Sharon and Hilda and I made a trip to Jonesborough, TN to go to a quilt shop (Tennessee Quilts). In the process (great quilt shop, by the way) we discovered the historic downtown. This inn, the Chester Inn, has been continuously occupied as an Inn, a hotel and an apartment house since 1797. It was built along The Great Stage Road by Dr. William P. Chester, an excellent frontier physician who found it necessary to supplement his income. Dr. Chester operated his apothecary shop in the late 1790s and early 1800s in the cellar of the Inn.
The inn numbers among its famous guests three presidents, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson. President Jackson held a reception for his friends on the porch of the inn in the summer of 1832.
The Inn is the oldest wooden frame building in the commercial district of Jonesborough. The original structure is of the Federal style. The Victorian front porch was added in 1880 and is an example of the elaborate work of the craftsmen of the period. It was purchased by the state of TN and restored in the early 1990’s. A paint analysis showed 97 thick layers of paint on the outside of the building. Today, the Inn is owned by the Tennessee Historical Commission and is home to the International Storytelling Center.