Today in Johnson City History: May 5

May 5, 1887: The Comet reported that two large stove foundries were corresponding with the Johnson City Enterprise club relative to locating here.

May 5, 1969: A golf game between Milligan College and King College took place as part of Johnson City’s Centennial celebration.

May 5, 1979: Lawrence Welk performed at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

May 5, 2011: Local dentist Jeff Banyas was appointed by his fellow city commissioners to be Johnson City’s new mayor.

Sources: The Comet; Archives of Appalachia, Mary Hardin McCown Collection; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall; Johnson City Press

Today in Johnson City History: May 4

May 4, 1899: The Comet reported that George Reeves left his horse and buggy standing in front of the post office the previous Monday night. The horse became frightened and made a break for home, taking the buggy along at a rapid gait. The animal was stopped near Watauga Avenue with no damage except a pair of broken shafts.

May 4, 1911: The Comet reported that the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio railway was about to pass into the control of the Chesapeake and Ohio. “What effect this will have upon Johnson City with regard to the general offices it is hard to foretell.”

May 4, 1983: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported that the Science Hill High School Marching Band, directed by Mark Bays, had recently marched in the Mickey Mouse Character Parade at Walt Disney World. 

May 4, 2015: Tim Belisle was elected chairman of the Johnson City Board of Education.

Sources: The Comet; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Johnson City Schools

Today in Johnson City History: May 3

May 3, 1894: The Comet reported that the dilapidated platform in front of the Piedmont Hotel had been torn up and a new one put down. Meanwhile, a special train arrived from Bristol to take Johnson City residents to big temperance meetings. About 75 people from here made the trip.

May 3, 1928: Wade Gallemore was fined $5 for reckless driving.

May 3, 1986: Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica performed at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Sources: The Comet; Johnson City Court Records, 1928; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall.

Today in Johnson City History: May 2

May 2, 1905: Fire between Roan and Spring streets destroyed several downtown buildings, including First Christian Church, which was then located at 212-214 E. Main St.

May 2, 1909: The Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway inaugurated through passenger train service between Johnson City and Wilmington, N.C. The Comet reported that the route formed a new line of communication between the territory traversed by the C.C.&O. and North Carolina, affording through service in much less time than via prevailing routes. “Trains will be made up with handsome new equipment, modern in every particular and strictly first class.”

May 2, 1955: The Johnson City Cardinals pounded the Bristol Twins 11-3 in their Appalachian Baseball League home opener. Future Major League pitcher Howie Nunn went the distance for the Cards. Nunn amassed 18 wins for the JC Cards that season. He went on to pitch a season for St. Louis in 1959 and two seasons with the Cincinnati Reds in 1961-62. 

May 2, 1975: Porter Wagoner performed at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Sources: Greater Johnson City, A Pictorial History; The Comet; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall.

Today in Johnson City History: May 1

May 1, 1886: The Bank of Johnson City opened on the corner of Main Street and the public square.

May 1, 1895: The Johnson City Public Library opened. It was a subscription library. The 45 members paid $1 per year to belong, amounting to about $30 today.

May 1, 1957: A state fire marshal was in Johnson City to investigate a dynamite explosion that killed a glass plant worker in Sulphur Springs. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Washington County Sheriff’s Department were also probing the death of Everett Jenkins, 35, who was killed when his car blew up as he started the ignition to leave for work. A passenger, Virgil Price, managed to escape serious injury. Jenkins worked at Kingsport’s Blue Ridge Glass Corp., which was embroiled in a strike by the United Glass and Ceramic Workers union. Blue Ridge offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Jenkins’ wife Sue, and her lover, J. Lloyd Jones, were later charged with the crime. A grand jury did not indict Jones, and Mrs. Jenkins was acquitted that October.

May 1, 1980: John Denver performed at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Sources: History of Washington County Tennessee; Johnson City Public Library; Kingsport Times; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall.

Today in Johnson City History: April 30

April 30, 1881: Boones Creek Baptist Church was organized at Hodge’s School House by a presbytery composed of J.C. Davidson, Thomas H. Crouch and George P. Faw. The church was originally called Mt. Hermon, and there were 58 charter members.

April 30, 1886: The Comet reported that John Crouch, commonly known as “Skeeter,” had been shot — probably fatally — while attempting to hold up station agent William Wolf at Piney Flats. “The affair is very much deplored on account of the family to which the young man has been such a heaviness in his wild career, and who possess the utmost respect and sympathy of everyone.”

