Marble Springs State Historic Site is the last home and farm of John Sevier, Tennessee' s first governor, who was elected in 1796. Sevier served six terms as Tennessee governor in Knoxville, the state's first capital city. He also acted as the first and only governor of the short-lived state of Franklin. Sevier was a congressman from the Eastern District for four terms, a high-ranking officer in the North Carolina militia, and a hero at the 1780 battle of Kings Mountain against the British.
Farmer, trader, land speculator, soldier, politician, husband, and father of 18 children, John Sevier embodied the pioneer spirit of the day. When he passed away in 1815, the approximate 350-acre Marble Springs had been the home he shared with second wife Catherine Sherrill, or “Bonny Kate”, and his youngest children for more than 15 years.
Named for its picturesque and soothing springs and the Tennessee "pink marble" quarried nearby, the site features a period tavern, kitchen, cabin, loom house, and spring house that help interpret Tennessee’s late 18th and early 19th century history. Visitors can enjoy touring the historic structures, walking on its beautiful nature trails, and picnicking under the site's pavilion. The site is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday 10-5:00 pm and on Sundays from 12:00-5:00 March through December. Visits to the site in January and February can be made on weekends or be arranged by appointment.
Thirty-five acres of the original Sevier property were purchased by the State of Tennessee in 1941. Marble Springs is managed through an agreement with the Governor John Sevier Memorial Association (GJSMA), which consists of an active membership and 10-person board of directors. The mission of the Governor John Sevier Memorial Association is to preserve the historical and natural landscape of Marble Springs State Historic Site for future generations and to inspire learning about the life and times of John Sevier through creative engagement.
The GJSMA follows a vision to make Marble Springs a retreat where children and adults are inspired by history and nature and where its neighbors come together to learn, share, and protect the rich resources that define Marble Springs.
Responsibility for the daily management of the site rests with the site’s executive director, grounds manager, and program assistant. Marble Springs State Historic Site hosts approximately 8,000 visitors annually, including nearly 2000 local school children and over 800 visitors from outside of Knox County. Each year the GJSMA and site staff work together to provide living history and other public programs, including John Sevier Day, Statehood Day, Christmas tours, the Bonny Kate Community Ice Cream Social, and numerous traditional skills workshops.
Marble Springs is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, notable for its connection to John Sevier and its early Tennessee architecture. It is a certified wildlife habitat and has served as a significant educational resource for thousands of area school children for more than 50 years. Marble Springs is the recipient of an Award of Excellence and Commendation from the Tennessee Association of Museums.
Marble Springs is partially funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Historical Commission and by Knox County, but must be supplemented with additional funds raised by the Governor John Sevier Memorial Association.