Today in Johnson City History: November 16

Nov. 16, 1893: The Watauga Tannery, one of Johnson City’s oldest and largest businesses, was building an addition to its beam house. The business was located at the base of the Tannery Knob, possibly on the current site of the City Garage. It was owned by G.B. and E. Horton of New York and S.H. Yokum and H. Gildersleeve of Johnson City.

Nov. 16, 1911: The McClain ice cream parlor recently had been sold to Charlie Mallicote, who changed the name to “The Garden.” The Comet declared, “When a young man now invites his Eve into the Garden to have ice cream she may be heard to exclaim. ‘I don’t care Adam if I do.’”

Nov. 16, 1951: The science fiction classic “The Day the Earth Stood Still” was playing at the Majestic Theatre in downtown Johnson City.

Nov. 16, 1977: The University of Tennessee played its Orange and White Basketball Game at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Nov. 16, 2007: The George L. Carter Railroad Museum was dedicated on the campus of East Tennessee State University. A railroad magnate, Carter donated 120 acres of land to create what is now known as East Tennessee State University.

Sources: The Comet; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories; East Tennessee State University.

Today in Johnson City History: November 14

Nov. 14, 1889: Work was progressing on several new homes and stores in Johnson City, including John E. Harris residence on Myrtle Street, J.A. Wilson’s home on Watauga Avenue, Mr. Elmondorf’s dwelling on 2nd Avenue in Carnegie (East Fairview today), H. Gildersleeve’s handsome new residence on Market Street, W.J. Thomas’ residence at Boone and Watauga, A.R. Johnson’s house on Holston Avenue, James A. Martin’s house on Poplar Street, Judge Chandler’s house on Watauga, C.B. Hamilton’s residence at Watauga and Inman, G.A. Reeves’ store on Main Street and W.W. Faw’s store on Market.

Nov. 14, 1916: The Johnson City Rotary Club was organized.

Nov. 14, 1957: F.W. Woolworth Co. moved into a new building at 315 E. Main St.

Nov. 14, 1980: Loretta Lynn performed at Freedom Hall Civic Center. More than 3,300 fans were in attendance.

Nov. 14, 1998: Ray Boltz performed for more than 4,300 fans at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Sources: The Comet; Archives of Appalachia, Mary Hardin McCown Collection; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall

Today in Johnson City History: November 13

Nov. 13, 1890: The city’s Street Committee was accepting sealed proposals for the grading of several streets within the corporate limits. “The Board of Mayor and Aldermen reserves the right to reject any or all proposals.”

Nov. 13, 1902: Work on the new Arlington hotel was progressing satisfactorily. The Arlington sat on the northwest corner of Main Street and the railroad tracks. Today, the site is a public parking lot.

Nov. 13, 1928: Montrose Court burned. Losses were estimated at $250,000. That’s the equivalent of about $3.75 million today.

Nov. 13, 1966: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported that the City Commission would hire Jim Mosier the next day as the new city manager.

Nov. 13, 1978: More than 2,500 fans enjoyed the antics of the Harlem Globetrotters as they played at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Nov. 13, 2009: East Tennessee State University’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps inducted the first three members of its Hall of Fame. Retired Sgt. 1st Class Carson Gentry, Retired Lt. Gen. Ron Hite and the late Col. Frank Rutherford had their pictures placed on plaques and posted in Memorial Hall, where military science at ETSU is housed.

Sources: The Comet; Johnson’s Depot; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall; Johnson City Press.

Today in Johnson City History: November 15

Nov 15, 1884: A new sidewalk had been completed from the Presbyterian Church to the railroad.

Nov. 15, 1888: A “difficulty” had occurred the prior day at the Lewis House between W.R. Lewis and E.L. Hunnicut. Lewis had his head and arm badly hurt. An unknown person later shot Hunnicut three times, but did not injure him very seriously. The entire Lewis family was arrested the morning of the 15th and held for trial.

Nov. 15, 1894: The First National Bank of Johnson City had been closed on order of the comptroller. Bank examiner J.E. Miller Jr. declined to issue a statement for the reason. The building is now home to Freiberg’s Restaurant.

Nov. 15, 1906: Diners could get a good meal at the Star Restaurant for 25 cents every day. If that sounds like a bargain, perhaps it is — 25 cents is the equivalent of $7.15 in today’s money, roughly the price of a fast-food combo.