April 30, 1947: Lloyd T. “Preacher” Roberts accepted the head football coaching and director of physical education position at East Tennessee State College. In five seasons, Roberts compiled a record of 23-20-2. He also served as the basketball coach for one season in 1947-48.

April 30, 2013: The Johnson City Press reported that Brittney Ezell had recently been hired to coach women’s basketball at East Tennessee State University.

Sources: Washington County TNGenWeb; The Comet; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Johnson City Press

Today in Johnson City History: April 29

April 29, 1897: Ed Crouch had cut his right foot so seriously over the weekend that he had not been able to out on it since. The Comet reported that Ed was sharpening fence posts when he slammed his hatchet into the big toe.

April 29, 1909: Johnson City’s First Baptist Church had decided to sell its “Little White Church” property on Main Street and build a new church on Walnut Street in the new Southwest Addition — a plan that never saw fruition. The original building had survived a major downtown fire in 1905, which prompted the congregation to split into two churches. First Baptist later reunified with Roan Street Baptist to form Central Baptist Church and began construction at 300 N. Roan St., where it remains today.

April 29, 1915: An obituary in The Comet lamented the death of Col. William Pond Harris at age 69 from pneumonia. Harris had moved to Johnson City from Brooklyn, New York, 25 years earlier and became superintendent of the old Three C’s Railroad before its failure. In 1898, he established Harris Manufacturing Co., a flooring company that would become one of the city’s leading and longest-lasting industries.

April 29, 2011: Cleanup was underway from major storms that swept the region that week. The storms had killed 10 people in Northeast Tennessee, including one in Washington County.

Source: The Comet; Johnson City Press.

Today in Johnson City History: April 28

April 28, 1887: The Comet reported that the Johnson City Reds had been defeated in Bristol “on the Base Ball Knob” by a score of 40-8. “It was a glorious victory for Bristol. About 3,000 people witnessed the game and cheered enthusiastically as the good plays were made.”

April 28, 1898: News of a new large sawmill was published in The Comet. The Johnson City Manufacturing Company was another new enterprise for the city. Vilas and Son were putting up the sawmill just beyond the foundry for manufacturing all kinds of hardwood lumber, as well as hemlock framing and other custom work.

April 28, 1952: The Oakland Park Juvenile Home opened. The City of Johnson City dedicated $42,000 to the project. In today’s money, that would be about $412,000.

April 28, 2009: Both incumbents — mayor and local business owner Jane Myron and attorney Steve Darden — were re-elected to the Johnson City Commission. Retired banker Phil Carriger was the new face on the commission.

Sources: The Comet; City of Johnson City; Johnson City Press

Today in Johnson City History: April 27

April 27, 1809: Johnson City founder Henry Johnson was born in Guilford, North Carolina.

April 27, 1974: Tipton-Haynes Historical Farm began a three-day Tricentennial Celebration. U.S. Congressman James H. Quillen spoke at the opening ceremonies.

April 27, 1979: Jim Irving Mooney died at age 72 in Johnson City. He was a Major League Baseball pitcher from 1931-1934 for the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Giants.

April 27, 2009: Johnson City medical officials were bracing for the arrival of a swine flu outbreak that was sweeping the country.

Sources: Bob Cox’s Yesteryear; Archives of Appalachia, Mary Hardin McCown Collection; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Johnson City Press.

Today in Johnson City history: April 26

April 26, 1884: Johnson City had the finest police force in the world, sarcastically stated the town’s newest newspaper, The Comet. Editors noted that Officer Jack Hickey tackled an actor, who had entered the ring in a recent show disguised as a drunken sot. “Tho actor gave a yell or two, and Jack harnessed him.”

April 26, 1949: Science Hill High School’s Hilltoppers grabbed first place in the Big Five baseball conference by defeating Kingsport’s Indians 10-9, stretching their winning streak to five games. The Science Hill boys scored the winning run after singles by Howard Leonard and Byron Leonard and a fielder’s choice grounder by Charley Hughes, who had homered in the second inning.

April 26, 2009: A post-prom party in the wee hours of that Sunday morning resulted in police charging several Science Hill students and some young adults for underage drinking and landed the house’s owner a citation for an alcoholic beverage law violation. Police were called to a residence about 1:30 a.m. for a complaint about a loud party and saw 45 to 50 juveniles there drinking.