Today in Johnson City History: July 6

July 6, 1901: The Knoxville Sentinel carried news of plans for the Soldier’s home, now known as the Mountain Home VA Health Care Center. “Hon. W.P. Brownlow has received word that the plans have been selected for the Soldiers’ home at this place (meaning Johnson City). The board of managers met at the office in New York on June 24 for that purpose, but did not make immediate selection. Plans have not been selected from those submitted by the competing architects and bills will be advertised for at once.”

July 6, 1921: The Jonesboro Herald and Tribune carried this news “On July 3d, the first issue of the Johnson City Chronicle made its entry into the arena of newspaperdom. The issue contained forty-four seven column pages … features that will be sure to interest the people and that will insure for it a liberal number of regular readers.”

July 6, 1941: Dr. Joseph H. Dampier became minister of First Christian Church, a position he held until September 1, 1958.

July 6, 1944: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported in headlines,  “Hitler Reported to Have Ordered All Reserves Thrown into Gigantic Struggle on Eastern Front.”

July 6, 1956: A carpenters union strike was settled in Johnson City. The five-day strike had affected work in Johnson City, Bristol, Kingsport, Erwin, Pressman’s Home and Greeneville in Tennessee, as well as areas in Southwest Virginia.

June 6, 1965: Mrs. Dean Harter and daughters Diane and Denise of Johnson City were visiting relatives in Dixon, Illinois.

June 6, 1975: The Johnson City Cardinals dropped a game to Covington, 4-2, but remained atop the Appalachian League Southern Division with a 14-4 record and a 4 1/2 game lead over Bristol.

Sources: Knoxville Sentinel; Jonesboro Herald and Tribune; First Christian Church; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Dixon Telegraph



Today in Johnson City History: July 7

July 7, 1870: The Daily Press and Herald, a newspaper in Knoxville, reported “The following Tennessee inventions received letters patent during the week ending July 2nd: Y. Bashor, Johnson City, machine for packing flour.”

July 7, 1871: The Bristol News reported, “Johnson City is to soon have a large, fine hotel, principal part of the building will be thirty six feet by sixty five, and and thirty four by sixty feet, all three full stories high.”

July 7, 1880: The Knoxville Whig and Chronicle reported, “Capt. Smith E. Mooney, of Hawkins county (sic) has been appointed by Col. J. M. Melton (as) deputy U.S. revenue collector, (replacing) vice deputy Richard Butler, who resigned. Capt. Mooney’s headquarters for the present will be at Johnson city (sic).

July 7, 1885: The Knoxville Daily Journal reported,  “Mrs. R.L. Taylor, is quite sick at her home in Johnson City. Mr. Taylor will join her in a day or two.” Mr. Taylor would be elected governor in 1887 and again in 1897.

July 7, 1929: Dr. and Mrs. A.T. Lamm of Johnson City were visiting Mrs. and Mrs. L.W. McFarland in High Point, North Carolina.

July 7, 1948: Buck Driskill’s single to center in the last of the ninth scored Phil Lewandowski from second to give the Puiaski Counts a thrilling 6-5 win over the- second-place Johnson City Cardinals, giving Pulaski a 10-game lead in the Appalachian League standings.

July 7, 1958: Engaged couple Shirley Holthauser and Tom L. Colvill were to be married in Louisville, Kentucky, and then locate in Johnson City. Colvill was a student at Milligan College.

Sources: Daily Press and Herald; Bristol News; Knoxville Whig and Chronicle; High Point Enterprise; Pulaski Southwest Times; Anderson Herald.

Today in Johnson City History: July 5

July 5, 1776: A bit of background for context: According to History of Johnson City and Its Environs, “In 1775 the people had formed a committee of safety, as Whigs or Patriots in the Revolution: Application was first made…by them to Virginia to take jurisdiction over them, which not being granted them, they on July 5, 1776, asked North Carolina to do so, as “Washington District.’”

July 5, 1883: The Greeneville Herald reported, “There is a great deal of sickness among the children of this place (meaning Johnson City) at present. With this exception the health of Johnson City was never better.

July 5, 1925: The Auto Renewal Company at 520-522 W. Market St. advertised the use of DuPont’s Duco car refinishing product.

July 5,1935: Miss Bernice Whitworth of Johnson City, spent the weekend with her parents in Gastonia, North Carolina.

