This week in local history

Published 10:10 am Monday, July 30, 2018

The following events occurred during the week of July 29 through Aug. 4 in Bell County:

1889: The First Presbyterian Church was organized with 15 members. Rev. Henry Miller was the first pastor.

1898: About 50 African-American men arrived with their families to go to work for the Watts Steel and Iron Syndicate.

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1903: According to the newspaper, “J. L. Manring has rented the front part of the building next to Gallagher’s plumbing shop and is using the room as a stable for his automobile.”

1906: The cornerstone for Central School was laid.

1916: Cumberland Ave. was getting its first surface of blacktop.

1919: The Middlesboro Giants, “a colored baseball team representing our city,” arrived home after playing through parts of Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee and West Virginia. They were on the road almost a month and won 20 of their 23 games. They are to begin a home season and are scheduled to play Birmingham, Atlanta, Chattanooga and Knoxville.

1930: Jack Zuta was assassinated in the continuing Chicago gang warfare. Zuta was business manager for Bugs Moran and reputed to be the “the best business brains in the underworld.” Moran’s gang was fighting that of Al Capone. Zuta had close ties to Middleboro. He had lived here and had businesses here for a number of years and had many friends and relatives here. He visited in Bell County almost every summer.

1933: It was announced that the new dam at Cove Creek would be called Norris Dam in honor of U. S. Senator George W. Norris of Nebraska, sponsor of the ten year fight for the project.

1941: Of the 111 men inducted into the Army by the local draft board, only four were draftees. It was necessary to induct those four only because volunteers could not be contracted in time to take their examinations.

1950: The census reported that Middlesboro had a population gain of 22.4% over the past ten years. The census counted 14,419 residents.

To learn more about local history, visit the Bell County Museum, located just north of the Middlesboro Post Office, Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.