Location and Early Years (1809 – 1830’s)


The city, located in Middle Tennessee, about 90 miles south of Nashville and 70 miles west of Chattanooga, TN and 45 miles northeast of Huntsville, Alabama. Winchester was established as the county seat of Franklin County in 1809 and was incorporated as a town on August 20, 1822.

Winchester's first buildings were located on the bluff overlooking Boiling Fork River. In 1811 there were several buildings constructed on the south side of the present square, and by 1830 the Ballard House opened its doors as a hotel. Between 1810 and 1840, commerce and the mercantile community grew steadily. However, it was the 1850's that proved to be a time of prosperity in Winchester. In part, the prosperity that Winchester enjoyed was due to the area's status as a leading cotton producer, the presence of Carrick Academy, Mary Sharp College, and the Winchester and Alabama railroad, which ran through Winchester.

By 1833 the town of Winchester had grown to a population of seven hundred people and offered a diversity of opportunity for its citizens. As early as 1830, boasted

  • three hotels
  • seven lawyers
  • four doctors
  • one Methodist church
  • one Baptist church
  • one Presbyterian church
  • one academy for boys and one for girls
  • eleven stores
  • four taverns
  • six carpenters
  • four cabinetmakers
  • four bricklayers
  • two hatters
  • twelve tailors
  • four shoemakers
  • fourteen blacksmiths
  • one silversmith
  • three carriage and wagon makers' shops
  • one coppersmith
  • two painters
  • two tanning yards
  • two saddlers' shops
  • and three groceries