True and Chilling Tales Tours

Come and learn some truly chilling history in Jonesborough this October. Have you ever wondered what happened to horse thieves in the late 1700s, or wanted to know why Andrew Jackson fought a duel in Jonesborough? What about a body discovered in a rain barrel in town? What’s the story behind that? Hear these very true tales and more during this unique tour that’s perfect for an October evening.


The True and Chilling Tales Tour will take place at 7:00 pm on October 17th, 18th, 19th, 25th, 26th, 31st and November 1st. Your guide will lead you down Main Street with the “book of poor souls.” Mind your step, lest you end up in that book, too. Tickets are $10.00 and can be purchased through the Town of Jonesborough’s ticketing system at The tour will last an hour. Groups are limited to only 16 people, so make sure you buy your tickets in advance. The tours will depart from the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum on Main Street. The tours will go on rain or shine. This tour is rated PG-13 for content and is not recommended for children under 13 years of age. Please note these stories are very true and some of them are very gross and unpleasant and may be upsetting. Listeners beware.


Follow the Heritage Alliance and Chester Inn Museum on Facebook to receive up to date information.  The Heritage Alliance is dedicated to the preservation of the architectural, historical, and cultural heritage of our region and to providing educational experiences related to history and heritage for a wide range of audiences. The Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Historical Commission. For more information, please call our office at (423) 753-9580, or contact the organization via email at  Further information can also be found online at

History Happy Hour Talks Thomas Edison on September 15th at 6:30pm

This month’s History Happy Hour features retired history teacher Leonard Pipitone and his collection and knowledge all about inventor extraordinaire Thomas Edison!

Mr. Pipitone’s presentation is entitled “Thomas Alva Edison and the Origins of Recorded Sound.”  Originally from California, Mr. Pipitone’s sideline has been researching everything Edison and collecting early phonographs and music for over forty years.  He is a current, long-time member of the Antique Phonograph Society and a former member of the London Phonograph Society. “Thomas Alva Edison and the Origins of Recorded Sound” is a glimpse into the great inventor’s process, from the accidental discovery that spawned the first “Talking Machine” through the development of the later phonographs which would change the world of entertainment forever. In addition to his knowledge, Mr. Pipitone will be bringing several phonographs as well as cylinder and disc records representative of popular music styles and themes from the 1880s through the 1920s.

The program will take place at the International Storytelling Center at 6:30 pm on Thursday, September 15th. The program is free and open to the public. The presentation will also be livestreamed to the Chester Inn Museum’s Facebook page.

This project is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Historical Commission.

Heritage Alliance Trivia Night Gets Spooky This October with the McKinney Center

The Scare-itage Alliance is teaming up with the McSpooky Center to put a haunting spin on History Trivia Night. Join us on October 1st for a frighteningly fun Halloween Trivia contest with questions to test your knowledge of all things ghostly and historical!


The festivities will take place on Saturday, October 1st at 7:00 pm at the McKinney Center with general history-based trivia questions, friendly competition, a costume contest, and a ton of fun! Not a “history buff?” Don’t worry! These questions cover a wide range of topics and categories and include something for everyone. We will have questions about Halloween, ghost stories, movies, and more! Main Street Café will also be on hand to sell a frightening assortment of beers.


It’s only $5.00 per person to play! Tickets are available online through the Town of Jonesborough’s ticketing system at You can also call the Heritage Alliance at 423.753.9580 to order tickets. Solo play is allowed. Teams are encouraged, but the person limit per team is 8 people. Heritage Alliance and McKinney Center staff will host the event, tallying points and administering prizes to the winners. The event is family-friendly and open to all ages. The costume contest will occur during intermission. Dress up and try to win a prize!


For more information on the Heritage Alliance please call our office at 423.753.9580. You can also contact the organization via email at  Additional information about the Heritage Alliance and its mission can be found online at For more information on the McKinney Center and their mission please call their office at 423.753.0562 or visit their website at

FULL: Homeschool Day at Oak Hill School on Sept 19th and 20th

THESE DATES ARE FULL. We are happy to add you to a waiting list.


Registration form HERE.


The Heritage Alliance is excited to offer a homeschool day at the historic Oak Hill School on September 19th and 20th. The award winning Oak Hill School Heritage Education program is the only experiential learning program of its type in this region, and homeschool students are encouraged to come and experience history with the Heritage Alliance in Tennessee’s Oldest Town.


