Preservation Magazine, Winter 2016

Transitions: Threatened—Brown's Tavern

In each Transitions section of Preservation magazine, we highlight places of local and national importance that have recently been restored, are currently threatened, have been saved from demolition or neglect, or have been lost. Here's one from Winter 2016.

Brown's Tavern, Chattanooga, Tennessee

photo by: Jay Mills

As the second-oldest structure in Hamilton County, Tennessee, this circa 1803 two-story log cabin, known as Brown’s Tavern, contains more than 200 years of Cherokee and pioneer history. Its half-Cherokee original owner, John Brown, was one of the first inhabitants of what would become the city of Chattanooga. He is believed both to have served as the captain of a Cherokee regiment in the War of 1812, and to have participated in the Trail of Tears relocation to Oklahoma in 1838. The structure is a stop on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

Local preservation organization Cornerstones is in talks with the current owner about potentially placing conservation easements on the cabin and/or obtaining grant funding, but at this point there is no clear preservation plan in place.

Ed. note: This story has been edited due to a fact-checking error.

Katherine Flynn is a former assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores, and uncovering the stories behind historic places.


We believe all Americans deserve to see their history in the places that surround us. As a nation, we have work to do to fill in the gaps of our cultural heritage.

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