations on staffing, evaluate progress and development of the museum, assist in efforts to obtain volunteers, determine fees or charges, and any other duties requested by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The Chuckey Depot Advisory Board is as follows:

 

  • Cline Knowles
  • Mike Tilley
  • Jim Rhein
  • Deborah Montanti
  • Peter Noll
  • Terry Knight
  • David Sell

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 August 2017 08:44

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Community Calendar...

 

Aug
7

08.07.2017 - 09.03.2017

Aug
17

08.17.2017 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Aug
17

08.17.2017 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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17

08.17.2017 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

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17

08.17.2017 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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08.17.2017 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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18

08.18.2017 9:30 am - 1:00 pm

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18

08.18.2017 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

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18

08.18.2017 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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18

08.18.2017 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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18

08.18.2017 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

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19

08.19.2017 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

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19

08.19.2017 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

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19

08.19.2017 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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19

08.19.2017 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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19

08.19.2017 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

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20

08.20.2017 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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20

08.20.2017 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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21

08.21.2017 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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21

08.21.2017 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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22

08.22.2017 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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22

08.22.2017 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm