Listed on the National Register, the Gilleland-Odell house, a private home, is the only surviving structure of the old town of New Port, which was established as the seat of Cocke County in 1799. The town remained the county seat until about 1884 when all county offices were moved to the present town of Newport on the Cincinnati, Cumberland Gap and Charleston railroad lines.
The town-site formerly was occupied by about 150 inhabitants and had a brick courthouse; a two-story log jail; the Anderson Academy, also a brick building built circa 1840; two fine churches; the brick circa 1845 Zion Methodist and a circa 1837 frame building for Pisgah Presbyterian, along with several stores and residences.
Overlooking the French Broad River, the unique Federal Style house was constructed circa 1814 and faces the old Washington Post Road. The house is a two story brick on a raised basement of cut limestone. The most interesting aspect of the house are the entrance doors on the first and second floors. This central section is all wood extending upwards to a brick arch over the second floor doorway. The second floor door is topped with an arched fanlight. The entire assemblage is flanked with wooden Ionic pilasters. A similar arrangement is found on the rear façade.
This brick home was built in 1814 by Abel Gilleland. The area, now
called “Old Town,” was the original site of the new port located
on the French Broad River. Abel’s father, John, donated land in 1799 to establish the town. Newport relocated from here to nearby railroad tracks when the Cincinnati, Cumberland Gap & Charleston Railroad was
constructed between 1866 and 1869.
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