Don’t miss a chance to visit the oldest standing frame house in Tennessee

Published 8:40 am Thursday, March 5, 2020

Nestled at the beginning of Lynn Valley in Elizabethton near the Watauga River stands the oldest standing frame house in Tennessee.

The Carter Mansion was built between 1775 and 1780 by John Carter, a chairman of the Watauga Association, and his son, Landon. The historic home is known for its architecture and richness of the times. Inside the walls of the home, tours are led to share tales of the work behind the home’s creation and the men who created it.

“It is a beautiful home,” said Leslie Brockley, secretary of Sycamore Shoals. “There are certain architectural things they will talk about inside that the Carters brought with them when they arrived from the Tidewater, Virginia area. On the tour, you will see a lot of things that go back to big money or the people that had money in that area.”

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Tours are led through Sycamore Shoals every other Wednesday, with the next being March 18. Those wishing to participate can purchase tickets ahead of time online with adults paying $8, ages 7 to 17 are $4 and children under six are free. There are limited amounts of spots on tours, however they do occur on a regular basis, more so in the summer months.

“They usually try to keep it limited so it’s a good group, so when he’s talking they can hear what he has to say, even if you’re in another room, you can hear,” she said.

Tours cover the ground level of the home and go throughout to the upstairs.

Brockley said the tours are usually done by either Jason Davis, a ranger with Sycamore Shoals, or by Chad Bogart, the Historian Curator for Sycamore Shoals.

In addition to tours at the Carter Mansion, tours are also taking place every other week for Sabine Hill as well.

Brockley said tours usually have a good turnout for both, however Sabine does get more interest as it is newer for people to tour, while the Carter Mansion has been open for a long time.

For more information on tour dates and to reserve a spot you can go to

“People have lived here all their lives and they don’t know the history of the area,” she said. “There was so much history that took place in this area that formed this country, so it’s really eye opening with what ancestors did to form this country.”