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 over 133,000.

Pool advertisers beckoned new installations by calling swimming pools the new status symbol instead of a shiny new automobile. Installing a new pool was quite an investment in the 1950s at approximately $4,000, however most paid in monthly installments. One argument for buying a pool: “in time it will pay for itself through savings on all-family vacations. The family stays home now to swim.”

Early pool enthusiasts of the 1940s often resorted to building their pool out of a variety of materials including roofing paper and large vats. However, the 1950s brought the introduction of low-cost prefabricated pools.

Two popular options in the 1950s were the Buster Crabbe Swimming Pool and the Esther Williams Swimming Pool. Both were well-known swimmers and film stars that launched a line of pools that were heavily advertised:

“Yes, you can have this big, luxurious, in-the-ground pool, designed by Esther Williams, Internationally famous swimming star-the newest and smartest means of family fun and healthful, out-door exercise. It means less hot, summer driving on crowded highways to club or beach”.

“Installing your Buster Crabbe pool yourself is easier than ever, thanks to ‘Unitization.’ Buster Crabbe provides all the material…everything except the hole. Just two or three week-ends of work, and you’re the proud owner of a bigger, better, safer, and stronger pool.”

For those of us who could only dream of a swimming pool in the backyard, Sur Joy was there for only a dime to relieve us from summer heat.

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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 in this 1929 report. “The Senior class of Watauga Academy was delightfully entertained by the Juniors in the dining hall of the girls’ dormitory Friday evening. The dining hall was beautifully decorated with pink, white and green combining the colors of the Senior and Junior classes.”

We have similar reports from over in Kingsport in 1924. “The Juniors entertained the Seniors of Kingsport High School at the Country Club Thursday night, May 1. The party began at 8 and lasted until 12. Games of different kinds were played dancing was enjoyed throughout the evening. At 11 o’clock ice cream and cake were served.”

We are reminded of “no-break” and “girl-break” dances in this mention from 1935. “The Junior and Senior classes of Science Hill High School entertained with a “prom” at the Johnson City Country Club Wednesday night. This is the first time for several years that a Junior-Senior prom has been given. A grand march was led by Miss Mary Catherine Dyer, Science Hill’s most beautiful girl, and Mr. E.B. Hale. The evening was featured by “no-break” dance and by “girl-break” dances.

Popular locations for proms included the Johnson City Country Club, the John Sevier Ballroom, and eventually the high school gymnasiums. The ordinary gymnasiums were transformed by the hard-working Juniors in themes such as “Davey Jones Locker” (1950), “April Showers” (1951), “Treasure Island” (1959), “A Night on the Town” (1963), “Roman Holiday” (1964), and “A Summer Place” (1967).

So while dress styles, music, and transportation to proms may have changed, many prom traditions from the past hold fast.

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“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 little girls dressed in snow white of Miss Williams’ room.

“The Train To Mauroö was the dramatic feature of the evening in which little Miss Dorothy Remine played the role of Mrs. Buttermilk, a country woman who believed “charity to all with her herbs and rootsö and and who had advice to spare to everyday.

“Little Buster Barlow as Johnny Buttermilk had come to the conclusion that nothing on earth could keep his mother from talking, especially when he was starving to death for a piece of ginger bread. The station clerk, played by Elbert Whiteside, did not appreciate Mrs. Buttermilk’s advice and was greatly irritated by her insistence on going “To Mauraö today.

“Springtime was beautifully represented by Millicent Fflollett, who was clad in a dainty white frock, wearing the fairy crown and carrying her magic wand. By the wave of her wand. By the wave of her wand, she called forth the lovely spring flowers, which were represented by little girls dressed in exquisite frocks of all colors.

“A bunch of small boys in white suits slipped in behind Springtime and played  the spirits by sprinkling frost over the pretty flowers which withered and died. Seeing the death of the flowers, the Queen of Sunbeams, acted by Doris Serl, appeared with her magic wand and put to flight the little spirits and smiled so warmly upon the flowers that they again raised their graceful little heads.

