Today in Johnson City History: June 27

June 27, 1879: The Knoxville Daily Chronicle reported, “Mr. Leonard Swingle, an aged and respectable citizen of Johnson City, is fearfully deranged. He has to be kept in constant confinement.”

June 27, 1882: The Times-Democrat, a newspaper in New Orleans, reported C. Shelburne of Johnson City, Tennessee, had recently received a patent for velocipede. The velocipede was an early form of a bicycle. W.M. Coffman, of Elizabethton had recently received a patent for the current wheel, a type of wheel using the force of water.

June 27, 1883: The Memphis Daily Appeal reported, “The grape crop will be large in this section, judging from the present outlook. Corn is reported as having a good stand, and that the present prospect for a large crop is quite flattering. Two peach trees are already being propped to assist in bearing this burden of some of the weight of that delicious fruit.”

June 27, 1901: Dr. B. A. Williams and Dr. J. S. Montgomery, osteopathic physicians from Kentucky, had located in Johnson City on Spring Street.

June 27, 1906: Folsom Leonard, the 12-year-old son of W.J. Leonard, was recovering after his leg was badly mashed between two dirt cars on the S. & W. Railroad near the Southern crossing. Several stitches were required to dress the wound.

June 27, 1955: “This Island Earth” was showing at the Sevier Theatre on Spring Street in downtown Johnson City. 

June 27, 1957: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle published a team photo of the General Finance Generals of the Johnson City Little League. Batboy Richard Lane sat in front. Front row: Gene Hartsook, Kenneth Jones. Tommy Oxendine. Stallard McNally, Leland Oxendine. Larry Street, and Eddie Layne. Back row: Manager Sherman Campbell. Steve Redmann. Ralph Smalling, James Keller. Johnny Leach, Carroll Hughes, Mickey McCurry and Roy Webb.

June 27, 1957: The Press-Chronicle published a photo of Chief Deputy Bill Taylor, Constable Ernest Keplinger and Sheriff John Deakins pausing while unloading 720 pints of whisky seized that morning.

June 27, 2010: The Gatton College of Pharmacy received its full accreditation status.

Sources: Knoxville Daily Chronicle; Times-Democrat; Memphis Daily Appeal; The Comet; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Ted’s Johnson City Time Warp and Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories; Larry Calhoun.


Today in Johnson City History: June 26

June 26, 1875: The Clarksville Chronicle reported that a money order office would be established in Johnson City in July.

June 26, 1887: The Morning Star, a newspaper in Wilmington, North Carolina, carried this news: “Senator Vance does not appear to be worrying himself over the criticisms of unfriendly newspapers or the guarded thrusts of editors who are never so happy as when magnifying the capacity of President Cleveland. The able and many-aided Senator in May last left his pleasant country home in Buncombe … and paid a visit to Johnson City, Tennessee, where he delivered an address before the graduating class of Washington College.”

June 26, 1890: The Mountaineer, a newspaper in Elizabethton, reported that “Maj. H.M. Folsom and lady spent Monday in Johnson City.” In addition, “Mr. Geo. W. Emmert and lady went down to Johnson City Monday.”

June 26, 1902: James S. Byrd had purchased Ben, the brown trotter, from Dr. L. McCollum, making him the happy owner of the best “pair” in Johnson City. The Comet opined that they made his rubber-tired, wire-spoked buggy look like a thing of beauty when properly occupied.

June 26, 1921: Memorial Hospital in Johnson City became Appalachian Hospital. It was located at the corner of Boone Street and West Fairview Avenue.

June 26, 1955: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle published a photo illustration about hitchhiking. The photographer was looking east on West Market from the Dairy Queen. The hitchhiker was standing in front of what is now a credit union that used to be a branch of Hamilton National Bank and Kiwanis Park was directly on the opposite side of what was then two-lane West Market Street.

