News and Information

Andrew Johnson Heritage Association

September 2021

This edition of your News and Information contains:

  • Update on “Then and Now: Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction” Symposium
  • Information on a “Christmas Gift of Remembrance”
  • New Board Member selected
  • Report from David Foster, Supt. of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site

“Then and Now: Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction”

                        As you may know we had to cancel the Symposium “Then and Now: Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction” planned for September 17th. Given the continued deteriorating health conditions in the community, it seemed like the prudent action to take. Needless to say, we were disappointed in having to make this decision given the work that had been put into the effort. However, your Board and our National Park partner strongly believe in the value of the program and the conversation. Therefore, we are planning on re-scheduling the program for September 2022. We are pleased that all four of our speakers have agreed to join us at that time.

“Christmas Gift of Remembrance” – Wreaths Across America

            The 2021 annual program to place 2,020 Christmas wreaths on Veterans’ graves, as well as those of President Johnson and his family, at the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery will be launched the week of September 13th.  Enclosed in this mailing is a letter regarding this effort and your donation card. For the last two years this has been a very successful community effort, and I hope that each Association member will join in with a small donation to purchase a wreath.

            National Wreaths Across America Day will be held on December 18. A special ceremony honoring our Veterans will be held at the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery at 11:30 am on that day. Also note that this year we are trying something new by attempting to recycle all the wreaths. The wreaths will be removed from graves on January 20 and the wreaths disassembled. Volunteers are needed for this effort.

            The Association will also have a table at the annual Women’s Club Christmas Bazaar on November 6 and 7 where we will be soliciting wreath purchases.

Carolyn Gregg elected to the Board of the Association

            Carolyn Gregg has been elected to join the Board of the Association. Steve Tunnell has stepped down from his Board membership. We wish to thank Steve for his work and support of the Association and its programs.

            A short bio-sketch of Carolyn is below for those of you who may not know her.

Carolyn retired from Tusculum University in 2010 as Associate Professor of Education. Prior to that she taught at Tusculum View Elementary for 31 years. She began teaching Greene County history in 1986 to her third-graders – highlighting Tusculum with the Doaks and Rev. Balch, Dickson-Williams Mansion, Valentine Sevier, and David Crockett, creating booklets for the students to use before field trips to see areas they had studied.

She has compiled several books including Stories from the South in Greene County with Nolachuckey Elementary School students; Reflections from the Past in Chuckey, Afton, Tusculum and Eastern Greene County with Chuckey-Doak Middle School students; Remembering Greene County Mills; St. James Luthern Church Celebrating 200 Years: 1811 – 2011; The History of Asbury United Methodist Church; Tales of the Rails (history of the Tweetsie, Clinchfield, Southern, and other railroads) for ETSU’s Carter Railroad Museum; The History of Blue Springs Lutheran Church; and Blue Springs Schools, Community and College.

Carolyn is the Historian for the Blue Springs Historical Society and the George L Carter National Railroad Historical Society; Treasurer for the Greene County Genealogical Society and the Nolachuckey Chapter DAR; and Secretary for the Greene County Heritage Trust.

Carolyn joins current Board members Don Sexton, Joyce Doughty, Bill Onkst, Jeanne Stokes, Caleb Julian, David Hawk, and George Collins as they work to move the Association forward.

Carolyn said, “ I am thrilled to be a Board member for the AJHA.”

Activity at the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site

            Below is a report from David Foster, Supt. of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site.

Summary:           FY2019 visitation – 51,091

                                FY2020 visitation – 45,133

                                FY2021 visitation – 57,093 (as of Aug 31, 2021) 27% increase over same time last year

Projects:

  • Roof replacements
    • Homestead roof – completed
    • Comfort Station roof – completed
    • Design for the Lodge and Stables – contract awarded
  • Replace and refinish Lodge flooring – project to begin Oct 12, 2021
  • Replace Comfort Station Amenities – funded: will complete with in house labor next fiscal year
  • Replace Fire Sprinkler Heads at Homestead – 85% complete
  • FHWA Pavement Preservation – funded: project will begin spring 2022 after cemetery project is complete.
  • Cemetery Preservation (56% complete)
    • Concrete mock-ups approved: wall repairs progressing
    • One Drainage line remains
    • Sidewalk and drainage at entrance: scheduled for completion by Sep 15, 2021
    • Sidewalk and handrail installation: work on sidewalks in progress
    • Wall cap repair: in progress
    • Parking areas
  • Removing old, and installing new, UV tinting on Homestead windows is complete
  • Removing old, and installing new, UV tinting on Visitor Center windows is complete
  • Repair and paint windows at Early Home – ongoing
  • Paint lodge porch and ramp – ongoing
  • Prepare and Paint fence surrounding presidential monument – complete
  • Install backflow prevention devices on potable water system
  • Converting all park lighting to LED – 80% complete
  • Re-establish spring box at back of Homestead – completed

Interpretation/Education:

  • Three site bulletins complete Military Governor of Tennessee, Andrew Johnson: The “Veto President” and The Enslaved People of Andrew Johnson
  • Review of the proposed new brochure (Unigrid) ongoing
  • Citizen Ranger activity book completed
  • Awaiting decision from the US District Court – Eastern District of Tennessee to determine if we will be hosting a naturalization ceremony in the back of the Homestead – targeting the first part of October
  • Sep 11: Remembrance ceremony – 20th anniversary of 9-11
  • Sep 25: Hosting a scout “chili cook off”
  • Oct: Mainstreet Scarecrow Contest
  • Oct 30: Halloween Happenings – downtown
  • Nov 23: Girl Scout program at Homestead
  • Dec 3: Holiday Open House (5-8:30PM)
  • Dec 5: Christmas Parade
  • Dec 16: Wreath Drop-Off
  • Dec 18: Wreaths Across America Program (11:30 – 12:30 PM)
  • Dec 29: Presidential Wreath Laying Ceremony

Cultural Resources:

  • Replaced curtains in the kitchen and foyer of the Homestead
  • Collaborating with Clemson University to digitize audiovisual material for the Open Parks’ Network: materials have been delivered
  • Cultural resource specialist assisted Kings Mountain National Military Park with archeological monitoring
  • Coordination continues with the Washington Support Office web developers to finish the President and First Ladies web page for Andrew and Eliza Johnson (currently awaiting digital media from above)
  • Maintaining the park’s social media and web page
  • Inventoried the park’s artifacts and archives stored at GRSM storage facility.
  • Met with Peter Noll regarding Johnson collection stored at Tusculum University; preparing to inventory book collection for transfer to park

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 “Can there be nothing done to advance the great cause of education?”

Governor Andrew Johnson: 1853

News and Information is published for supporters of The Andrew Johnson Heritage Association, a non-profit (501 c-3) organization, which is the “Official Friends Group” of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site. Founded in 1982 by the great- granddaughter of President Andrew Johnson, Margaret Johnson Patterson Bartlett, the mission of the Association is to continue the legacy of Andrew Johnson particularly in his support of public history education. For information contact the Association at Box 5971, Greeneville, TN 37743 or contact George Collins, president, at shay46@earthlink.net.