Today in Johnson City History: April 18

April 18, 1884: A drove of elegant giraffes, tall and graceful, arrived with Barrett & Co.’s New United Railroad Shows in Johnson City. The circus also brought a giant horse, Asiatic and African elephants harnessed to golden chariots and the “best performers from Europe and the Americas.” It featured an elevated amphitheater stage for roller skating, acrobatics and bicycling.

April 18, 1953: The Washington County Chapter of the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities began observing Tennessee Week.

April 18, 1976: The Appalachian Regional Commission announced $900,000 worth of grants to help East Tennessee State University complete its fledgling medical school. The money was intended to expand family medical residency programs in Kingsport, Bristol and Johnson City, as well as develop basic sciences graduate programs and continuing medical education.

April 18, 2011: Sixteen months after Johnson City made its proposal to establish the Tweetsie Trail, City Manager Pete Peterson announced that the East Tennessee Railway had agreed to terms for the city’s $600,000 offer for a 10-mile stretch of track from Johnson City through Elizabethton on which the first “rails-to-trails” project in East Tennessee could be constructed.

Sources: The Comet; Archives of Appalachia, Mary Hardin McCown Collection; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Johnson City Press.

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