For Joseph Gregory, historical preservation began at the age of five when he helped his parents salvage and restore several pieces of historically significant architecture from one of the oldest homes in his hometown, before the home was torn down. He received a lesson from his parents about the importance of irreplaceable things. One of those items saved from the house is a classical, colonial mantle piece that Mr. Gregory has kept as a family heirloom and that today graces the bedroom fireplace of the William Poole designed family house that he and his wife had built in 1997.
As a young man, Joe Gregory had an eye and an appreciation for historically significant architecture. After graduating from the University of Maryland in business in 1977, he moved to Wytheville, Virginia in 1984 where he proceeded to purchase a circa 1880 downtown commercial building in need of restoration. He lived in an apartment on the top floor while he worked to restore the building and its original architectural elements before selling the building in 1991.
Mr. Gregory purchased and began restoring the Old Tennessee Post Office and Custom House located in Bristol, Tennessee, in 1999. His projects have included serving on the Board of the Bristol Train Station during the period of its restoration, salvaging historic timbers that were added and later removed from the Bristol Train Station to build a completely authentic timber-framed mortise and tenon barn on his farm, restoration of a turn of the century cottage on the 1,000 acres he owns in the Doe River Gorge in Carter County, Tennessee, and the preservation of the E.W. King building that is designated on the National Register of Historic Places. But his crowning achievement in restoration work must be the Old Bristol Post Office and Custom House where Mr. Gregory has his private family offices.
“Historic places are the knitting in the fabric of who we are. It is an important and necessary discourse to ascertain the importance we will place on the buildings and places that define us, and the lengths we will go to preserve these irreplaceable things,” Mr. Gregory says.
Mr. Gregory has been a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation since 1999 and a founding member of the Tennessee Preservation Trust since 2002. He has been a supporter of numerous Bristol Historical Association restoration projects, the Jonesborough Heritage Alliance Trust, Main Street Bristol and Bristol Downtown projects and instrumental in the founding of Piney Flats Historic Village. He resides in Piney Flats Village, Tennessee, a historic Main Street community, with his wife Cindy and sons, Jonathan and Joshua.