Rocky Mount - Piney Flats


US Territorial Capital
1790-1792
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 in Tennessee.

Piney 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 century.

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.

Probably the most famous site located in Piney Flats is Rocky Mount — the home of Tennessee’s first governor.

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.

Another 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.

Eating 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.