Recent Posts

The Appalachian Good Roads Convention Met in Roanoke, VA in 1911 October 17, 2016 City, Services - The fifth annual convention of the Southern Appalachian Good Roads Association, held in Roanoke, Virginia for two days in 1911, was highly successful toward accomplishing the purpose for which the organization was created. Deep interest in improved roads was manifested throughout the sessions. Especially noticeable was the enthusiasm of local men present who were overly… Continue Reading
City’s 1908 Building Plan Cost Several Hundred Thousand Dollars September 26, 2016 City, Services - A December 1908 local newspaper had this to say about Johnson City's anticipated growth: "To say that Johnson City will grow by leaps and bounds during the coming year will be stating nothing more than the truth and to back up the assertion herewith give you some of the facts gathered from those who know." … Continue Reading
Johnson City Reduced to Total Darkness on Feb. 28, 1903 June 20, 2016 City, Services - The eye-catching news in a local Feb. 28, 1903 newspaper was bold and to the point: "Beginning March 1st, Johnson City will be in total darkness." It seems that on that day the contract with the Electric Light Company for street lights expired, leaving a new contract pending. The city population that year was about… Continue Reading
March 1894 Spring Street Fire Destroyed Three Businesses, Post Office Saved May 16, 2016 City, Services - Over the years, fires have struck downtown Johnson City, leveling some buildings and causing minor damage to others. Perhaps the biggest one occurred in May 1905 and destroyed almost everything within the boundaries of E. Main, S. Roan, Jobe (replaced by State of Franklin Road) and Spring streets. One notable structure, Johnson City's First Baptist… Continue Reading
In Late June 1891, Johnson City Received a New Much-Needed Water System February 15, 2016 City, Services - In mid-summer of 1891, Johnson City received a new much-needed water works system, which was long overdue that covered all parts of the growing city. For their faithful and untiring efforts in the construction of the new plant, the Watauga Water Company deserved the highest compliment. Although time was limited and the city was hindered… Continue Reading
In 1897, Johnson City and Jonesboro Squared Off Over $313.58 January 18, 2016 City, Services - Municipal quarrels are a thing of modern day and long-ago; only the magnitude of the dollar amount has changed. In April 1897, a local newspaper, The Staff, contained an inflammatory editorial: "The people of Johnson City are all poor and they know it. They also know that much of the vaunted wealth of Jonesboro has… Continue Reading
The City’s Downtown Business District Nearly Burned to the Ground in May 1905 September 1, 2015 City, Services - Just minutes prior to midnight on May 2, 1905, a devastating fire struck Johnson City's downtown business district, resulting in considerable property damage. In today's feature, I will take readers on a time machine journey back to that evening to see exactly where the fire was located and the degree of damage it inflicted. I… Continue Reading
A Glance Back to Former Johnson City Mayor, William J. Barton June 15, 2015 City, Services - The late Sue Carr Eckstein, daughter of Paul Carr, co-owner of Carr Brothers, Inc., once shared her father's massive scrapbook with me. One local undated Johnson City Chronicle article dealt with the passing of former Johnson City mayor, William J. Barton, who I have written about several times over the years. According to Ray Stahl's… Continue Reading
Johnson City Underwent Needed Downtown Improvements in 1904 February 16, 2015 City, Services - May 1904 saw Johnson City looking "pretty," according to the local newspaper. This was four years before the downtown streets were paved. "How pretty the town looks," it said, " in its robe of green trimmed with roses and other flowers. The new sidewalks are a great improvement, too. Let us hope they will be… Continue Reading
Ray A. Mettetal’s 32 Years of RFD Mail Delivery Lasted from 1917 Until 1949 January 12, 2015 City, Services - Ms. Cecile Mettetal McQueen sent me a letter containing a March 1978 newspaper clipping written by former Johnson City Press-Chronicle writer, Dorothy Hamill. The article dealt with Ms. McQueen's grandfather, Ray Albert Mettetal, who with his wife, Gwendolyn, resided at 1301 E. Holston in Johnson City. The elder Mettetal was the father of Dr. Ray… Continue Reading