Along The Byway
Overton County was established in 1806 and named in honor of John Overton.
Overton County Chamber of Commerce
222 E. Main St.
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
Total Area: 435 square miles
Water Area: 1 square mile
Density: 50.77 residents/square mile
County Seat: Livingston – Population: 3,498
Largest City: Livingston – Population: 3,498
Traveling south on SR 42 (Livingston Highway), one leaves behind the picturesque Dale Hollow Lake region and crosses into Overton County, which sits between two major physiographic features: the Highland Rim to the west and the Cumberland Plateau to the east. Created from Jackson County and Indian lands, the county was established in 1806 and named in honor of John Overton, who was a pioneer attorney, a Tennessee Supreme Court Judge, and, with Andrew Jackson and James Winchester, a cofounder of Memphis. While the soil did not support widespread farming, the county experienced an economic boom from logging and coal extraction after the Civil War, with the Cumberland River providing for the efficient transport of goods to markets in Carthage and Nashville. In recent decades, recreation has become a driving force in the county’s economy. Tourism accounts for a substantial portion of the county’s total income.
Overton County features five National Register-listed properties: the Alpine Institute, American Legion Bohannon Post #4, Overton County Courthouse, Roberts Law Office, and Standing Stone State Rustic Park Historic District. Moreover, 247 architectural resources are located within the Scenic Byway’s one-mile buffer. These resources were originally surveyed by Tennessee Tech University in 1986. One Tennessee Historical Commission historical marker is located along the Byway and memorializes the Alpine School, which was located on top of Alpine Mountain. The school was established in 1821 and later reorganized to form the Alpine Institute.
American Legion Bohannon Post #4, located in the town of Livingston, was listed on the National Register in 2012 for its local significance in the social history of Overton County. Constructed in 1948, the building consists of a modified Quonset hut with a brick façade that serves as a veteran’s service office. Acquired by the American Legion in 1949, the building has also been utilized by the community for a host of social functions, such as a meeting hall, a dance hall, a library, and a voting precinct.
For its significance as a local interpretation of Greek Revival-style architecture, the Overton County Courthouse was listed on the National Register in 1979. The building is also historically significant for its association with the governmental history of Overton County. Located in the county seat of Livingston, the Overton County Courthouse was built by Joe Copeland in 1868-69 and has served as the center of county politics and government for over 130 years.
Another historic Livingston building is Roberts Law Office, which was listed on the National Register in 1974 for its architectural significance as a local example of East Lake architecture. Constructed ca. 1885, the building exhibits highly ornamental millwork, as evidenced on the front porch with its turned columns, wood decoration, and gable roof. The office building also features stained and frosted glass windows, built-in bookcases, and a teller cage, which was added in the 1930s. In addition, the building is historically significant as the former law office of Governor Albert H. Roberts, who rented the building from ca. 1901 to 1913. In 1919, Roberts became governor of Tennessee and served until 1922. As governor, Roberts signed Tennessee’s ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. He is also remembered for the Good Roads Project, an initiative that can be well appreciated by travelers of the Cumberland Historic Byway. The building originally stood in downtown Livingston but was later moved to the corner of Roberts Street and University Avenue.
Traveling from Livingston to the northwest on SR 52, the Cumberland Historic Byway passes through Standing Stone State Park. This one-time deforested and denuded landscape was reworked and physically rejuvenated by the federal government during the Great Depression to serve the recreational needs of nearby residents. It took the concerted efforts of a number of governmental entities to complete the project, including the Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Forest Service, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), as well as many state and local players. Contained within the park is the Standing Stone State Rustic Park Historic District, which was listed on the National Register in 1986 for its significance in the areas of architecture, recreation, social history, and politics. The district is located on the Cumberland Plateau and contains approximately 11,000 acres. Overall, the park contains 53 contributing buildings that were constructed between 1938 and 1942 under the direction of the WPA. The buildings were designed in the rustic park architectural style featuring hewn-log construction and stone foundations. Standing Stone State Rustic Park is a representative example of the development of state parks in Tennessee during the period between 1934 and 1942.
Camp Zollicoffer is a training base established by the Confederate States Army in 1861. Men from Overton and several surrounding counties came here to be organized into companies that were formed into the 28th Tennessee Infantry Regiment.
Standing Stone Antique Car Show
Overton County, Tennessee
Enjoy the history, beauty, and nostalgia of antique vehicles from years gone by. The event is a fun-filled day of music and food. Since 1998, some 300 vehicles have been shown and judged. Show your own or just come and observe. Food and craft vendors are welcome for the historic downtown area. Native vendors and demonstrators are welcome at Whitaker Park, and living historians who reenact the time period of 1770 to 1838 are welcome to set up camp in the Library Park.
