How the Grinch Stole Christmas November 25th at the Chester Inn Museum

Join us at the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum on November 25th for readings of the holiday classic, Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! This program is part of the town of Jonesborough’s “Whoville” holiday celebration which takes place from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. This program will feature a reading of the “Grinch” in our restored parlor room as well as a display of holiday items from our archival collection. We will also talk about the history of Victorian holiday celebration customs and the practice of storytelling during the holidays. Each program will be approximately 15-20 minutes.

This year there will be readings at 12:00, 1:15, 2:00, and 2:45. Due to spacing issues, we will be limiting the attendance of each program to the first 20 people. Attendees can pick up their tickets at the Chester Inn Museum on the 25th. Tickets for the first two programs will be available starting at 11:00 am, and tickets will be available for the other programs starting at 1:00 pm. You can keep up with the event by following the Chester Inn Museum on Facebook! For questions, please call us at (423) 753-4580, email us at, or message us at the Chester Inn Museum on Facebook.

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


Special Called Board Meeting on November 6th

The Heritage Alliance has a special, called Board of Trustees Meeting on Monday, November 6th at 5:30 pm at the Jonesborough Visitors Center.

Members of the public wishing to speak concerning any item on the agenda during the Public Comment period must sign up by calling our Executive Director, Anne Mason, at 423-753-9580 with their name, address, and subject about which they wish to speak by 12:00 p.m. the day of the meeting. Otherwise, such member of the public must sign in at the location of the meeting, prior to the start of the meeting. Each individual shall be given three (3) minutes to address the Board regarding Agenda items. Comments shall be limited to items on the Agenda.

Agenda available here.

A Spot on the Hill Offers Special Matinee on Saturday, October 14th

A Spot on the Hill, Jonesborough’s annual cemetery play presented  by the Heritage Alliance will host a special matinee performance on Saturday, October 14th inside the auditorium of the Jonesborough Visitors Center. The play, now in its ninth year, shares the stories of the people buried in the Old Jonesborough Cemetery. New stories include Miss Ethel Brown who was a teacher at Booker T. Washington School and Jonesborough Elementary School, brick and stonemason John Rhea, Dr. William R. Sevier who was instrumental during the cholera epidemic of 1873, and Samuel Irvin who has the oldest marker in the cemetery. You’ll meet them and many more!


The show on October 14th will start at 2:00 pm and last about an hour. Tickets are only $10.00 and proceeds from the play help fund preservation efforts in the Old Jonesborough Cemetery. “Even if you do not see this show in the cemetery, it is still powerful,” Executive Director Anne Mason shares.  “We know that some people aren’t able to come to the cemetery to see the other performances, and we also know that some people don’t want to come near a cemetery. If that’s the case, this special matinee is a wonderful option.”


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

True and Chilling Tales Tours in Jonesborough this October

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 24th, 25th, 26th, 30th, 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 gory and unpleasant and may be upsetting or triggering. Listeners beware.

Heritage Alliance Trivia Night Gets Spooky 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 September 30th for a frighteningly fun Halloween Trivia contest with questions to test your knowledge of all things ghostly and historical! This is the perfect way to kick off the spooky Halloween season.


The festivities will take place on Saturday, September 30th 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 Halloween related categories including urban legends, ghost stories, local haints, and more! Main Street Café will also be on hand to sell a frightening assortment of beers.


It’s only $8.00 per person to play! Tickets are available online at Solo play is allowed. Teams are encouraged, but the person limit per team is 8 people. Please enter your team’s name in the comments when purchasing your tickets if you know it. 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


A Spot on the Hill Returns to Old Jonesborough Cemetery

A Spot on the Hill, the original, research-based play returns this October to the Old Jonesborough Cemetery. Now celebrating its ninth season, this edition features new characters. New stories include Miss Ethel Brown who was a teacher at Booker T. Washington School and Jonesborough Elementary School, brick and stonemason John Rhea, Dr. William R. Sevier who was instrumental during the cholera epidemic of 1873, and Samuel Irvin who has the oldest marker in the cemetery. Irvin’s marker is even older than the cemetery itself. 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 13th, 14th, 20th, and 21st. There will be a 2:00 p.m. matinee performance on October 14th in the Jonesborough Visitors Center and a 2:00 pm matinee in the cemetery on October 21st. At the outdoor matinee, there will be ASL interpretation provided by BridgeEAST. The indoor performance on October 14th 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

“I’m free from the chain gang now:” Building the Railroads of the South and Convict Labor Leasing at History Happy Hour

Join the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum on September 21st at 6:30 pm as we welcome Joshua Dacey, Site Manager at the Chester Inn Museum for this month’s History Happy Hour!


