Today in Johnson City History: September 18

Sept. 18, 1890: Charles P. Wofford and Co., a real estate and brokerage company, advertised its services in The Comet. The offices were on East Main Street adjacent to Kite & Gaunt. The Wofford Brothers Insurance Co. was incorporated six years later and remains in business today. It is among the city’s oldest businesses.

Sept. 18, 1902: W.J. Exum was working on two new buildings on Market Street. One was to be used by George W. Campbell as a plumbing shop and display room and the other was to be used by Jere Camp, the blacksmith. Exum also planned to build a storeroom on the Main Street end of the lot next to the building occupied by Blevins & Grossman.

Sept. 18, 1966: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle published a special section recognizing East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad’s 100th anniversary. Dozens of ads were in the section, including ones from Cooper’s Office Equipment, Citizens Bank and East Tennessee State University.

Sources: The Comet; Johnson City Press-Chronicle

Today in Johnson City History: September 19

Sept. 19, 1889: Butler & Phillips, civil engineers, had just completed a large map of Johnson City, complete with new boundaries extending the corporate limits to 3 miles wide and 4 miles long. The city’s limits when it received its second charter in 1885 were just a 3/4-mile circle. Blueprints of the new map were available for purchase from The Comet.

Sept. 19, 1957: The search for a missing teenager in Johnson City ended when she returned home. Rescue squad members had been searching for the 13-year-old in woods near her home after her mother reported her missing.

Sept. 19, 1975: Marshall Tucker performed at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Sept. 19, 1983: Dr. James Owen assumed duties of Tri-Cities State Tech, now known as Northeast State Community College.

Sept. 19, 2011: Johnson City native and Appalachian writer Jo Carson died. Carson studied theater and speech at East Tennessee State University before moving on to work with communities in Appalachia to create plays that are still performed today reflecting the lives of people living in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina. Carson’s grandfather, T.C. Carson, was an early mathematics teacher at what is now ETSU.

Sources: The Comet; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall; Dr. Leigh Hornsby; Johnson City Press

Today in Johnson City History: Sept. 17

Sept. 17, 1885: The Comet reported, “It is now definitely settled that Johnson City is to have a bank. A meeting was held Tuesday evening and the subscription books opened. A meeting of the stockholders will be held at once for the purpose of organizing. We hope to be able to publish the names of the officers next week.”

Sept. 17, 1914: The members of the First Presbyterian congregation had occupied their new house of worship on the previous Sunday. The new building, which had been commenced about year earlier on the site of the church’s original 1869 sanctuary, cost about $35,000.

Sept. 17, 1986: A special task force consisting of members of the Johnson City/Washington County Chamber of Commerce was seated. Its purpose was to place priorities on needed projects in Johnson City, Washington County and at East Tennessee State University, so “the three entities don’t bump heads in the quest for state funds.”

Sources: The Comet; Johnson City Press.

Today in Johnson City History: September 16

Sept. 16: 1887: Future U.S. Rep. and Tennessee Gov. Alf Taylor moved his family from Chucky Valley to “Robin’s Roost,” the South Roan Street home of his brother and political rival, Robert Love Taylor, who was governor at the time.

Sept. 16, 1930: The Johnson City Area United Way was established as a Community Chest.

Sept. 16, 1977: The Gaither Trio performed at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Sept. 16, 1988: Ronnie Milsap played at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Sept. 16, 2008: A tent revival took place in front of University Parkway Baptist Church.

Sept. 16, 2018: On a rainy Sunday morning at the Watauga Dam, the East Tennessee State women took part in their first home triathlon meet — called “Beware the Bear” — featuring competition from all over the country. Freshman Lane McDonald led the ETSU contingent with her runner-up finish.

Source: The Comet; History of Washington County, Tennessee; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall; Johnson City Press 

Today in Johnson City History: September 14

Sept. 14, 1883: The Johnson City Real Estate Company was the first real estate corporation chartered in Johnson City.

Sept. 14, 1911: The Comet published an essay by F.W. Hoss about the Johnson City Soldiers’ pennant in Appalachian League Baseball. “It rained. Along in the afternoon. But that was ancient history at six o’clock. But it reigned again; Pandemonium. Then everybody reined — steeds in when they reached Main St. then Halley’s Comet struck struct the earth and coiled up a few million miles of its tail between the Unaka National Bank and the City Drug Store, distributing free laughing gas and joy spectrums to the waiting throng that wouldn’t go home till morning. The moon froze.”

Sept. 14, 1960: The Junior Service League, in an effort to become a Junior League, which was ultimately successful, published the results of a lengthy community questionnaire and needs assessment.

Sources: Archives of Appalachia, Mary Hardin McCown Collection; Archives of Appalachia, Cox-Painter-Adams Family Papers

Today in Johnson City History: Sept. 13

Sept. 13, 1884: The Comet reprinted an editorial from the Mountaineer stating that “If you wish to vote for a man who has been false to every pledge and promise, to foist himself upon an unwilling people, vote for Pettibone.” Augustus Herman Pettibone represented the 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1881-87 and again from 1897-99. The Comet’s editor, Robert Love Taylor, had defeated Pettibone by 750 votes in the 1878 election to win the congressional seat. Pettibone struck back in 1880, wrestling the seat away from the last Democrat to ever elected to Congress from the district. Pettibone also won the third contest with Taylor in 1882.

