We’ve all heard the old saying “good things come in small packages,” right? Well, here in Jonesborough, that’s certainly the case.
If you’ve never been here, you might wonder what’s so special about a place that doesn’t even take up five square miles. For us locals – and by that I mean anybody in Northeast Tennessee – we’re very much aware of what a jewel Jonesborough is and always has been.
From a historic standpoint, our little town is pretty significant, considering it’s the oldest one in the state. Founded in 1779, a whopping 17 years before Tennessee became a state, Jonesborough became the capital of the State of Franklin in 1784 and is also the first town in the state to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Jonesborough also was considered by many to be the center of the abolitionist movement within the states that would eventually become part of the Confederacy during the Civil War. In fact publisher Elihu Embree, first printed his infamous “The Emancipator,” publication here in town in 1820, which was the first periodical in the country dedicated to abolishing slavery. Pretty darn cool, right?
The highlights don’t stop there, though. Jonesborough is also the Storytelling Capital of the World. In case you didn’t realize it, folks from this area are natural born storytellers, which is how it all began way back in 1973. Now home to the International Storytelling Center, Jonesborough hosts the National Storytelling Festival every year on the first full weekend in October, drawing people from all around the world.
There have been some amazing storytellers here in past years so it’s definitely something I’d recommend you plan on attending.
Rooted in history and storytelling, picturesque Jonesborough, which sits amidst hills and ridges at the base of the Appalachian Mountains, is the little town with a big story. One you really need to experience!