JONESBOROUGH – The first county in Tennessee has the honor of kicking off the year-long celebration of Tennessee’s 225th birthday.
“We are excited to host the official kick-off on the front steps of Washington County’s Historic Courthouse,” said County Mayor Joe Grandy. “What started as a simple celebration for the return of a historic document quickly morphed into what will be an awesome event.”
The County loaned its first deed book, commonly known as Deed Book A or the Watauga Purchase Book, to the State for its Centennial celebration. It contains the earliest land records for Washington County and Tennessee.
The volume is a copy of a portion of the original book, which was lost. It contains the earliest deeds and land grants for the county, beginning with the indenture made in March 1775 between the earliest settlers and Cherokee chiefs to purchase land holdings in what became Washington County and the surrounding area. This particular copy contains the first 178 transcribed pages of the document. The remaining transcribed pages of Deed Book A are stored in the county’s Register of Deeds office.
Governor Bill Lee and Secretary of State Tre Hargett will formally return the book to Washington County at the start of the ceremony, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Governor Lee, Secretary Hargett and Senator Marsha Blackburn will offer comments regarding statehood during the event.
The Oak Ridge Boys will open the event with the National Anthem and close the event with a special performance. The quartet is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of its number one hit, “Elvira”.
Select downtown restaurants and shops will stay open and food trucks will be on Main Street ready to serve attendees as early as 5 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to arrive early, find a great spot to sit and enjoy dinner in downtown Jonesborough.
In keeping with the theme of Statehood, the Chester Inn State Historic Site will remain open until 6 p.m. The Heritage Alliance tour guides will be wandering throughout town in period dress, ready to answer any historical questions visitors have about the Town of Jonesborough or Washington County.
Additionally, the Washington County Health Department will be on-site to offer free first doses of Pfizer vaccine to those who in attendance.
Main Street will close from Fox Street to 1st Avenue from 11 a.m. until shortly after the event, which should wrap up no later than 8:30 p.m. The Historic Courthouse and its offices will remain open for regular business hours. Those needing to access the Historic Courthouse for business can do so by turning onto Fox Avenue and parking in the lot immediately behind the building.
Parking for the Event
Public parking is available at a variety of locations around town including:
- Jonesborough Visitor’s Center
- Washington County Library
- McKinney Center
- Chuckey Depot
- Depot Street Park
- Parson’s Table
- Jonesborough United Methodist Church
Those with handicap permits may park in lots behind the Historic Courthouse as space allows.