Oak Hill School was built in 1886 to serve the community of Knob Creek. The building served local residents until it was closed in the 1950s. The school building was moved the seven miles from Knob Creek to Jonesborough and placed in its current location behind the Visitors Center. Today, Oak Hill School invites students to come for a day-long experience and enroll in school in 1893. Reading, writing, arithmetic, history, geography – even the pledge of allegiance – are all as they were prior to the turn of the last century.



School will last from 9:00am – 2:00pm on Monday, September 19th and Tuesday, September 20th. This program is limited to 26 students, grades 1st – 12th, so sign up now!


Registration form for September 19th and 20th is available here. The cost is $5.00 per student for the day at Oak Hill School. Students must register in advance. We cannot accept registration the day of the event. This event has a minimum registration of 12 students in order for it to take place.

A Spot on the Hill Shares New Stories in the Old Jonesborough Cemetery in October

A Spot on the Hill, the original, research-based play returns this October to the Old Jonesborough Cemetery. Now celebrating its eighth season, this edition features new characters. New stories include Ella Ford Freeze who ran the Dew Drop Inn Restaurant in Bristol, Zachariah Lyle Burson who donated the bell to the First Baptist Church, and James Edward Shipley who died in a tragic and bizarre accident.  You’ll meet them and many more! Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to sit on. Seats are not provided at the cemetery. Come and listen to real stories of real lives among real tombstones.

Performances for A Spot on the Hill will take place at 6:30 p.m. on October 14th, 15th, 21st, and 22rd. There will be a 2:00 p.m. matinee performance on October 15th in the Jonesborough Visitors Center and a 2:00 pm matinee in the cemetery on October 22nd. The indoor performance on October 15th is ADA accessible. Tickets are limited, and sell out fast, so make sure you buy yours today. Tickets are $10.00 and proceeds benefit the Heritage Alliance’s educational programs and initiatives, including ongoing programming in Jonesborough’s historic cemeteries.


Audience members should arrive 15 minutes prior to show time. Parking is available at the First Baptist Church and downtown. It is a short walk up East Main Street to the cemetery from the First Baptist Church lot. A golf cart courtesy shuttle will be available for guests who need it. This program is not suggested for children less than 10 years of age. In case of inclement weather, the show will be canceled and audience members will be notified in advance.

To purchase tickets, please call the Jonesborough Visitor’s Center at 423.753.1010. Tickets can also be purchased online at

Ninth Annual Constitution Week Bell Ringing at Oak Hill School on September 11th

On Sunday, September 11th, the State of Franklin Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), are hosting their Ninth Annual Bell Ringing in honor of Constitution Week. The event will take place at 1:30 p.m. at Oak Hill School, located at 214 East Sabin Drive in Jonesborough across from the Jonesborough Public Library. The program will focus on the history of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution that reads, The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”


The program will include music, speeches, and observance of the 21st anniversary of the September 11, 2001, national tragedy. Several heritage groups will be participating, including the Kings Mountain NSSAR, the Overmountain Victory Trail Association, and participation from other local chapters of the NSDAR.


Please bring your own chair and a bell to ring! Seating will not be provided on site. The Daughters of the American Revolution began the tradition of celebrating the Constitution. In 1955, the DAR petitioned Congress to set aside September 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week.  The resolution was adopted by Congress and signed into law on August 2, 1956, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The State of Franklin Chapter of the NSDAR has been based in Jonesborough since 1929.

Jonesborough’s 19th Century Brick Buildings: Handmade Beauties

After a record breaking History Happy Hour in July 2022 with Dr. William Kennedy, he agreed to record an encore presentation of his program. Follow this link to the YouTube video on the Chester Inn Museum’s channel.


Here is a list of resources he used for his presentation.

Birthplace of Country Music Museum to Talk About “Mountain Airwaves” at History Happy Hour

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum returns to History Happy Hour on Thursday, August 18th at 6:30 pm to talk about “Mountain Airwaves.”


History Happy Hour favorites Dr. Rene Rodgers and Scotty Almany will be on hand to share a new and exciting topic. “Mountain Air Waves: Stories of Local and Regional Radio” will explore the history of early country radio, especially the local and regional stations that have been part of that music history. Radio impacted the development of musical genre and shared a wide variety of popular “barn-dance” shows that aired cross the United States, and it has been integral to the careers of many country and bluegrass musicians, past and present. From WLS and WSM to WCYB and WBCM – and beyond – radio was and continues to be a vibrant center for music making.


