Founded in 1783 and named after the United State's first First Lady, Martha Dandridge Washington, Dandridge has been always been a small reminder of America's past and the early settlers who worked hard to provide future opportunities for their small townships. Dandridge was founded when the earliest pioneers breached the natural barrier of the Appalachian Mountain range and began exploration into the interior of our great country. In east Tennessee, they found bountiful land, animals, and other natural resources that would help them to prosper in many aspects of their lives. Today, downtown Dandridge is a daily reminder of the lives that once thrived here and relied on the land for their well-being.
In Dandridge, we have many historic buildings and landmarks that are vital to the history of the town. For instance, a successful general store owner named Shadrach Inman both built and owned a total of three homes, all in one block, in downtown Dandridge. The most famous, Shephard's Inn, was once a popular resting and eating spot for stage coach travelers. But what makes it so famous is the fact that three of our Presidents actually stayed at the inn. James K. Polk, Andrew Jackson, and Andrew Johnson all stayed at the inn during some point of their presidency. Aside from that, Inman's daughters, when married, were each given a house. One of the houses is called the Hynds House and was built in 1845 for his second daughter. Though Inman built the house as a wedding gift, it was used during the Civil War as a makeshift hospital and as both Confederate and Union officers' headquarters. The other house sits just around the corner and is called the Harris/ McMahan House which was built in 1843.
Another interesting piece of downtown Dandridge is the Revolutionary graveyard located just down the street from the county court house. The graveyard is located at the original site of the Hopewell Presbyterian Church (ca. 1785) which was the first church in Jefferson County. The cemetery contains graves of early citizens and Revolutionary War veterans.
Though only a few sites have been mentioned, there are many more places to discover in downtown Dandridge. It consists of many unique shops, restaurants, and businesses which give it that special hometown charm that one would feel on a visit to the second oldest, and most beautiful town in Tennessee.