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
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.
Occasionally, I delve back into my childhood to revisit cherished memories of yesteryear. My favorite radio show of the early-to-mid 1950s was, without question, "Big Jon & Sparkie." The program ran from 1948 until 1958.
In the past, I wrote about several carnivals and circuses that came to Northeast Tennessee. They included the Mighty Haag Railroad Shows, Gentry Brothers, Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, The Great New York and New Orleans Zoological and Equestrian Exposition, John Robinson's Circus and J.J. Page Carnival. The latter wintered in Johnson City along Love Street.
In 1888, a Johnson City newspaper correspondent wrote an article for the paper describing the condition of the city that year. "This ends the year in this locality and we will try to sum up the items of most interest. We had three elections, one in March to elect a mayor and aldermen, another in August to elect county officers and one in November to appoint state and national officials."
Jay "Terry" Prater, an avid fan of the Johnson City History/Heritage page, has been in the ministry for over 50 years. He has pastored churches in several states, along with East Park and Oakland Avenue Baptist churches in Johnson City. He recently shared some photos from his early years in Johnson City.
In my unvarying search for Northeast Tennessee history, I often uncover attention-grabbing material. Recently, I spotted something from the late 1800s that aroused my curiosity because it pertained to Davy Crockett, a favorite theme of mine. It concerned an actor from Kentucky who became rich and famous for his on-stage portrayal of the noted hunter and storyteller.