July 17, 1890: The Comet reported information about recent census findings regarding the growth of Johnson City. “Johnson City is no longer a village even in the minds of those who are so glad that they will not see.”

“The census is completed, and four thousand, one hundred and sixty-nine people are now living where, ten years ago, only six hundred and eighty-five lived.”

“It is indeed a wonderful growth, and the most conservative citizens were surprised at the figures, as they had claimed only about three thousand and five hundred. Properly speaking, the increase of Johnson City’s population in the last two years has been more than doubled and nearly trebled, as the census which was taken by the city in 1888 will show, when there were to be found within the corporate limits only sixteen hundred people.”

“But reckoning from 1880, when the tenth census of the United States was taken, the increase has been six hundred and seven per cent, and this gives us abundant reason to feel proud, for there is not a town in the South to stand side by side with ours in its career of growth, progressiveness and general prosperity.”

“Johnson City has grown ... to the seventh largest city in the State, and from the smallest to the largest in East Tennessee, excepting Knoxville and Chattanooga.”

“Meanwhile, let the next census come on, and the seventh position will know us no more forever.”

July 17, 1918: According to the Johnson City Daily Staff, “Circle No. 1 of the First Presbyterian Church will meet with Mrs. Sam R. Sells on Watauga avenue (sic) Thursday afternoon at 3:30 o’clock to do Red Cross work. This is the meeting previously announced to be held at the home of Mrs. S.A. Bowman.”

July 17, 1921: A century ago today, and with a dateline from Johnson City, readers of The Journal and Tribune learned, “Washington county highway commission (sic) has completed the sale of $70,000 in county bonds to be used in closing up certain unfinished links between highways completed or under construction. The bonds were sold for par with accrued interest. As a result of the bond sale construction will proceed to finish the 2 1-3 mile stretch in the Fall Branch road, a section of the Embreeville road to Miller’s Mill, the Gray Station road to Fleenor’s Hill. The Gray Station road comprising a link in the Moccasin Gap to Asheville highway (sic) to the interstate highway and subject to state highway inspection as to grade. Upon completion of the Memphis to Bristol link, the Moccasin Gap to Asheville road will be the next government project. The route to Mars Hill, N.C. has already been adopted.”

In the same newspaper, and also with a dateline from Johnson City, readers also learned more information about the Moccasin Gap route that was mentioned above. “Tennessee and North Caroline highway engineers, accompanied by delegations from Johnson City, Erwin, Elizabethton, and points in North Carolina, went to the top of Street Gap on Bald Mount thirty-six miles northwest of here, Friday, where they discussed the route for the Moccasin Gap to Asheville highway. No definite decision was reached on the mountain as to the route for the highway but it was announced that a conference on the question would be held at Erwin. The proposed highway to Asheville is 108 miles long.”

Seventy thousand dollars in 1921 is now equivalent to approximately $1,052.717, according to www.in2013dollars.com.

The Journal and Tribune was a newspaper published in Knoxville. It ceased publication in 1924. We do not have access to any newspapers that were published in Johnson City in 1921.

July 17, 1946: Seventy-five years ago today, Johnson City Press-Chronicle readers learned that “Allen Harris, recently reappointed a member of the Johnson City Power Board, was reelected chairman of that body at a meeting last night in the board’s offices. City Recorder E.J. Quillen was also reelected secretary. Terms of the two officials expired July 1.”

“Plant Superintendent Charles Stine was authorized to let a contract for the erection of a substation in the Southwest Addition at an approximate cost of $2,600. Construction work is to start within five or six months.”

The Johnson City Power Board is now known as BrightRidge.

Two-thousand, six hundred dollars in 1946 is currently equivalent to approximately $36,000, according to www.in2013dollars.com

July 17, 1949: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported news about several area residents. “Mrs. L.B. Gardner of Scarsdale, N.Y., arrived in Johnson City yesterday to visit Mrs. George Torrey Wofford, Llewelyn Woods. Mrs. Gardner has been visiting friends and relatives in St. Louis, Mo., and Little Rock, Ark.”

“Mrs. Zade Ramsey is recovering from a minor operation performed at the Appalachian Hospital.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Ray Lewis and son, have returned to their home in Seattle, Wash., after spending a few weeks with relatives near Telford and Mosheim.”

“Mr. and Mrs. CJ. Rowe and daughter, Pauline, 2427 West Walnut street (sic), and Mrs. John Carder of Burlington, N.C., have returned from a week’s vacation in Pennsylvania and New York.”

“Miss Emily Barnes of 504 West Pine street (sic) is visiting Miss Charlsie McNeil of Knoxville. She is expected to return home next week.”

“Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Chandler of Johnson City, who have been visiting relatives for the past two weeks in Miami, Fla., will leave next week for Memphis, Tenn., to visit their son, Edward, who is an instructor at the U.S. Naval base there.”

“Mrs. Resinol Reed is recovering from a recent illness.”

The Appalachian Hospital was a forerunner of Memorial Hospital, which was a forerunner of the Johnson City Medical Center.

July 17, 1971: Fifty years ago today, according to the Johnson City Press-Chronicle, “The Johnson City National League Babe Ruth All-Stars lost a close 6-3 contest to the undefeated Kingsport American League last night in tournament action at Civitan Park.”

“The Nationals were plagued by 13 stranded base runners and four costly errors in their loss although allowing only two earned runs to the Kingsport Club.”

July 17, 1996: Twenty-five years ago today, the Johnson City Press reported exciting economic news for the area. With the byline of Phyllis Johnson, readers learned that “SPS Payment Systems Inc. will add another 500 employees by year-end, bringing total employment to some 2,400, enough to make SPS the county’s largest employer and the third-largest in the Tri-Cities.”

“New contracts and growth in existing business are driving the move, which will require SPS to open up the second floor of the newly renovated operations center in Gray.”


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Rebecca Henderson is a contributing columnist for Johnson City Press.

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