Christmas in the Country
Experience a true country Christmas on the beautiful, historic downtown courthouse square in Livingston. The event starts with the arrival of Santa, followed by a tree-lighting ceremony. Merchants offer complimentary peanuts, popcorn, hot cider, and hot chocolate. Wagon and carriage rides and holiday music are part of this event.
Upper Cumberland Quilt Trail
Multiple Counties in Tennessee
The Upper Cumberland Quilt Trail is part of a commitment to preserve the historical craft of traditional quilting. By following the maps, you will see not only the beautiful and historic barns owned by local farm families, but also gorgeous quilt squares displayed on businesses and homes in the various communities. Quilt squares range from 2’x2’ to 8’x8’ wood squares. The blocks are replicas of treasured family heirlooms. In painting their favorite patterns on barns, businesses, and homes, we are honoring local quilters who are well known for their skills of using every piece of scrap fabric to create a beautiful work of art that is also a useful item in the home.
This festival is held annually the third Saturday in July in Winningham Park.
Join us at the Courthouse Square for a taste of summer at the annual Hogeye Fest. The event boasts a down-home, small-town flavor and features music, a cookoff, crafts, an ice cream contest, a 5K run and a cruise-in. The event is held annually the second Saturday in June.
Holly Ridge Winery and Vineyard
Since 1998, Holly Ridge Winery has been producing award-winning wines made from grapes grown in sloping vineyards surrounding the winery. Much emphasis is placed on viticulture at the winery, as they want to use only the highest quality grapes for their wines. Currently, they grow 14 different cultivars ranging from the French hybrid variety Seyval Blanc to American standards such as Concord and Niagara.
Cruise-In and Swap Meet
Car enthusiasts from Overton and surrounding counties kick off spring with the Overton County Cruise-In and Swap Meet. Held on the town square in Livingston at 4 p.m., the cruise-in begins on the second Saturday of April and continues on the second Saturday of each month through October.
Overton County Farmers Market
The Overton Farmers Market is open from June through October of each year. Each day, farmers bring into the market a plentiful supply of freshly home-grown vegetables and fruits.
Live in Livingston
Live in Livingston is a one-day arts and music event held in downtown Livingston, with musical acts broadcast live throughout the Upper Cumberland by local PBS affiliate WCTE.
Annual Elves Holiday Bazaar
The Annual Elves Holiday Bazaar is a craft show and sale featuring many talented crafters from throughout the area. The event is sponsored by the Livingston Rotary Club.
Annual Storytelling Festival at Standing Stone
Enjoy storytelling at its best, by nationally known storytellers. You will learn about our heritage in a fun and enjoyable format. Great for families of all ages, in the beautiful setting of Standing Stone State Park.
Livingston Christmas Parade
The annual Livingston Christmas Parade features floats, beauty queens, scout troops, antique vehicles, bands, and animals.
Overton County Fair
Get the true county fair experience at the Overton County Fair in beautiful Livingston, TN. The event features exhibits, animal shows, and a midway. 2022 marks the 84th year for the annual event.
Lester Flatt’s Birthplace – Duncan’s Chapel
Famed country music legend Lester Flatt was born in Duncan’s Chapel, TN, in Overton County. There are no known markers, events, or birthplaces.
Overton County Courthouse
Almost burned down in 1865 by a band of Confederate guerrillas from Kentucky, the Overton County Courthouse records were saved and the building still stands, preserving the historic character of Livingston’s town square. The original courthouse was burned by Captain John Francis and a band of Confederate guerillas from Kentucky in April of 1865. This senseless act so close to the end of the Civil War might have destroyed all early county records had it not been for county register of deeds James Richardson, who had hidden the county deed books in the cellar of his home. A few record books in the offices of the county clerk, the circuit court clerk and the clerk and master were also saved.
The Alpine Institute was a Presbyterian mission school located in Overton County. Operating in one form or another from 1821 until 1947, the school provided badly needed educational services to children living in the remote hill country of the Upper Cumberland region. In 2002, several of the school’s surviving structures were added to the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district. John Dillard (1793–1884), a minister affiliated with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Southern Appalachia, established the Alpine School atop Alpine Mountain in 1821 and expanded the school in the 1840s. The school was burned by bushwhackers during the Civil War and again by the Ku Klux Klan in the years after the war. The school was reestablished in 1880 at its current location at the base of Alpine Mountain, and under the leadership of future Tennessee governor A. H. Roberts continued to thrive into the following decade. In 1917, the better-funded Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) assumed control of the school and helped it develop into one of the state’s most competitive rural schools.
