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Today in Johnson City History: March 12

Rebecca Henderson and Johnson City Press • Mar 12, 2020 at 3:45 AM

March 12, 1891: The Comet informed readers that “The Equinoctial will soon be here, and will, we hope, end the rain and mud. Lent has been observed more closely in Johnson City than ever before. People could not be gay for the mud.”

March 12, 1895: Dr. George H. Berry had declined the Democratic Party’s nomination for mayor of Johnson City.

March 12, 1908: The Comet reported that Johnson City Board of Education members had taken steps to put Johnson City school buildings in the best possible condition to prevent loss of life from fire. All entrance doors would be changed to open outward, additional exits would be provided when needed and some iron stairways would be installed.

March 12, 1930: Dr. E.L. Bishop, the state commissioner of health, had arrived in Johnson City to help investigate the mysterious illness that was causing partial or complete paralysis in the lower limbs of its victims. Physicians continued to quarantine those patients, as well as caution that there was no need for alarm. It was not known if the illness was contagious, but it was not believed to be.

March 12, 1938: The headline on the Johnson City Chronicle was big and bold, reporting that “Austria Bows to Nazis.”

March 12, 1938: The U.S. Post Office moved from its 1911 Ashe Street building into the new federal building on East Main Street. 

March 12, 1941: The Johnson City Press carried news that special services would be held in all churches in Johnson City on Sunday, March 23, “in cooperation with the local Bundles for Britain chapter, which is sending aid to England war sufferers” In addition, offerings taken that Sunday would be donated to the local Bundles for Britain chapter. Many women in Johnson City were knitting clothing for the British.

March 12, 1947: Dr. Ben Lacy, president of Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, had recently addressed the Johnson City Rotary Club. Dr. Lacy said, “The need today is for men, as well as youth, who will dedicate themselves to service, men of daring and discipline and devotion.”

March 12, 1950: The musical "On the Town" starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Ann Miller and Betty Garrett was playing at the Sevier Theatre on Spring Street in downtown Johnson City. Garrett was known to 1970s TV audiences for her roles on “All in the Family” as the Bunkers’ neighbor, Irene Lorenzo, and “Laverne & Shirley” as Edna Babish. She died in 2011.

March 12, 1953: The Fourth Annual Farm Edition of the Johnson City Press-Chronicle was published. The annual Farmer’s Institute events would begin that evening at a buffet supper for agricultural leaders, as well as out-of-county visitors.

March 12, 1955: In the classified ads, the Johnson City Press-Chronicle carried an ad inviting children from 6 to 12 to “Write your ad in your own handwriting. Bring it to the Classified Department. It will appear for 3 days FREE!” The classifieds were for items the children wanted to buy, sell, swap, or even for items that had been lost. There was a limit of 15 words for the ads.

March 12, 1961: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle that the day before, the Johnson City Fire Department had only answered one call, but it was not to put out a fire. “Company No. 4 went to 214 E. Holston Ave. at about 9 p.m. yesterday to get a cat out of a tree. Owner of the cat was unknown.”

March 12, 1963: New offices had recently been installed in the Women’s Auxiliary in the Washington, Carter and Unicoi County Medical Society. Mrs. Dillard Sholes was the new president, and Mrs. William Wiley was the vice-president.

March 12, 1977: Hilltoppers Gary Carter and Walter Bradley were named to the All-Big Nine Conference Basketball Team.

March 12, 2012: Construction had begun on Science Hill High School’s new $3.7 million football stadium, now known as Kermit Tipton Stadium.

Sources: Johnson City Chronicle; “History of Johnson City and its Environs” by Samuel Cole Williams; Johnson City Press; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories

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