Early Inns and Taverns of East Tennessee

A Photoessay

  • Author(s): Author Jane Gray Buchanan
  • Series:
  • Imprint: East Tenn Historical Society
  • Publication Date: 2001-06-13
  • Status: Out of Print Cancel
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“A close examination of the work of Jane Buchanan reveals that the eye of the photographer and the mind of the writer are one.”- from the Foreword by Baldwin Lee

From the days of earliest settlement through the period when the stagecoach reigned supreme, the inns and taverns of East Tennessee played a unique role in the region’s history. The earliest overnight stopping places in the wilderness country were merely crude cabins. When the trickle of settlers built up to a flood, however, more elaborate accommodations arose to meet the demand. By the early days of the nineteenth century, some of these structures offered amenities comparable to those found in hostelries on the eastern seaboard.

These oases cared not only for the needs of the travelers but also those of his horse. Prices for corn, fodder, and pasturage were posted along with those of food, drink, and lodging for the guests. In addition, certain “ordinaries” (as they were sometimes called) provided accommodations for drovers and large pens for livestock being driven to market.

The tavern of the period, roughly 1780 through 1860, was far from being the corner bar of today. It was, more often than not, the center of community life, serving as post office, polling place, and occasionally as church or courthouse. A general store was frequently operated in connection with its other functions.In words and pictures, this book documents nineteen extant early inns and taverns of East Tennessee. The author/photographer provides concise descriptions of each structure, including its often fascinating history. The book’s most captivating feature, however, is its array of beautiful black and white images of both exterior and interior views.