Today in Johnson City History: December 9

Dec. 9, 1968: The Johnson City Evening Rotary Club received its provisional charter.

Dec. 9, 1979: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported members of the Junior Service League (now the Junior League) would staff The Christmas House for the children of Johnson City. At The House, children could choose gifts for their family and friends away from their parents, as well as play games and hear Christmas stories.

Dec. 9, 2005: Former Johnson City Police Chief and Washington County Sheriff Fred Phillips left his role as Tennessee Commissioner of Safety.

Dec. 9, 2010: A babysitter rescued four children from an early morning fire in a South Roan Street mobile home park. The Johnson City Press reported that when James Begley saw flames erupting from the back bedroom of his friends’ mobile home about 1:30 a.m., his first instinct was to get the children out of the trailer.

(Sources: History of Washington County Tennessee, Archives of Appalachia, Cox-Painter-Adams Family Papers, Johnson City Press.)

Today in Johnson City History: December 8

Dec. 8, 2006: Johnson City was amid a single-digit cold snap that prompted warnings about frozen pipes.

Dec. 8, 2009: The new stretch of University Parkway between Lamont and West Market Streets opened after decades of discussions and 18 months of construction.

Dec. 8, 2011: The Johnson City Press opined in an editorial that having the Northeast State Community College presence in the former Downtown Centre would be a good thing and “could be an exciting new chapter in the redevelopment of downtown Johnson City.”

Dec. 8, 2012: Memorial Park Community Center opened on the former site of Memorial Stadium. The center’s campus continued to include the World War I doughboy statue that marked the stadium’s entrance for decades.

Source: Johnson City Press

Today in Johnson City History: December 7

Dec, 7, 1898: William Exum was chosen to be the new mayor of Johnson City, replacing William G. Mathes. His term would end on Oct. 8, 1900.

Dec. 7, 1941: Johnson Citians were aghast at hearing Pearl Harbor had been bombed by the Japanese. Among the 2,500 who perished in the attack, seven were servicemen from the Tri-Cities, three of them died aboard the USS Oklahoma, including Navy Seaman Second Class William V. Campbell, whose remains finally were returned to Carter County in 2018.

Dec. 7, 2016: The Johnson City Press joined the nation in commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks with an article highlighting the perspectives of World War II veterans and local historians.

(Sources: Archives of Appalachia, Mary Hardin McCown Collection.)

Today in Johnson City History: December 6

Dec. 6, 1884: Gen. John T. Wilder was in Johnson City speaking about his plans to build a new hotel on nearby Roan Mountain to replace the original 20-bed Cloudland Hotel he erected in 1877. The new 166-bed Cloudland boasted beautiful Maple floors and Cherry beds on the state line between Tennessee and North Carolina.

Dec. 6, 1988: Former City Commissioner and Mayor Raymond Huff died. His Commission term was from 1981-1989, and he was mayor from 1983-1984.

Dec. 6, 2012: The Johnson City Press reported that East Tennessee State University President Brian Noland was proposing the return of the university’s dormant intercollegiate football team.

Sources: The Comet, Johnson City Press, City of Johnson City Communications and Marketing.

Today in Johnson City History: December 4

Dec. 4, 1984 — An article in the Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported that recently a day’s tobacco sales at Big Burley, Grower’s Co-Op and Young’s Warehouse brought tobacco growers more than $1 million. So far that season, more than 2.1 million pounds of tobacco was sold, bringing more than $9 million into the local economy.

Dec. 4, 2007 — The ETSU Buccaneers men’s basketball team defeated Marshall 79-73 at home in the mini-dome. Kevin Tiggs scored 24 points and grabbed six rebounds.

Dec. 4, 2011 — Besse Cooper, the ETSU graduate who was listed as the world’s oldest person, died in a Georgia nursing home at age 116. She had graduated from East Tennessee Normal School, now ETSU, in 1916.

(Sources: Johnson City Press-Chronicle, Johnson City Press.)

— Rebecca Henderson

Today in Johnson City History: December 3

Dec. 3-5, 1886: Three feet of snow fell in Johnson City. “Activity ground to a halt for days.”

Dec. 3, 1978: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle’s Dorothy Hamill reported in her column that the old Science Hill High School would soon be torn down.

(Sources: Johnson City Press-Chronicle, “I’d Rather Have a Talking Frog.”)

— Rebecca Henderson

Today in Johnson City History: December 2

Dec. 2, 1978: The Statler Brothers appeared with Barbara Mandrell at Freedom Hall Civic Center. Tickets ranged in price from $5.50 to $7.50.


Today in Johnson City History: December 1

December 1 in Johnson City History

Dec. 1, 1869. Johnson City “received its first charter from the state of Tennessee under the name of “Johnson City.”

Dec. 1, 1894. The Johnson City and Carnegie Street Railroad Company quit operating. (Source: Johnson City Postcard History Series.)

Dec. 1, 1966. Science Hill High School alumnus Steve Spurrier won the Heisman Trophy as quarterback of the Florida Gators.

(Sources: “Glimpses of Johnson City, Tennessee,” “Greater Johnson City A Pictorial History,” Johnson City Postcard History Series).

— Rebecca Henderson, Chairperson of Johnson City Sesquicentennial Commission