June 26, 1958: Byrd’s Restaurant, 101 W. Market St., advertised the opening of its remodeled and expanded dining area that would accommodate 40 more customers.

June 26, 1960: The adaptation of Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” with James Mason, Pat Boone, and Arlene Dahl, started a run at the Skyline Drive-In Theatre on the New Jonesboro Highway. Meanwhile, the adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ “Suddenly Last Summer,” with Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift and Katherine Hepburn, was at the Tri-City Drive-In Movies on the Kingsport Highway.

Sources: Clarksville Chronicle; The Morning Star; The Mountaineer; The Comet; History of Washington County Tennessee; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories.

Today in Johnson City History: June 25

June 25, 1891: The Comet reported, “Mr. and Mrs. James Baird, of Whitehead, England, arrived in the city yesterday en route to Embreeville on a visit to their son-in-law, Manager W.J. Love, of the Embreeville Freehold and Iron Company.”

June 25, 1892: The Comet reported, “Chas. H. Jennings left the city Friday.” The Comet then wondered, “Has he gone away to get married?”

June 25, 1897: The Tennessean reported that on June 24, “A severe electrical storm accompanied by driving rain and wind visited this city (meaning Johnson City) a little after 4 o’clock this afternoon. Two residences were struck by lightning, one the large brick residence of Robert Burrow, on Scenic Hill, and the other was the dwelling of J.B. Lady, in Carnegie. The inmates of both places were, very fortunately, unhurt. The storm prevailed for nearly thirty minutes and the torrent of rain at times had all the appearance of a cloud burst. All telephone connection is destroyed.”

June 25, 1898: The Maryville Times reported, “The series of base ball games which were to have been played this week between a team of this place and one of Johnson City have been postponed until next week.”

June 25, 1940: Capt. Geo. L. Doane, commissary officer of the Veterans Facility in Biloxi, Mississippi,  had been promoted and transferred to the Veterans Facility at Johnson City, Tenn., effective July 1.

June 25, 1950: For upcoming 4th of July celebrations, Coca Cola Bottling Works of Johnson City advertised cartons of Cokes for 25 cents each. If you had bottles to return, it would have been half that.

June 25, 1957: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported that Washington County officers had seized a 60-gallon moonshine still. Pictured were Chief Deputy Bill Taylor, Magistrate Ed Cline, and Constable Jack Coffey.

June 25, 1958: “20 Million Miles To Earth” and “The 27th Day” were showing at the Tri-City Drive-In Movies on the Kingsport Highway.

June 25, 1965: Chris’ Twirlettes advertised baton lessons at $5 for 10 one-hour lessons.

June 25, 1972: The Johnson City Yankees split a doubleheader against the Kingsport Royals in Appalachian League Baseball. The score was 4-2 in each game. The Yanks won the first behind the four-hit pitching of Wayne Luton, and the Royals came back in the nightcap as Rick Romans threw a three-hitter.

Sources: The Comet; The Tennessean; Maryville Times; Biloxi Daily Herald; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories; Kingsport Times

Today in Johnson City History: June 24

June 24, 1886: Robert Barrow, Esq., of the Johnson City Comet, had withdrawn from the editorial management of the paper. He declared himself a candidate for Attorney General in the first Judicial District.

June 24, 1891: The Comet reported, “The Watauga Lumber companies are getting all the work they can do. They turn out a great many orders each season.”

June 24, 1892: The Lyle and Hickey Company advertised tennis shoes for all family members. The price ranged from 50 cents to $1.25. In today’s dollars, that range would be about $14.09 to $35.22 today.

June 24, 1893: The Comet reported, “A special feature of the festivities on the Fourth of July in Johnson City will be a foot-race to be engaged in by a quartette of fat men, namely Messers Bascom Crumley, Tom Brown, Frank Ecglesing and Tom O’Donnell.”

June 24, 1948: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle published a photo of Johnson City Veterans of the Army, Jack R. Brockwell and Carl J. Tipton, joining the U.S. Marine Corps.

