Pleasant Hill

Pleasant Hill was the third house built on Solar Hill after the great Johnson Land Sale of July 5, 1871. It was built by William H. Smith an early Bristol contractor for Capt. John Harvey Wood, a local attorney. Construction began in 1872 and was completed in the spring of 1873. The Wood family moved into the house in May of that year. The brick cost one cent apiece at the time and one cent each to lay.

Pleasant Hill

Originally a small portico was over the front door. In 1875 a chimney was damaged by lightning. While having it repaired, Capt. Wood decided to add a veranda extending across the front of the house. The first telephone in Bristol was installed in what is now the dining room.

The story has long been told that Jefferson Davis, ex-president of the Confederate States of America, spent a night in the Wood's home in late 1873. He slept in the north upstairs bedroom. Standing on the portico the next morning, Mr. Davis delivered an address to a large crowd of Bristolians who had gathered in the front yard and on the lot across the street.

The first wife of Capt Wood was Laura Lucretia James, a daughter of a very prominent early Bristol merchant, W. W. James from Blountville, Tennessee. Mrs. Wood died in 1891. Later Mr. Wood married Virginia Holmes, a widow from Winchester, Virginia. It was at this time that he built the late Victorian home which still stands next door at 210 Johnson Street. He and his wife moved into this house, and he gave Pleasant Hill to his daughter Mary, wife of Samuel Harriss. Gertrude, one of the Wood children who was reared at Pleasant Hill, married a Dillard, moved to New York City and became the first licensed woman driver in that city.

The house was rented for several years. At one time it served as the parsonage for State Street Methodist Church. Over the years the house has had several owners, including the late Bristol historian and author, V. N. (Bud) Phillips. Following Bud’s death in 2017, the house was sold, and the new owners have furnished it in keeping with the style and period of the home. The new owners care deeply about Bristol’s history and allow the Bristol Historical Association to share space in the house for our offices.

Bristol Herald Courier News Article - click here.

Pleasant Hill Newspaper Article - Click Here.