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Bristol TN Is My Home Town
Remembrances of my childhood keep flashing before my eyes…
My hometown is unique! It is split right down the middle. The white line down the middle of the main street is the state line, half in Virginia and half in Tennessee. It has been like this since the town was founded over 150 years ago. Two separate cities, two different forms of government, two different police departments, two different fire departments, there are even two completely different school systems. You might think all this would produce complete chaos, but the citizenry responds cooperatively.
Unity between the two cities and the two states
The old Kings Mountain Hospital where I was born was in Virginia and my family lived in Virginia, but moved to Tennessee some eighteen month after I was born. Years later the Bristol Memorial Hospital was built in Tennessee to replace the old Kings Mountain Hospital. I recall this to show the unity between the two cities and the two states.
Have you ever been to Bristol TN / VA
This rivalry is good for the cities of Bristol
Of course one could see a great opportunity for rivalry within the educational systems and rightly so. Sports hold a great rivalry between the Virginia High School Bearcats and the Tennessee High School Vikings. Year after year the high schools of these two cities compete first on one side of town then the other to determine the city championship in football, basketball, baseball etc. Likewise the high school bands perform and compete. This rivalry is good for the cities of Bristol and has developed many sports and music stars.
Birthplace of Country Music
You would be surprised to learn that many couples who have grown up in the ‘twin’ cities have married across those state lines. Men and women who once attended rival high schools during their teenage years now married and raising families still residing within the cities of their birth and raising children who will continue the inter-city rivalries began many years ago.
The late Tennessee Ernie Ford was born and raised in Bristol Tennessee, and many others to include June Carter Cash started singing Country Music and recorded their music in Bristol as early as 1927. The United States Congress has declared that Bristol is the official Birthplace of Country Music in 1998. Around 60 years ago my dad introduced me to Little Jimmy Dickens at the Paramount Theatre on State Street in Bristol.
Bristol is also the home of Bristol Motor Speedway, home of the Worlds fastest half mile oval that entertains over 160 thousand race fans from all over the world each event annually. Local hotels and motels sell out each year for the spring and fall events. They say a motel room can not be found between Roanoke Virginia and Knoxville Tennessee. Some people even rent out their homes for the weeks of the races.
Also Bristol Caverns is located just about five miles south of the city of Bristol Tennessee.