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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Post Card Tuesday: Chester Inn, Jonesborough, TN

Chester Inn - Built 1795 - Sheltered 3 Presidents - Jonesboro, TN

This is a real photo postcard, and is many decades old (may be dated 1944). This building is in better condition today than it was when the post card was made. Back then the town cut the UGH off the end of the town's name and went as Jonesboro. More recently, in an effort to attract tourists based on the town's old heritage, they put the UGH back to restore the name to Jonesborough. When this card was made, the Inn was owned by a florist, and if you look closely, you can see the neon sign at the end. One thing that hasn't changed between then and now is there is always cars parked in front of the building.

Chester Inn - Jonesborough, TN

Dr. William P. Chester, a native of York County Pennsylvania and an excellent Jonesborough physician, opened the Chester Inn in 1797 on the Great Stage Road. As a physician in a small frontier town, he found it necessary to supplement his income. The Inn is the oldest wooden frame building in the commercial district. The original structure is of the Federal style. The Victorian front porch was added in 1880 and is an example of the elaborate work of the craftsmen of the period. The Inn was known as the finest inn on the Tennessee frontier and played host to three United States presidents-Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson.

In the early 90s, the inn was purchased by Tennessee to restore the building back to its Victorian era glory. It is listed on the National register of Historic Places as part of the Jonesborough Historic District. It is also used during the International Storytelling Festival, whose headquarters is listed next door.

For the full story of the Inn, check out this page on the Tennessee Historical Commission page:

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