“The teachers of Martha Wilder are to be commended for such a delightful program. So happy were all that they joined in and sweetly sang “Springtime.ö

“The Sick Doll,ö a clever dialogue, and the “‘Swing Songö by Ida Mae Walker were greatly enjoyed. The last number of the program was a reading my Miss Kate Remine which was a fitful climax for the whole affair, as the most delightful gave “Naughty Zell,ö impersonating a charming little naughty girl.ö

Martha Wilder Funeral Notice

On a further note, I came across a funeral notice of Martha Wilder, noting that the city founder’s daughter had passed away:

“A funeral was held yesterday at Chattanooga for Martha Wilder, 88, for whom one of Johnson’s City’s oldest schools was named. She died Sunday at her home in Media, Pennsylvania.

“Miss Wilder was a daughter of the late General John Thomas Wilder, one of the founders of Johnson City. He gave the land for the school, now used for vocational training and for other public buildings here.

“Another school, Annie Wilder Stratton, was named for a sister who married Frank Stratton.

“General Wilder, a Union Army officer, came here from New York shortly after the close of the Civil War. He moved from here to the Chestoa section of what is now Unicoi  and built several hydro-electric power dams.

“He also operated two blast furnaces at Rockwood, Tennessee and had extensive business interests in East Tennessee. He was a former mayor of Chattanooga and was the officer who led the Union forces against Chattanooga in August, 1863.ö

“Old-timers will recall it was General Wilder who built two hotels on Roan Mountain, the first being a log building. The large frame hotel built in 1885, was destroyed by fire.ö

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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 to you this our first directory of Johnson City, we do so with pride and much pleasure.

“They are delightful because the book has been carefully arranged and compiled and the publisher felt that they were presenting to Johnson City the best directory that could have been published under existing circumstances.

“Minor mistakes can be found occasionally, it being absolutely impossible to make any directory perfect. especially, so we have had previous issues for a guide, but as a whole, we think our directory will prove satisfactory, and we hope will find its way into the business house of every business man in your city.

“By a count of the number of names taken on canvass, we find that we have over 3,500 names, exclusive of firm names and businesses. We are prepared to give the population of Johnson City and nearby suburbs, which we place at about 9,000 people. We also state that we found very few vacant houses and many new ones, which is a sure sign of growth.

“We take pleasure in presenting to you this directory because we believe you realize the need of such, judging from your support and co-operation, without which we would have been unable to publish the work.

“We thank our patrons for their business and extend our thanks to the public in general, for the courteous way in which they gave and supplied us with proper data, and we hope that you will liberally patronize the public spirit men who have advertised and thus aided in giving the citizens of your city a good up-to-date directory.

“If there be any who did not have an opportunity to subscribe for a copy of the directory, they can obtain the same by writing us at our home office located in Asheville, NC.

“Yours very truly, Piedmont Directory Co., by E.H. Miller.”

  Turning the pages to 12 and 13 display the street guide for 1908-1909: Afton, Ashe, Baxter, Boone, Buffalo, Carnegie, Cherokee Road, Cherry, Chestnut, Commerce Avenue, Division, Eighth Avenue, Elm, Elmo, Ernest, Fairview Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Fourth Avenue, Fulton, Grover, Hamilton, Harris Avenue, Henry, Holston Avenue, Humboldt, Ivy, Jobe, King, Lamont, Locust, Main, Maple, Market, Maupin, Millard, Montgomery, Myrtle Avenue, New, Ninth Avenue, Oak, Pine, Popular, Public Square, Railroad (parallel with Southern Railway tracks), Roan, Second Avenue (Carnegie), Seventh Avenue, Sixth Avenue, Spring, Stuart, Summer, Tenth Avenue, Third Avenue (Carnegie), Unaka Avenue, Walnut, Watauga Avenue, Wellborn, Whitney, Willow and Winter.


Physicians listed in this directory (and location of practice) include: CJ Broyles (Kress Bldg), EE Byrd (Natl Soldiers Home), HM Cass (King Bldg.), Jno W. Cox (w Roan), Dulaney HP, Soldiers Home, Dykes LM (DO, MD, 1-2-3 Miller Bldg, Estes Elmore, 307 e Main, Hartsook, NE (eye, ear, nose and throat), Kennedy WT, 834 W Maple, Long EA, 6-7 Brown Bldg, McKay SS, 406 W. Main, Matthews WM, 6-7 King Bldg, Miller HD, 7 Miller Bldg, Miller WJ, 100 w Watauga Ave, Moss JG, 4-5 Miller Bldg, Preas, JH, 241 e Main, Randall, J.P., 4-5-6 Brown Bldg, Sells GJ, 3-4-5 King Bldg, Sherrill OW, 140.5 E Market, West, ET and 26-27 Kress Bldg.

