Bristol Historical Association Newsletter

September 2011

Vol. 1Issue 4
In This Issue: Click and Go!
A Tale of Two Houses
Record BHA Merchandise Sales
Program Announcements - SAVE THESE DATES!
From the Archives
Mystery Photo
Renew your Membership!

 Renew your membership!

Did you know that BHA offers a variety of membership levels, most of which come with discounts on BHA merchandise?  

And don't forget that you can give BHA memberships as gifts! 

For more information, 

contact Roxann Coulthard at roxann@bvunet.net 

or visit BHA's website at  



icfowlerA Tale of Two Houses
by Scott Otis


The I.C. Fowler House, located at 417 Spencer St, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing structure to the Virginia Hill Historic District. It was built in 1867 in the Greek Revival architectural style and is the oldest standing house left from the original City limits of Goodson, VA. 
I.C. Fowler served as Mayor of Goodson, VA.  He was the Editor of the Bristol News and served in the Virginia House of Delegates where he was Speaker of the House.  Fowler moved from this house to Abingdon, VA in 1884 when he was appointed Clerk of the U.S. District Court. Fowler died in 1905 and is buried in Historic East Hill Cemetery. 


The riven lath consists of hand-split strips of wood that were nailed to studs to which horse hair plaster was applied. The architectural feature around the interior doorways is called "dog-eared" which is common in Greek Revival homes. The six over six sash windows with paneled bottoms is also another common feature in Greek Revival homes. The house has evidence that it originally had a widow's walk. 
I hope to restore this important aesthetic and functional feature back to the roof and also hope to have the front porch restored by the end of this year. 


The house pictured above is located at 608 Russell St. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing structure to the Virginia Hill Historic District. The actual date this house was built is unknown, but based on the Arts and Crafts style architecture it was probably built in the 1920's or 1930's. I spent two and half years restoring this house, upgrading the electrical, plumbing, and heating & cooling but maintaining as much of the original fabric of the house as possible. It is currently "For Sale". This house was nominated for a 2011 APVA (Preservation Virginia) Award for"Outstanding Preservation Project"  

By restoring these two houses I hope to attract more people to the neighborhood to buy these old dilapidated houses and restore them to their former glory. Several couples have done just that; two house are currently being restored, and one house was just recently purchased with plans of a complete restoration. 


For more information about either of these historic homes please contact Scott Otis at jscottotis@yahoo.com or send an email to BHA@BristolHistoricalAssociation.com

BHA Merchandise Sales for Food City Family Race Day and Rhythm & Roots Reunion are a Success!  


A very big thank-you from Janet and Gwen to all the BHA members and friends who helped sell BHA merchandise downtown during Bristol's two major festival events! We had record sales, and we had a lot of fun, too. 


We also want to thank our friends Karen Hester and Staff at Cranberry Lane for allowing us to store our tables, chairs and leftover merchandise in their back room for both of these occasions.  




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Greetings from the President



Many exciting things are happening this Fall! Joyce Kistner is working to add new schools to the Education and Outreach program to teach children about our local history, and her book, "Tracking Bristol TN Bristol VA History" is currently in the process of publication.  

A Grant Request has also been submitted to the McGlothlin Foundation to fund a handout for school children, and we are waiting to learn if this request will be funded.

We are also finishing grant proposals to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United Foundation on behalf of the Preston House renovation. The E.W. King House
committee is looking at some measures to
expedite the sale of the house. The sales on July 4th, Race Day and during the Rhythm & Roots Reunion have certainly improved our coffers. We have had to reorder the panoramic photos as they have all been sold.  Archivist RoyWilliams is working with Membership Chair Roxann Coulthard on photos for a program to be used in conjunction with our membership drive which starts next month.


Isabelle Ladd 



BHA Presents

Dr. William Wade on King College History

by Tim Buchanan

BHA Program Director  


With the news that King College's enrollment is continuing to break records and with plans set for expansion into the medical field, there is much reflection on the historic beginnings of the college. With deep roots going back to the founding family of the Twin Cities, King College was founded by Reverend James King, the namesake of the college, following the turbulent days of the American Civil War. Dr. William Wade, professor emeritus at the college, will be presenting a reflective and informative history focusing on its founding and the distinguished founder. This presentation will be held on Monday, October 3, at 6:30pm at the Bristol Public Library. Due to Columbus Day the monthly meeting will be held a week earlier than normal.


After his early schooling in Memphis, Dr. Wade then attended Rhodes College (now Southwestern College), in Memphis, and then attended and obtained his MA and PhD degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Coming to King College in 1952, he taught every history and political science course which the college ever offered, until his retirement in 1998. He also served two terms as dean from 1962 to 1975, and again in the late 1990's.


Dr. Wade has many accomplishments at Bristol's King College, but among them was the establishment of the historical archives with the gifts and support of the friends of the college. There is an exceptional collection of materials related to the history of the school and the Holston Conference of the Presbyterian Church. Dr. Wade and his wife Margaret have three children and five grandchildren, all living in the Tri-Cities area.


This presentation is free and open to the public so be sure to invite your friends. There will be a brief opportunity for questions following the presentation. 

October 3rd:  Dr. William Wade
November 14th:  Charles Flannagan 

December 4th:  Christmas Luncheon & Program

For further details on this presentation or other upcoming events contact program chairman Tim Buchanan, 276-669-3885.  You may also visit the BHA website www.bristolhistoricalassociation.com 


Susan Long, Amy Hopper, Nedra Hartley, 

and Carolyn Williams working on the Kelly & Green Collection of historic photo negatives


From The Archives

by Carolyn Williams


The Archives Committee has recently received several items of historical interest from George W. (Bill) Hammer, former resident of Bristol.  Of special importance are twelve original photographs of Bristol in 1875.  Also included in his gift was a collection of very old deeds which mention Bristol Land and Improvement Company founded by Major A.D. Reynolds, unusual advertisements, records of the post office from 1903 to 1906, and letter heads and bills from business long gone from the scene.


If you have photographs or documents that you are willing to share with Bristol Historical Association, we will be happy to add them to our collection and preserve them for future generations.


We welcome your feedback!  
Please email us at BHA@bristolhistoricalassociation.com with 
suggestions, questions, comments, etc!


Quick Links




From time to time, our Association's Archives acquires donated items which have no identifying labeling or provenance.  Such is the case with this photo of a downtown building.  It was donated by a "C.L. Burk" years ago.  Beginning with this newsletter, we will begin having "Mystery Photo" challenge articles in hopes that one of our readers might recognize the subject and help us file these mystery photos in their rightful places in the BHA Archives.  If you can help identify this photo please send an email to BHA@BristolHistoricalAssociaton.com.  

Thank you!