Heritage Trust Projects
New Hope Meeting House - Quaker Knob
The Quakers settled in the Rheatown area in 1790 and bought land from Samuel Frazier to build a log structure. The current frame building was built in 1866.
Bible Covered Bridge
Bible Covered Bridge was built across the Little Chuckey Creek to connect the Bible farm and the Warrensburg Road in 1923. It is one of only six covered bridges in the State of Tennessee. In 1948, the bridge was deeded to Greene County. In 1975, the Greene County Heritage Trust was responsible for having the covered bridge declared a historical structure, with the goal of restoring the bridge to essentially its historic form. The Trust began the restoration of the bridge by repairing the foundation. In 1980, the area around the entrance was prepared for appropriate landscaping. Restoration continued through the 1980s by restoring and painting the exterior covering, with gable ends and ventilation slats along the roofline, and rebracing the foundation. In 2002 the Greene County government received a $30,000 grant from the First Tennessee Development District Highway Department to complete the restoration of the covered bridge. The work to bring the years-long project to a successful conclusion was carried out by the Greene County Highway Department. Restoration was completed in 2004.
St. James Log Church
The idea for constructing a pioneer log church was conceived in the fall of 1973 when the Greene County Heritage Trust was organized for the preservation and restoration of historical sites in Greene County. Roy Ottinger, a member of the church, wanted to do something in honor of the upcoming 200th birthday of the nation in 1976 that would be there for the people, and most of all the children, to see and remember the hard times the pioneers went through to make this the great country it is today. He presented the idea to the St. James Lutheran Church and to the Bicentennial Committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Southeastern Synod for approval. A Committee was formed from St. James and Solomon Lutheran Churches. The project was sponsored by the Greene County Heritage Trust and received a Tennessee American Revolution Bicentennial Commission (TARBC) and American Revolution Bicentennial Administration (ARBA) matching grant to aid in the construction.
The logs came from the U.S. Forest Service at no cost, and many of the materials were donated by church and community members. The plans were drawn, studies were completed, and the work was also done by local craftsmen using old-fashioned tools. The building was 24’ wide, 40’ long, and 12’ at the eaves with a balcony and a pulpit high on the wall as in the original building. The Dedication of the Building was held on Sunday, April 25th, 1976, at 11:00 a.m. during the 15th Annual Convention of the Southeastern Synod with between 500 and 600 people in attendance. The Dedication Plaque honors the pastor, the committee, and the efforts of those who created the Pioneer Log Church.
In 1818, the Rev. Samuel Doak and his son, the Rev. Samuel Witherspoon Doak, started Tusculum Academy. Around 1830, the son built the current home on the site. Doak descendants continued to live in the house on Frank Creek from 1830 to the 1970s. In the mid-1970s, Carlos Cordova donated the house to Tusculum University. In 1975, the Doak House was designated a Museum.
At that time, a local preservation group, The Greene County Heritage Trust, undertook the job of restoration with the help of a $100,000 grant received in 1976 from the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration (ARBA). Then-U.S. Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr., of Tennessee, was instrumental in assisting the Trust in gaining the grant. This restoration preserved the Doak House at Tusculum College (now University) and was accomplished under the direction of the noted architect Everette Fauber. In addition to the $100,000 grant to restore the House, the Heritage Trust received a $3,500 grant for furnishings. Later, modern bathroom facilities for the public were added at the driveway on the property. The Heritage Trust partnered with Tusculum College until 1986 to manage and administer the Doak House, which is now administered entirely by Tusculum University.
Above, the Doak House Project Committee meets with U.S. Senator Howard Baker at the House to study the restoration work. Shown in this photo, left to right, are: John M. Jones, then-president of the Heritage Trust; then-Greeneville Mayor G. Thomas Love; then-Senator Baker; Mrs. Robert “Wid” Park, chairman of the Heritage Trust Doak House Project Committee; Carlos Cordova, a Doak descendant and the former owner of the Doak House property; and Dr. Thomas Voss, then-president of Tusculum College.
Mount Pleasant Railroad Arch
In 1980, the Mount Pleasant Stone Arch was uncovered, and all the undergrowth around the arch was removed. The arch was built in 1854 by James Riley and his brother, Italian stonecutters. They also built the pylons for the Bridge Burners’ Bridge. They built this “beautiful” arch because they had stones left from the regular bridges. It is an outstanding example of stone-masonry.
Allen's Bridge Marker
In 1981, the Greene County Heritage Trust chose to place a marker beside Allen’s Bridge. The marker is pilaster by Italian Masons. The site originally had a covered bridge that was destroyed in the flood of 1901. The iron truss bridge replaced the original one. This marker honored the Nolachucky (Rushing Waters) Valley, which is probably the site of the first Cherokee village in the Southeastern U.S. The Valley was also the location of Jacob Brown’s Settlement, in 1772. And it was home to John “Chuckey Jack” Sevier and Davy (David) Crockett, born in 1786.
Old Greene County Gaol
The Old Gaol (jail) was originally built in 1804 in the middle of Depot Street near the Andrew Johnson Tailor Shop. The rear of the jail was nearly touching Richland Creek so that the creek water could be channeled to enter and flow through a trough in the stone floor to carry away human waste, as in Roman days. William Dickson was in charge and brought in masons and smiths to do the skilled work. The limestone rock to construct the single-story jail was cut from the creek bed below the jail site. In 1838 the old stone jail was torn down and moved, stone by stone, to the present site. In 1882, Turner and Lane erected a red-brick second story to the jail.