More peeks into Johnson City impressive directories will be featured later.

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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 appeared in the Associated Press reported from Cincinnati, Chicago, New York, Richmond and Atlanta. The correspondence consisted of statements of cures by this so-called remarkable remedy of deafness of 20 years standing, made in three minutes. Cripples walked after using the remedy for only five minutes.

The latest report was from Knoxville where Payne stayed a few weeks and sold $15,000 worth of his remedies. The Journal and Tribune and Sentinel of that city gave daily reports of many remarkable cures, and people from all over the South traveled to Knoxville to learn more of the great remedies that were astonishing people all across the country.

Thousands of leading citizens of Knoxville testified to the merits of the remedies, many of them being professionals of the city. One was Dr. W.N. Somers, who had been hard of hearing for 10 years.

This gentleman used Dr. Andes’ Great Remedies and stated publicly on The Great Payne’s Platform to an enormous crowd of people that this remedy was beyond his conception. Somers could not realize how anyone who had been deaf that long could, in only three minutes, converse with their friends in ordinary tones:

“It is a fact,” he said, “although I cannot explain it, for I now hear distinctly, which is the first time in ten years.” The Great Payne is now in Johnson City, Tennessee and would still be here for one week. Anyone suffering with deafness, stiff joints, catarrh, rheumatism, stomach trouble, kidney, liver and bladder disease, should call to see him at the downtown Arlington Hotel, opposite the Windsor Hotel. Mr. Payne make demonstrations nightly at his show grounds.

A well known Knoxville citizen told how his hearing was restored by use of Dr. Andes’ Great Remedies. It was printed in the newspaper in an advertisement:

“When Mr. Payne came to Knoxville with his good concerts and I saw the enormous crowds passing my home, l decided it was something out of the ordinary to bring out such large audiences night after night.

“My family insisted that we should attend, but I did not care to, knowing that it would be almost impossible for me to enjoy it as I could not understand what was being said on the platform.

“I endeavored to bear the lecture given by “The Great Payne,” but could only catch a few words now and then, but caught the words, ‘It is good for deafness. I purchased one bottle and immediately started the use of it as directed.

“After one application, I was able to understand every word that Mr. Payne said from 30 feet away and could hear the snap of fingers 50 feet from my car. I have used one bottle of the great medicine and am glad to know my hearing is restored.”

 (Signed) J. H. Proffett, 100 E Cumberland Ave., Knoxville, Tennessee.

Catarrh was the cause of Mr. Proffett being hard of hearing; it also caused the loss of memory, sense, smell and taste. Symptoms were a heavy dull headache, bad taste in the mouth and offensive breath. When the problem began to drip, it went into the stomach, causing all forms of indigestion and dyspepsia. Dr. Andes’ great prescription was said to guarantee to cure any form of catarrh.

The “Journal and Tribune” and the “Sentinel” of that city had columns in their papers every day of the demonstrations made on people suffering with deafness and stiff joints. Mr. Payne was about to make his demonstrations nightly while in Johnson City.

By using Dr. Ande’s Great Remedies, he showed the audiences how it would restore hearing and make stiff joints agile in three to five minutes:

“If you suffer with rheumatism, catarrh, stomach trouble, indigestion, constipation, piles (hemorrhoids) of any form, bladder trouble, asthma, or any kind of parasite, such as tape worm, be sure to call Mr. Payne.”

The salesman rented rooms at the Arlington Hotel in downtown Johnson City where anyone could call and he would take great delight in explaining how Dr. Ande’s Great Remedies’ cured a variety of ailments.

