Downtown Elizabethton (Elk Ave and surrounding area)
Downtown Elizabethton in the early 1880's
This page will be a tremendous addition to the website. The history of our downtown area is amazing. There were several historical events that took place in our city that changed the history of our nation. The photo to the left is a the oldest photo I have been able to find of the downtown area. This photo was taken from "Main Street" in the early 1880's. This area is where the Monument now sits. At the time that this photo was taken, the downtown area ran north and south. It was parallel to the Doe river. Since there was no bridge across the river at this time, the area of Elk Avenue that we now consider downtown was very sparsely populated. All businesses were between the Doe River and Lynn Mountain. Main Street still circles the Monument and heads north toward the Watauga River. Main Street used to cross the Watauga and was the primary route to the north from town. Below is a photo from the Matt Lewis collection that shows a bridge under construction in our area. It is not known for sure if this was the Main Street bridge but if not the bridge is probably very similar to the Main Street bridge. The bridge pillars are still in place at the end of Main Street.
This photo shows a bridge being constructed in the area.
Another very interesting fact is that many horses back in the day would not cross a bridge because they were afraid. Since it was necessary to cross the river, a ferry barge was built and operated beside the Hyder's Bluff bridge. You can see the shadow of the bridge in the photo. These two photos were supplied by Matt Lewis of Elizabethton. His collection of photos were a gift from the estate of Mary Nell Haynes.
Here is a second photo of the ferry boat. It is hauling a tractor across the river. If you will notice, the tractors back then had metal wheels and were not allowed to be driven across the bridge due to the damage it would cause.
An Early Photo of Downtown Elizabethton
This is a photo of the Downtown area that is now Elk Avenue.