Feb. 20, 1890: The Comet readers learned of several building projects taking place in Johnson City. “New roofs are seen in all parts of the town and a great many dwellings are nearing completion that have been previously mentioned. A number of residencies have been commenced within the last ten days.”

“John L. Cooper is building a cottage on Unaka avenue (sic).”

“Will Hart has commenced a residence on Ivy street (sic) in the Carr addition.”

“Mr. Porter is building him a nice little home on Holston street (sic) in the Hunter & Brown addition.”

“Wilder & Allen are building an additional ware room to their store on Second avenue (sic) in the Carnegie addition.”

“J.M. Evans has commenced a store house on West Main street (sic). It will be used by Evans, Faucette & Co., as a ware room.”

“Will Cooper has his house on Unaka avenue (sic) nearly framed and is pushing it rapidly.”

Feb. 20, 1900: The Knoxville Sentinel, with a dateline of Johnson City, reported, “That once much-frequented summer resort, Austin Springs, near this city, is to be opened up again. Mrs. Florence Engleberth, of Pennsylvania, has leased the hotel and will take charge about April 1”

Johnson City did not have a daily newspaper published in 1900.

Feb. 20, 1909: The Bristol Evening News reported about an exciting social event in Johnson City, with a dateline from there. “The most elaborate social event of the season was the dance given at the Carnegie hotel (sic) by the civil engineers of the C. C. & O. road and young gentlemen of Johnson City. The Soldier’s Home orchestra furnished music until the wee small hours, during which almost seventy disciples of Terpsichore tripped the light fantastic toe.”

The C. C. & O. referred to a railroad.

We now know the Soldier’s Home as the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center.

Terpsichore was the Greek muse of dancing and choral singing.

There was not a daily newspaper published in Johnson City in 1909.

Feb. 20, 1918: Readers of The Johnson City Daily Staff learned, “Mrs. Dan Ellis has returned from Spartanburg, where she went to visit her husband, Major Dan M. Ellis, who is recovering from an operation for appendicitis at Camp Wadsworth. He will be home in a few days to recuperate.”

Feb. 20, 1928: The Knoxville News-Sentinel, with a dateline of Johnson City, reported about a record-breaking basketball game. “’Kayte Kooper’s Killers’ of Larmar high (sic) school (sic) made their season’s goal by running their total score of this season to over 1000 points Saturday night.”

The exciting story continued, “The ‘Killers’ defeated Sulphur Spring High 52 to 5, which was their 21st victory of the season. They amassed 1031 points while their opponents were held to 100 points.”

Feb. 20, 1932: With a dateline of Johnson City, the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, a newspaper in Clarksville, Tennessee, readers learned about a horrific murder and suicide. “Walter Story killed his wife, wounded his stepdaughter, Mrs. Hugh Vaughn, and then committed suicide at their home near Jonesboro Friday night.”

The article continued, “Crazed by domestic trouble, Story fired a pistol into his wife’s heart, seriously wounded his stepdaughter, and then took his own life, investigating officers reported.”

Jonesboro was spelled that was in 1932.

There was not a daily newspaper published in Johnson City in 1932.

Feb. 20, 1935: The Bristol News Bulletin with a dateline of Elizabethton reported a magistrate was facing ouster proceedings. “Magistrate Jack A. Toncray on Friday will face ouster proceedings brought by W.M. Miller and brothers charging him with public drunkenness. Judge Ben Allen has set his trial in circuit court for Friday morning. Judge Shelburne Ferguson will preside over the trial exchanging with Judge Allen.”

The article continued, “’I want all my friends to be at the court house Friday morning to hear some startling facts,’ Toncray was quoted as saying, after being informed of the time set for his trial. ‘I will be ready for trial with my defense.’”

Finally, readers learned, “Toncray will be represented by D.A. Vines of Johnson City, Dayton Hunter, Raymond Campbell and Mack Evans, of Elizabethton, he said.”

Elsewhere in the same newspaper on the same day, readers learned that Johnson City was a bit safer. “Two youths, Floyd Minton, 22, Western Union messenger, and Guy Curtis, 19, were arrested yesterday and identified by Dr. W.A. Jones, veterinarian, as two of three who held him up and robbed him of $60 and his Chrysler sedan last week.”

The article continued to stated, “The robbery occurred in front of Montrose Court, largest apartment house here (meaning Johnson City). Minton had a pistol when arrested.”

Sixty dollars in 1935 is now worth about $1141. (Source: www.in2013dollars.com)

Feb. 20, 1943: Readers of the Johnson City Chronicle learned of a lost cow, if they perused the classified ads. “Lost, last week, Jersey Cow: fawn coloring with white spot in forehead. Also on right hind leg. Has crumpled horns. Liberal reward to finder. W.W. DeVault.”

Feb. 20, 1953: “The schedule of programs for Television Station WBTV of Charlotte is back in the Press-Chronicle today,” according to a front-page article in the Johnson City Press-Chronicle.

The article continued to state, “All radio schedules in this and many other newspapers are paid advertising. The WBTV schedule is back in the paper because Young’s Supply of Johnson City, agents for Admiral, Motorola and Capeheart radio and TV sets, decided to sponsor it daily.”

Finally, readers read that, “If at any time radio programs are not listed in the Press-Chronicle, it will be because the stations or sponsors decided to quit paying for listings”

Feb. 20, 1963: In a front-page, captioned photograph, readers of the Johnson City Press-Chronicle read, “Shades of Yul Brynner and Venus de Milo! What some women won’t do to get attention, even on a snowy day. And attention they did get yesterday as heads snapped like whiplashes as these ‘models’ beckoned followers through the city of Elizabethton. Actually, as you’ve guessed by now, they are really mannequins and soon they’ll be more appropriately covered with the latest in spring fashions. They were being transferred to another store in Elizabethton.”

Feb. 20, 1973: Readers of the Johnson City Press-Chronicle learned there would soon be an additional retail option available for shopping in Johnson City. “Bernard Goldstein, president of GMS Stores, Inc., New York, announced yesterday that a center to be called Tri-State Plaza will be developed on a 20-acre tract on the Erwin Highway south of Johnson City.”

“The new center will be keyed to a Tri-State Discount Center of 60,000 square feet. ... Tri-State Discount Centers are owned by GMS, Inc.”

More details included that the “Overall cost of the project will be about $2 million….”

Tri-State Discount Centers handled both hard and soft goods, and carried “famous brand merchandise at low prices.”

Two million dollars in 1973 is now worth approximately $11,733,000. (Source: www.in2013dollars.com)



Rebecca Henderson is a contributing columnist for Johnson City Press.

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