This week in local history

Published 6:10 am Monday, November 26, 2018

The following events occurred during the week of Nov. 25 – Dec. 1 in Bell County:

1811: Birth of Joshua Frye Bell, the man for whom Bell County was named.

1891: In an economy move, the Middlesboro City Council voted to reduce city salaries by half and to abolish some positions, such as that of city physician.

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1893: First recorded football game in Bell County was played at the polo grounds in Middlesboro. The town boys played those from the private school, University School, and won 16 to 4.

1901: Fire completely destroyed the leach house at the Tannery. As a result, 200 men were thrown out of work.

1906: Formal opening of the lodge of the Middlesboro Elks on Cumberland Avenue (later used as a hospital and now in an advanced state of disrepair). The spacious halls and parlors were thronged as people admired the gym, bowling alley and other amenities.

1916: The Brownie Theatre on Cumberland Avenue opened with Charlie Chaplin in “The Count” with accompaniment by an eight piece orchestra. The newspaper commented, “The Brownie is a monument to the most modern of all arts, the motion picture.”

1925: All the talk was about the Thanksgiving Day game with Stanford, which was recognized as the champion team of the Bluegrass. Businesses decorated in the team colors—orange and white— of the Middlesboro team, which called itself “The Dixie Flyers.”

1928: Ducci de Kerekjarto, the famed Hungarian violinist, was here for the first concert of the Middlesboro Civic Concert series.

1939: A local chapter of the NAACP was organized with Rev. D. T. Wood as president. The initial membership was 56.

1940: Winchester Avenue was opened to traffic. It was the longest improved street in the city at the time as it extended from 20th to 44th. The next longest improved street was Cumberland Avenue which ran from 10th to 30th Street.

1965: Earle Music Center opened in the Terminal Building at 20th and Chester. It was owned and operated by Harry and Ollie Earle.

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.