At the conclusion of the Civil War officials at the state and local levels in many of the former Confederate states vigorously fought to keep a racial caste system in place. This early Jim Crow period saw the enactment of laws and “Black Codes” specifically targeted at formerly enslaved individuals. For generations, skilled and unskilled enslaved men, women, and children were “hired out” to perform menial labor that their enslavers financially profited from. In a new system of convict labor leasing that developed after the Civil War, state and county governments likewise profited by using their prison populations to labor on commercial or private projects such as road construction, railway maintenance, logging, or mining.  What allowed them to do so was a loophole in the 13th Amendment that stipulates “involuntary servitude” will only be used as “punishment for a crime.” Beginning in 1866 and continuing until 1886, Tennessee quickly became one of the first states to implement convict labor leasing. Evidence also indicates that a system of convict labor leasing was utilized in Jonesborough as early as 1822. Mr. Dacey will be talking about all this and more. The program is entitled “I’m free from the chain gang now:” Building the Railroads of the South and Convict Labor Leasing. It will begin at 6:30 pm in the International Storytelling Festival. The program is free and open to the public!


The 2023 season of History Happy Hour will run from April through November with a new program every third Thursday of the month. The full schedule is available on the Chester Inn’s Facebook page and the Heritage Alliance’s website. If you can’t attend History Happy Hour in person, each program will 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.

Affrilachian Dinner at Langston Center with Chef T of Union 41

The Heritage Alliance is excited to host Chef Torrece Gregoire (Chef T) of Union 41 restaurant at the Langston Centre on Tuesday, September 19th for a special Affrilachian Dinner as a part of the Taste of Tennessee Festival. The Taste of Tennessee is a weeklong event throughout northeast Tennessee that will highlight Appalachian foodways. Tickets for the Affrilachian Dinner can be purchased through the Town of Jonesborough’s ticketing website at You can also call 423-753-1010 to reserve tickets.


Chef T is a private chef, culinary artist, entrepreneur, and TV personality. In addition to always cooking up a storm, she has appeared on Hell’s Kitchen twice and Food Network’s Big Restaurant Bet. She is currently a chef at Union 41 restaurant in Bristol, VA. At a special dinner catered by Taste Budz at the Langston Centre in Johnson City, she will talk about the connections between African cuisine and Appalachian cuisine as well as her personal journey through the food world. Funds from the Affrilachian Dinner will help support the educational programs of the Heritage Alliance, like the Oak Hill School Heritage Education program, local history tours, and much more.



The Taste of Tennessee Festival takes place from September 17th – 24th with events occurring throughout the region. It is the recipient of an Arts Project Support Grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. The term “Affrilachia” is attributed to author Frank X Walker who began using the term in the 1990s to combat the stereotype that Appalachia was not a diverse region. The Taste of Tennessee celebrates the melting pot that is Appalachian cuisine and culture. We are excited to host Chef T at the Langston Centre. Get your tickets for this unique experience now.



Become a TN4Arts Advocate

You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to become an advocate for the arts. Here’s a simple and direct way to show your love if you’re a Tennessee resident: purchase a specialized license plate.

The process is easy:

  • Visit your local County Clerk’s Office.
  • Ask for a Tennessee Arts Commission License Plate.
  • Exchange your old plate for a shiny new one. (Don’t forget your screwdriver!)
  • Show off your love for the arts as you drive around town.


Tenth Annual Constitution Week Bell Ringing on Sept 10th

On Sunday, September 10th, the State of Franklin Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR),  is hosting its Tenth 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 Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution that reads, Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”


The program will include music, proclamations, re-enactors, and the history of enslavement and abolition in Jonesborough. 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  to emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending 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.

Round 2: Historic Jonesborough License Plate

The “Historic Jonesborough” License Plate Committee, the Heritage Alliance (HA), and the Jonesborough Genealogical Society (JGS) have selected the “Historic Jonesborough” specialty license plate based on your valuable feedback. The selected plate is the Chester Inn. So we are now ready for Round 2 of the Preference and Comment period.

Some factors considered in the decision include: The Chester Inn is the oldest commercial structure in the oldest town in Tennessee. The Chester Inn is original to around the time the town was founded and has been fully restored. The Chester Inn is unique to Jonesborough. Every county has a Courthouse, but there is only one Chester Inn. The Courthouse and Cupola are indeed beautiful and iconic and our Courthouse may be the best looking in Tennessee. However, our current Courthouse was built in 1913. Thus, the Chester Inn which was built in 1797 is 124 years older than the Courthouse. The plate also received the most support from among those who commented or stated a preference on Facebook, Instagram, via email, and in person.


We need your feedback for Round 2. We made some changes to the Chester Inn design based on your comments. Some who commented loved the blue used with the Courthouse plate, so we created a blue sky version of the Chester Inn. Some who commented loved the subdued green version as it currently appears. It would look great on the back of a vehicle. The third choice adds more color, while keeping the understated appeal. All three versions now have the original upper porch rail that was recently added back to the Chester Inn. Please share your preference(s) and comment.