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Today in Johnson City History: April 12

Rebecca Henderson and Johnson City Press • Apr 12, 2019 at 7:45 AM

April 12, 1884: The Comet reported that Louis Mitchell, a waiter the City Hotel, was lying asleep in the hotel office when Thomas Johnson and William McMertry amused themselves by pouring coal oil on Louis' sock and applying a lighted match. “Before the flame could be extinguished, Louis danced the cancan, turned a double summersault and performed several wonderful feats. His foot was badly burned.”

April 12, 1888: Mr. H.H. Corson, representing the Thomas-Houston Electric Company of Boston, had arrived in the city to form a stock company to put in electric light plant in Johnson City. The stock was all taken in a short while and work was to be commenced on the plant at once. Corson expected to have everything completed in 60 days. Sure enough, the lights came on July 5. The private arc light at Jobe’s Livery Stable was the first to light.

April 12, 1906: Professional baseball would return to Johnson City as U.S. Archer and J.T. Linville had closed a contract with S.A. Lynch to manage a team. The Comet reported that a bunch of stars would be selected and a fast team put out for the pennant. Grounds were to be near the Presbyterian Church. The game had been played in Johnson City at least since 1886 when the Johnson City Reds were led by team captain Cy Lyle, who also was an owner of The Comet.

April 12, 1909: The Smith Greater Shows, a carnival, appeared at the Johnson City ballpark under the auspices of the United Confederate Veterans. The Comet described it as the largest, best and most meritorious organization of its kind. The company arrived in its own private train and brought its own electric light and power house. The Smiths had invented the first jumping horses for merry-go-rounds and pioneered one of the first wild animal shows to travel with a carnival.

April 12, 1945: Memorial Hospital, a new hospital in Johnson City, was chartered. Memorial Hospital was a nonprofit, publicly owned hospital, and served Johnson City until the Johnson City Medical Center was built.

Sources: The Comet; Johnson’s Depot; History of Washington County, Tennessee.

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