In 1947, five local physicians had their practices at 234, 236 and 238 E. Market Street near Tannery Knob (where I-26 now comes through). Doctors George Scholl and Mel Smith were at the first two-story dwelling, doctors Harry Miller and J. Gaines Moss at the second and doctor Ray Mettetal at the third. Unlike the other five doctors, he and his family lived upstairs and had his practice downstairs.
In 1873 when Johnson City’s population was about 600, Reverend Clisbe Austin, who listed his address as “Johnson City, Washington County, State of Tennessee,” marketed a U.S non-alcoholic medicinal product known as Austin’s Liver Regulator.
According to the late Ray Stahl’s book, A Beacon to Health Care, Johnson City’s first hospital opened in 1903 when the National Home for Disabled Soldiers became a reality. Four years later, Dr. W.J. Matthews opened a modest clinic on the first floor of the Carlisle Hotel (Franklin Apartments) at E. Main and Division streets. Then in 1911, six doctors launched Memorial Hospital, a small 10-bed facility at 712 Second Street (Myrtle Avenue).
Berchie Isenberg Larkins is proud of her legendary grandpa, Jacob Artemas “Artie” Isenberg (1877-1951), one of the last horseback-riding doctors in East Tennessee. She related his story in a recent interview.
When I was about seven years old, my mother and I were walking in the vicinity of McClure Street just off W. Market and observed a man on the opposite side of the street who appeared to be under the influence.
Imagine attending a lecture in 1910 at the Hippodrome Opera House at W. Main and Whitney streets. The speaker is Dr. Alvin Davison of Lafayette College lecturing from his latest textbook, Health Lessons, Book 2, American Book Company. His address would likely go something like this:
My two articles concerning Dr. Artie Isenberg, an early horse-riding physician in East Tennessee, prompted a letter from Dr. Samuel Taylor Bickley, a former resident of the area. He grew up on a farm not far from the Isenberg home.
My recent Dr. Artie Isenberg article prompted Berchie Larkins to provide additional glimpses of her celebrated horseback riding grandfather. The proud granddaughter shared with me a short handwritten treatise authored by Artie on Dec. 12, 1947 titled “Just Another Book – by an Old Horseback Country Doctor – One of the Last of a Vanishing Tribe That Never Can Increase.”
A 1920 booklet titled "Did You Know? - Book of Facts, Household Recipes and other Valuable Information” from the Chattanooga Drug and Chemical Company promoted three health products and at the same time offered 20 pages of interesting reading.