The history of newspapers in Carter County, Tenn., can be traced back to April 21, 1838, and the only copy of the Elizabethon Republican ever published. The Mountaineer appeared 40 years later, and was published until 1908. Over the years, other publications made short goes of it — the Tennessee Equity from 1905 to 1910, Carter County Banner from 1914 to 1926, Elizabethton News from 1926 to 1938 and the Carter County Progress from 1960 to 1961. But when Frank Lovette founded the Elizabethton Star in 1926, he created what would be the county’s longest-running newspaper. During its formative years, the Star was owned and managed by several different companies, but in 1955 Frank Robinson became publisher and, eventually, the owner. Robinson’s guiding hand gave the community a stable, innovative newspaper under continuous ownership for nearly 60 years. Boone Newspapers Inc. took over ownership Jan. 1, 2014. Jim Boone, BNI’s CEO, had known Robinson, who died in 2011, for many years and even considered him a mentor. In 2013, under the direction of Editor-In-Chief Brian Reese and Publisher Mark A. Stevens, the Star won multiple awards in the Associated Press Managing Editor Awards, the Tennessee Press Association Ideas Advertising Awards and the Tennessee Press Association Journalism Awards, including TPA’s most coveted honor, the General Excellence Award, signifying the Star being the best daily newspaper in its class. For the second year in a row, the Star won a first-place award for Best Website. The Star’s showing at the 2013 TPA Awards, winning 22 honors, was a record for the newspaper; it was also the first time in its history that the Star won the General Excellence Award. Other top honors were earned for Best Classified Section for advertising and, in news, for Education Reporting, Business Reporting, Sports Coverage, Makeup and Appearance, Community Lifestyles, Local Features and Spot News Coverage.
The Elizabethton Star and its employees strive to:
- produce the best daily newspaper in Northeast Tennessee and Tennessee.
- be hyper local in its news coverage of events in Carter and Johnson counties, and the Northeast Tennessee region.
- report news accurately, fairly and giving a voice to the people through its stories and letters to the editor
- take an active leadership role in our community, promoting the area’s unique history and heritage that was pivotal to our nation’s independence.
- treat readers and advertisers with respect.
The Elizabethton Star’s award-winning print edition is published afternoons Tuesday through Friday and on Sunday mornings, and is distributed in Carter and Johnson counties.
The Elizabethton Star is home to breaking news 24/7 via its award-winning website, www.starhq.com. The Star was one of the first newspapers to see the value and potential of the Internet for news-gathering organizations and was an early leader on the web. The Star also offers an e-edition of the print edition, which includes an e-exclusive Monday edition.
The Elizabethton Star has won dozens of awards for advertising and journalism excellence. The Star was the Tennessee Press Association’s General Excellence winner in 2013 for Daily Newspapers, Division III. Our news team is made up of veteran editors and experienced reporters who excel as journalists of the highest caliber.
The Star leads by example in its community and it actively involved with the Carter County Chamber of Commerce, American Cancer Society Relay For Life and the Downtown Business Association and more. The Star is a regular sponsor of Covered Bridge Days and the community appreciation day for the Elizabethton Twins baseball team. Our management team has membership with the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, and Mark A. Stevens, publisher, is a member of the Sycamore Shoals Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Cap the Gap Foster Care Board of Directors for Carter, Johnson and Unicoi Counties and the Tanasi Arts Center Board of Directors.
Carter County and the city of Elizabethton have an economic base comprised of medical, industrial, and niche retail.
Community strengths include
- City government, Chamber of Commerce, and Downtown Business Association geared toward revitalization and economic development
- Located to a major I-26 corridor. Elizabethton is located only one hour away from the popular North Carolina cities of Asheville and Boone; two hours away from Knoxville, Tenn., home of the University of Tennessee; and 30 minutes away from Bristol, home of NASCAR’s Bristol Motor Speedway
- State-of-the-art health care facilities offered through Sycamore Shoals Hospital, part of the multi-state, not-for-proft Mountain States Health Alliance. Also home to Medical Care, which has its own radiology department and lab, and Wellmont Health System, another multi-state, not-for-profit has a foothold in Elizabethton with Heart Center.
- Carter County features a two-day UPS shipping radius to 65 percent of the U.S. population. Its centralized location among large cities and small tourist attractions allows residents and visitors to experience the best of both worlds
- Local heritage that dates back before the Revolutionary War
- Low crime statistics
- Many family and community events
- Location of two state parks — Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area and Roan Mountain State Park
- Elizabethton Municipal Airport is located in the city limits, and Tri-Cities Regional Airport, with service from from Allegiant Air, Delta and USAir, is located only 40 minutes away in Blountville.
- Watauga Lake
- Located near Sugar Mountain and Ski Beech
Community events include
- Downtown Car Shows
- Covered Bridge Days
- Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals, the official outdoor drama of the State of Tennessee
- Muster at Fort Watauga
- Carter Mansion Celebration
- Fly-In at Elizabethton Municipal Airport
- Rhododendron Festival in Roan Mountain
- Overmountain Victory Trail Celebration
- Trick or Treat Downtown
- Christmas Craft Show
- Fraser Fir Tree Lighting, the second largest living Fraser fir in the nation
- Christmas Wreath Exhibit and Art Show
- Old Butler Days
- Roan Mountain Chili Cookoff
- Roan Mountain Fall Festival
- Roan Mountain Naturalist Rally in each season
Carter County’s population as of 2012 was estimated at 57,355
City of Elizabethton population as of 2012 was estimated at 14,176
Elizabethton has a typical mountain climate with mild summers and cold winters. The average low temperature in the winter is 27 degrees and the average summer high is 89 degrees.
Major employers in the area are Mountain States Health Alliance (Sycamore Shoals Hospital), Milligan College, and Snap-on Tools.
Elizabethton’s educational needs are served by the Elizabethton School System and the Carter County School System. Higher education coursework and degrees are available through East Tennessee State University, Milligan College, Northeast State Community Technical College, and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology. Also located nearby are King College, Appalachian State University, Tusculum College and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
Elizabethton, founded in 1709 and incorporated in 1905, is the county seat of Carter County. It is also the site of the first independent American settlement west of both the Eastern Continental Divide and the original 13 British colonies in America. Elizabethton is named for Elizabeth, wife of Landon Carter, for whom the county is named. The downtown is located at the foot of Lynn Mountain and is home to the Elizabethton Historic District, which contains a variety of properties ranging in age from the late 1700s through the 1930s, as well as the historic Covered Bridge, which dates back to 1882.
Elizabethton is home to the State Line Drive-in, one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in the nation which in 2013 became fully digital.
The two-act outdoor drama which takes place each July at the Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area is the official historical outdoor drama of Tennessee. Storytelling, music, quilting, and fine arts are a big part of the local scene.
The Elizabethton and Carter County area offers recreational activities, which includes golf, fishing, boating, rafting, and camping.
The Elizabethton-Carter County Chamber of Commerce can be reached at:
Elizabethton, TN 37643
The City of Elizabethton can be reached at:
136 S. Sycamore St.
Elizabethton, TN 37643
Main phone number: 423-547-6200