The Netherland Inn//Exchange Place Association will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, August 26 to celebrate the completion of the historic flatboat replica. The ceremony will be held at 11 am. The 14 foot by 53 foot flatboat is mounted on a concrete slab in front of the Netherland Inn.
The historic flatboat replica will serve as an educational landmark to illustrate the historical significance flatboats had with Kingsport and the city’s founding. Local businessman Bill Taft provided the funding for the project that broke ground in June 2008.
Flatboats traversed the waterways in the 18th and 19th centuries carrying supplies and settlers. One of the most famous flatboat journeys is the one organized and led by Colonel John Donelson. The Donelson voyage consisted of about thirty flatboats that departed Kingsport on December 22, 1779. The waterway route took the group from the Holston River to the Tennessee River, up the Ohio River and then up the Cumberland River to the present site of Nashville. The travelers arrived at their destination on April 24, 1780.
In 1976, as part of America’s Bicentennial celebrations, three flatboats (Adventure II, Rachel and Charlotte) were constructed and used to replicate the Donelson voyage. The reenactment voyage left Netherland Inn in Kingsport on June 6, 1976 and arrived in Nashville August 7, 1976. The reenactment followed all 1,006 miles of the original voyage. Following the reenactment, the flatboat Charlotte was returned to the Netherland Inn and is currently on display.