This week in local history

Published 10:10 am Monday, August 6, 2018

The following events occurred during the week of Aug. 5-11 in Bell County:

1811: Arthur Campbell died at his home at the Gideon Tenements (located near the present 24th and Gloucester in Middlesboro). Campbell had moved to the Yellow Creek Valley in 1805 after a long and illustrious career as a surveyor, soldier, farmer and Virginia state legislator, mainly to protect his rights to the tract of land which he had patented on Yellow Creek in 1796.

1889: The railroad tunnel from between Cumberland Gap and Middlesboro was cut through. The meeting of the two tunnels, which had been simultaneously dug from the two sides and had taken 18 months to accomplish, was an occasion for wild celebration on both sides of the mountain.

1891: Middlesboro City Council was presented with bills for nine pauper burials. The cost for adults was $4.50 and for children $2.00. The Council complained that, “the number of deaths of paupers here was becoming outrageous and very expensive, it seeming as if paupers from all parts were coming here to die.”

1919: Drs. Brosheeer and Brummet bought the Elks Home with plans to remodel it for a hospital.

1923: Chief of Police Ball announced that he would enforce Sunday closing laws. All merchants were warned that they must remain closed all day on Sunday.

1929: The State Session of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masonry for Colored People and the Order of the Eastern Star were meeting in Bell County. There were over 800 delegates.

1937: Mayor Ike Ginsberg signed a contract with TVA to purchase cheap power. Middlesboro was the first city in Kentucky to contract with TVA. (Kentucky Utilities sued and the contract was eventually nullified.)

1930: Funeral was held for Jack Zuta, who had been killed in the gang warfare in Chicago. The local Elks Club, of which he was a member, had charge of the services, but the orthodox Jewish ritual was used. All the Jewish stores in town were closed in his memory. He was buried in the Jewish cemetery here.

1944: Bell County resident Frank R. Evans was reported killed in action in France.

1951: Judge Maddox wrote the Senate Crime Investigating Committee asking that federal investigators be sent to Bell County “to look into the crime situation, as it might be hooked up with gambling and dope interests in other towns.”

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.