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Historical Towns in Tennessee

Tennessee Historical Towns

Tennessee’s historic treasures include charming towns preserved from the 1700s. 


Amid the rugged grandeur of the Cumberland Mountains is the Victorian English village of Rugby. In 1880, social reformer and author, Thomas Hughes, established Rugby as a haven for younger sons of English gentry.  Under Victorian custom, the eldest son inherited their fathers’ estates, compelling younger siblings into respectable professions such as law and medicine.  Rugby allowed the disinherited to learn farming and other trades without social stigma.

The experiment failed but the colony has endured and more than 20 original structures subtly recreate the era of Dickens and Queen Victoria.


During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Cherokee were the most powerful Indian tribe in the tri state region of Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina. The Sequoyah BirthplaceMuseum, owned and operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, presents Cherokee history and culture and the fascinating story of Sequoyah, the remarkable inventor of the Cherokee alphabet and publisher of their newspaper, The Phoenix. While in Vonore visit the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum and learn about the life and crafts of the Native American.


Around 50 miles north of Memphis on Highway 51 is Henning, Tennessee and the boyhood home of Pulitzer Prize winning author Alex Haley, whose book, Roots, became an international bestseller and launched a worldwide interest in genealogy.  The Alex Haley House & Museum contains memorabilia, family artefacts and audiotapes of this master storyteller.  The author is buried here and in the nearby cemetery are graves of famous ancestors such as Chicken George and Kizzie.


When you enter Historic Jonesborough, Tennessee, you’re taking a journey into the past. A unique 18th century town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Northeast Tennessee, Jonesborough’s natural beauty, charming architecture, and storytelling heritage have attracted visitors worldwide. Centrally located in Northeast Tennessee among Johnson City, Kingsport and Bristol, there is always something going on. Stop by the International Storytelling Centre and see why this small town is known as the “Storytelling Capital of the World”.


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