The Blog

A Spot On The Hill

Something new is coming to the Old Jonesborough Cemetery this fall. A Spot on the Hill, an original, research-based play by Anne G’Fellers-Mason, will share the stories of the inhabitants in the old cemetery. Visit their makers and hear their tales of triumph and woe. How did these people come to Jonesborough? What kept them here, and what ultimately happened to them? What do the spirits at the top of the hill have to say? Come and listen to the real stories of real lives among real tombstones.

Spot on the Hill Publicity Shot

(Photo courtesy of Peter Montanti of Mountain Photographics, Inc.)

Performances for A Spot on the Hill will take place at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on October 10th and 11th and October 24th and 25th. All eight performances will be limited casino to groups of 25, so make sure you buy your tickets today! Tickets are $8.00 and proceeds will benefit tombstone restoration and preservation in the Old Jonesborough Cemetery. This 45 minute performance will require walking and standing in the cemetery. Please wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Audience members should arrive 15 minutes prior to show time and park in the First Baptist Church parking lot at 210 East Main Street in Jonesborough. This program is not suggested for children under 12 years of age.

To purchase tickets, please call the Heritage Alliance at 423.753.9580. You can also purchase tickets online at http://boxoffice.printtixusa.com/jonesborough/eventcalendar, or through the Jonesborough Visitor’s Center at 423.753.1010.

 

Historic Jonesborough Walking Town Tours

Something new is coming to Tennessee’s Oldest Town! Main Street Jonesborough and the Heritage Alliance are excited to offer a regular schedule of historic walking tours of downtown Jonesborough. Available at 11:00 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, these tours will launch on September 15th from the International Storytelling Center. Guides will discuss the history of the town, its people, and the lives they built. Tickets are $5.00 per person and can be purchased at the International Storytelling Center, cash and check only.

Come and tour Historic Jonesborough, then stay for a online casino good meal, some shopping, and maybe a tale or two in the Storytelling Capital of the World. For more information on the tours, please contact the Heritage Alliance at 423.753.9580, or the International Storytelling Center at 423.753.2171. To schedule a tour for a larger group, or another day, please contact the Heritage Alliance directly.

DeVault Tavern Exhibition at Reece Museum

A full slate of events will accompany the DeVault Tavern Exhibition at the Reece Museum, including panel discussions, historic preservation workshops, family history workshops, and lectures on the transportation revolution in  East Tennessee.  For a full listing of the events, please click here.  Read more about the DeVault Tavern below.
“The DeVault Tavern, a U.S. National Register of Historic Places listing, is located approximately five miles west of Jonesborough in the community of Leesburg. The two-story brick tavern was built in 1819-1821 by Frederick DeVault (spelled Davault at that time).  As its name suggests, the house originally served as a way station and inn along the region’s primary stagecoach route, until the new railroad bypassed Leesburg in 1857 in favor of Jonesborough.  Even after the house was a “tavern” in name only, it continued to anchor a working farm of 200 acres until the early 1960s.

By the 20th century, historians, journalists and preservationists had begun to recognize the DeVault Tavern as a unique regional landmark.  Its layout is a puzzling maze — four staircases lead to separated second-floor rooms, with a fifth stairwell to the attic. The original decorative scheme of faux-grained woodwork survives largely intact. The family held onto the Tavern until the house was finally sold to parties outside of the family in 2009.

Kennedy, a Brooklyn-based artist who grew up in Jonesborough, began photographing and researching the DeVault Tavern in December 2009, just after its sale, and has continued to make photographs as the new owners began a gradual restoration.

After the sale of the property, an extensive archive was discovered in the house — a trove of more than 1,100 items — including photographs, letters, ledger books, diaries and other material, spanning the Tavern’s entire history.  The Tavern’s new owners have promised to donate these materials to the ETSU Archives of Appalachia, another unit of CASS.  This collection of archival material makes it possible to tell a detailed story of the daily experiences of the people who lived in the house and worked in its landscape.

For the exhibition, Kennedy will take on the dual role of artist and guest curator, designing an installation and writing interpretive labels that will evoke the detective-like process of archival research and investigation.

Twenty of his large, framed photographs will serve as the exhibition’s “establishing shots,” introducing the house and landscape as theatrical spaces replete with evidence.

Specially selected archival material from the Tavern collection will be displayed in table cases, on hooded pedestals, and in small frames on the walls, along with research material drawn from other sources, such as census forms, photos, transcribed letters and maps.  The installation will also include six pieces of museum-quality antique furniture that originally belonged in the Tavern.  These pieces of furniture will be displayed with other objects and images as “still life” listening stations where visitors can hear excerpts of oral history interviews with DeVault family members.

A book-length, scholarly and artistic publication will extend the exhibition with additional photographs and archival material, a text by the artist, and scholarly essays by both Dr. Tom Lee, an associate professor in the ETSU Department of History, and Diana C. Stoll, based in Asheville, N.C., a writer and longtime editor for the Aperture Foundation.  Public programming will be an integral part of the three-month exhibit and will include lectures, panel discussions and workshops.

According to CASS Director Dr. Roberta Herrin, “We are grateful for this first-ever National Endowment for the Arts grant (for ETSU as an institution) and excited about ‘The DeVault Tavern’ exhibition.  The collective community memory and lore surrounding the Tavern make it a major point of interest, and the exhibit and programming will be of interest to local residents because it connects to their personal lives and family history. The exhibit is also noteworthy because it uses local history as a gateway to art.”

Kennedy’s DeVault Tavern project is similar to his earlier photograph series that traced the recent history of the 19th century Wells-Smith House, also known as the Sabin House, in Jonesborough. That series of more than 300 photographs documents the development of three buildings — the old house, a new house built from reclaimed Wells-Smith House materials at the corner of Washington and College streets in Jonesborough, and a hotel built on the home’s original site.  The series is documented in Kennedy’s book, “The end of the day” (Darling Publications, Cologne, Germany, 2009).

“The DeVault Tavern” exhibition will run at the Reece Museum from Sept. 11-Dec. 11.  For more information about the exhibition, please phone the Reece Museum at (423) 439-4392.”

Information for this post provided by CASS at ETSU.  To read the full article, click here.