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."
The 1908-09 Johnson City Directory identified 60 streets within the confines of the city. Note in the list below that 10 parallel avenues bare the designation "Carnegie," as part of The Carnegie Land Company (but that is another story).
Johnson City's mayor in 1908 was Guy L. Smith, who also worked for the Armbrust-Smith Co, a furniture store at 204-06 E. Main (much later the site of Nettie Lee's Boy and Girl Shop). If we could somehow ask Mr. Smith what Johnson City was like soon after the turn of the twentieth century, he would likely answer us like this:
An oft-repeated article in the 1891 edition of an early Johnson City newspaper, The Comet, promoted the town as being a great place to reside. According to a Dec. 1891 depiction, the city had several taglines: “Center of Trunk Lines and Terminal Roads,” “Gateway to the Mineral and Timber-Laden Alleghenies” and “In the Heart of the Celebrated Magnetic Ore District.”
When I was about 10 years old, my friends and I often walked from our Henry Johnson School neighborhood on the west side of town along Market Street to the downtown district. We occasionally stopped at Fire Station #4 adjacent to the Leon Ferenbach plant to chat with our fire fighting heroes. These courageous men took time to befriend us rather than shoo us away as pests (which we were).
Older residents likely recall when City Hall (a.k.a. the Municipal Building) was situated adjacent to three downtown streets: W. Market, W. Main and Boone.
An advertisement from a 1930 Johnson City Chronicle and Staff News stated, “If it takes heat to do it, you can always do it cheaper with gas.”
Charles W. Marshall, who worked for the Johnson City Police Department between December 1957 and October 1982, shared some prized photos and a Tennessee Fraternal Order of Police Magazine dated April 1966.
A 36-page booklet titled, “Monday Club, Johnson City, Tenn., 1914-1915,” contains a wealth of information about this longstanding impressive organization.
Ray Reaves, a charter member of the Johnson City Rescue Squad, is proud of his approximately seven-year affiliation with the decisive organization.