Town of Dandridge History

Today downtown Dandridge is a National Historic District showcased by the second courthouse completed in 1845 of Greek Revival architecture. Four of the original taverns highlight the walking tour of the historic district – the Roper Tavern, Hickman Tavern, Shepherds’ Inn, and Thomas Tavern. Federal and Greek Revival dominate the early building styles, all with an unusual backdrop of the Dandridge Dike constructed.


The construction of Douglas Dam in 1942 flooded much of the best farmland in Jefferson County, and threatened to flood most all of downtown Dandridge, which was situated below the proposed reservoir’s high-water mark. Residents of the town successfully petitioned then-First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, however, pointing out that Dandridge was the only town in the United States named for the wife of George Washington. The Tennessee Valley Authority constructed a saddle dam between downtown Dandridge and the lake. The dam rises almost immediately behind the Town Hall, and runs roughly parallel to Main Street.


Douglas Lake Quick Info
• River: French Broad River
• Surface Area: 30,400 Acres
• Shoreline: 550 Miles
• Length: 43 Miles
• Volume: 1,514,100 Acre Feet
• Drainage Area: 4,541 Square Miles


exerpt from Touring the East Tennessee Backroads by Carolyn Sakowski
…Retrace your route to U.S.25W.  It is 1.8 miles to the bridge across the French Broad.  On the right just before the bridge are the remains of Swannbrne.  At the road just before the bridge, you can turn in for a better view of the estate.  Actually, what remains is the Swannbrne guesthouse, which should give you some idea of how elaborate the main home was before it burned in 1959.

This estate was the home of the Alfred Swann family.  In 1866, he borrowed twenty-five dollars and began farming and trading.  Alfred eventually owned three farms totaling thirty-two hundred acres on both sides of the French Broad.

Swannburne, the third home of the Swann family, was constructed in the 1920s.  It was considered one of the showplaces of East Tennessee before it burned.  Frances Burnett Swann was the mistress of the house for years.  Her letter-writing efforts were influential in the building of the dike that saved the town of Dandridge when the TVA dammed the river to make Douglas Lake.”

exerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dandridge,_Tennessee
“…The French Broad Baptist Church is where the Swann family is buried.  This church is across the lake from Swann’s Marina.”

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