Andrew Johnson NPS

Andrew Johnson NPS

Andrew Johnson — 17th President from Greeneville, TN

The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site and National Cemetery sits in the heart of Greeneville’s historic district. This small town in East Tennessee remains the quintessential place to experience elements of the antebellum era, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. The site interprets the story of Johnson’s rise “from Tailor to President” with original buildings, homes, belongings, and burial site.

Begin your journey at the Visitor Center on the corner of College and Depot Streets. You will receive orientation and can choose between numerous activities based on your time and interest. At the Visitor Center, view the 13 ½ minute video “Defender of the Constitution,” learn about Johnson’s impeachment and vote for his acquittal or guilt, and listen to the sounds of a bygone era as you stand beside Johnson’s original Tailor Shop.

Andrew Johnson’s two Greeneville homes are open to the public. The Early Home is self-guided and reflects the simplicity of Johnson’s early days as a tailor and fledgling politician. The exhibits inside chart the path he followed from an apprentice in Raleigh, North Carolina to a successful businessman and politician in Tennessee. It is accompanied by period photographs and music.

Andrew Johnson owned the Homestead, his later home in Greeneville, both before and after his presidency. It is furnished with many original pieces. It is open for tour daily at 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, and 4:30. Tickets for the ranger-led tour are available at the Visitor Center until 15 minutes prior to tour time.

Children and students learn more about the park’s history and become NPS stewards as they complete an on-site workbook and receive a Junior Ranger badge. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, children can also earn Civil War trading cards with the themes of “From Civil War to Civil Rights” and “Military Stories.”

Varieties of school programs are available for students and homeschoolers. Favorite on-site activities include trying on vintage-era recreated clothes and lifting the heavy tailor’s iron known as a “goose.” Park Rangers also offer in-class programs to local area schools. The programs for grades 1-8 correlate with the state learning standards and use interactive elements to engage students in learning history. Each program is grade specific and includes themes such as "voting," "barter and trade," "U.S. Presidents," "National Parks," and "United Stated Government". All programs are free and can be scheduled by contacting Park Ranger Jennifer at 423-639-3711

Special events provide something for everyone. Learn about African-American heritage at the August 8th celebration. This annual event, officially recognized as Emancipation Day by the Tennessee legislature, commemorates the day Andrew Johnson freed his personal slaves in 1863. The site also reenacts the October 24, 1864 anniversary of Andrew Johnson’s “Moses Speech,” when he freed all the slaves in the state of Tennessee while Military Governor.

The National Cemetery provides a fitting close to any activity. It is one of the most unique elements of the NPS, as it is one of only two active cemeteries administered by the service. Johnson was laid to rest atop the high hill known as Signal Hill in 1875. It remained a family burial place until after the death of Johnson’s daughter in 1902. Her wish that it become an honorable place for veteran interments was realized in 1906 when the War Department gained administration of the property. The cemetery was transferred to the National Park Service in 1942. Contemplate how far we have come as a nation at the solemn and impressive Memorial Day or Wreaths Across America services held annually to honor our veterans.

The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site is free of charge and open daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’