Today in Johnson City History: May 31

May 31, 1854: Henry Johnson “purchased half an acre of land from Abraham Job on Brush Creek, located at the intersection of the recently graded ET&V rail line and the stage road connecting Jonesborough to Elizabethton.”

May 31, 1884: The Comet reported that Johnson City residents had gathered at Science Hill Male and Female Institute three days earlier to discuss the future of education in the city. The result was three committees — finance, teachers, and buildings and grounds. Seven years later, the city began construction on two grade schools, Columbus Powell and Martha Wilder, to join Science Hill, which had been converted to a public high school.

May 31, 1941: The Johnson City Cardinals won the rubber match of a three-game series against the Kingsport Cherokees, 10-8. The teams had split in a double header the previous day.

May 31, 1978: The City Commission of Johnson City approved the Public Safety Officer program. The goals were to increase protection and to lower the firemen’s workweek from 72 hours to 56 hours.

May 31, 2009: Flames destroyed an unoccupied house behind the West Market Street Walmart on McKinley Road. The plume of smoke could be seen for miles. Because of its proximity to Walmart, the fire drew a crowd of onlookers as firefighters doused the flames.

Sources: Johnson City Postcard History Series; The Comet; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; City of Johnson City; Johnson City Press

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