Do you enjoy reading about the history of Northeast Tennessee and surrounding area? If so, welcome to "Bob Cox's Yesteryear" website (aka "Archives of Yesteryear"), 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: www.johnsoncitypress.com.
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 primary focus lies mainly within Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina, with particular emphasis on Johnson City, Tennessee. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another great fully developed history website to explore is Henry's website: www.johnsonsdepot.com.
The eye-catching news in a local Feb. 28, 1903 newspaper was bold and to the point: "Beginning March 1st, Johnson City will be in total darkness." It seems that on that day the contract with the Electric Light Company for street lights expired, leaving a new contract pending. The city population that year was about 5,000.
I recently came across a listing of nine churches in Johnson City in 1908, which was three years after the devastating downtown fire. The find reveals a lot of key information about these places of worship:
Today's column is a glance back to August 1954 when 15-minute soap operas filled the weekday airways of radio and television. A contrast of these 14 programs with today's television "soaps" is rather noteworthy.
On Thursday night, July 12, 1888, several couples of the elite of the city gathered at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. F.A. Stratton on Maple Street. This was in response to a personal invitation to attend an event given in honor of a Mrs. Scott, of Indianapolis, and Misses Mary and Mattie Wilder of Roan Mountain, TN.
The annual Cosby Ramp Festival was literally belched into existence on April 25, 1954 with Gov. Frank Clement proclaiming that spring day to be "Ramp-Eating Day" in Tennessee. Listed below are summaries of 13 of the 57 festivals that took place there:
On 04-05-1871, the "impromptu stump speaker," a political fixture, was intellectually known as a "human nondescript." He was likened to a kind of terribly crushed meat, specially salted, saged and peppered, which became known as "souce" (from the Latin word "salsas," (which is always ready for use).
A stump speech is "a standard campaign vocalization used by someone running for public office." The term is derived from the early American custom in which candidates campaigned from town-to-town and stood upon a sawed off tree stump to deliver their discourse."
The word "impromptu" fit him well because of his busy pace of campaigning, which often included addressing folks several times a day. The candidate usually penned a single speech to be delivered at most, if not all, public gatherings.
Over the years, fires have struck downtown Johnson City, leveling some buildings and causing minor damage to others. Perhaps the biggest one occurred in May 1905 and destroyed almost everything within the boundaries of E. Main, S. Roan, Jobe (replaced by State of Franklin Road) and Spring streets. One notable structure, Johnson City's First Baptist Church, known as "The Little White Church," completely escaped the carnage in spite of the fact that it was wooden.
The welcomed announcement came from C. Howard McCorkle, superintendent of schools and directed to several hundred parents at a special meeting the previous night. The two schools were to be independent of the other, plus have separate athletic programs that would be in competition with one another.
On February 26, 1903, a local Johnson City newspaper posted a bold headline that read: "The Legalized Saloon Must Go Hence From Johnson City." It was followed by a four-line poem: "Down with the toddy, Up with a ham, Shoes for the baby, A dress for mam."
One of the pleasures of writing this column is meeting so many nice folks who interface with me about a subject near and dear to their heart. Such was the case of Kristi Bolding Seal, daughter of the late Wallace Clark Bolding, who passed away on Feb. 18, 2016, just one week prior to his 88th birthday. He once resided at 800 Wilson Avenue (at Frances Street) in Johnson City.