The program will be in-person in the board room of the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum, and it will be streamed live on the Chester Inn’s Facebook page. The program will begin at 6:30 pm. The program is free and open to the public!


This project is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Historical Commission.

Nancy’s Story at Telford Ruritan Rescheduled for Sept 10th

In 1820, Elihu Embree published his newspaper The Emancipator on Main Street, Jonesborough. The seven edition paper is the first publication dedicated solely to the cause of abolitionism. Embree passed away in December of 1820. Even though the paper was short-lived, The Emancipator had over 2,000 subscribers and its reach went all the way to Boston and Philadelphia. In spite of his abolitionist beliefs, Embree himself was an enslaver. Nancy was an enslaved woman owned by Elihu Embree, and her story will be shared at the Telford Ruritan Club on Saturday, September 10th in the original play entitled “Nancy.”


Written by Anne G’Fellers-Mason, Executive Director of the Heritage Alliance, “Nancy” follows a year in the woman’s life, from January 1820 when Elihu Embree wrote his will to January 1821 when his will was read before the Washington County court. In his will, Embree tried to free Nancy and her five children, but were his wishes carried out? What was Nancy feeling and thinking during this time? The play is based on primary research relying heavily on documents from the Washington County Archives. The role of Nancy will be performed by local actress Ubunibi-Afia Short. “Nancy” won an Award of Excellence from the Tennessee Association of Museums and an Award for History in the Media from the East Tennessee Historical Society. The show has been performed twice in the region to sold-out crowds. Do not miss your chance to see this powerful performance. These performances were originally scheduled for June 25th, but they had to be postponed due to health reasons.


“It is an honor to bring the show to the stage at the Telford Ruritan Club,” Mason says. “The Heritage Alliance is all about making connections with our community, and we are so glad we can do that through Nancy’s story. We have performed this play in the Sarah Sevier Memorial Chapel at the Embree House Historic Farm and on a stair landing at Harris Hall at Washington College Academy. Nancy’s story can be shared just about anywhere. This time, we’re taking to the stage in the old, school auditorium. ”


There will be two performances on September 10th at 2:00 pm and 6:30 pm. The show is a fundraiser for the Telford Ruritan Club and the Heritage Alliance. The show will be performed onstage in the old Telford School located at 101 Telford School Road. Tickets are $15.00 and can be purchased directly through the Town of Jonesborough’s ticketing system at or by calling the Jonesborough Visitor’s Center at 423.753.1010. Seating is limited to only 50 people per performance, so make sure you purchase your tickets in advance.


The Heritage Alliance is dedicated to the preservation of the architectural, historical, and cultural heritage of our region and to providing educational experiences related to history and heritage for a wide range of audiences. For more information, visit our website at or call our office at 423.753.9580.


The Telford Ruritan Club has been serving their community since 1961. They host a BBQ supper on the second Friday of every month. They support various organizations including Wreaths Across America, Tilted Tavern Animal Sanctuary, and St. Jude’s Second Harvest Food Bank. They maintain a Little Lending Library, a Community Produce Stand, and a roadside food pantry box at their site.

Heritage Alliance Wins Awards!

On Thursday, June 9th, the Heritage Alliance received Partner of the Year at the Pinnacle Awards hosted by the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association. Every year, the Pinnacle Awards recognize the best in regional tourism. We were nominated by the Town of Jonesborough’s Tourism Department. It’s an honor to work so closely with the Town and its staff. The Heritage Alliance is very thankful for the partnerships we have throughout the region. We are beyond grateful for this award and we share it with our Members, our volunteers, our dedicated staff, and our community. We hope we can continue to be a good partner for the next twenty years and then some.

That same week, the Heritage Alliance received an award for the original play “Nancy” from the East Tennessee Historical Society. The performance piece won a History in the Media Award. This is the third award for “Nancy,” which tells the story of a woman and her children that were enslaved by abolitionist Elihu Embree. Unfortunately, we had to miss the ceremony, but we look forward to a future award presentation from ETHS Director Dr. Warren Dockter.


Executive Director Anne Mason with the Partner of the Year Award.