This week in local history

Published 10:10 am Monday, February 4, 2019

The following events occurred during the week of Feb. 3-9 in Bell County:

1890: Steam engines were leveling a large hill opposite the railroad depot (18th and Lothbury) and filling in the bed of a small river. Lights had been put up so the shovels could work day and night.

1894: The U.S. Post Office decided to drop the “ugh” from all those places with names ending in “orough.” Thus, our Middlesborough became Middlesboro as far as the post office was concerned.

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1900: According to the newspaper, “Another relic of the boom days went the way of many others this week when the magnificent street car was sold to a company in Owensboro.”

1902: A legal process, filed by W.G. Colson for rent on Mingo Hollow property where the Quarterhouse (saloon) was located, led to a confrontation and the newspaper prediction, “there’s blood on the face of the moon.”

1903: Frank Cecil returned to Bell County after giving bond. He was indicted in the assassination of Kentucky Governor Goebel a year earlier along with Jack Steel, also of Bell County.

1919: The Great Blackstone appeared with his company at the Manring Theatre. He was heralded as the mastermind of magic.

1926: The Kiwanis Club heard a report by T.R. Hill, chairman of the committee to investigate plans to organize a Chamber of Commerce. They also heard a talk by an expert from Cincinnati on organizing chambers.

1939: Middlesboro suffered its worst flood in years. Two people died of exposure and 150 families had to leave their homes. The entire business district was submerged.

1944: Sgt. Muriel Whited of Bell County was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action during the Sicilian campaign. He was guarding a small bridge at the Sicilian front when he was approached by eight enemy motorcycles with 2 to 3 men in each. He signaled them to stop, but the enemy opened fire and Whited returned fire, stopping all of the motorcycles and killing or wounding 10 of the enemy.

1957: Three out of four of the Bell County entrants in the Golden Gloves at Knoxville won unanimous decisions: Ronnie Milligan, Paul Gombita and Tommy Roberts.

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.