Downtown Jonesborough prepares to host celebration of Tennessee’s 225 years of statehood


JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) — Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town, is set to take center stage for the 225th anniversary of Tennessee’s statehood on Tuesday.

“Jonesborough is the perfect place to do it, it’s the oldest town in the state, Washington County is the oldest county in the state. We are the birthplace of Tennessee, so it’s the perfect place to make this launch,” said Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy.

During the celebration, an 1830s copy of the state’s first deed book, sometimes called the Watauga Purchase Book, will be returned to Jonesborough after spending 124 years in Nashville.

“It’s really exciting! A lot of people have worked really hard to convince the state that it belongs here,” said Grandy. “It’s the record of the first land transactions in the eastern part of this territory and back in 1775, and so it’s just very exciting to get this book back home.”

The celebrations start in Nashville with a full day of free Statehood Day events at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. 

Before coming to Jonesborough, Governor Bill Lee willl make a stop in Knoxville at the Blount Mansion, known as “The House Where Tennessee’s Story Began.” 

Governor Lee and Secretary Tre Hargett will personally return the deedbook to Jonesborough. That ceremony is set to start at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on News Channel 11.

The Oakridge Boys will open the ceremony with the National Anthem, followed by speeches by Mayor Grandy, Secretary Hargett, Senator Marsha Blackburn and Governor Lee.

Mayor Joe Grandy will address the significance of the deed book.

“In the past eight or nine years, we have established really great archives facility here in Jonesborough, so it’ll be in the archives building or in the register of deeds office,” said Grandy.

The Oakridge Boys will close the event with a special performance.

For anyone planning to travel through Jonesborough on Tuesday, Main Street will be closed from Fox Street to 1st Avenue starting at 11 a.m. The road will remain closed until after the event. 

The Historic Courthouse and its offices will remain open and can be accessed via Fox Avenue.

Several restaurants and shops plan to stay open through the event and there will be food trucks stationed along Main Street.

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