Summer is in full swing and what better time to check out local and regional history by hitting the Tennessee Civil War Trail. There are seven sites in Greeneville, including Tusculum College.
The President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library (Old College), as well as the College itself is part of the state wide history trail. An interpretive sign in front of the museum details the College’s experience during the Civil War and provides information about Andrew Johnson’s connection to the college.
Located in the oldest building on campus “proper,” the President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library houses exhibits and personal artifacts of the Johnson family as well as Andrew Johnson’s personal library. This museum also serves as the repository for the college archives. Tusculum College is the oldest college in Tennessee and the 23rd oldest permanent college in the country.
The “Scholars then Soldiers: Tusculum College and the American Civil War” exhibit opened in 2012. The student-created exhibit features information about the 19 alumni who fought during the war and the effect that the Civil War had on Tusculum College, including the merger with Greeneville College that had most of its assets destroyed due to the conflicts. This exhibit won an Award of Excellence from the Tennessee Association of Museums.
The Tennessee Civil War Trails is part of the national Civil War Trails program that has installed nearly 800 markers at Civil War sites in the country to increase awareness of these sites and enhance tourism to the sites. Driving tours of sites have been created. Maps and other information about the Tennessee trails can be found at http://www.civilwartraveler.com/WEST/TN/index.html.
Other Civil War Trail sites in Greene County include the Battle of Blue Springs, the death of General John Hunt Morgan, the Dickson-Williams Mansion, the hangings at the Depot, the Pottertown bridge burners and Greene Conty’s role as a Unionist stronghold. Each of these is marked with an interpretive sign.
Tennessee is the only state designated in its entirety as a Civil War Heritage Area and is second to Virginia in number of Civil War sites. When Tennessee entered the program, the goal was to have at least one marker in all 95 counties.
Participating in trail programs covering the various topics that touch local history and attractions helps draw new visitors to the region who may not have planned to visit otherwise.