Sept. 13, 1888: A.J. Bowman advertised that he would pay market price for green peaches delivered his cannery, as well as green apples after Sept. 1st.

Sept. 13, 1906: The White Elephant had been leased for two years by a Mr. Daab of North Carolina for conversion into an overalls manufacturing facility. The White Elephant was a large white, flood-prone structure that sat at West Market and Boone streets.

Source: The Comet; Johnson City Press

Today in Johnson City History: September 12

Sept. 12, 1889: The Comet’s editors issued the following opinion mixed in with its society news: “If there is any one thing Johnson City needs more than another, it is a Western Union telegraph office separate and apart from the railroad company. From the amount of business done here, it would be more than self-sustaining.”

Sept. 12, 1907: John Reynolds, of Harriman, had leased a lot on West Main Street with plans of building a skating rink. The building was to be 75 feet by 140 feet, which would be the largest rink in East Tennessee with room for conventions and other large gatherings. If we were to hazard a guess, this was the Hippodrome, which sat at the corner of West Main and Whitney streets, a block from the current site of Johnson City Press.

Sept. 12, 1977: Three thousand people attended the James Robinson Crusade at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Sept. 12, 1998: Johnson’s Depot Playground at Willow Springs Park was dedicated. Named for Johnson’s City’s founder, the playground was a cooperative effort between the City of Johnson City and the Junior League of Johnson City.

Sources: The Comet; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall.

Today in Johnson City History: September 11

Sept. 11, 1890: J.M. Brown had moved his family from Jonesboro to Johnson City. He was a member of the firm of Toney & Brown, who would occupy the building used by the Citizens Bank, with a line of clothing and furnishing goods.

Sept. 11, 1902: Jobe’s Opera House advertised tickets for a “Fairy Spectacle” of “The Beast and The Sleeping Beauty” in performances of a 100-person ensemble the following week. The event was to benefit the city’s public library. Reserved seats were 75 cents (roughly $22 in 2019), while general admission tickets were 50 cents and 25 cents.

Sept. 11, 1920: The Unaka National Bank and City National Bank merged to form Unaka and City National Bank.

Sept. 11, 1937: The Johnson City Business and Professional Women’s Club held a rummage sale, which was an event of the Finance Committee. Jessica Miller chaired the effort.

Sept. 11, 2001: Johnson City residents were in shock as America was attacked by terrorists. Many businesses closed early that day. We woke up that morning feeling safe, but went to bed with a different kind of tiredness, and with fear in our hearts.

Source: The Comet; Johnson City Postcard History Series; Archives of Appalachia, Cox-Painter-Adams Family Papers

Today in Johnson City History: September 10

Sept. 10, 1908: Readers of The Comet learned “There is every evidence that the CC and O Railroad is preparing to build its line into the city.” The letters CC and O stood for Carolina, Clinchfield, and Ohio. The Comet advised readers, “We regret to the Nashville Tennessean that it is better to be an attorney for a brewery than to be a star customer.”

Sept. 10, 1941: Johnson City resident John Greene was in city court after failing to rid himself of vicious dogs as the judge previously had ordered. Greene told the judge he would not take $100,000 for one of the dogs. The judge’s response: Get out of town with the dogs by the following Friday … or else.

Sept. 10, 1995: Alan Jackson played at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Sept. 10: 2010: Science Hill High School played its first homecoming game in the new 6,000-seat Kermit Tipton Stadium. Jennifer Sanchez was crowned homecoming queen. The Hilltoppers’ Alex Payne recovered a fumble at the Morristown West 10-yard-line with 1:22 remaining in the game, and Ben Campbell caught a 5-yard touchdown pass four plays later to pull out a 13-10 victory.

Sources: The Comet; Bob Cox’s Yesteryear; Kingsport Times; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall; Johnson City Press.

Today in Johnson City History: September 9

Sept. 9, 1886: A country team of horses got frightened at the train that morning and took a little spurt up Main Street. No damage was reported.

Sept. 9, 1909: The Comet’s front page was filled with discussion about Johnson City’s right in state law to open its own waterworks, possibly ending the franchise of the existing private system, the Water Company.

Sept. 9, 1947: Johnson City resident William Lloyd Veach Jr., 22, was among the crew of the Island Queen luxury river excursion vessel when it exploded while docked at the Monongahela wharf in Pittsburgh. No passengers were aboard. Fire from the blast consumed the massive riverboat’s five decks in mere minutes and eventually reduced it to its steel frame. Nineteen crew members — all from Cincinnati — died. It was not immediately known whether Veach was aboard at the time.

Sept. 9, 1977: AC/DC with Cheap Trick and the Dictators performed at Freedom Hall. Tickets were $5, the equivalent of roughly $21 in today’s money. An average concert tour ticket is about $90 in 2019.

Sources: The Comet; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Vince Staten.