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Russ Bralley presenting a talk on the Netherland Inn at the Bristol Public Library

October 28, 2013

Kingsport native Russ Bralley will be the guest speaker at the Fall Membership meeting of the Bristol Historical Association set for Monday, November 4, 6:30pm at the Bristol Public Library. Mr. Bralley, who is the Interim Curator of the Netherland Inn house museum, will speak on the history, significance, restoration and operation of the historic Inn located in Kingsport. He will also give a report on the recently-opened Museum of Pioneer Transportation in the Hal T. Spoden Bank Barn on the cultural campus of the historic property. Contact Tim Buchanan, program chairman, for details on this or other upcoming programs, 276-669-3885, or by e-mail buchanan03@bvu.net.

Bralley has been involved in numerous community projects and recently was responsible for creating the newly opened Museum of Pioneer Transportation at the Inn. Recently he completed a certificate program with honors from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, in History and Archaeology and an Analytical Management certificate program with honors from Stanford University in Stanford, California. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Master of Arts in Arts Administration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and an ad eundem degree from University College, Cork in Celtic Studies. He is currently employed by the City of Kingsport as a cultural resource development officer.

Among his current pursuits, he is absorbed in digitizing the documentary holdings of the Netherland Inn, which date from approximately 1790 to the present. The building was constructed in 1802 to serve as a boat yard for salt distribution and eventually sold to William King in 1808. In 1818 it became the Netherland Inn when purchased by Richard Netherland, serving travelers en route from Middle Tennessee to Western Kentucky on the Great Old Stage Road. The inn and boatyard is the only place on the National Register of Historic Places that served as a stage stop and a boatyard.

The Monday November 4th presentation is in conjunction with the Bristol Public Library’s mission of “Expanding Minds and Building Community.” There will be a brief business meeting by the association followed by this exciting presentation. The general public is invited to attend this free meeting. Betsy White, former director of the William King Museum, will be the guest speaker of the association at their annual Christmas Luncheon on Sunday December 8 at The Virginian Golf Club. Reservations are currently being received.

The Bristol Historical Association will be celebrating its 35th Anniversary in 2014. They own a number of historic properties, including the birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford and the Robert Preston house. The association recently purchased the acreage around the 200 year old Preston residence located at exit 7, I-81 and is in initial stages of historic restoration.