Dandridge, Tennessee – 2nd Oldest Town in Tennessee

Sevierville to Dandridge 20 miles. – Knoxville to Dandridge 32 miles

From Sevierville take hwy 66/Winfield Dunn Parkway, turn right onto Douglas Dam Road it’s a really nice drive to Dandridge, the road follows the edge of Douglas Lake.

To visit Douglas Dam turn when you see the sign, the upper overlook has the best view of the lake and dam.  The dam was built in the 1940s to meet energy demands at the height of World War II.  The Dam is 1705 feet long and 202 feet high, impounding the 28,420-acre Douglas Lake. The dam was named for Douglas Bluff, a cliff overlooking the dam site prior to construction.

 

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Continue on Douglas Dam Rd. on the right there will be a historic marker in front of the Samuel McSpadden house, part of the marker reads:  Samuel McSpadden, powdermaker and Revolutionary War veteran, built this house in 1804, and died here on August 3, 1844.

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If you want to visit Valentine’s Mill turn left onto Deep Springs Rd.  the mill is on the left.  The website says they are open M-F dusk to dark.

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Dandridge is named for Martha Dandridge Washington, wife of George Washington. In 1783, thirteen years before Tennessee became a state, the first permanent settlers were attracted to the Dandridge area by the French Broad River and a good spring, around which the town was laid out.  By 1792, the settlement had grown to such an extent that Governor William Blount designated the new county of Jefferson.

The Dike that Saved Dandridge –  A portion of the town of Dandridge would have been flooded by the waters of Douglas Lake if the Tennessee Valley Authority had not built a dike. The top of the dike is an elevation of 1009 feet, seven feet above the dam’s crest gates

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A county museum, established in 1957, is located inside the courthouse, which displays Indian and Civil War relics, historic documents and artifacts from the area

Dandridge has a map with a description of the historic buildings in their town, get a walking  tour map from the visitors center. There are 34 buildings on the map, taverns, homes and churches.   

Revolutionary War Graveyard it was there the first commissioners chose the spot for the county seat in January 1793.  The stone path led to the Oldest church in Jefferson County, Hopewell Presbyterian Church, which was organized in 1785. #1 on the walking tour map

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Shepard’s Inn, 1814 – Presidents Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson stayed at the Inn.  Stepping blocks for ladies in the located in the front.  Originally, this was a two-story log house.  Shadrach Inman added the frame exterior in ca.1823.  #2 on the walking tour map

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Thomas Tavern, 1843 – James Mitchell built this early tavern and boarding house on a lot purchased from Hopewell Presbyterian Church after the church relocated.  It features a double pen style used in log construction from 1780 to 1830.  It now serves as the Thomas Tavern Smoke and Gift Shop. #5 on the walking tour map

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Shoppes of Roper Mansion –  In 1820, John Roper began to build the Roper Mansion as a wedding gift for his daughter Mary and her husband-to-be, John Branner.  The house was completed in 1821. The parlors, butler’s pantry, kitchen, ballroom and foyer have lots of things to buy, plus you get to tour the house while looking.  328 W. Main St.  #9 on the walking tour map

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Roper Tavern, 1817 – This Federal style brick structure was built by Col. John Roper and served as an early stage coach stop. #14 on the walking tour map

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Vance Building, 1823 – It has been Dandridge Telephone Exchange, post office, J.W. Vance Furniture and Funeral Parlor, Harris General Merchandise.  Recently the building underwent certified historic restoration. #15 on the walking tour map

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Rachels Attic – Antiques, paper items, glassware and advertising pieces. The building is circa 1826.  The store is at Main St. & Gay St.  #17 on walking tour map

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The Maxwell House – unusual ladies clothing, jewelry, accessories, candles and baby gifts. 139 E. Main St. #19 on the walking tour map

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The Visitor Center at 133 W. Main,  The building is the Hickman Tavern Coach House circa 1820.  #20 on the walking tour map

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Steamer Trunk / The Shoppes at the Harris-Goddard House ca 1850 – Funky handbags, gourmet and party needs, custom mugs, gifts for him and baby’s first Christmas.  106 W. Meeting St. #34 on the walking tour map (picture below)

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Lighthouse Pointe Marina rents wakeboards, skis, tubes and boats. 139 Hwy 139 Dandridge

Smoky Mountain Balloon Adventures – take a hot air balloon ride. www.smokymtnballoons.com  2745 Forest Ridge Rd. Dandridge

Dandridge has a Scots-Irish Festival in September with entertainers, pipes and drums, Scottish and Irish food, merchandise vendors, kids playground and dog friendly.