June 24, 1954: The Press-Chronicle reported the death of former Chief of Police W.L. “Bill” Fleming, one of the “most colorful figures in Johnson City Police history.”

June 22, 1955: The western “Cariboo Trail” with Randolph Scott and the science fiction horror movie “Them” were showing at the Tennessee Theatre at West Main and Boone streets in downtown Johnson City.

June 24, 1960: The grand opening of Arney’s Mobile Homes took place on the Bristol-Kingsport Highway (North Roan Street). Local auto dealer J. Norton Arney was the proprietor. Arney was also known to local television audiences in the ’50s and ’60s for the “Arney Gospel Hour” music show.

Today in Johnson City History: June 23

June 23, 1884: The Morning Post, a newspaper in Camden, New Jersey, reported that “Johnson City, East Tennessee, has a tannery in which $200,000 are invested.”

June 23, 1885: The Public Ledger, a newspaper based in Memphis, reported “Bob Taylor, the inimitable wit and good fellow, was editor of the Comet, a sprightly little paper at Johnson City, East Tennessee. After receiving the appointment of Pension Agent, he issued the following pathetic good bye: ‘Today I bid farewell to the Comet and wipe my weeping eyes. I love my babies because they give me so much trouble.’”

June 23, 1887: The Comet reported that “Several cases of the flux are reported in different parts of the city.” Flux was abnormal bloody discharge.

June 23, 1888: The Tennessean, a newspaper in Nashville, reported “At 8 o’clock tonight, Johnson City was lighted for the first time by electricity, much to the surprise of the citizens, as very few were aware that everything was in readiness. Johnson City is slowly but surely getting there.”

June 23, 1954: Prospective baseball players received tips from St. Louis Cardinals scout George Ferrell at a Cardinals tryout camp in Johnson City. Among them was Johnson City native Ferrell Bowman, who went on to appear in 165 games in the major leagues. He was an infielder for the 1962 National League champion San Francisco Giants and appeared in two world series games against the New York Yankees.

June 23, 1957: “Tarzan and the Lost Safari” was showing at the Sevier Theatre on Spring Street in downtown Johnson City.

June 23, 1966: “Duel At Diablo” starring James Garner and Sidney Poitier was showing at the Tennessee Theatre at West Main and Boone Streets.

Sources: Morning Post; Public Ledger; The Comet; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories

Today in Johnson City History: June 23

June 22, 1890: The Chattanooga Republican reported that Rev. D.F. Chockley would be the pastor of the Second Baptist Church that was recently organized in Johnson City. The church had 33 charter members.

June 22, 1891: The Evening Sentinel, a newspaper based in Knoxville, Tennessee, reported on June 22, 1891, “In the game of base ball Saturday between the ‘Sky Rockets’ and the Johnson City nine the score stood 12 to 0 in favor of Johnson City.”

June 22, 1892: The Comet reported, “When it comes to little things our co-operative (sic) neighbor is in it. The advance agent who billed Johnson City’s 4th of July celebration had scarcely finished his labors in the quiet village when the large posters were ruthlessly torn down by some of the ‘idle hands.’ The devil has employed them.”

June 22, 1921: The Jonesboro Herald and Tribune reported that Rev. W.E. Swinney, minister of First Christian Church, had recently performed the wedding ceremony between Miss Lila Watson of Johnson City and Mr. John Sherfey of Knob Creek.

June 22, 1953: The Family Drive-In’s grand opening featured John Ford’s “The Quiet Man” starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. The theater was on the New Jonesboro Highway (U.S. Highway 11E) next to the Derby Grill.

June 22, 1966: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle published an image of Alcoholic Beverage Commission Agent Avery Moore with moonshine seized in a raid on a still. The still and 218 gallons of whiskey were destroyed.

