Today in Johnson City History: Dec. 1

Dec. 1, 1869: Johnson City received its charter from the state of Tennessee.

Dec. 1, 1887: The Comet reported that “A New York musical journal says Mrs. Potter is ‘a born amateur.’ And it is not likely that she will ever outgrow it.” The same issue also reported that “Boston society has promised to read the Bible this winter. Boston fashionables are always looking for something new.”

Dec. 1, 1894: The Johnson City and Carnegie Street Railroad Company stopped operating.

Dec. 1, 1898: The people of the First Ward would not make Mel Weiler a city dad” at the aldermanic election, but his wife was more considerate and on his return from Salt River, presented him with a bouncing baby girl, the Comet reported.

Dec. 1, 1910: Ed Ryan, who shot and killed Will Ryan and his wife, Ocie Ryan, and also shot at his own wife, Cissie Ryan, and then shot himself in Johnson City, was to remain in the Jonesboro Jail until the February term of the Circuit Court.

Dec. 1, 1925: Johnson City’s J.A. Higgins spent the day in Kingsport on business.

Dec. 1, 1930: District Vice Commander Brick Smith was among several members of Johnson City’s American Legion post who attended addresses by Tennessee Commander John H. McCall and Adjutant Guy H. May at Kingsport’s Municipal Building.

Dec. 1, 1940: The Appalachian Baseball League’s annual meeting of directors took place in Johnson City. Johnson City Press Publisher Carl A. Jones Jr. was elected vice president.

Dec. 1, 1949: Burley tobacco warehouses reported fewer rejections of bids than any other season. One warehouse had none. Tobacco prices averaged 45 cents per pound in the East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia markets.

Dec. 1, 1953: “Vice Squad” starring Edward G. Robinson and Paulette Goddard was playing at the Tennessee Theater. The Tennessee stood at the corner Boone and West Main, present site of the Johnson City Transit Center.

Dec. 1, 1955: East Tennessee State College announced it had adopted a university-like engineering curriculum. Students could do their first three years of training before spending the senior year at the University of Tennessee with no loss of credit.

Dec. 1, 1960: The Johnson City Junior High lost a home basketball game 39-32 to Kingsport’s John Sevier Junior High. Buck Oxendine was Johnson City’s high scorer with nine points.

Dec. 1, 1965: A Tennessee Highway Patrol chase in Johnson City ended in a crash that sent a woman into surgery for head injures. The woman’s 17-year-old boyfriend was charged with reckless driving and driving without a license.

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

Dec. 1, 1969: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle published a photo of a billboard highlighting the “Hope of Tomorrow” at the site for the future Liberty Bell and Freedom Hall complex behind Science Hill High School.

Dec. 1, 1970: Joe Whitehead tipped in a basket at the buzzer to give Science Hill’s Hilltoppers a 53-52 victory against Bristol’s Tennessee High.

Dec. 1, 1975: A Pontiac Firebird outran police cruisers in a chase on Cherokee Road. The driver then fled down Highway 107, which was blocked by Greene County deputies at the line. He escaped down a side road and deputies spotted the sports car on roads in the South Central community but were unable to stop it. Six warrants were issued for the driver’s arrest.

Dec. 1, 1977: Commissioner Warren Vest stormed out of a Johnson City Commission meeting saying he had not received a full agenda.

Dec. 1, 1992: East Tennessee State University officials courted a group of state senators in hopes of garnering $22.6 million for a new library.

Dec. 1, 1996: The Johnson City Press reported that new dress codes at Science Hill High School and Liberty Bell Middle School included bans on ripped jeans, short skirts, bicycle shorts, tank tops and underwear-revealing baggy shorts.

Dec. 1, 2000: East Tennessee State University hosted sections of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in the D.P. Culp University Center while offering HIV testing on the campus.

Dec. 1, 2006: On the second anniversary of Jackson Rice’s birth, “Jackson’s Playground” was dedicated at the Salvation Army in Johnson City. Baby Jackson Rice and his twin Brayden were born one minute apart and months before they should have been. Jackson’s struggle lasted two days before he died, but his twin survived after after spending three months in the neonatal Intense Care Unit at Johnson City Medical Center. Their father, Herman Rice, was program director at the Salvation Army.

Dec. 1, 2010: A cold front swept into Johnson City bringing a light snow to the city’s streets.

Dec. 1, 2015: Gov. Bill Haslam announced that Tennessee would establish governing boards for each of the six universities not governed by the University of Tennessee. The change removed ETSU and the other five schools from the Tennessee Board of Regents, which continued to oversee community colleges and technical schools.

Dec. 1, 2018: The Johnson City Christmas Parade ran from ETSU to downtown Johnson City. The theme was “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and the winning float was built by Central Baptist Church.

Sources: City of Johnson City; The Comet; Johnson City Postcard History Series; Kingsport Times; Johnson City Press; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories; Johnson City Press.

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