Before 1852, what is now the heart of the City of Bristol Tennessee / Virginia was part of the vast plantation of Rev. James King. Rev. King had a son-in-law, Mr. Joseph R. Anderson, then a merchant of Blountville, Tennessee, who when learning that two railroads would meet upon the King land, foresaw that the site would be ideal for the founding of a city.
On July 10, 1852, Anderson contracted for 100 acres of the King plantation: forty-eight acres in Tennessee and fifty-two acres in Virginia. On July 16, 1852, he chose the name "Bristol" for his planned city, narrowly edging out the name "Paradise" by only one point. The survey of Bristol began August 1, 1852 and continued for three days. During the summer of 1853, Mr. Anderson had a combined residence and business house erected on what is now the southwest corner of State Street and Martin Luther King Blvd. This was the first building erected in the Town of Bristol and was the beginning of this city. Anderson moved his family from Blountville to this house on September 18, 1853. The Bristol post office opened in this house on November 5th. His general mercantile store opened for business on December 24th of the same year. Banking began in 1854. This corner is now called the Birthplace of Bristol.
Samuel Goodson, who owned land that adjoined the original Town of Bristol at its northern boundary (Beaver Creek was the divided line), started a development known as "Goodsonville". In 1856, that town and the original Bristol, Virginia were merged to form the composite town of Goodson, Virginia. However, the Depot continued to be known as Bristol, Virginia. In 1890, all the development on the Virginia side returned to the name "Bristol" and so remains today.
It can truly be said of Bristol that it is a unique city with a unique past and a unique people.