Today in Johnson City History: May 20

May 20, 1883: The Cranberry Mine Company proposed to extend its narrow-gauge road from Johnson City, on the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia railway, to Lenoir, North Carolina, making it 91 miles in length. This would open the region to the outside world.

May 20, 1886: The Comet advised readers that the Johnson City Cornet Band would give an ice cream and strawberry festival the following Friday might. “They need money and the citizens ought to help them.”

May 20, 1891: The Johnson City and Greensboro Railroad was chartered and a preliminary survey had been made.

May 20, 1896: The Republicans of the 1st District recently met in congressional convention at Johnson City. Honorable A.J. Tyler, of Hancock County, was selected permanent chairman and E.A. Shipley, of Washington County, permanent secretary. The convention elected Honorable W.O. Brownlow, of Washington, and Honorable Clay Jarvis, of Hawkins, as district delegates to the national convention at St. Louis.

May 20, 1930: Grading and drainage had been completed for the Sullivan County section of the new Highway 36 between Kingsport and Johnson City. The new road would shorten the trip between the two cities from about 37 miles to just over 20. The Hammond Bridge was under construction. Paving contracts were expected to be let during the summer.

May 20, 1949: “The Invisible Man Returns” plus a second hit, “Trouble Preferred,” were playing at the Sevier Theatre on Spring Street in downtown Johnson City.

May 20, 1962: “Back Street” starring Susan Hayward and John Gavin was showing at the Skyline Drive-In Theatre on the New Jonesboro Highway.

May 20, 1976: Despite the protests of some 150 people, the Johnson City Commission approved on third and final reading the annexation of 3.3 square miles of land southwest of the existing corporate limits. The vote also approved a service plan for the area’s 4,300 residents.

Sources: The Knoxville Daily Tribune; The Comet; The Morristown Gazette; Kingsport Times; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories.

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