Sabine Hill: Community celebrates opening of newest State Historic Site

Published 7:21 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wednesday was a day of celebration as years of hard work were made evident with the opening of the state’s newest treasure — The Sabine Hill State Historic Site.

Local and state officials gathered with community members and descendants of the Nathaniel and Mary Patton Taylor family on Wednesday afternoon to dedicate and officially open the historic home.

Sabine Hill was constructed around 1818 by Mary after the death of Nathaniel. She remained in the home until her death in 1853 and continued to run the family’s many business ventures.

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Preserving the house was a joint venture between the Tennessee Historical Commission and Tennessee State Parks. Sabine Hill will be operated Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, which also operates the John and Landon Carter Mansion here in Elizabethton.

Tennessee Historical Commission Director Patrick McIntyre was part of the ceremony to dedicate Tennessee’s 17th State Historic Site, which he called the state’s “newest treasure.”

McIntyre said he was pleased and ecstatic to see a site that was once in imminent danger of being demolished to be saved and turned into something that has been restored and preserved for future generations to enjoy. “This is something I’ve been waiting on for a long time,” McIntyre told those who attended the ceremony.

Preserving Tennessee’s natural and historical assets is not only important to keep those things alive for future generations, but McIntyre said it is also a way for the state and local communities to reap an economic benefit. He cited a report recently released by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development showing the state saw $37.14 million in direct tourism expenditures during 2016.

“I always say that heritage tourism is a permanent form of economic development,” McIntyre said. “It’s not like a business or a store that could close down.”

Following the ceremony, employees of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park were joined by descendants of the Taylor family and state officials in cutting the ribbon to declare the home open as a historic site. After the ribbon cutting, attendees were allowed to tour the home with the Taylor family members being invited to be the first to step inside.

As visitors proceeded through the home on Wednesday afternoon, they were greeted in each room by a historic interpreters in period attire who shared stories about Sabine Hill, what life was like when it was built, and the restoration work that went into giving the home new life.

With the home’s official opening now complete, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park will be conducting guided tours by reservation on November 4, 5, 11 and 12. Tickets for the tour cost $7 for adults, $3 for ages 7-17, and those 6 and under are admitted free.

Tours for these two weekends will be conducted at 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm on Saturdays and 1 pm and 3 pm on Sundays and are by reservation only by logging onto and choosing “Upcoming Events” in the left-hand menu. Tours meet at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park and will shuttle to the historic home. Additional opportunities to tour Sabine Hill will be announced at a later date.

Sycamore Shoals is also hosting an entertaining celebration at Sycamore Shoals on Saturday evening, November 4th at 7:30 pm. The Saturday evening event will include historic dance demonstrations and guest participation, a glimpse into the history of Sabine Hill via clothing of the era, and fun for the whole family. This event is sponsored by the Sabine Hill Social Society and Friends of Sycamore Shoals.