Attractions, DESTINATIONS, Presidential, Road Trips, TRAVEL, United States

Andrew Johnson Historic Sites


Welcome to number eleven in a series about travel destinations associated with the Presidents of the United States. Last week, while discussing Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, I mentioned the Post Civil War Restoration and the negative impact it had on the South. Today we’re visiting with Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s successor, to explore that further.

Andrew Johnson’s History

I’m not alone in my opinion that the Restoration of the South by the post-Civil War Congress was too harsh.  Andrew Johnson believed the same thing and he was impeached for it.  He’s the only president, except Bill Clinton, to go through that dishonor.

If the Bushes and the Roosevelts represent the one-per-centers, then Lincoln and Johnson would definitely represent the ninety-nine.  We all know about Lincoln’s humble birth, but at least his dad was a land owner.  Johnson’s dad was a hotel porter and little Andrew was apprenticed to a tailor.  But I doubt Johnson would have signed up for food stamps, even if they were available.  His story is that of a entrepreneur of the first degree.

Though born in Raleigh, North Carolina, he made his home in Tennessee.  In spite of running away from the tailor he was apprenticed to, tailoring remained his trade, until he got into politics.  He was a senator when Tennessee seceded from the Union, but Union-loyalist Johnson reported to Congress for duty nonetheless.  When the Union regained control of Tennessee, Lincoln named Johnson as military governor of the state.  Johnson’s work  in that office recommended him to Lincoln as running mate for the second term, because both men thought reconciliation was the right tone to take with the South.  Their opponents were out for revenge and repression.

In spite of his soft-handed opinion about how to deal with Johnny Reb after the Civil War, Johnson’s personal business philosophy had a lot in common with the Trump.  He’s been quoted as having told his son, “There is no use in buying property, unless there is a bargain in it.”  I guess Trump’s buddy, Romney, would agree with that, too.

Mock tickets to Johnson’s Impeachment were used as tickets to his home by the National Park Service.

Other Things to see in the Area

Visiting the Andrew Johnson Historic Sites in Greeneville, Tennessee is not a day long prospect, like some of the presidential destinations.  Bill and I squeezed it in during a Tennessee/North Carolina ramble through the Smoky Mountains and Appalachia.

We started in Chattanooga and loved their fresh water aquarium.  Bluff View was a delightful little Arts District with a number of bed and breakfast inns, but we stayed at Lookout Lake which we thoroughly enjoyed.  We also enjoyed the kitschy Rock City. If you’re in Chattanooga don’t miss The Hunter Museum of American Art which uniquely meshes a contemporary museum with a historic home.  Around the corner was the Houston Museum which housed one of the most interesting collection of Decorative Arts that I’ve ever seen.  Chattanooga wasn’t all museums and aquariums.  Bill spent part of each day hang-gliding.

Then we took the Cherohola Skyway through the Cherokee National Forest over to Asheville, where we visited the Biltmore Estate. ( Talk about one-percenters.)  Then we hooked around the Appalachians through Johnson City on our way to Pigeon Forge.  That’s when we squeezed in Andrew Johnson and the Davy Crockett Tavern, for good measure.  We still got into Pigeon Ford early enough to visit The Incredible Christmas Place.  We stayed in a little cabin up in the hills, visited Dollywood, Gatlinburg and Smoky Mountain National Park.

Some of the memorabilia from my scrapbook

One of the reasons I can recall all of this information so clearly is because I am such a devoted scrapbooker.  I not only save all the photos I take on a trip, but I keep all the memorabilia.  A National Parks Service publication on Andrew Johnson provided his history and his advice to his son.  Tickets from the attractions keep me straight on dates.  I could even tell you the restaurants I enjoyed and the movie we went to see, because I kept menus and ticket stubs.  I didn’t even tell you about Chimney Rock Park, The Grove Park Inn or the Louise Mandrell Theater, but I can later, because I’ve kept everything together in my Creative Memories scrapbook.

Are you a scrapbooker?  Do you look back at your scrapbooks frequently or are they forgotten once they are on the shelf.  If you’d like to start scrapbooking a good  place to start is a Creative Memories consultant.  Mine is Denise Overton.  Give her shout if you’d like to get started.

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