Nov. 15, 1957: “The Cyclops” and “Daughter of Dr. Jekyll” were the features at the Sevier Theatre on Spring Street.

Nov. 15, 1981: Chicago and Allen Kaye played to more than 4,800 fans at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Nov. 15, 1982: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle featured an article about Jonson City School Board member Carolyn Overbay, who said, “Public education is the scapegoat for all the ills of the world because it’s the one thing that can’t fight back.” She was also quoted as saying, “Being an effective school board member is a full-time job.”

Sources: The Comet; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall; Johnson City Press-Chronicle

Today in Johnson City History: November 12

Nov. 12, 1871: First Christian Church began in the home of William Young at 1117 Cedar Place.

Nov. 12, 1891: The Comet reported the accidental death of a local minister, the Rev. Jesse Crosswhite. He had sold his farm in the Cherokee community and was working to build a new house when he was crushed by a log he and another man were loading to a wagon.

Nov. 12, 1896: The heat of the political campaign was so intense that it caught the children in its sweep. Almande Boucher and Bessie Ball, two of the best girls in the city, had entered into a political discussion which came near being settled according to London prize ring rules. Bessie was a Bryan Democrat, and Almande was a McKinley Republican. They were the warmest companions and agreed on every question except politics.

Nov. 12, 1914: The Clinchfield Ice & Coal Company had begun work on its plant on the C.C.&O. railway near Roan Street. Besides being equipped with the latest improved machinery for making ice, it was to have a large and modern cold storage or refrigerating plant intended to take care of Johnson City’s needs for a number of years.

Nov. 12, 1982: Tom T. Hall, Jeanie C. Riley, and Darwin Keith performed at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Nov. 12, 1990: A citywide recycling program began with the theme “Don’t Trash It. Stash It.” (Source: “Glimpses of Johnson City, Tennessee,” Community Relations Department, city of Johnson City, Tennessee.)

Nov. 12, 1996: Sesame Street Live began a two-day run at Freedom Hall Civic Center. More than 9,400 fans attended the performances.

Sources: “Greater Johnson City A Pictorial History”; History of Washington County, Tennessee”; The Comet; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall; City of Johnson City.

Today in Johnson City History: November 11

Nov. 11, 1886: Johnson City’s new tobacco warehouse was to open that week.

Nov. 11, 1909: The “big check” from the Knoxville pension agency had been sent to the superintendent of the Mountain Branch of the National Soldiers’ Home at Johnson’ City. The $44,340 — roughly $1.25 million today — was for quarterly payments of pensions for the 1,142 old soldiers who lived at the home.

Nov. 11, 1935: American Legion Kings Mountain Post No. 24 dedicated the Dough Boy statute in front of Memorial Stadium. The Spirit of the American Doughboy remains on site at Veterans Plaza at Memorial Park Community Center.

Nov. 11, 1977: The Beach Boys played at Freedom Hall. Tickets were $7.

Nov. 11, 2011: At 11 a.m., the Johnson City-Washington County Veterans Memorial was dedicated.

Sources: The Comet; City of Johnson City; Vince Staten;

Today in Johnson City History: November 10

Nov. 10, 1887: Capt. S.T. Harris had purchased the Range building on Main Street, previously occupied as a drug store, to arrange it for a bank. Capt. Harris stated to a Comet reporter that the stock in his new bank had about all been taken. The bank was to be known as the First National Bank of Johnson City.

Nov. 10, 1904: The Johnson City Traction Company was selling street car tickets to school children and teachers at 2 1/2 cents each. The rate would be in effect during the entire school season.

Nov. 10, 1938: Mrs. Carrie Pace sent congratulations to the Honorable Prentice Cooper, who was elected governor two days previously.

Nov. 10, 1980: The Tennessee Baptist Convention began a four-day meeting at Freedom Hall Civic Center. More than 6,000 people attended.

Nov. 10, 2001: An addition to St. John’s Episcopal Church was dedicated.

Sources: The Comet; Archives of Appalachia, Cox-Painter-Adams Family Papers; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall; “In the Footsteps of Faith: A Tour of 14 of Johnson City’s Century-Old Churches.”

Today in Johnson City History: November 9

Nov. 9, 1893: The Board of Mayor and Aldermen had divided Johnson City into four wards. The center line of the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railway (later the Southern) was the main junction with Roan, Division and Wellborn (Welbourne) streets acting as boundaries. The ordinance was posted on the front page of The Comet.

