US Territorial Capital
Piney Flats, Tennessee
Log house (circa 1770), territorial capitol under Governor William
Blount from 1790 to 1792, is restored to original simplicity
with much 18th-century furniture; log kitchen, slave cabin, barn,
blacksmith shop, smokehouse. Costumed interpreters reenact a
day in the life of a typical pioneer family; tour (1 1/2 hours)
includes Cobb-Massengill house, kitchen, and slave cabin, as
well as self-guided tour through the adjacent Museum of Overmountain
History. (Monday-Saturday; closed December 20-January)
Rocky Mount is a living history museum that allows visitors
to see what Tennessee was like before it was a state. The centerpiece
of the farm is the two-story, log house built by William Cobb
around 1770. Other buildings include a kitchen, a weaving cabin
and slaves' quarters. Cobb opened up his home to the governor
of the Southwest Territory, William Blount, and Rocky Mount became
the political center of what would eventually become Tennessee.
The tiny community of Piney Flats, located between
Johnson City and Bristol, is near one of the most historic sites
Flats was first known as Shell’s Crossing or Shell’s
Crossroads after Andrew Shell, a pioneer preacher who was one
of the first to take up land in the community in the late 18th
The name of the community changed to Piney Flats soon after
due to the abundance of native pine trees and the gradual slope
of the land toward the Watauga River.
the most famous site located in Piney Flats is Rocky Mount — the home of Tennessee’s
In 1790, the home of William Cobb was filled at Christmas with
family members and visitors wanting to see William Blount, who
was serving as territorial governor. The Cobb homestead at Rocky
Mount served as the government headquarters of the Territory
South of the River Ohio until a new capital was established in
Knoxville in 1792.
Today, the Rocky Mount State Historical Site in Piney Flats
is a living history museum, and features re-enactors who guide
visitors through frontier life in the late 1700s.
historic site found near Piney Flats is Devault’s
Ford, a place where patriots on their way to King’s Mountain
crossed the river.
The largest employer in Piney Flats is the Home Shopping Network
with 300 employees. Last year, HSN acquired the former Tennessee
Distribution (Fingerhut) facility in Piney Flats to use as a
new fulfillment center. The 1 million square foot. facility is
situated on a 100-acre site in the Tri-County Industrial Park.
Other businesses and industries located in the Tri-County Industrial
Park include Amerace Corp., with 128 employees; Edwards and Associates
with 130 employees; Modern Forge Tennessee with 240 employees;
The Robinette Company with 238 employees; and Wright Tool and
Engineering with 30 employees.
Piney Flats operates no schools, and students in the town attend
Sullivan County schools: Mary Hughes elementary and middle schools
and Sullivan East High School.
in Piney Flats is relatively limited, but the small community
does offer some
variety. People can choose to eat at one of the
seven restaurant located in town, including Burger King, DC Dogs,
Hardee’s, La Campina Mexican Grill, KFC, Pardner’s
Bar-B-Que and Steak restaurant and Piney Pizza.