Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Andrew Johnson National Historic Site


The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site serves as a memorial to the tailor who became President. Andrew Johnson was born in 1808 and apprenticed to a tailor as a child. At age 16, he ran away and traveled throughout the South. When he settled down in Greeneville, Tennessee, he began work as a tailor and eventually accumulated enough wealth that he owned eight slaves, as well as several properties and industrial buildings.

Andrew Johnson National Historic Site
©National Park Service
The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site includes two of Johnson's houses
and a tailor shop he bought in 1831.

Johnson married Eliza McCardle, the daughter of a shoemaker, in 1827, and she taught him writing and mathematics. He joined debate clubs, and, despite never attending a day of school, became an educated man with a commanding speaking style. He launched his political career in his tailor shop, giving fiery speeches. The future President was first elected to local and state offices, then to the United States Congress.

A supporter of the agrarian lifestyle, he introduced the Homestead Act, which opened public lands to anyone who would farm a 160-acre parcel. When the Civil War broke out, Johnson was the only senator from a seceding state to remain in Congress. In the North he was a hero, but his fellow Southerners felt betrayed. Johnson's sons and sons-in-law were harassed, and his property confiscated. Eliza escaped through enemy lines to join Johnson in the North.

In 1864, Abraham Lincoln chose Johnson to be his running mate. "Andy Johnson, I think, is a good man," Lincoln said. On April 15, 1865, when Lincoln was assassinated, the former tailor became President.

The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, designated in 1963, contains the rough-hewn tailor shop Johnson bought in 1831, two of his houses, and the national cemetery where Eliza and Andrew Johnson are buried.

Andrew Johnson National Historic Site Information

Address: 121 Monument Ave., Greeneville, TN 37743
Telephone: 423/638-3551
Hours of Operation: Open daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day
Admission: Free

Learn more about these other national historic sites:

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic SiteClara Barton National Historic Site
Fort Larned National Historic Site
Grant Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Adams National Historic Site
Edgar Allen Poe National Historic SiteFort Raleigh National Historic SiteHampton National Historic SiteLincoln Home National Historic SitePuukohola Heiau National Historic SiteTheodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic SiteEdison National Historic SiteFort Scott National Historic SiteHarry S. Truman National Historic SiteLongfellow National Historic SiteSagamore Hill National Historic SiteThomas Stone National Historic Site
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site Eisenhower National Historic Site Fort Smith National Historic Site Herbert Hoover National Historic Site Maggie L. Walker National Historic SiteSaint Paul's Church National Historic SiteThomas Stone National Historic Site
Boston African -American National Historic Site Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic SiteFort Vancouver National Historic SiteHome of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic SiteManzanar National Historic Site

Saint-
Gaudens National Historic Site

Touro Synagogue National Historic Site
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Eugene O'Neill National Historic SiteFrederick Douglass National Historic SiteHopewell Furnace National Historic SiteMartin Van Buren National Historic SiteSalem Maritime National Historic SiteUlysses S. Grant National Historic Site
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Ford's Theater National Historic SiteFrederick Law Olmsted National Historic SiteHubbell Trading Post National Historic SiteMary McLeod Bethune House National Historic Site Saugus Iron Works National Historic SiteWeir Farm National Historic Site
Charles Pinckney National Historic SiteFort Bowie National Historic SiteFriendship Hill National Historic SiteJames A. Garfield National Historic SiteMc Loughlin House National Historic SiteSewall -Belmont House National Historic SiteWhitman Mission National Historic Site
Chicago Portage National Historic Site
Fort Davis National Historic SiteGloria Dei Church National Historic SiteJimmy Carter National Historic SiteNinety Six National Historic Site Springfield Armory National Historic SiteWilliam Howard Taft National Historic Site
Christiansted National Historic SiteFort Laramie National Historic SiteGolden Spike National Historic SiteJohn Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic SitePalo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site Steamtown National Historic Site

To learn more about national monuments, memorials, and historic sites, and other travel destinations in North America, visit

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eric Peterson is a Denver-based author who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.