American Legion Bohannon Post #4
Located in Livingston, the American Legion Post #4 was listed on the NRHP in 2012 for its local significance in the social history of Overton County. Constructed in 1948, the building consists of a modified Quonset hut. Acquired by the American Legion in 1949, the building has also been utilized by the community for a host of social functions.
Governor A.H. Roberts Law Office
The Roberts Law Office was listed on the NRHP in 1974 for its architectural significance as a local example of East Lake architecture. Constructed ca. 1885, the building exhibits highly ornamental millwork as evidenced on the porch and gable roof. In addition, the building is historically significant as the former law office of Governor Albert H. Roberts, who rented the building from ca. 1901 to 1913. In 1919, Roberts became governor of Tennessee. As governor, Roberts signed Tennessee’s ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. The building originally stood in downtown Livingston but was later moved to the corner of Roberts Street and University Avenue.
Overton County Heritage Museum
What was once the sheriff’s office and county jail is currently home to the Overton County Historical Museum. The modest, formerly red brick two-story building is now painted a light gray and has undergone a complete facelift including landscaping, shutters, and interior remodeling. The museum opened in March 2002 with only a few exhibits assembled by a handful of volunteers and has since expanded to fill the entire upper floor. Generous donations and increased numbers of volunteers have helped the museum to grow, and the development of permanent exhibits on the lower floors are now being planned.
National Rolley Hole Marbles Championship
Overton County, Tennessee
Held each September, Standing Stone State Park’s Rolley Hole Marbles Tournament in Overton County is the world’s most challenging marble tournament. Started in 1982, this traditional marbles contest draws some of the country’s best players to a tournament where players match wit and skills with special flint spheres on a smooth, dirt surface. The festival includes kids’ games, marble making, a swap meet, tournament play, demonstrations, music, and food. The event has been featured by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBS, CNN, the Smithsonian Institution, National Geographic, and Charles Schulz’s Peanuts.
Jammin’ at Hippie Jack’s Americana Music Festival
The Council of Americana Roots Music’s mission is to preserve, present, and archive music of original singer-songwriters of Americana roots music. Programming includes production of a 16-episode annual public television series titled Jammin at Hippie Jack’s (JAHJ). This half-hour music television series is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of original singer-songwriters of historically significant forms of Americana grassroots music. The series is currently distributed by the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) to public television stations, libraries, and educational institutions throughout the nation. Additional initiatives include a regional radio program, The Hippie Jack Radio Hour, broadcast on WDVX radio in Knoxville, the East Tennessee region, and worldwide at www.wdvx.com; and two public engagement music festivals held in May and September in rural Overton County, Tennessee.
Standing Stone State Park Big Foot Scramble 5-Mile Run
The Standing Stone State Park Big Foot Scramble 5-Mile Run is part of the State Parks Running Tour, sponsored by the Frostbite Running Club.
Standing Stone State Park
Overton County, Tennessee
Standing Stone State Park covers nearly 11,000 acres on the Cumberland Plateau of north-central Tennessee. This quaint and rustic park is noted for its outstanding scenery, spring wildflowers, fossils, and other natural diversity. The park is located in Overton County within a triangle formed by highways connecting Livingston, Gainesboro, and Celina, Tennessee. In the 1930s, Standing Stone was an area plagued with soil erosion and sub-marginal lands. With the assistance of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, the Resettlement Administration, and the U.S. Forest Service, the area was made productive again. The park takes its name from the Standing Stone, an eight-foot tall rock standing upright on a sandstone ledge, which was supposedly used as a boundary line between two separate Indian nations. When the rock fell, the Indians placed a portion of it upon an improvised monument to preserve it.
The Apple Dish is a local restaurant in downtown Livingston.
Ole Town Pizzeria
Tennessee Barbecue is a local BBQ joint serving lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
Tiny Cakes Bakery
East Port Marina and Resort Restaurant
East Port Marina and Resort Restaurant offers down-home country breakfasts, pizza, burgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, french fries, catfish dinners, soft serve ice cream, and much more! Dine in or get it to go! They also offer T-shirts, hats, souvenirs, tubes, fishing supplies, bait, life jackets, drinks, beer, snacks, and much more.
The Parkway Restaurant is a country cafe with the “best catfish in town.”
Wildwood Manor is a stately 8,000-sq.-ft. Southern mansion situated on 33 acres of horse property.