An advertisement said, “Paine will remain in Johnson City until Saturday, June 10. The great advertiser’s coat, adorned with $20 gold coins for buttons and handsome diamonds was worn by him while here. He was now in Johnson City with his big free shows, having 20 people including brass and string bands with better than any paid show ever in the state that was free to all.”

A large platform was erected on the vacant lot adjoining the new Armbrust-Smith Building on Spring Street. Concerts opened every night at 7:30 p.m. promptly. The entertainment consisted of two and a half hours of solid fun, humorous comedians, charming singers and several energetic buck and wing dancers.

“I would love to take a swig of that potion right now to get some relief from hearing loss. Is the doctor still in business? With all that healing improvement, he is probably still around.ö

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In the 1950s and 60s, my mother, Leota Cox, and Carrie Bowman (wife of Lester Bowman) made numerous grocery visits to Cloyd  E. Litle located at 1927 W. Walnut Avenue. It was our favorite grocery.

Recently, I located a newspaper clipping from 1987 with photographs that gave further details concerning the business. Former Johnson City, Press Writer, Karen Roberts composed an article titled, “The Last of a Buying Breed.ö

What used to be the telltale ring of a bell against a door in the store signaled business. They traded talk and tales; business was good, but that would change.

Convenience markets on every other block and mammoth supermarkets were snuffing out the small neighborhood groceres where the last of a buying breed spend their money.

While the hours were long, the profits small and the customers few, there were still people like Litle and Jim Killen who whiled away the hours in business, if not bless.

Ironically, when 74-old Litle was a teenager, he carted water from a nearby creek to help mix the mortar and lay bricks for the building he now owns and operates as a grocery at the corner of west Walnut Street and Embreeville Road.

He opened his store whenever he took a notion and closed it and when he got and ready to, he would tell customers. I’m here every day. The door isn’t open on Sunday, but I’m always doing something.ö

Litle had been a grocer since 1947 after fate and a plane crash set him in a wheel chair. When the State of Franklin Road moved in, Litle’s store and stock moved  out and down the road to the building he already owned.

For Mrs. Killen, a desire to be her own boss and a lack of enough money to open a restaurant put her in the grocery business about eight months after she left Arizona to Open Kim’s Grocery on the corner of Virginia and Virginia and Franklin streets.

Her store was the epitome of the family-owned and operated grocery. While she was at the store for most of the 14-hours, seven-day-a-weeks, her husband and co-owner, Randy, helped out part-time, as did  her brother-in-law.

Litle said a lot of familiar people, including “the hot stove leagueö during the winter, saunter in from time to time to exchange conversation.

“Mrs. Killen said she saw mostly familiar faces from day to day since those within walking distance make up a large part of her clientele. Every now and then, someone entered the store with whom they were not familiar, she said.

 For Litle, running the store was both something to do and a way to get rid of his merchandise. But for Mrs. Killen, it was a livilihood, and the one that had been immensely profitable.

“It’s been tough,ö she said. “We haven’t been in it a year yet, and we figure we’ve got to give it a year to make something of it and start making money,ö she said. “Back when I went into business,” Litle said, “there were various little stores here and there around the city, but unfortunately they just faded away.

Mrs. Killen said she was surprised that any small stores existed any more because of the big discouragement of competition. “I don’t see how you can get ahead.ö  

While it takes mainly common sense to run the store, it takes dollars and cents to keep it open. Wholesalers don’t give you a break. That’s how bigger stores make their money, by buying in volume, but a small store can’t do that.ö

For Litle, keeping the store open or closing it, was also a wait and “see thingö that depends partly on whether the value of his property increases because of development around State of Franklin Road, which only time would tell.

I’m glad I patronnized several “mom and popö grocers over years, the main one being West Side Grocery across from where the Pepsi Cola Plant once stood.

If any of my readers have pleasant memories for favorite grocer stores, please sent them to me and tell me what made them so special.

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According to the Johnson City Press-Chronicle, “Kermit Tipton, who last night was elevated from Junior High School coach to the head coaching post at Science Hill School, is a graduate of Milligan College and gained his Master’s Degree at the University of Mississippi.

