Johnson City Underwent Needed Downtown Improvements in 1904

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 built to stand the stress of harsh weather and pedestrian's feet.

“There could be an improvement in keeping the sidewalks clean on Main Street. The present fashion of dress for ladies necessitates so much street sweeping that it would be well if the biggest dirt were taken off before they begin. Surely the town is growing in the right direction. Pleasant homes are the foundation of all improvements, and there are many such here.

“Looking back 14 years to boom times and one sees green lots with trees and flowers where there were once only fresh beds of red clay. We are not yet out of the mud entirely but we hope to be soon.”

The newspaper noted that if the work done with board money was to be conscientiously done, the city could indeed rejoice. The call was for the town to be a good one where people enjoyed coming and which invited the best in a manner to compel them to return.

It was speculated that excursions that brought people to the city for a visit included those who might be looking for a nice place to call home. Therefore, the residents wanted to be able to impress strangers so favorably that they would return again and again, with some of them eventually settling in Johnson City. The best recipe for a successful town was defined as having clean streets, good sidewalks, pretty yards, bountiful trees, flowers and vines.

“By the way, where is that new opera house?,” asked The Comet. “Please hurry it up. The old one has not grown with the town. There has been a reduction of young boys loitering on the streets, but there is need for more improvement. Let them play and have good times but they also need some meaningful work of some kind to do.”

“As to schools,” the publication said, “you may find much to better. The standard should be raised, but when you look back, well, we don't feel too much of a grumble. The town is improving and all must help it. What can you do for your part?”

Other news in the paper that day included:

Foy W. Dulaney, H.C. Miller, George T. Wofford and H.D. Gump represented Johnson City at the Lodge of Elks at Chattanooga this week.”

“James A. Summers made a business trip to North Carolina this week in the interest of the hardware firm of Summers, Barton & Parrott.”

“Rev. Earnest Caldwell, who just returned from China as a missionary, was scheduled to preach at the M.E. Church that next Sabbath morning. He has recently returned from China as a missionary.”

“John Dosser is back from Jonesboro and on duty again at the Patton Drug Co.”

“The Johnson City and Bristol baseball teams will play ball Saturday afternoon at West End Park. The game will be called at 3:30 and the indications are that it will be an interesting contest.”

“Examinations for applicants for positions in the city schools will be held in the Science Hill School building beginning on Monday morning, May 30, 1904, at 8:30.

“P.M. Ward and the other boys, Oran Ward and Raymond Cure went fishing last week up Indian Greek near the Fish Hatchery. They camped out, sleeping in the wagon and catching fish for their breakfast and report a jolly time.”

“'Robin's Roost' has been purchased from Honorable Alfred A. Taylor by Col. W.E. Burbage. Taylor has moved his family to his Chucky Valley farm and given possession of the city property to the purchaser who will move his family into it at once.”

“Austin Springs, hotel will be opened June 1st with a grand ball and many invitations have been issued. There will be an afternoon concert from 2:30 to 4:80 p.m. by the Soldiers' Home band with dancing and refreshments in the evening.”