DescriptionThe oldest town in Tennessee, Jonesborough was founded in 1779 as the seat of Washington County, an area of North Carolina that encompassed all of present-day Tennessee. In 1784 North Carolina ceded its lands west of the mountains to the United States, and the settlers in Washington County were left without a government. A convention met in Jonesborough in 1785 and created the State of Franklin, with John Sevier as its first and only governor.
Although Franklin was never approved by Congress and it only existed for a few years, the state was the first to be created after the Thirteen Colonies. The constitutional convention and the first two meetings of the General Assembly were held in Jonesborough before the capital was relocated to Greeneville.
Today Jonesborough is the seat of a much smaller Washington County. Main Street has a 19th-century atmosphere, with many restored brick stores, four historic churches, brick sidewalks and street lamps that resemble gaslights.
Jonesborough is the home of the International Storytelling Center, which sponsors the National Storytelling Festival the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October. During the festival renowned practitioners of this folk art hold visitors spellbound with tales that range from fairy to tall; phone (423) 753-2171 or (800) 952-8392.
Visitor InfoHistoric Jonesborough Visitor Center 117 Boone St. JONESBOROUGH, TN 37659. Phone:(423)753-1010 or (866)401-4223
Self-guiding toursThe visitor center has free brochures outlining walking tours of Jonesborough's historic district.
Things to SeeJonesborough-Washington County History Museum