Carter Mansion tours to begin February 13

Many people might view history as belonging in a museum of a history textbook, but in many cases, history can still be standing, both literally and figuratively.

The Carter Mansion will be open for public tours on Wednesday, Feb. 13, one of the first times in 2019 the mansion will be open.

Sycamore Shoals State Park Ranger Jason Davis has been in charge of organizing the tours since about 2008.

“I have been giving tours since I started working here,” Davis said.

The mansion is not open for tours 24/7 because of the park’s limited staff, but he said tours will become more frequent starting in June when the weather warms up.

Davis said the Carter Mansion, located at 1031 Broad Street right by Highway 91, is one of the oldest frame houses in the state of Tennessee.

“Ninety percent of the home is original,” he said. “This presents a unique opportunity to see what the people living in it got to see in their daily lives.”

He said those who participate in the tour will get to see the interior of the house and take a look at the history of the region as a whole.

“The house has fine features,” he said. “People tend to relate to historic homes because they can see what daily life was like.”

John Carter was the original builder of the home between 1775 and 1780, before his son Landon finished the construction, the latter becoming the namesake of Carter County. His wife Elizabeth became the namesake of Elizabethton.

Davis said the house is an interesting contrast to how the area used to be back in the day.

“Most of the homes around this area were just log cabins in the wilderness,” Davis said. “This was what the area was like before it became a state.”

He said the home’s significance is not just its physical trappings, however.

“We have a lot of visitors who can trace their lineage to early settlers of this region,” he said. “This can expose people to their heritage and help them find pieces of their past.”

Tours will start at 11 a.m. that Wednesday morning, and those looking to participate in the tours must register online at tnstateparks.com/parks/sycamore-shoals.

Registration is $7 for adults, $3 for children seven through 17 years old, and no charge for those six and under. Davis said there are only 25 open slots in total for the tour.

“There are no elevators or wheelchair ramps in the house, and people do not often think about that when they come to these tours,” Davis said.

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