In 1888, Limestone, Tennessee was described as "a lovely, healthy village, sporting mineral and sulphur springs, good farms and good people." A newspaper reporter, identified only as "Carswell," stopped at the Limestone Depot, which was one of many railroad stations on the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railway.
I am blessed with readers who send me old newspapers. In my voluminous collection of old papter, I recently came across a Saturday, August 17, 1929 edition of the Johnson City Chronicle, which was yellowed and brittle with age, requiring delicate handling. As I skinned through the edition, I noted several things that were unique to that era.:
In early 1933, Johnny Roventini, who stood 47 inches tall and weighed a mere 59 pounds, was touted by the New Yorker Hotel, where he worked, as the smallest bellboy in the world. One night, he became acquainted with two advertising agents for the Philip Morris Company, who had conjured up a publicity stunt for a cigarette commercial. They offered Johnny a dollar if he would locate a Mr. Philip Morris in the hotel. In actuality, there was no one there by that name.
The Thursday, August 5, 1897, edition of The Comet newspaper contained some depressing news about the death of a young boy whose name was Mayne Williams, the son of Judge and Mrs. Samuel Cole Williams.
I received a note from Betsy Shaw on behalf of her mother, Bessie Kate "Bess" Young Katcham who will be 100 years old on July 18. "Nothing would please her and her family more," said Betsy, "than to have an interview with you about those 100 years in Johnson City and how everything has changed."
Today's column deals with response from four Johnson City Press History/Heritage page readers. I routinely receive requests for help pertaining to local history matters. I try to assist if possible, but sometimes I am unable to do so. Attached are four slightly paraphrased notes that I received from readers. They need your help.
In March 1987, Tom Hodge greeted George Devault to his office to view a priceless deed. The Devault Bridge and the Norton Arney Farm had been front and center in the news that year. The bridge was being widened with two additional lanes to accommodate the new four-lane Bristol-to-Johnson City highway. Furthermore, the Arney Farm had been acquired by the city with plans for it to be made into a park.
The historic Boones Creek community was the site of the famed old Boone tree that for more than 150 years carried the inscription carved by Daniel Boone with his hunting knife: "D. Boone cilled a bar on the tree in year 1760." On Friday, May 14, 1948, the community residents hosted a noteworthy open-house event.