Sources: Chattanooga Republican; Evening Sentinel; The Comet; Jonesboro Herald and Tribune; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories

Today in Johnson City History: June 21

June 21, 1870: The Republican Banner, a newspaper in Nashville, reported, “D. Bowman, of Johnson City, has received a patent for a millstone dress.” This was something that was used in the milling process.

June 21, 1882: The Morristown Gazette reported, “We regret to learn that the dwelling house of Capt. Shade Harris, one mile above Johnson City, was destroyed by fire. Nothing but a few articles of household furniture was saved. The fire broke out about twelve o’clock on last Tuesday night and is thought to be the work of an incendiary. We did not learn the amount of insurance, if any. It was a very fine residence, and Mr. Harris’ loss must be considerable.”

June 21, 1884: The Comet opined that “The time has come that the post office should be in a much larger building with a broad platform in front, instead of the little one plank sled-runner thing of the present one.”

June 21, 1888: The Comet reported, “Mr. Al Ayers, of Richmond, arrived in the city this morning. Mr. Ayers’ brother has leased the Roan Mountain Hotel and Mr. Al Ayers will have charge of it this season. He will leave for the Mountain to-morrow (sic). Ike Jobe, of this city, will run the hack line from the station to the top of the mountain. Cloudland will be open by the first of July.”

June 21, 1906: Forty thousand black bass minnows from the fish hatchery in Unicoi had been stocked in the Watauga River. The launching was superintended by Game Warden Wolfe and James A. Martin.

June 21, 1953: The proprietors of Cox’s Lake invited people to cool off with swimming while picnicking. Once known as Lake Watusee, Cox’s Lake was a private reservoir on Cobb Creek in northeast Johnson City off the old Bristol Highway, now East Oakland Avenue. It has since been drained, hence we have Lakeview Avenue with no lake.

June 21, 1961: Woolworth’s advertised ladies’ Jamaica shorts and blouses for 88 cents, close out records 5 for $1 or 22 cents each, and beach hats for $1.49-$2.

Sources: Republican Banner; Morristown Gazette; The Comet; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories.

Today in Johnson City History: June 20

June 20, 1885: The Comet carried this news: “Hon. R.L. Taylor bids The Comet good-by (sic) this week. We are sorry to lose him, but Mr. Cleveland wants him to help run the Government and we have to give him up. We shall miss his facile pen and smiling face and shining head. But we shall expect to hear from him often in this paper. He christened The Comet in its infancy, and nursed it till it was able to sit alone. We will not forget him. We will remind him that he is still in our hearts and in our memories by drawing on him occasionally when we get in a tight place. Our relations have been extremely pleasant and we part with sincere regret. A cleverer, bigger souled, bigger hearted man than Bob Taylor never lived. We would like to see him go from Pension Agent to Governor, United States Senator and President.”

June 20, 1895: The Comet’s readers learned that the weekly newspaper would be issued on Wednesday of the next week, rather than Thursday. No reason was given.

June 20, 1910: The Asheville Gazette-News reported that Asheville had recently lost the “third and last game of the series with Johnson City . . . by a score of 6 to 3.”

June 20, 1915: The Bristol Herald-Courier reported “Twenty-two couples came up from Johnson City and at the invitation of the members of the Bristol Cotillion Club were their guests Sunday at the Big Creek Park, where a dance was given on Saturday evening.”

June 20, 1943: Clarence H. Eades, former city fireman, had been promoted from the grade of private first class to corporal at his Army post, Fort Crook, Nebraska.

June 20, 1948: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle published a photo of Wayne Garland as he celebrated his 11th birthday after being bedfast for nine months.

June 20, 1948: “South of Pago Pago” was playing at the Tennessee Theatre at West Main and Boone streets in downtown Johnson City.

June 20, 1957: The Orange Crush Bottling Company at 112 Jobe St. advertised that the soft drink was flavored with juice from specially selected oranges. Jobe Street is now part of State of Franklin Road. 

June 20 1966: Wrestling at the Johnson City Recreation Center featured a “Texas Death Match.”

