Test Your Knowledge of Vintage Downtown Johnson City

From time to time, I incorporate a history quiz in my columns to challenge Press readers’ memories of vintage Johnson City. Listed below are 15 questions. See how many you can answer without looking at the answers at the end of the column. Older residents should know many of them.


1. The Sevier Theatre was once located at 113 Spring Street. What was located at this site before that?

2. Was the front entrance to the old Arcade Building from W. Main or W. Market Street?

3. The east block of Main and Market streets had a small walkthrough adjacent to McLellans that provided a convenient access from one street to the other. What popular business operated for years at 124 E. Market in that crosswalk? 

4. F.W. Woolworth’s last location was at 315-17 E. Main, the current site of Hands On Museum. Before that, it was a narrow store on the north side of Main Street between Fountain Square and Roan Street. Was it adjacent to Liggett’s (drug store) or Hannah’s (men’s clothing store)?  

5. Was the front entrance to Parks Belk Department Store from E. Main or E. Market Street?

6. Peter’s Gift Shop was located at 325 E. Main. Many residents (including me) bought tropical fish from Peter because he took such good care of them. What was Peter’s last name?

7. What is the name of downtown Johnson City’s longest running business that is still in operation?

8. Nance Lanes, a bowling alley, once conducted business between E. Main and E. Market at Division. What car dealership previously occupied that site?

9. When the Lady of the Fountain was relocated from Fountain Square in 1937, where did the city put her for a few years before selling her?

10. What was the name of the individual who made, delivered and sold delicious hot tamales downtown to local businesses as well as to pedestrians?

11. What was on the property at the southeast corner of E. Main and Roan before King’s Department Store was built there?

12. The John Sevier Hotel’s original building plans called for how many sections? How many were actually completed? 

13. What once attracted townspeople and visitors to the Faw property at N. Roan and W. Market before the John Sevier Hotel was constructed there?

14. What two city-owned buildings were adjacent to the Leon-Ferenbach plant, situated back-to-back along the east end? One faced King Street, the other W. Market Street.

15. What was the name of the Fire Department’s trusty mixed pit bull canine mascot that faithfully served the city from 1928 until 1936? 


1. Elk’s Building – BPOE (Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks). 2. W. Market Street. 3. Arcade Shoe Shop. 4. Liggett’s. 5. E. Main Street. It also had a side entrance from Fountain Square. 6. Peter Naher. 7. Masengill’s. 8. Dan Plank Oldsmobile. 9. At the entrance to Roosevelt (Memorial) Stadium. 10. Will Cope. 11. The Methodist Episcopal Church, today known as the First Methodist Church, now located at 900 Spring Street. 12. Three were planned but only two were completed. 13. A spring that not only became a watering hole for visitors and their animals to the downtown area but also became an essential water supply for Science Hill High School across the street. 14. Johnson City Police Department (north) and Fire Station #4 (south). 15. Boss, operating out of Fire Station #3.