Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park

Carter Mansion

Virtual Tour of Carter Mansion

The virtual tour above provides an interactive walkthrough of the historic Carter Mansion. Drag your mouse or finger around the scenes to explore multiple angles of a room. Use the arrows at the bottom of the screen to advance to the next area. Along the way, annotated areas will provide more information about elements of the Mansion. To read these annotations and view the accompanying photos, scroll through the dialogue box on the left of the screen.

Carter Mansion - Built between 1775-1780, the Carter Mansion may be the only remaining direct link to the Watauga Association and is the oldest frame house still standing in Tennessee. John Carter and his son, Landon, built the home. The finely detailed interior and over mantle paintings place the mansion among the most significant historic houses in the state. When Tennessee became a state in 1796, Carter County was named for Landon Carter, and the county seat, Elizabethton, was named for his wife, Elizabeth Maclin Carter. The Carter Mansion is located at 1031 Broad Street in Elizabethton. Read more about this historical home in a blog post by State Park Historian, Ward Weems: The Carter Mansion on Tennessee’s 1700s Frontier


The historic John and Landon Carter Mansion was built by Colonel John Carter, a wealthy businessman from Tidewater Virginia.  It is believed that the house was completed by 1780 and is reputed to be the oldest frame house in the State of Tennessee.  Although not a mansion by today’s standards it would have stood in stark contrast to the humble log cabins on the 18th-century frontier and thus earned the name Carter’s Mansion.  Based on a recent archaeological assessment the land which the Carter Mansion occupies was once the site of a thriving native town from the late 16th century to the mid 17th century.  John Carter served as the chairman of the Watauga Association, an early frontier government.  He also served as Entry Taker (Register of Deeds) and Colonel of the local militia.  Carter died in 1781 leaving the property to his eldest son Landon Carter.  Landon served with distinction in the Revolutionary War and later served in the governments of the State of Franklin and the State of Tennessee.  Carter County is named in his honor and the county seat of Elizabethton is named for his wife Elizabeth MacLin Carter.  The house remained in the Carter family until after the Civil War when it was sold to the W.S. Thomas family.  The State of Tennessee acquired the property in 1973 and restored the house to its original 18th-century appearance.  This gem of early Tennessee history is now maintained and operated by Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. 

Carter Mansion Tours

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park offers tours of the Carter Mansion throughout the year. These events are posted on the park's upcoming events calendar.