Tipton, whose football and basketball teams and later Junior High, posted successful records, succeeded Jack Green as head grid mentor of the Hilltoppers.ö


Smallwood Direction

“Sidney Smallwood, basketball coach, was recently named overall athletic director of the city athletic program. The 34-year old Tipton, a former Science Hill football great, starring as a Topper, from 1938 through 1940. Tipton then attended Milligan in 1941 and 1942, before entering the United States Army, where he served in the Infantry for three years. In 1953, he received his Master’s Degree at Ole Mississippi.ö

Coached At Lamar

“Tipton was assistant coach at Lamar in 1949 and 1950, but moved up to the head coaching job at the Washington County School in 1951. In 1951, Tipton’s football won five and lost two. His basketball won 20 and lost five.

“In 1952 at Lamar, the Cherokees under Tipton won five and dropped three in football and won 19 and lost eight in basketball.

“Tipton has been at Junior High three years. In 1953, his football team won three and lost three. In 1954, the team won seven, lost one and tied one, and last season the Junior High eleven posted 11 victories against two defeats.ö



 “In recommending Tipton for the post as head football coach at Science Hill, Forrest Morris, chairman of the recommending athletic committee, wrote Chairman Ray Humphreys of the Board of Education:

Dear Mr. Humphreys: “We are as requested, present to this board the name of Jack Green, who recently resigned as head coach at Science Hill High School, who in our opinion is capable and will satisfactorily fill this position.

“This young man is a keen student of the game of football and is well known for his ability to teach his boys to play smart, aggressive football. He is very popular with the boys, as he is with all of his fellow coaches.ö

“Likewise, he is respected and held in the highest esteem by his competitors, as well as the fame officials. To all familiar with the game of football, he is recognized as one fully capable of fielding smart teams always imbued with a desire to win.

“He is a poor loser, in the sense that he always plays to win and hates to lose, yet he is not one who would at anytime sacrifice the basic ideals of good sportsmanship and clean fair play just in order to win.

“To him, such would be impossible since good sportsmanship and clean fair play is much a part of his of his everyday living, on or off the gridiron. Truly, he is the type of young man with whom we would be willing to trust our own sons.

Kermit’s Success

“Kermit has been successful in his present position, and in the opinion of this committee, has done an all-round  good job, therefore it is more or less in the spirit of a “reward for a good job well done” that we present the name of Kermit Tipton, the present head coach at Junior High and recommend that he be elevated to the Science Hill High School position.

Respectfully submitted, F.K. Morris, chairman, Athletic Committee Member.


And The Rest Is History

“The name of Kermit Tipton went down in Science Hill High School football history never to be forgotten.ö


Photo Accompanying This Column

  “The photo with my column is from December 5, 1957. The caption reads, ‘Most Outstanding ‘Topper – Jule Crocker, center, Johnson City Hilltopper guard, holds his most outstanding trophy, awarded him by the Johnson City Junior Chamber of Commerce. Left to right is ‘Topper coach, Kermit Tipton, Lynn Cooter, and Jule Crocker. It was put in the school’s trophy case.ö

   Writing this article evoked such pleasant memories for me from that era of sports history.

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Now Is Your Chance!

To Secure A Home Or Make An Investment.

“Read This Twice, Tell Your Neighbor And Then Act. 100 Lots In West Park Addition To Johnson City, Tenn. To Be Sold At Public Action To The Highest Bidder Monday, May 15, 1905. Being A Non-Resident, I Have Decided To Sell Off A Part Of My Real Estate Belongings In Johnson City That I May

Give My Whole Time To Commercial Life.

“Promptly At 10 O’clock A.M., I Will Offer For Sale 100 Beautiful Lots In West Park Addition To Johnson City  “To The Highest Bidder And On The Most Favorable Terms.

“Lot Are Generally 50×150 Feet. Streets And Alleys Are Made To Conform To Present City Streets As Near As Possible. City Water And Electric Lights In Park. Ten Minutes Walk Of The Public Square And Churches.ö



“The intelligent observing public need no booming story of the past, present and future of their growing young city. We have seen it from a water tank station on the ETV&G Railroad called Johnson to a live hustling young city with three railroads and other large corporations, expending thousands of dollars to get the right of way to the city via South and Western or otherwise.