As a part of the Greene County Bicentennial Celebration, the Heritage Trust began a restoration project on the 1882 Old Greene County Gaol. The front gates were installed, 11 windows were replaced, plastering, chimneys, and interior painting were completed, and locks and a cash box were installed. On May 7 and 8, 1982, the Heritage Trust opened the Gaol to the public at a Dedication Ceremony and Tour. The ceremony also included a Gourmet Luncheon at the Big Spring.
Big Spring Memorial
In 1982, in preparation for the Bicentennial of Greene County, the Heritage Trust announced that the reclamation of the Big Spring had been adopted by the group as the first official project for the 200th Birthday Celebration. The Big Spring was at the spot where both the city and the county were born in 1783.
Reclamation involved the removal of the brick structure then covering the spring. A limestone area surrounding the spring was built, with a split-rail fence following both sides of the creek from the spring past the Greeneville-Greene County Public Library property. The limestone walls along the creek were reinforced, and landscaping was completed.
Old Harmony Cemetery
Old Harmony Cemetery was established in 1791 beside the site of Mt. Bethel Presbyterian Church, the first church organized in Greeneville. At that time Greeneville was a small village with 20 log buildings. Greeneville Town Hall, built in the late 1960s, is on the site where the church was located..
Early pioneers and settlers who worked to establish Greeneville are buried here. Many of those families are buried in family plots or near each other. Old Harmony was an active cemetery for 132 years. The last burial was in 1923.
Interesting graves include those of the community’s first settler, the first postmaster, 3 Greeneville mayors, 3 Greene County sheriffs, 10 Greeneville aldermen, 8 protection officers (policemen), and 4 ministers (including 1 college president).
Those buried at Old Harmony include immigrants to Greeneville/Greene County who came here as settlers from 3 European countries (Ireland, Scotland, and Germany) and from 10 American states (Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Connecticut), as well as from other areas of Tennessee.
The graves include those of veterans of four wars: the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Civil War. The names of veterans of these wars are listed on two memorial monuments placed by the Nolachuckey Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.
Over the years, the Greene County Heritage Trust and the Nolachuckey Chapter of the DAR have jointly supported several projects to restore and maintain Old Harmony Cemetery.
Roll of Honor Marker
In 1988, the Greene County Heritage Trust and the Glenwood Old Timers Day Association undertook a project to erect a permanent marker in a public space to recognize individuals who, in the judgment of the committee in charge of the project, had touched Greene County in some significant way and had, by great personal sacrifice, made significant contributions to society in general.
Thirteen of those nominated for this honor were selected by the committee to be listed on the Roll of Honor Marker, which was placed on the Greene County Courthouse Square in 1989. A brochure was also created with their stories.
These are the names of the individuals honored on the Marker:
John Sevier (1745-1815)
Nancy Ward (1730s-1822)
Samuel Doak (1745-1829)
Francis Asbury (1745-1816)
Hezekiah Balch (1741-1810)
Charles Coffin (1775-1853)
Davy Crockett (1786-1836)
Benjamin Lundy (1789-1839)
Andrew Johnson (1808-1875)
Daniel Ellis (1827-1901)
Edmund Gibson Ross (1826-1907)
The Black Community (1700s-1988)
Miss Elsie Gass (1882-1980)
Andrew Johnson Documentary - "His Faith... Never Wavered"
In 1991, the Greene County Heritage Trust embarked on a project of bringing the story of Andrew Johnson to video.
The content of this docudrama, titled “His Faith … Never Wavered,” was meticulously researched by Robert Orr, Ph.D., who also wrote the script, and a cast of more than 100 volunteer actors and assistants from East Tennessee told Johnson’s compelling story on video.
The production began by tracing his humble beginnings in North Carolina, and explained in dramatic form the circumstances which would eventually lead him to the Presidency, and to the impeachment which defined his Administration — a political accusation that he would meet and overcome.
The docudrama, presented under the superb direction of Louise Orr, was made possible by a grant from the Tennessee Historical Commission. It was aired multiple times on PBS and was widely distributed, free of charge, to many U.S. schools as a public service.
Bridge Burners Park
In 2000, the land around the area at Mosheim where the Civil War-era Greene Countians who became known as “The Bridge Burners” are buried was purchased for a new manufacturing facility. At that time, the Heritage Trust became involved in the process to ensure that the historic cemetery was not damaged. Donahue Bible, then-president of the Heritage Trust, became the unofficial protector of the site, and worked out an arrangement with plant-owner Scott Applegate and the Greene County government.
In February of 2001, Applegate agreed to donate 7.43 acres of land around the cemetery to Greene County. In May of 2001, Donahue Bible met with the Greene County Commission and agreed to become the president of the Harmon Cemetery Park Corporation, a non-profit organization that would lease the land from the county and operate the park at no cost to the county.
Centennial Tree Marker
In 2016, the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council awarded Greeneville’s New Hope Black Oak the Historic Tree Award. The tree dates to 1900 and the formation of New Hope Cemetery, which is all that remains of a local black community that witnessed slavery, the Civil War, Emancipation, Reconstruction, and segregation. The Greene County Heritage Trust recognized the award by placing a large marker on the site. A painting of the tree was created by Clem Allison, and the copies of the tree painting were sold to bring awareness of the tree to the community.