Nov. 9, 1899: The Virginia Coal & Iron Company had decided to build several cottages for their workmen and had closed contract for their construction with J.T. Linville and R.C. Cox.

Nov. 9, 1911: The Comet reported that old Confederate soldiers in Tennessee were quickly dying. In the last three months, 101 pensioners had died.

Nov. 9, 1965: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported that Mary Hardin McCown (Mrs. Lonnie W. McCown) was named to the fourth edition of “Who’s Who of American Women.”

Nov. 9, 1975: The Lettermen played at Freedom Hall Civic Center. Tickets were $5.50 and $6.50.

Nov. 9, 1976: Seals and Crofts, along with Thunderbyrd and Roger McGuinn, played at Freedom Hall.

Nov. 9, 1978: Chicago played at Freedom Hall. Tickets were $8.50.

Nov. 9, 1984: Alvin and the Chipmunks opened the first day of a three-day run at Freedom Hall. More than 12,000 fans attended.

Sources: The Comet; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Vince Staten; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall

Today in Johnson City History: November 8

Nov. 8, 1888: The Comet reported that the previous Tuesday’s election in Johnson City passed off quietly: “671 votes were polled, the largest in our history.” Votes for U.S. president were 340 for Republican Benjamin Harrison, the national winner, and 293 for the incumbent, Democrat Grover Cleveland. Prohibition Party nominee Clinton Fisk received 37 votes. Harrison would visit Johnson City during his term on April 14, 1891.

Nov. 8, 1906: The Comet reported that the Supreme Court had ruled that “inmates” at the Soldiers’ Home in Johnson City were not eligible to vote. About 500 men from the home had been registered to vote in Washington County. Cy H. Lyle and D.M. Guinn, citizens and taxpayers of Washington county, and John H. Caldwell, democratic congressional nominee in the 1st Tennessee Congressional District, had filed a complaint against the Election Commission.

Nov. 8, 1974: ETSU celebrated its Homecoming with a concert featuring Mountain, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, and the James Montgomery Band. More than 4,300 fans attended.

Nov. 8, 1982: Tom Hodge opined in his column he believed that Johnson City was on Central Time in 1885. He remarked that sellers of spirits would “close promptly each day at: Dec. – Feb. 6:30 p.m., March – May – 8:00 p.m., June – Aug. 8:30 p.m., and Sept. – Nov. – 7:30 p.m.”

Nov. 8, 2009: Military officials announced that one of the 13 killed during the attack Nov. 5 at Fort Hood in Texas was a local man — 29-year-old Army Specialist Frederick Greene. “Fred was a loved and loving son, husband and father and often acted as the protector of this family,” Army Public Affairs spokeswoman Cathy Gramling said in a prepared family statement outside the Johnson City home of Greene’s parents, Karen and Rob Nourse.

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

Today in Johnson City History: November 7

Nov. 7, 1889: A front page headline in The Comet declared that Gen. John T. Wilder’s dream of bringing the “Three C’s” Railway through Johnson City was a certainty. That dream ultimately failed, but the remnants of the line eventually were picked up by George L. Carter for the successful Clinchfield, Cincinnati & Ohio Railroad in the early 20th century.

Nov. 7, 1907: The Comet reported that Mr. and Mrs. George L. Carter entertained a coterie of friends, several of whom were from Bristol, on Carter’s recently completed private car, Clinchfield.

Nov. 7, 1979: Tom Hodge wrote of his adventures as part of the Johnson City Press-Chronicle staff decided to take a ride on a new Johnson City bus. Mr. Hodge opined, “It’s a nice bus system. I suspect it’ll gain in popularity as folks become accustomed to it.” 

Nov. 7, 1980: Frankie Valli and the Four Season Reunited played at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Nov. 7, 1992: The Junior League of Johnson City held its first Bag-a-Bargain sale, raising more than $30,000 for the community. In today’s dollars, this is equivalent to about $53,300. More than 97% of the proceeds were returned to the community in monetary contributions to various Junior League projects.

Nov. 7, 2006: Former Johnson City Police Chief Fred Phillips, who also had served as Washington County sheriff, lost his bid to unseat incumbent state Rep. Matthew Hill in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

Nov. 7, 2013: The Tennessee Valley Authority announced that Boone Lake would drop 14 feet below its normal winter low point to allow Tennessee Valley Authority workers to replace the heavy chains and cables used to control Boone Dam’s gate system.

Sources: The Comet; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall; Junior League members; Johnson City Press.