“From a population of 50 to near 8,000, from one little country store to a commercial center, representing wholesale and retail in most all lines. The largest manufacturing interest and payroll between Knoxville and Roanoke. Schools are second to none in the state. Churches are of all denominations.

“Two National Banks, two live newspapers, street railway, electric light plant and water works furnishing the purest water on earth. The largest and finest Soldiers Home in the world, costing over three million dollars and “the half has not been told.”

“Coal on the north, steel, iron ore on the south, limestone in the center. Why not Johnson City be the Pittsburgh of the South in steel plants and manufacturing products. These facts are given with no desire for a boom sale or brass band display, but better than banks. secret drawers and stocking legs.

“Don’t you want a home in a growing young city where you can educate your children in the best schools in the state without money and without price.”



Mr. Lee J. Longly, writing to a Chicago paper, described West Park as follows:

“West Park Addition to Johnson City, Tennessee, owned by Mr. John L. Davis, of Knoxville, Tennessee, is one of the prettiest to be found in the Valley of the Alleghenies, and its eligibility to the business center, Carnegie and the Soldiers’ Home makes it valuable and desirable for residences. “It embraces forty acres on the west side, but almost in the center of the city.

“Nothing more beautiful or attractive can be imagined for home sites than the clover carpeted mounds and slopes of this property.

“The entire property runs to a gradual elevation that overlooks the entire city and Soldiers’ Home and is relieved of the dirt and noise of down town life.

“The grand panorama of mountain scenery on both sides of the blue grass valley in which the city is located and in plain view of West Park, presents a picture as picturesque and grand as ever “haunted any artist’s dream.”

“No grander view can be conceived than the one from West Park. For miles and miles, the eye can follow the trend of the beautiful mountains and fall back an instant to long sweeps of corn and clover fields of the Tennessee Valley.

“The stiff mountain breeze from the summit of magnificent Roane floats gently o’er the city and kisses coquettishly, purple-tinted clover blossoms on West Park. Surely a more desirable property for home sites could not be found.

“Look the property over and attend the sale. Every lot offered will be sold regardless of price. Seldom do you have a chance to buy gilt-edge city property at your own price.

“Terms: One-tenth cash and the balance payable in 30 monthly installments with six percent interest; 5 percent discount to parties paying cash. For further information and maps, address or call at the Arlington Hotel located in downtown  Johnson City Tennessee.

“Title to the above property belonging to Mr. J.L. Davis is absolutely good. We will furnish abstract, make deeds, etc.ö

I will have more to say about West Park in a future article, as well as comment about Lake Tonnewanda West Park on its property.






  Do any of my readers know what happened to Lake Tonnewanda, not to be confused with Lake Wataussee (later becoming known as Cox’s Lake on Lakeview Drive)?

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The Country Gentleman magazine once provided a way for its readers to claim cost-free copies of Zane Grey books.  Zane Grey’s absorbing romance of love and adventure in  The “Man of the Forestö was published in March 1922.

Worried, fighting mad, armed for vengeance with all his hunter’s instinct alert, Milt Dale, “The Man of the Forest,ö crashes though the treacherous mountain trails, his trained eye searching for tracts of horses.

For into this forest, kidnappers in the hideout of Harvey Riggs had kidnapped Milt’s sweetheart, Helen Raynor and her sisters. Somewhere in these wilds, they were  defenseless, perhaps in danger. Wherever, they are, Milt must find them pronto, therefore he crashes on.

There is a real Zane Grey situation: tense, dramatic, and full of action. There are his typical giants of honest courage and those of ruthless villainy. And there are the clean, strong women who move through his romances.

If you have ever enjoyed a Zane Grey story, and what adventure-loving red blooded American hasn’t!, you won’t hesitate to let us give you this book cost free.

You may have, without charge, any or all of these favorite books by America’s most popular author:

The Mysterous Rider- “Hell Bentö Wade, riding into Belllounds Ranch in search of the man who killed his wife, meets strange adventures.

Wildfire- Lucy Bostil, a daughter of the western plains,  shares adventures and dangers with Wildfire, her spirited stallion.

The Last Trail- A glorious tale of the old Ohio frontier and the dramatic defense of Fort Henry. Against the attacks of Indians and renegades.

