Monthly Archives: June 2013

Junior Ranger Fossil Casting

Dr. Mick Whitelaw

Wednesday, July 3, 10:00 AM!

Calling all junior naturalists! On July 3 at 10:00 AM, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area will host a special two-hour program full of fun activities for kids six to fourteen! Geologist Dr. Michael Whitelaw will be sharing with us the history of the plants and animals that once lived in East Tennessee during the prehistoric era. Dr. Whitelaw is an Associate Professor at East Tennessee State University in the Geology Department and has worked closely with the Gray Fossil Site. Come out and learn about the fossils that can be found in our region, make a fossil cast of your own, and “mine” for your own fossils! A parent or guardian should accompany children during the program. For more information about this program, please contact the Sycamore Shoals Park Office at: (423) 543-5808.

LIBERTY! to open on Thursday, July 11th!!


The Official Outdoor Drama of the State of Tennessee begins its 35th season July 11 at Sycamore Shoals State His­toric Area in Elizabethton, and continues for a three-weekend run – Thursdays through Saturdays – beginning each evening at 7:30 in the Fort Watauga Amphitheater.

Tennessee’s official outdoor drama is presented by a cast of local performers against the backdrop of Fort Watauga. Liberty! portrays the significant history of Sycamore Shoals during the late 18th century.

The concept of outdoor drama offers a very unique format in which to present a theatrical performance.   Without a doubt, experiencing live theater, beside the cool waters of the Watauga River, with Fort Watauga as the backdrop to the play, is unlike any other.  Theatrical lighting, professional sound, and a host of unexpected effects completely immerse the audience in the lifestyles of the late 18th century.

As the story unfolds, long hunters and settlers begin leaving the protection of the English Colonies, crossing the Appalachian Mountains in violation of the British Proclamation of 1763.  Historically, along the Watauga Old Fields, families soon made their homes, formed a new government, bought and traded land from the Cherokee, and ultimately, during the American Revolution, fought for the freedom we hold so dear today.

The series of events that unfolded at Sycamore Shoals were critical to state and national history in the 18th century.  These dramatic chapters in America’s westward expansion set the tone for a number of events that helped propel the British colonies towards independence and a democratic form of government.   These stories are proudly shared with our guests during each performance of Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals.

The 2013 season will also mark the 4th exciting year for Carter’s Trading Post, a venue named in honor of the original store opened by pioneers Carter and partner William Parker shortly after they arrived on the frontier in 1771.  A fine menu of mouth watering treats will be offered each evening for Liberty! guests.  On Saturday, July 13, 20, 27 and Friday, July 19, 26, our Dinner Theater will begin at 6 pm.  For one price, you can enjoy a full meal, entertainment, and your admission to Liberty!  Dinner theater tickets are by reservation only by calling 423-543-5808.

During your visit to Sycamore Shoals, please plan the time to visit our new interpretive exhibit which opened in June of 2013.

Sponsored by Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area,11Connects – WJHL TV, the Tennessee National Guard, Big John’s Closeouts, LeBleu, A to Z Rentals, and Holston Gas

(Liberty! runs Thursdays-Saturdays, July 11- 13, 18 – 20, and 25 -27, in the Fort Watauga Amphitheater at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area in Elizabethton. Performances begin nightly at 7:30. Tick­ets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $9 for students. Children 5 and under are admitted free. For more information, call SSSHA at (423) 543-5808).

Independence on the Frontier

Fife and Drum2cropped

June 29th & June 30th  

Step back in time 237 years to a colorful revolutionary world and witness life as it was on the 18th century frontier during a very tumultuous time. In the summer of 1776 colonial leaders met in Philadelphia to draft a document that would forever change the world. As our guest to Fort Watauga, you too can be part of the excitement as news of American Independence reaches the colonial frontier. What did the colonists think about a new nation? Walk among historical characters and hear their varied reactions to the Declaration, from fear of war to the hope of a brighter future.


As part of the weekend’s activities a very special ceremony will be held on Saturday, June 29th at 2:00 pm. The Tennessee Society Sons of the Revolution will hold a bell ringing in honor of the thirteen colonies inside Fort Watauga at the Park. Each colony will be called out and the bell rung in their honor. The Watauga Valley Fife & Drum will then play a short tribute to each colony.

Get an early start on your Independence celebrations and bring the entire family out for a weekend full of history, patriotism, education, and family fun.

Schedule of Events 


Saturday, June 29th 

10:00 – Militia Inspection :  Raising the Colours   

11:00 – Artillery Drill and Demonstration 

12:00 – Kids Militia : Attention all able bodied kids! Fall in and drill with the Washington Co. Militia.

1:00 – Arrival of the Declaration of Independence: Document arrives by courier. Public reading followed by a short celebration.  

2:00 – Bell Ringing Ceremony: Join the Sons of the Revolution as we honor the 13 original colonies. Musical honors provided by the Watauga Valley Fifes & Drums. 

3:00 – Artillery Drill and Demonstration 

4:00 – Retiring the Colours – Camps Close to the Public : Join us tomorrow  for a full day of 18th century living history. 


Sunday, June 30th

10:00 – Militia Inspection : Raising the colours 

11:00 –Worship Service : Join us for Sunday Service

12:00 – Kids Militia : Attention all able bodied kids! Fall in and drill with the Washington Co. Militia. 

1:00 – Ladies’ Tea: Join the ladies of the settlement and defy crown law with a “Liberty Tea”. Learn about the famous Edenton Tea Party of 1774 

2:00 – Artillery Drill and Demonstration

3:00 – Retiring the Colours: Event closed to the public.

1651 W. Elk Avenue

Elizabethton, TN 37643