July 5, 1945: News reached Johnson City that Sgt. Claude Honeycutt, son of Mrs. Mary Honeycutt had been killed in the Pacific Theater.

July 5, 1993: Dr. and Mrs. Todd Fowler moved to Johnson City so he could begin practicing medicine with Watauga Orthopaedics. Dr. Fowler is now a Johnson City commissioner.

July 5, 2000: The Johnson City Press carried news of the upcoming 45th Annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and Gathering of Scottish Clans.

Sources: “History of Johnson City and its Environs” by Samuel Cole Williams; Greeneville Herald; Kingsport Times; Gastonia Daily Gazette; Todd Fowler; Johnson City Press.

Today in Johnson City History: July 4

July 4, 1857: Train service began at Johnson’s Depot.

July 4, 1889: Tennessee Gov. Bob Taylor spoke at Sycamore Shoals in Elizabethton for Independence Day.

July 4, 1891: Charley Hankal, from Elizabethton, was fined $2.50. Mr. Hankal was fined for “disorderly cursing, drawing pistol, and threatening to release a prisoner from the town office.”

July 4, 1910: The Charlotte Daily Observer reported that Congressman Walter P. Brownlow, who represented Tennessee is First Congressional District, was critically ill. “….shows symptoms of uraemic poisoning, indicating that he is nearing death. He was semi-conscious early this evening, and was able to take nourishment. His attending physicians gave out a statement tonight in which they state that the symptoms of uraemic poisoning are becoming so pronounced that he now lies in a semi-conscious state, being still rational when aroused.”

July 4, 1925: The Johnson City Chronicle reported, “Mr. W.M. Fox, who was injured in a fall at Miller Brothers Lumber Co plant June 12, is critically ill at his home….with fears entertained for his recovery.”

July 4, 1956: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle published a photo of Jimmy Pressnell, Susan and Becky Hillenbrand operating a lemonade stand on East Unaka Avenue.

July 4, 1962: Johnson City was recovering from overnight flooding, the worst seen in years. Several people had to be rescued.

July 4, 1968: The Press-Chronicle reported the appointment of Johnson City’s new police chief, Tom Helton.

Sources: Johnson City Postcard History Series; Mark Pierson/‎Johnson City, Tennessee Memories; Johnson City Court Records; The Charlotte Daily Observer; Johnson City Chronicle; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers.

Today in Johnson City History: July 3

July 3, 1873: The Daily Press and Herald, a newspaper published in Knoxville, reported that “A private letter from Johnson City informs us that there has not been any signs of cholera at that place nor in that neighborhood, this season, while the health of the surrounding country is extremely good.”

July 3, 1890: Readers of The Comet were advised to “Never go to bed with cold or damp feel.” “Do not lean with the back upon anything that is cold” was also advised, as was “Wash all marble daily with ammonia and water in p;ace of soap-suds (sic).” Another housekeeping hint was concerning disinfecting sheets. To do so, “…soak in chlorine of lime solution, wring out, and boil.”

July 3, 1904: The St. Louis Republic reported on the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, which we now know as the Mountain Home Veterans Affairs Medical Center. “Its thirty-six buildings … stand on a commanding plateau, overlooking the loveliest of landscapes, with mountains breaking the distant horizon. …The grounds, if in rectangular area, would cover nearly a square mile.”

July 3, 1909: The Knoxville Sentinel reported, “Mr. James R. Fain and daughter, Marjorie, are in Johnson City, where Mr. Fain has charge of the construction of the postoffice (sic) building.”

July 3, 1909: Mr. W. Glover and Cora Pate were fined $3 for walking the streets after 9 p.m.

July 3, 1948: Midget Auto Races took place at Memorial Stadium.

July 3, 1949: “Canadian Pacific,” with Randolph Scott and Jane Wyatt, was at the Tennessee Theatre, corner of West Main and Boone streets.

July 3, 1955: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle published a photo of trash accumulated around a downtown bin. These type of pictures were published in the paper at various times trying to make the public aware to keep the city clean.

July 3, 1959: The Press-Chronicle published a photo of youngsters having fun at Woodland Lake in Jonesboro.

July 3, 1968: The Press-Chronicle published a photo of kids “Beating The Heat” at the Park and Recreation Pool on Legion Street.

