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Photo-Op Pillory.

Photo-Op Pillory

Field review by the editors.

Jonesborough, Tennessee

Many towns have outdoor photo-ops emblazoned with the town's name, usually something colorful and cheerful, like a mural or a big fish, to encourage selfies. The idea is to spread the word, through images, that the town is an important or fun place to visit.

Jonesborough's choice for public interaction is a weathered wooden pillory, with holes for the head and hands.

Jonesborough's history, of which it is proud, includes being the site of the first Court of Magistrates of the State of Franklin (later Tennessee), which dispensed justice in the 1780s and '90s. Punishments included hanging, whipping, branding. The pillory was used for public humiliation. Court records still exist, and in at least two cases the convicted criminals were sentenced to have their ears nailed to the pillory for an hour, and then cut off.

The current pillory is almost certainly not the 1790s model, but tourists may still want to make a close inspection of the replica -- for the sake of historical accuracy -- to see if there are any ear-position nail holes.

Photo-Op Pillory

117 Boone St., Jonesborough, TN
East edge of downtown, on the north side of Boone St., on the back edge of the parking lot between the visitors center and the library.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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