A Walk With The President Tour
Downtown Historic District - A Walk Through the Past
Named in honor of Nathanael Greene, General of Washington's Army of the Republic, Greeneville was settled in 1783 by Scotch-Irish Covenanters on the land of Robert Kerr around the famous Big Spring. Although a part of North Carolina at that time, the encircling mountains presented such a strong barrier to existing transportation that its settlers were molded into a self-reliant, ruggedly individual group.
The town was from 1785 to 1788 the capitol of a unique political phenomenon. Seceding from North Carolina, these headstrong pioneers organized the separate and sovereign State of Franklin...the smallest and most short-lived state in the history of our nation. The bold policies of its founders, men like Rev. Samuel Doak and John Sevier, resulted in the states dissolution, and Greeneville subsequently became a part of Tennessee when it was admitted to the Union in 1796.
Pioneers from the Greeneville area helped win America's independence at the Battle of King's Mountain in 1780; and to preserve that freedom at New Orleans in 1815. Tennesseans volunteered in such numbers to take part in both the War of 1812 and the Mexican War that the name "Volunteer State" was applied. The nickname, and tradition, hold today.
The Walk with the President Tour is comprised of 36 locations:
1. Andrew Johnson Tailor Shop
101 North College Street, Greeneville, TN
The site of our 17th President's early life and work, and the place where many spirited debates occurred.
2. Andrew Johnson Home (1838-1851)
The Early Home
201 East Depot Street, Greeneville, TN
Directly across from the Tailor Shop is a two story brick house that was occupied by Johnson and his family until their purchase of a permanent home on South Main Street. Note the interesting architectural detail.
3. Old Harmony Graveyard
101 Academy Street, Greeneville, TN
Greeneville's earliest cemetery, dating from the 1790's. Notable persons buried here include Dr. Hezekiah Balch, Dr. Charles Coffin, Valentine Sevier, William Dickson, Mordecai Lincoln, Dr. Alexander Williams, and Blackstone McDannel. Interred here are soldiers from four of the America's wars: The American Revolution, War of 1812, Mexican War, and both Union and Confederate soldiers from the War Between the States.
4. Town Hall
200 North College Street, Greeneville, TN
Greeneville's seat of government is built on very historic ground. It was the site of Greeneville's First Presbyterian Church, as well as the home of Judge Sam Milligan, which Gen. Longstreet used as his headquarters while in Greeneville during the Civil War. On the corner stood the little building where the Quaker, Benjamin Lunday, published the Genius of Universal Emancipation from 1822-1824
5. State of Franklin's Capitol
208 North College Street, Greeneville, TN
This is a replica of the capitol of the State of Franklin when Greeneville was the seat of government, 1785-1788.
5a. Bicentennial Park & Big Spring
234 North Main Street, Greeneville, TN (behind the Public Library)
The historic Big Spring, source of Richland Creek, which prompted the pioneers to settle Greeneville around 1780 and served as the major water supply of Greeneville for over 150 years. It was here that the Rev. Samuel Doak preached under the great oaks, and established Mt. Bethel Presbyterian Church.
6. Valentine Sevier House II, and Office
230 South Main Street, Greeneville, TN
These brick structures were built by the nephew of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier. Dating from circa 1820, this complex is an outstanding example of Federal architecture in Tennessee. The interior woodwork and wrought iron latches are particularly fine. This is presently the home of Mrs. Robert G. Brown.
14. Site of Robert Kerr's Home
230 South Main Street, Greeneville, TN
These brick structures were built by the nephew of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier. Dating from circa 1820, this co
Though not part of the historic site, there are two additional places of interest adjacent to the park:
The Birthplace Replica
Provided by Andrew Johnson's estate, this replica of Andrew Johnson's birthplace in Raleigh, North Carolina, will give you the true scope of Johnson's rise from humble beginnings.
The replica is open during park business hours, from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. Exceptions include winter schedule closures, inclement weather, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eves/Days. The grounds are accessible anytime.
Statue of Andrew Johnson
Sculpted by Jim Gray, and also provided through Andrew Johnson's estate, the commanding figure of Andrew Johnson is mounted on the corner of College and Depot Streets in downtown Greeneville, TN, overlooking the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site.
Another cast of the statue stands on the Capitol grounds in Nashville, TN, where Johnson served as Representative and Senator, as well as both Governor and Military Governor of the state.
Andrew Johnson's complex presidency (1865-69) illustrates the Constitution at work following the Civil War. As the President and Congress disagreed on Reconstruction methods, the Constitution served as their guide on balance of powers, vetoes, and impeachment. In the end, it evolved as a living document with pivotal amendments on freedom, citizenship, and voting rights - topics still vital today.