Sources: The Comet; Asheville Gazette-News; Bristol Herald-Courier; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories.

Today in Johnson City History: June 19

June 19, 1886: The Journal and Tribune, a newspaper published in Knoxville, reported, “Mr. R.A. Morrell, of Johnson City, arrived in the city yesterday evening on the down passenger train, with his wife, who was insane, on his way to the asylum at Lyon’s View. A private conveyance was secured and the mad woman taken to the asylum closely guarded. Mrs. Morrell is a woman perhaps 45 years of age, and has one of the worst cases of insanity ever received at the asylum. Her hands had to be tied behind her back and she closely watched to keep her from doing harm. The unfortunate woman has been unsound mind for some six months, and now persists in talking, shouting, cursing and moving about all the time.”

June 19, 1889: The St. Louis Glove-Democrat carried the following news about Johnson City: “Work was commenced yesterday at Johnson City on the Charleston, Cincinnati and Chicago Railroad, a long-contemplated trunk line between Cincinnati and Charleston, S.C., via Johnson City and Big Stone Gap. Five hundred hands were set to work. Sufficient money has been secured to build the road from Johnson City to a connection with the Chattaroy road in Kentucky.”

June 19, 1892: The Comet reported that T.A. Cox had been to Johnson City; the family lived in the Milligan community. Mr. Cox arrived “with a broad smile on his face – it’s a ten-pound boy.”

June 19, 1895: The Herald and Tribune, a newspaper published in Jonesboro, carried this news: “J. Montgomery Lonsdale, the Johnson City dude, is visiting his friend, S. Wallace Hughes, and will remain over for the Waggles reception for which occasion we have promised to lend him a shirt.”

June 19, 1938: The Liberty Theatre on East Main Street advertised the start of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” for a two-day run.

June 19, 1952: “Dial 1119” was showing at the King Springs Drive-In on King Springs Road off the Johnson City-Elizabethton Highway.

June 19, 1955: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle published an image of Lewis Bennett with his father, Lewis C. Bennett with the description, “Examining worms and bugs through his father’s microscope is favorite pastime of Lewis Bennett, 10.” A sketch the boy made of his father was inset into the photo.

June 19, 1957: The Press-Chronicle reported that David Yates had been promoted to police lieutenant.

Sources: Journal and Tribune; St. Louis Glove-Democrat; The Comet; Herald and Tribune; Johnson City Press; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories.

Today in Johnson City History: June 18

June 18, 1926: The Johnson City Chronicle reported that Mrs. J.E. Crouch and J.H. Preas Jr. were elected the evening prior to the Johnson City school board.

June 18, 1936: Clarence Hanks and Chester Carroll had a hearing before U.S. Commissioner W.R. Repass on a charge of operating a still. The still they were accused of operating was seized by federal officers midway between Bristol and Mountain City.

June 18, 1940: The Johnson City Press reported that King’s Department Store would soon be undergoing extensive redecorating.

June 18, 1944: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle informed readers that “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” was soon be playing at the Tennessee Theatre.

June 18, 1949: The ‘49 Ford was on display at Tennessee Motor Co. at 401 W. Market St.

June 18, 1965: The all-night show at at the Family Drive-In Theatre on the New Jonesboro Highway was all about The Duke. The dusk-til-dawn bill was John Wayne in “North to Alaska,” “McClintock,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” “Red River” and “The Horse Soldiers.”

June 18, 1965: The grand opening began for the Burger Chef on the Bristol-Kingsport Boulevard. Hamburgers were 15 cents. So were fries. A shake was 20 cents. That’s a whole meal for 50 cents. This was on the left going north where Interstate 26 crosses now.

June 18, 1967: The Press-Chronicle  published a photo of 5-week-old Lisa Starr Spurrier cuddled up to her All-American, Heisman Trophy-winning father Steve Spurrier with mom Jerri looking on.