Do you enjoy reading about the history of Northeast Tennessee and surrounding area? If so, welcome to “Bob Cox’s Yesteryear” website (aka “Archives of Yesteryear”), containing my local history columns and features, most of which have appeared on Monday’s History/Heritage page of the Johnson City (Tennessee) Press newspaper.

Subjects deal with the glorious beginnings of this beautiful Appalachian mountainous region. My primary focus lies mainly within Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina, with particular emphasis on Johnson City, Tennessee. 

Backyard Pool Sales Experience Tremendous Growth During 1950s May 24, 2021 Recreation - As the summer months approach, many naturally retreat to their backyard pools to cool down. The existence of swimming pools in one’s own backyard was rare until the 1950s. In 1952, there were only 17,000 swimming pools in the United States according to the National Swimming Pool Institute. By 1958, that number had grown to… Continue Reading
Prom Traditions A Century Old at Local High Schools May 5, 2021 Schools - It's prom season once again in East Tennessee. This long-honored tradition of having the Junior class organize and decorate a formal event for the Seniors goes back over a century. Starting out as a collegiate event, high schools were quick to adopt "Junior-Senior Banquets" and Proms by the 1920s. The decorations can almost be visualized… Continue Reading
Martha Wilder School Students and Teachers Entertained With a Wonderfully Delightful School Program August 11, 2019 Schools - "Last Friday night, the pupils of Martha Wilder School, under the supervision of of the teachers, gave one of the most delightful and successful entertainments of all the spring festivals. "The program opened with a glad welcome song by the children of all the rooms and was followed by a cunning folk dance by eight… Continue Reading
If City Founder, Henry Johnson, Could Have Witnessed the Future of His Town, He Would Have Grinned With Pride. August 4, 2019 Businesses - Over the years, Johnson City acquired several city directories with many of them ending up in public libraries and local colleges. These books painted an amazing journey throughout the years. Over time, I added several volumes to my collection, including several from pricey estate sales. The first one from 1908-09 offers an introduction: "In presenting… Continue Reading
The Great Payne Who Specialized in Selling Miracle Remedies for Hard to Cure Drugs July 14, 2019 Medical - An ad in a local newspaper dated June 1906 noted that during the past three or four years, almost every large city in the United States was visited by a young man who did things of an astonishing nature. He carried a remedy that worked wonders, becoming known everywhere as "The Great Payne." A notice… Continue Reading