Do you enjoy reading about the history of Northeast Tennessee and surrounding area? If so, welcome to "Bob Cox's Yesteryear" website, containing my local history columns and features, most of which have appeared on Monday's History/Heritage page of the Johnson City (Tennessee) Press newspaper:
Since new articles are being added weekly, check back frequently. Also, use the "Search this site" button at the left or click on "article catagories" to find subjects of interest. Use quotation marks to narrow your search. Click on the photos along the right side and the corresponding article will be shown.
Subjects deal with the glorious beginnings of this beautiful Appalachian mountainous region.
My focus lies mainly within Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina, with particular emphasis on Johnson City. Click on any photo along the right side and you will be directed to the corresponding article. I am currently in the process of adding many new photos to my articles.
Click on "Photo Galleries" at the top left to preview all the photos contained in my articles. The rotating questions at the top can be answered by clicking on them, which takes you to the article that contains the answer. So now ... sit back, relax and return with us to those glorious carefree days of yesteryear. I can be reached at
I make no secret of my love of vintage radio shows, especially those in the 1940s and 1950s. I grew up in the late 1940s listening to them until 9:00 p.m. each night when I had to be in bed with the lights out and radio off.
Jan. 1, 1890 was a busy day for Johnson City. During all the hard times of the late 1800s, Johnson City had more desirable and more permanent work than any other town, large or small, in the South. Notwithstanding the bad weather, work steadily advanced on all the plants and factories, until they were on the threshold of prosperity’s open door.
Bob Taylor used to be the editor of Johnson City's The Comet newspaper. An old saying that pertains to gifted writers urges these folks to keep their files wet continually for the specific purpose of preventing spontaneous combustion from their "lightning streaks of rhetoric."
Walter Preston Brownlow, a prominent name among East Tennesseans, worked in 1876 as a reporter for the Knoxville Whig and Chronicle and that same year purchased the Herald and Tribune in Jonesboro, Tennessee. He served as Tennessee's 1st district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1896 until his passing in on July 8, 1910.
In the early morning hours of July 1886, one thousand employees of the Railroad Employees' Mutual Relief Association (REMRA) of Knoxville and their immediate family met at the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad Depot replete with food containers for their annual 200-mile scenic excursion into the East Tennessee mountains.
In April 1954, the Johnson City Press-Chronicle offered information about the Red Shield Boys' Club. In part it said: "The next time you hear someone say, 'What's this younger generation coming to anyway?,' tell him that the younger generation is probably growing up to be just as good, if not better, citizens than their forebears, thanks to, among other things, the efforts of the Red Shield Boys' Club."
One of the most persistent advertisers in fictional history was Robinson Crusoe, a character penned by Daniel Defoe in a book by the same name. The castaway believed in the power of advertising and knew exactly what he wanted - a ship, not to own but to rescue him from a desert island filled with a host of unsavory residents.
Recently, Kitty Cornett contacted me saying, "I have been trying to track down a local violin maker in Johnson City, who's long gone by now, but may still have family living in Johnson City." After acquiring her mother's old violin, she spotted inside one of the two F-Holes the words: "E.W. Hinkle," '"H",' "Johnson City, Tenn." and "1933."
Official announcement that a $500 thousand National Guard armory would be constructed in Johnson City was welcomed by numerous organizations who had long wished for such a place to hold meetings. The new facility was located on a 30-acre tract of land just off the New Jonesboro Highway (11E, left side traveling west) near what was then the city limits.
My wife recently directed my attention to a beautiful Monarch butterfly hovering near our backyard flowerbed arbor. Immediately, I thought about the late Tom Hodge, long time writer for the Johnson City Press, and his love for the fluttery critters. He inspired my love for area history.