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Today in Johnson City History: March 17

Rebecca Henderson and Johnson City Press • Mar 17, 2020 at 12:45 AM

March 17, 1887: A bill to compel railroads to furnish comfortable waiting rooms at all places where tickets were sold had been amended so as to apply to towns of more than 300. It had been passed the previous Saturday. The Comet reported that the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad would either have to comply with the new law by building a waiting room or stop selling tickets here.

March 17, 1929: J.J. Whitehouse from Parkersburg, West Virginia, began his ministry at First Christian Church.

March 17, 1931: R.M. Barry, president of the First State Bank of Erwin, which had been closed, was expected to arrive by train later in the day. Berry had been arrested in Houston, Texas, on charges of forgery and receiving deposits for an insolvent bank.

March 17, 1942: All Washington County, including Johnson City, plunged into darkness at 9 p.m. with whistles, sirens and gunshots to signal the county’s first practice blackout. Blackout drills were common during World War II.

March 17, 1952: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported that “Rev. Joe Strother told his congregation at Temple Baptist Church last night that ‘if some of the clubs of Johnson City would take the hundreds of dollars they spend for dances at the Country Club each year and give it to worthy causes, they would not have to gamble off automobiles on Main Street.’ ”

March 17, 1955: “Melody of Love” by David Carroll, Billy Vaughn or the Four Aces was the most popular song in Johnson City that week.

March 17, 1965: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported that the Council for Community Concerns would meet the next Tuesday at St. John’s Episcopal Church. The goal of the council was “’to foster an environment in which all citizens of all races and creeds may live together in decency and dignity.”

March 17, 1971: The new Johnson City Mall (now The Mall at Johnson City) had its grand opening. Among the first tenants were The Orange Bowl, Sears, Super-X Drugs, Lerner Shops and Butler Shoes. Others were on the way, including Britt’s Department Store, McCrory’s, J. Miller Fashions and Ann Howard’s Cafeteria.

March 17, 1975: An unknown amount of money in a child’s bank had been taken from a residence on East 8th Avenue. Entrance to the house was through a bathroom window.

March 17, 1976: Elvis Presley appeared at Freedom Hall Civic Center for the first of a three-night engagement.

Sources: The Comet; First Christian Church; Johnson City Chronicle; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories


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