About BristolState Street, Bristol's main thoroughfare, is bisected by the Tennessee/Virginia border. The double yellow lines down the street's center denote the dividing line. Although each side has its own government and city services, together they form an important industrial center that manufactures metal goods, textiles and electronic products.
Evan Shelby, noted for battling Native Americans and founding what became the city of Bristol, built a stockade here in 1776. Daniel Boone and many other distinguished pioneers bartered in Bristol and planned the campaign that defeated the British at the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.
Congress declared Bristol the Birthplace of Country Music in 1998 because of the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings that launched the careers of music legends Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter family. Today, Bristol hosts outdoor concerts between May and October and an annual music festival, Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, in September.
The city has a theater, an arts center and a ballet company. Recreational activities on the Tennessee side are provided by Steele Creek Park and South Holston Dam and Lake. Sugar Hollow Park is on the Virginia side. Both Steele Creek and Sugar Hollow parks provide miles of hiking, biking and walking trails. Area lakes and waterways offer opportunities for fishing and boating.
The Bristol Motor Speedway, a half-mile racetrack 5 miles south on US 11E in Tennessee, is on the NASCAR circuit; phone (423) 989-6900. Scenic I-81 passes through Bristol and continues 88 miles south to the I-40 junction.
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