Sources: Daily Press and Herald; St. Louis Republic; Knoxville Sentinel; Johnson City Court Records.

Today in Johnson City History: July 2

July 2, 1885: The Comet reported, “The height and trimmings of hats and bonnets are as exaggerated as ever….Ribbons were never more in demand for decorative dress and furnishing than this season…The really fashionable hat of the season is a quarter o a yard high. It is worn down on the forehead.”

July 2, 1915: The Johnson City Staff reported, “Sterchi Bros. will have an expert piano tuner for the next few days. Those desiring instruments tuned, phone Sterchi.”

July 2, 1947: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported, “Sheriff Luke M. Warwick said he does not immediately plan to appoint a salaried uniformed deputy to his department to succeed Earl O. Byrd, who resigned to accept a patrolman’s job on the police department. Byrd was the only ‘hold-over’ from Sheriff Miller W. Sell’s force when Warrick took over the sheriff’s office.”

July 2, 1947: “House of Horrors” and “Throw A Saddle On A Star” were showing at the Tennessee Theatre at West Main and Boone streets in downtown Johnson City.

July 2, 1961: The Skillet’s Sunday menu included roast prime rib, roast turkey with dressing or baked Virginia ham for $1.25. The Skillet was on West Market Street.

July 2, 1961: John Wayne’s take on “The Alamo” was showing at the Skyline Drive-In Theatre on the New Jonesboro Highway.

July 2, 1967: Sherwood Chevrolet at 71 Wilson Ave. announced its 5-year “Sell-Abration.”

Sources: The Comet; Johnson City Staff; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories

Today in Johnson City History: July 1

July 1, 1873: The Bristol News reported “Some chap, whom the Jonesboro Flag says hails from the vicinity of Johnson City, had flooded the country with counterfeit notes of the denomination of 50c. They are apt to deceive, as the engraving and coloring are pretty good. The paper is thin and flimsy, and the silk fibers are decidedly wanting, though there is an effort at imitation of them.”

July 1, 1894: The Southern Railway was formed when the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia railroad merged with the Richmond and Danville Railroad.

July 1, 1947: Work resumed on the South Holston Dam. Work had been suspended in November 1942. The War Production Board had asked for this measure because of a shortage of critical materials.

July 1, 1953: “Bend of the River” starring James Stewart was showing at the New Family Drive-In Theatre on the New Jonesboro Highway next to the Derby Grill.

July 1, 1958: “I Was A Teenage Frankenstein” and “Blood of Dracula” were the twin bill at the New Family Drive-In Theatre.

July 1, 1959: W. Clyde Smith ended an interim ministry at First Christian Church, and Dr. Jess W. Johnson began his ministry as senior minister there.

July 1, 1963: East Tennessee State College officially became East Tennessee State University.

July 1, 1965: Henry’s Carry Out Food, 807 W Walnut St., announced its opening. The restaurant specialized in chicken and pizza.

July 1, 1968: Science Hill High School welcomed the Class of 1943 for its 25th reunion on July 6.

Sources: Bristol News; Johnson City Postcard History Series; TVA; First Christian Church; East Tennessee State University; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories/Johnson City Press-Chronicle.

Today in Johnson City History: June 30

June 30, 1887: The Comet reported that Gov. Taylor had “arrived in the city Saturday morning and left Monday for Carter County to visit his mother. His family are at Tates Springs.”

June 30, 1897: The Baltimore Sun reported that Charles Phillips, 23, “a brakeman on the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad, was instantly killed at Johnson City today (meaning June 29), his body being mangled under the car wheels. His home was at Cranberry, N.C.”

June 30, 1937: The Johnson City Press and Staff News reported that Mayor Marion Sell had won “his race for re-election yesterday by polling more votes than the combined total cast for his two opponents, former Mayor Ben B. Snipes and Tom Watkins, business man.”

June 30, 1961: The grand opening was planned for The Skillet’s Blue Room, former site of the Derby Grill, on West Market Street.

June 30, 1967: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle published an image of 11-year-old Donald Arnett, 12-year-old Robert Boyd and 15-year-old William Boyd with police Lt. George Adams. The boys had found a live grenade while searching through trash for “interesting items to use in their play.”

June 30, 1968: The Press-Chronicle published an image of kids in a bike-riding contest as Johnson City Park and Recreation playgrounds opened that week.

