Middlebsoro founder’s great-great-granddaughter to visit city

Published 5:22 pm Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The great-great-granddaughter of the founder of Middlesboro will visit the community Thursday for the first time.

Catherine Russell is scheduled to arrive at the Arthur/Middlesboro Museum, formerly the American Association Building, at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Middlesboro Main Street, Bell County Tourism and Bell County Chamber of Commerce have organized a tour of the city.

Email newsletter signup

Alexander Arthur established Middlesboro in early 1888, naming it after Middlesbrough, England. He formed the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap and Louisville Railroad to build a spur line to Middlesboro to transport the pig iron out of the valley.

According to a press release from Middlesboro Main Street, Arthur believed that Middlesboro would one day grow into a great industrial center and decided to establish a suburb for the city’s future elite on the Tennessee side of the Cumberland Gap. He named this establishment Harrogate.

Arthur built his home in Harrogate and around the same time, American Association Ltd., spent $2 million developing the area, which included at the time the 700-room Four Seasons Hotel. The development company went bankrupt and Lincoln Memorial University now sits on the property where the hotel once stood.

In 1897, Arthur traveled to Alaska and joined the Klondike Gold Rush. He eventually settled in New York but after suffering a stroke, he returned to Middlesboro where he lived out his remaining years.

Arthur was born Aug. 30, 1846 and died on March 4, 1912. He is buried in a family plot in the Middlesboro Cemetery.

This is Russell’s first visit to Middlesboro.