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Former post office building is officially on historical register

By JOHN KIENER

Associate Editor

[email protected]

Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy III has received official notification that the former Ashe Street Courthouse (Johnson City Postal Savings Bank and Post Office) at 401 Ashe Street in Johnson City has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

The reference to the Post Office in the nomination results from its use until 1940 as a United States Post Office.  That year a new post office was erected in Johnson City.  The old post office building, which had cost over $100,000 in its construction, was abandoned. 

Washington County purchased the building to house the separate courts of law and of chancery in Johnson City.  The county, aided by the city, made the necessary changes in the interior, and the new courthouse was dedicated and referred to as the Ashe Street Courthouse. 

Later, when the courts were moved to the Downtown Centre Courthouse in 1987, the building housed the emergency telephone answering service facility (911) that dispatches fire, police and other emergency vehicles to the scene of emergency events in both the city and county.

Notification of the placement by the National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior was received by the Mayor in December.

The decision by the federal agency occurred on Nov. 17, 2020. The inclusion of the building means that it will also be included in the Tennessee Register of Historic Places.

In writing to Mayor Grandy about the honor, E. Patrick McIntyre, Jr., Executive Director and State Historic Preservation Officer, wrote: “The State of Tennessee shares the pride we hope you feel resulting from this recognition.”

Included in the State’s notification of the National Register placement were State Senator Rusty Crowe, State Representative Rebecca Alexander, Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock, Johnson City Recorder Janet Jennings, Heritage Alliance members Dr. Hal Hunter, Megan Cullen Tewell, & Anne G’Fellers-Mason, County Historian Judge John Kiener, First Tennessee Development District Director Gray Stothart and Washington County Economic Development Council member (Downtown Development Manager) Dianna Cantler. 

Suggestions are currently being solicited from the public concerning the future use of the facility.  Individuals interested in expressing their views should contact the Office of County Mayor Joe Grandy.