The Light of the Western Stars- The Western ranch of a New York girl becomes the center of bitter warfare between cattlemen and bandits.

The Spirit of the Border- A vivid, unforgettable account of the lives and loves of the sturdy frontiersmen of our history history.

Zane Grey’s photograph can be seen above. Scenes from the photo-play version of the “Man of the Forest.’

Let me inject a personal note. Several years ago, I acquired 31 tan and red volumes, each being about one inch thick. My favourite was “The Dude Ranger.ö It seems that one of the ranch workers, Ernest Selby, inherited a cattle ranch in Arizona. Someone had been rustling cattle there. So the rightful owner aquired himself an alias and signed on as a ranch hand to see what he can find out. Of course, after all is said and done, the guilty varmet(s) is duely identified and sent off into the sunset never to return. Surely they must have lived happily ever after.ö After all… all that is well ends well.

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In the mid 1940s, my mother ordered groceries from Ford Wilson Grocery Store located on 200 Elm Street, which was several blocks away from where we lived in the Gardner Apartments, located at the intersection of W. Watauga Avenue and W. Market Street.

Mr. Ford wisely delivered groceries to area patrons using a bicycle. I remember a nice young man, who worked for Guy, load his bicycle for deliveries. Guy Wilson used to do the same thing for his pharmacy at W. Market and W. Watauga. I don’t recall there being a charge for this service.

This was during World War II when my dad was serving his country. Grocery stores who had delivery service was a blessing since many women struggled to make ends meet until the war was over and soldiers began returning home.

Our apartment was #10 upstairs. It was close to the Police Department on the King Street side and the Fire Department on the W. Market Street side. We all felt safe.

Occasionally, a trio of  emergency sounds could be heard with the Silk Mill adding its noisy roar from the machines to the clamor. Truthfully, after living there a brief amount time, we did not notice it. It was home to us.

My mother routinely purchased food from the Red Store at 266-268 W. Market. I went with her on most visits. My research shows that the owner was a W. Howard Stewart. I seem to recall a Mr. Weems, who owned it for a period of time.

Mom would take me there to get a few food items. Later, she allowed me to go to the Red Store by myself to pick up her called-in order. She would go out on our second floor porch and wait for me to return down a narrow sidewalk with my merchandise.

That worked well and boosted my self confidence, except for one incident when a stray dog chased me, sending me back to the store and having to call mom to retrieve the food and her freighted young son. However, I soon overcome my fear of dogs and routinely picked up orders for Mom.

As 1950 rolled around, we moved to Johnson Avenue in the west side of town. We ate out on most Friday evenings, usually choosing the Cut Rate Supermarket on Walnut Street. We always made it a family affair.

I particularly enjoyed patronizing the magazines. My favorite one, a monthly, was Alfred E. ‘What Me Worry’ Newman” and possessing a unique face that only a mother could love. Amazingly, he hasn’t changed in all these years. He is still around and still ugly.

Our family later began patronizing Giant Food Store on Commerce Street. Another store that attracted our business was Kroger, located on King Street. It was not as large as Giant but attracted my parents on occasion.

In 1960, there were 106 grocery stores in and around Johnson City. Some of my favorite “Mom and Pop” grocery stores that were close to our residence were West Side Grocery (Knob Creek Road and W. Market Street) and Fox Grocery (Knob Creek Road close to Peachtree Street). I will never forget Carroll and Nettie Younce. They were jewels.

Other grocery stores in various locations around town were Adams, Bailey, Baskett, Collins, J.M. Copp, Doyle, Lamont Street, Litle (loved that store), Looney, Miller, Mullins, Pardue, Puckett (another favorite), Shipley, Streets, Vest, Watson, Williams, Willingham, White Rock, Wrights and others.

Some businesses maintained their grocery stores for several years, while others moved to other locations. There were an abundance of them during my younger days.

Regardless where they located or relocated, there was always something special about a “Mom and Pop store” that could not be duplicated by larger enterprises.

Sadly, most of the owners of cherished stores from yesteryear have closed their doors and have become just a fading memory.

If you have a favorite store or person from that era that you would like to mention in a future column, please drop me a note at the address listed below. Ah, what memories.

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