Elizabethton Walking Tour: Exploring history downtown by visiting notable homes, landmarks

Published 11:49 am Monday, June 19, 2017

By Mo Wilson & Andrew Alley


EDITOR’S NOTE: During the month of June two students from the Upward Bound program at ETSU are joining the Elizabethton Star for their Career Work Study. Mo Wilson is a rising senior at Science Hill High School and Andrew Alley is a rising senior at Tennessee High School. During the month they will be learning about Carter County and sharing their adventures with our readers.

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Elizabethton is home to many historic structures that date as far back as the 1800’s, some of which can be seen on the Elizabethton Walking Tour.

Included in these structures are many houses, the Covered Bridge, and the Sycamore tree. Each of these landmarks is highly recommended to visit, as they will further one’s appreciation of Elizabethton’s long history.

The majority of the houses possess qualities associated with Georgian architecture.

Some of the buildings — such as the Rhudy House and the Dr. Bowers House — are symmetrical in terms of their outer appearance. Both houses would have an equal amount of windows, pillars, and porches on both sides if they were to be split down the middle.

The Range House, Garland House, and the Old Girls’ Academy have an abundant amount of windows on the outside to increase the intricacy of the design.

The Hunter and Franklin Cottage were both built by Dr. E. E. Hunter, which makes the interior and exterior similarities understandable; both houses have a fireplace and were both originally built without kitchens.

Although many of the houses were inspired by Georgian architecture, the Dungan House was created based on Victorian architecture. Rather than focusing on symmetry, the Dungan House centers its focus around the intricacy of the design as seen on its pillars and its gingerbread trim.

One of Carter County’s most famous historical landmarks is the Covered Bridge. Colonel Thomas Matson designed it in 1882 for a price of $3,000. The bridge spans 134 feet and was originally built from mountain oak and white pine. It is often considered and “engineering feat,” due to its survival of many floods while other bridges were unfortunately destroyed.

Finally, the Sycamore tree found next to the Covered Bridge was the location of the first meeting of the Watauga Association in May 1772.  While the tree was tragically chopped down in 1987, its stump can still be seen for all to admire and enjoy its symbolic representation of the birth of America.

While these are only a few examples of structures to see on the walking tour, there are still many more historical landmarks to admire, and they are waiting to be enjoyed by those who yearn to seek knowledge about Elizabethton.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part one of a three-part series on the Elizabethton Walking Tour through the historic downtown area.