Left: Stanyarne Little advertisement from a 1923 city directory Right: Real estate agents listed in Johnson City in 1923 (Photos by Bob Cox)
In 1921, an advertisement in a local Johnson City newspaper contained these words: “If you are going to farm, why not sell out and buy where you can get every advantage for yourself and family?”
The real estate ad was placed by Stanyarne Little of the Johnson City Development Co. (later known as the Stanyarne Little Co.) whose office was at 108 N. Roan St. (later at 307-309 S. Roan St.). Little was president/treasurer; Thad Cox, vice president; and H.M. Brown, secretary. Further research indicates that the company owned Cherokee Heights in Johnson City.
Interested parties were urged to write and inquire about the seven pieces of property listed in the ad. The farms, although not explicitly identified, were located close to Johnson City, “where the best of good roads had been built and where the best schools were to be found anywhere in Tennessee.”
Of particular note, mention was made that the new owners could educate their children from primary grades through the State Normal School. Another plus was that it was in the best market in the south for wheat, corn, oats, hay, cattle, hogs, sheep, poultry and vegetable products.
Little invited newspaper readers to visit Johnson City and let the company show them a highly industrious city where the $550,000 John Sevier Hotel was under construction, boasting that there was “nothing quite like it in the South.” Also, a new facility, Appalachian Hospital, was being built at a cost of $165,000; a $300,000 apartment house was going up, making it the sixth to be built; and other large improvements were under way.
At that time, there were between 90 and 100 first-class residences being built and a number of permits issued to others who were preparing to build. The estimated cost of total building in the city in 1921 had already reached the $2.5 million mark.
The announcement said there was no city in Tennessee twice its size that had half the business being conducted. The reader was urged to visit other nearby towns and compare what they saw there with what the people of Johnson City were doing. After duly endorsing the Johnson City area, the company invited the public to check out the seven farms they were selling in their ad:
“90 Acres/$10,500: Good farm four miles from Johnson City with first class improvements. House has six rooms with carbide lights, good cold storage house, good barn, rolling land and has large frontage on Southern Railway. About 30 acres in young poplar timber and worth half the price of the farm. Is in a high state of cultivation and well situated for trucking and the raising of poultry.
“71.5Acres/$8,500: Located 1.5 miles from railway station, churches, four year high school and county seat. 60 acres in cultivation. Balance is woodland. Spring branch running through farm. Five room house and suitable outbuildings. Attractive proposition for the price asked. Terms, one third cash, balance in one, two or three years with six percent interest.
“57.5 Acres/$7,000: Good land, 20-acre creek bottom with fine stand of grass. Ten acres of timber. Large bold spring, good barn and granary. Located on good road, one-quarter mile from rock pike within a mile of the railway station, churches and 4-year high school.
“14.5 Acres/$3,750: Small farm of 14.5 acres just outside the corporate limits of Johnson City on old Watauga road and Southern Railway. Two story house, five rooms, convenient to market, stores, churches, schools. Land adapted to truck, fruit and poultry. Good terms.
“7 Acres/$5,500: In high state of cultivation with 7-room bungalow finished in no. 1 material, Has grates, mantels, porches, large concrete basement, metal roof. Good barn with 30-ton silo, six concrete stalls hay fork and metal roof. Other outbuildings include concrete spring house with smokehouse above, chicken house and wood house. Only seven minutes walk from car line. Has large grape arbor. Running water furnished by three springs.
“7 Acres/$4,000: Short distance from the city. Seven acres of good rich garden land with full equipment for poultry raising. Includes five room house, metal roof, with bored well under cover adjoining kitchen. On a graded road in a good community. Price is right, terms easy.
“5 Acres/$2,100: Located 2.5 miles from Johnson City on Elizabethton Pike midway between Johnson City and Milligan College. Excellent location for a suburban home. Good terms.”
What a treasure this represented — ample, choice land available in East Tennessee in 1921.
Reach Bob Cox at boblcox@
bcyesteryear.com or go to www.