Kingsport: Everyday History

Have you ever wondered about the history behind locations you pass nearly everyday? I have often wondered about a home right in the middle of Kingsport. The house looks like it might have been pretty grand for its day and the property has several rustic outbuildings that really look like they have a story to tell. I’ve asked a few local residents about it but haven’t found anyone yet who’s acquainted with the property. Soooooo, I headed to the archives to learn about Grass Dale.

Grass Dale, or Groseclose Mansion, in 2014.

Grass Dale, or Groseclose Mansion, in 2014.

Located on Clinchfield Rd. at the southwest corner of Stone Dr., the grounds are near the western most border of the 1750 Edmund Pendleton Land Grant. Pendleton sold the property to David Ross. In 1819, seventy-two acres of the parcel were sold by Ross’ descendants to Joseph Everett. In 1852, Martin Roller, Jr. purchased the property along with the log cabin.

The home was photographed in January 1972 for the book Historic Sites of Sullivan County.

The home was photographed in January 1972 for the book Historic Sites of Sullivan County.

Just four years later, ownership of the land changed hands, once again. The new owner, Joseph Groseclose, Sr., operated a large plantation. He had the bricks fired on site to build the mansion. The two-story ell addition at the rear was added in 1886. Joseph’s great-granddaughter, Rita Groseclose, was in residence at Grass Dale at the time of the 1976 publication of Historic Sites, from which this information was extracted.

The c. 1800 cabin photographed in 1972.

The c. 1800 cabin photographed in 1972.

The circa 1800 cabin in 2014.

The circa 1800 cabin in 2014.

The present property still maintains a spring house and smoke house, among its outbuildings, although I could not determine which was which without committing a serious trespassing violation.

Smokehouse or spring house? Regardless, the stone and brick masonry is fantastic.

Smokehouse or spring house? Regardless, the stone and brick masonry is fantastic.

Joseph Groseclose is buried in the family cemetery, which is located directly north from the mansion, about a half mile above Stone Dr.

Markers designating the home as a national historic place, an historic place of Sullivan County, and as a historic house of America.

Markers designating the home as a national historic place, an historic place of Sullivan County, and as a historic house of America.

The next time you go for a walk or drive, ask yourself, “What historic sites will I be passing by, today?”

A photograph that hangs inside the mansion leant to the authors of Historic Sites of Sullivan County by Clyde Grossclose.

A photograph that hangs inside the mansion leant to the authors of Historic Sites of Sullivan County by Clyde Grossclose.

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10 Responses to Kingsport: Everyday History

  1. John Scott says:

    You might find additional info from Murray Groseclose, an attorney in Kingsport. Rita Groseclose died in a traffic accident in Johnson City a few years ago.

  2. unname says:

    I am a Groseclose descendant. The brick building pictured is the smokehouse. Still has meat in it from decades ago (Can’t remember specifically how many decades). If you’d like to shoot me an email I can probably dig out some old pictures of the inside of the house if you’d be interested.

    • Misty Trent says:

      I would love to see the inside. I have wondered about this house ever since i was a little girl.

    • Robin woodcock says:

      I live right around the corner of the property and walk my dogs pass their daily. It is beautiful and very mysterious. Dose anyone live on the property now? Is their anyway I could get a closer look at it . It is very enchanting and draws you in. I have often thought about knocking on the door. I would love to see the inside of it or even just walk the grounds

      • Kari says:

        Robin, I agree it is a beautiful property and the various outbuildings make it quite enchanting. Try to picture that this lot was part of a very, very large plantation with land on both sides of Stone Drive. A Groseclose descendant has contacted me, but I have not seen in the home and no longer know who owns it. Thanks for reading.

  3. Donna Hughes says:

    My guess would be a spring house since there does not appear to be a chimney.

  4. Kathleen Fueston says:

    This makes me want to come visit. :0)

  5. Charlotte says:

    I have passed that mansion! Thanks for your investigative reporting.

  6. Kari, you have a talent for researching interesting places that have an untold story until today.

    • Kari says:

      The Sullivan County Historic Commission did a thorough job of researching hundred’s of sites in the 1970s and are responsible for getting many of them registered. Their work on Grass Dale and other local sites can be appreciated by referring to Historic Sites of Sullivan County at your local library.

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