It is not uncommon for folks to have a ho-hum attitude about the attractions in their own communities. As Johnson County, Tennessee residents, we live in the midst of some of the most beautiful mountains you will find anywhere. Our mountains arent as craggy and tall as the mountains in the Western United States or in many other areas on this globe, but nevertheless many folks flock to our kind of mountains and appreciate their beauty and accessibility.
I wonder how many residents of Johnson County fully appreciate beautiful Watauga Lake, the many rippling streams, or even the friendliness of the countys people. Often it seems that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Of course there are many interesting and beautiful places to visit in America and even abroad, but I hope we never forget that we live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world.
But, there are other interesting aspects of Johnson County that deserve our attention as well. There are many, but one that comes to mind is the museum located in Mountain City on South Shady Street (Hwy. 421 South). I am amazed at the number of folks I find who has never entered the doors of the museum. The museum has been open to the public since 1991. It is housed in a beautiful 10,000 square feet log structure.
The museum is located in the southern part (left as you enter) of the building and has many artifacts that is of interest not only to Johnson County folks, but to others as well. Many people who pass through Mountain City stop at the welcome center to get information about Johnson County. While there they tour the museum as well.
Along with the beauty of Johnson County, I feel that the museum is also taken for granted. My guess is that a small percentage of Johnson County residents have visited the museum. The Johnson County Historical Society developed the museum and is the maintaining entity for it.
The JCHS was formed in 1977 and its early meetings were held at First United Methodist Church. The Society, along with other organizations and individuals contributed substantial monetary funds toward erecting the building.
The Society found its home in the rustic log building and not only established the museum but has its monthly meetings each third Sunday of the month at 2:00 in the afternoon. For those who have never visited the museum, I will mention just a few of the artifacts displayed there. There are grain cradles, a spinning wheel, an antique organ, a very old rope bed (a bed with rope suspension instead of wooden slats, a very old Edison cylinder phonograph, doctors bags that were used to carry instruments and medicine on house calls, antique tools, and old military uniforms and various photographs depicting times of yore.
Of particular interest to the ladies is a wedding dress enclosed in a display case. Jessie Murphy wore the dress at her wedding to Robert Ferdinand Wright on June 7, 1905. The wedding took place at the Methodist Episcopal Church in Mountain City.
If you have planned to visit the museum but just havent gotten around to doing so, I hope you will take time to visit it soon. I believe youll find it interesting and informative.