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The Great Southwest Road is Topic of Bristol Meeting!

October 31, 2012

The Bristol Historical Association is proud to welcome back Dr. Jim Glanville for an upcoming program on November 5 at the Bristol Public Library. The title of his presentation is “The Great Southwest Road of Virginia” and will detail the little known importance of the American westward expansion though Southwest Virginia, down the Valley Road to Sapling Grove & Goodson, Virginia, the current location of Bristol. The November 5 program is open to the public and will be held at the Bristol Public Library at 6:30pm. The Annual Christmas Luncheon will follow on Sunday December 2 at The Virginia Golf Club and will feature Randell Jones. Jones will present a fascinating presentation on “Trailing Daniel Boone” which is a detailed history of the Daniel Boone Markers, envisioned by a Bristol native and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Reservations will be taken in the near future for this exciting luncheon. The Monday November 5 meeting is in conjunction with the Bristol Public Library’s mission of “Expanding Minds and Building Community.” This educational presentation is free and open to the public.

In 1770, the rutted wagon road that follows today’s Interstate 81 corridor was the most heavily traveled route in all America, according to Glanville. In the decades following Independence, down this Great Southwest Road of Virginia, hundreds of thousands of Virginians moved south and west to newly created states, carrying with them their culture and their political institutions. It was “The path of empire in the conquest of The Great West”. This implies, in part, the importance of Bristol’s location in the development of the Mountain Empire and even more in the development of westward expansion of America. Glanville will argue that while "The history of eastern Virginia is perhaps most significant for the history of the state. However, it is the history of western Virginia that is most significant for the history of America."

Glanville is a retired chemist living in Blacksburg. Since 2004 he has been writing and speaking extensively about the history and archeology of Southwest Virginia and has published over thirty articles.

The Bristol Historical Association was founded in 1979 and currently owns a number of historic properties, including the birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford and the Robert Preston house. The association recently purchased the acreage around the 200-plus year old residence and is firming up plans for fundraising and then renovation of the property. Isabel Ladd currently serves as president of the association.