June 30, 1977: A letter of reasonable assurance of accreditation was approved for the new medical school at East Tennessee State University.

Sources: The Comet; The Baltimore Sun; Johnson City Press and Staff News; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories; Carol Sloan.

Today in Johnson City History: June 29

June 29, 1893: The Comet announced it would cease publication as a daily. “The Daily Comet is simply off its orbit.” The article further stated, “Publishing a daily paper in Johnson City is like running free lunch counter in Washington, D.C. It is well patronized, but not profitable.” 

June 29, 1897: The Knoxville Sentinel reported “Information reaches here (meaning Johnson City) of a serious stabbing affray near Allentown in Carter County. At a place known as Sheep Rock, Gid Lewis and Zack Peters fought. Peters was stabbed twice in the back and had an eleven-inch gash cut across his stomach from which his liver protruded. Peters is living, but in a critical condition. Lewis escaped.”

June 29, 1897: The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Alford Jobe, who lived in Johnson City, was visiting Maxwell Carter. The article further indicated that Mr. Jobe was a nephew of Gov. Robert Taylor.

June 29, 1899: The Comet observed, “Wit without wisdom is wearisome.”

June 29, 1921: The Mexia Evening News in Mexia, Texas, reported that Horace Stevens had returned from a vacation in Johnson City, Tennessee.

June 29, 1947: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle published a photo of kids playing on the “longest and slickest sliding board in town given by the Kiwanis Club to the Kiwanis Park on West Market.”

June 29, 1948: The Press-Chronicle carried an ad for motorcycle races at Memorial Stadium planned for Independence Day.

June 29, 1956: “Female on the Beach,” starring Joan Crawford and Jeff Chandler, was at the Family Drive-In Theatre on the New Jonesboro Highway.

Sources: The Comet; Knoxville Sentinel; Asheville Citizen-Times; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories

Today in Johnson City History: June 28

June 28, 1884: The Comet reported, “A match game of base ball (sic) will be played in our city July 4th between the Bristol Base Ball Boys, and the Osborne Boys, of Johnson City.”

June 28, 1888: The Comet reported, “Mr. Chas. Fine will open a book store in the room next to the Bank of Johnson City about the 15th, of July. He will carry a full line of school books and school stationery, also a large and complete line of all kinds of books and fancy stationery. In connection with his book store he will also run a news stand that will keep for sale the leading dailies and magazines. A store of this kind has long been needed here and we trust Mr. Fine’s effort to supply the want will be appreciated.”

June 28, 1891: Farriers J.M. Matthews & Sons advertised, “Work done to order and satisfaction guaranteed, also carriage work of all kinds done by J.W. Goforth & Company at same shop. Work done in first-class style. Shop on East Main Street, Johnson City, Tenn. Give us a call and be convinced. 64-264.”

June 28, 1892: The Comet reported that the Board of Education had met the previous night. The main course of business was the selection of schoolteachers for the upcoming school year.

June 28, 1925: The Bluefield Daily Telegraph in West Virginia reported plans for the road through Johnson City between Bristol and Asheville, North Carolina, as part of a north-south route to Florida. “Some distance beyond Johnson City the road la not paved, but it is understood efforts are being made to pave it before winter.”

June 28, 1935: Mr. and Mrs. Philip Henry Kunzig of Bronxville, New York, announced the engagement of their daughter, Miss Ethel Gay Kunzig, to Harry Byron Gervin of Philadelphia. Mr. Gervin, son of Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Alfred Gervin of Johnson City, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1923. He was associated with Edward B. Smith and Co. in Philadelphia.

June 28, 1945: The Kingsport Times reported that Staff Sgt. William B. Peel, son of Hammett B. Peel of Johnson City, had been liberated from a prisoner of war camp in Germany.

June 24, 1964: An ad announced the grand opening of the newly renovated Broadway Court at 2608 Kingsport-Bristol Blvd.

June 28, 1966: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported that Maj. Billy J. Nave had been killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam. He was a son of Mrs. Mary Archer of 1205 E. Holston Ave., in Johnson City.

June 18, 1968: “Planet of the Apes” was at the Majestic Theatre on East Main Street in downtown Johnson City.

Sources: The Comet; Bluefield Daily Telegraph; The Bronxville Press; Kingsport Times; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories.