This week in local history

Published 10:10 am Monday, August 20, 2018

The following events occurred during the week of Aug. 19-25 in Bell County:

1889: The first scheduled train from Knoxville to Middlesboro had a disastrous wreck about 30 miles north of Knoxville. Six men were killed, including the mayor of Knoxville, and Alexander Arthur was seriously wounded.

1892: Pinnacle Beer went on sale for the first time. According to the newspaper, “A special delivery wagon will be run to deliver bottled beer to private individuals and families. Special attention will be paid to this class of trade and customers can be assured of prompt filling of orders.” The cost was $.75 per dozen pints and $1.25 per dozen quarts.

1902: The Middlesboro City Council met for the first time since December of 1901, this being the first time that a quorum was present. Three members of the council had been boycotting meetings thus preventing any action by the council.

1912: The Elks had a three day reunion and festival climaxed by a big Bar-B-Q. Over 300 people attended. The new municipal building was fitted with 200 cots to take care of those who could not get rooms at local hotels.

1917: The Coal Operators Association of Eastern Kentucky met in Bell County. The 150 coal mine owners and operators in attendance voted not to recognize any union in any sense, either directly or indirectly.

1918: Dr. John Moss was serving in France at Camp Hospital #33. He was second in command of the surgical wards.

1920: The census gave Middlesboro a population of 8041, an increase of 10.1% in the past ten years.

1923: The Middlesboro City Council passed an ordinance making it a punishable offense to speak in public in a manner that would bring ridicule to any person or race or incite hatred between races and classes.

1932: Harry Hoe was crowned City Tennis King after he “chopped-stroked his way to the city tennis title by defeating Adrian Saylor.”

1941: The PTA at Central School, which ran the kitchen at the school in order to serve a hot lunch daily to needy children, was soliciting donations of fruit and vegetables from local gardens. They were planning to can the produce for use in the winter.

1945: A diphtheria epidemic in the Noetown area claimed the life of another child. There had been 15 cases and three deaths of local children in the last couple of months due to diphtheria.

1945: Rev. H. H. Mayes, known by all as the “Road Sign Minister,” had just finished his biggest work—an aviation sign. It was a 150’ by 50’ concrete cross located on the aviation beam between Knoxville and Washington.

1965: The Tannery pump station and a car belonging to the Tannery were dynamited. Both incidents were thought to be connected with a wildcat strike.

1965: Middlesboro’s Diamond Jubilee was celebrated with a community picnic at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. Bontia Bingham, daughter of Rev. and Mrs. W. B. Bingham, was named Miss Diamond Jubilee. Sissy Cadle was the runner-up.

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.