Chamber of Commerce.
Bristol, located in the states of Tennessee and Virginia, is a unique city, rich in history and legend. In the early 1800s the tract of land upon which Bristol is now located was known as Sapling Grove and the plantation on which it existed was called Mountain View or King's Meadows. The area was once inhabited by Cherokee Indians.
Scotch-Irish pioneers settled in the region in the 1700s, and after the Revolutionary War, Col. James King, a patriot of 1776, obtained a large bounty of land near the Sapling Grove tract. His estate became known as Holly Bend. In 1814, Col. King bought a portion of the Sapling Grove tract, lying in both Virginia and Tennessee, for his son, James King Jr. Upon this land, the young King established a flourishing plantation known as Sapling Grove or Mountain View. The remaining Virginia portion of Sapling Grove became the property of Capt. John Goodson and later passed to his son, Col. Samuel E. Goodson.
With the advent of railroads in the mid 1850s, Joseph R. Anderson, a son-in-law of King Jr., saw the potential of the area for the development of a commercial trading center. He bought a large tract of land, lying in both Virginia and Tennessee and laid out the town of Bristol, named for the manufacturing city in England. At the same time, Goodson laid out Goodsonville on a portion of his land. In 1856, that portion of Anderson's development located in Virginia and all of Goodson's development were incorporated as Goodson, and Bristol Tennessee was incorporated the same year. The Virginia side of town remained Goodson until 1890.
The towns grew rapidly and became an important railroad link between the North and the South during the Civil War. In 1881, the center of Main Street, now State Street, was designated as the state line by the city councils, and in 1901, Tennessee ceded to Virginia the lands needed to move the line into the middle of the street. The same year it was accepted by the Virginia General Assembly and by consent of the U.S. Congress.
Presently, along State Street, metal plates following the center line mark the exact boundary between these two famous cities that straddle the border. A lighted sign, which was erected in 1910 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, spans across State Street declaring Bristol Tennessee and Bristol Virginia "A good place to live." History information from the Bristol Chamber of Commerce.
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Tennessee and Virginia state line runs right through the middle of town. On State Street (the main street) you can shop in Virginia and cross the street and shop in Tennessee.
Other attractions in the area include: Paramount Theater
Tennessee Ernie Ford House
Birthplace of Country Music alliance
Bristol Motor Speedway
1157 Bristol Caverns Hwy
See Stalactites and Stalagmites created over 400 million yeras ago. The local Indians once used the area as an attack and escape route. There is an underground river in the cavern also.
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