I was in full tourist mode as I strolled down the street in beautiful historic downtown Jonesborough. I wondered what the town was like 100 years ago. The buildings still had that old timey charm making me think about the history of the place. I couldn’t help but gaze at a gorgeous tan building with maroon trim, and to top it all off the building had an outstanding 2nd floor porch overlooking downtown.
As I stood on the street I wondered who all had been in the very spot I was standing in- 50 years ago, or even 100 years ago. I looked over at the window and noticed it looked like I had in fact stepped back in time. Large graphics had been placed over the windows with images of the town from many years ago. One was of two young barbers in a barbershop. It definitely caught my eye and I decided to step inside to see what this peculiar building was.
A worker greeted me, “Welcome to the Chester Inn!”
It was once an Inn and now a history museum that documents Jonesborough from its very first days to present. As it turns out, it was built in the 1790’s and is the oldest commercial structure in the town. As I talked with the worker, Anne, she explained that American presidents such as Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson had once stayed at the Inn.
Anne asked if I would like to tour the Inn. It had been restored to how it looked in its prime in the late 1800’s. We walked up the stairs to the bedrooms. She explained that in the early 19th century, it was not uncommon to have multiple people, all strangers, in the same room together. She said the Inn later offered private rooms.
I didn’t even have to imagine what it would have looked like long ago. It was as if I was actually living in the past. The china was beautifully displayed on the dining room table. I was ready to sit down and partake in an elegant tea. The wallpaper was ornate and complimented the room perfectly. The beds were made in old linens and antique nightgowns draped across them. I took in all the detail and beauty around me.
Anne happily answered all of my questions as we turned into the common area before stepping out on the porch. My trip at the Chester Inn concluded with the picturesque view of historic downtown Jonesborough.