Johnson City Press Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Heritage Yesteryear

Opening the Yesteryear mailbag

August 26th, 2013 3:33 pm by Bob Cox

Opening the Yesteryear mailbag

Collage submitted by Dean Hamilton. Dean (left) and Larry Hamilton

  Listed below are a sampling of 12 slightly paraphrased reader response comments and questions:
  Joy Zabel: “Joel and I own a building at 115 Cherry Street (former site of Tri-City Appliance) across from the parking lot. I am interested in the building’s history.”
  The site once contained a large tobacco warehouse known as the Liggett and Myers Tobacco Company Warehouse. It burned about 1957. I recall getting out of junior high school on North Roan Street one afternoon and being warned by our teachers to avoid the downtown area because of a bad fire. It was a reminder of the May 1905 blaze that destroyed buildings on the south side of East Main between Roan and Spring streets. The tobacco warehouse at 115 Cherry St. was in flames. Just east of it was the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company building at 111 Cherry St., but I don’t recall if they had a warehouse there or were impacted by the inferno.
  Mattie Mullins: Mattie and I worked together on a Monday Club article in early 2007. “As usual, I really enjoyed the article on Ed Carter. I stand amazed at your abilities to write and keep us up-to-date on yesteryears.” Mattie asked if I could put her daughter, Becky, in contact with Ed Carter. With his permission, I honored the request. Ed was thrilled at all the well-deserved attention he received from the article.
  Charles Ray: “I read about the Piedmont Hotel in a column. Do you know anything else about it? Is it possible that I remember a “ghost sign” painted on a building in Johnson City that said ‘Piedmont Hotel.’ ” You may be referring to the two Hotel Pardue “ghost” signs that were painted on the top of the old downtown Windsor Hotel.
  Terri Beth Miller: Terri is a granddaughter of the late the Rev. Tommy Oler, a dedicated, fiery preacher who once spoke Sunday mornings over WJSO radio. “I feel so grateful to have been born and raised in a place with such a rich tradition of storytelling. My cousin and I grew up listening not only to my grandfather’s sermons, but also to the many amazing tales that he and the rest of the family would tell.”
  Harry Jones (see photos): “Several years ago, our family bought a set of old books at a Rotary Club sale. When we opened one, two old photos and a 1936 invoice from Walker Ice & Coal Company fell out.” One individual appears to be missing a hand. Can anyone identify the people or provide information about them?
  Joe Franklin: “I believe you can still see part of the Windsor Hotel painted on the side of a barn down off 11E across from the new Grandview Elementary School. The paint has faded considerably and may not be visible now. I was a 1960s teenager and remember many things that you write about. My mother, Dorothy Franklin, was big on memorabilia and genealogy and posted information in the History of Washington County (Joyce and Eugene Cox, The Overmountain Press, 2001).”
  Myra Harris: “My parents own a barn at 4489 Old Asheville Highway in Flag Pond with the address of the Windsor Hotel faded but still visible. The sign says ‘30 Miles, $2.50 and Up.’ We believe the property was owned by a Willis family at the time.”
  Bill Bridgforth: “I enjoyed your Nancy Ward article. You probably know that the two men you mentioned were Jeremiah Jack and William Rankin. The latter one was my great-greatgreat grandfather. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for Nancy Ward. Keep those ‘Yesteryears’ coming.”
  Ellen Rain: “What a pleasant surprise to pick up today’s paper and find your story about my heroine, Nancy Ward. She was such an interesting person to who, in no small way, we owe a debt for her alignment with the settlers. Most people in our area have no clue whom she was or why she was so important. I have not read T.C. Karns’ book yet, but thank you for introducing me to him. Maybe in the future you could occasionally do a story about those pioneers whose land we now inhabit. Keep up the history stories lest we forget. My favorites are from the 1700s and 1800s. I love the courage, trials and personal stories. Happy writing.”
  Dean Hamilton (see photos): “I had a Crosley Station Wagon when I was in high school at Boones Creek in the 1950s. My classmates and I had a ball riding in it. My dad and I once drove our Crosley to a basketball game at the school. After the game, we went back to where we parked our car but could not find it. Some of my classmates had put it between two buildings and I had a terrible time getting it out. They tell this story at our class reunions and we laugh about it. That is a Tennessee license plate on the car, but I can’t recall where Charlie’s Repair Shop was located. Although the Crosley was reliable, I had to tinker with it on occasion to keep it running.”
  Lewis Brown: “The Crosley story brought back some happy memories. Someone who owned a yellow Crosley station wagon made regular visits to one of the homes in the 300 block of East Chilhowie where I lived, which is now I-26. When we saw the little car parked there, we would look at it in amazement because it was small and the engine made a strange sound. The interior was very European-looking with rubber floor mats from front to rear. This was probably around 1950-52.”
  Sharon Abernethy: “I read your extremely informative and enjoyable article concerning Hoover’s visit to Elizabethton. In your research, have you found any information concerning a tape that might have been filmed? My 89-year-old mother, Evelyn Gourley Gentry, remembers her father stopping the parade to have her and her sister dance the Charleston for the president. She recalls they were filming during the dance. I would love to locate it and copy it for her 90th birthday.”

  Thank you, folks, for your comments. Please pass along additional ones for my next reader response column.

Additional Photos

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