This week in local history

Published 10:10 am Monday, March 4, 2019

By the Bell County Historical Society

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

1889: Property on Cumberland Avenue was selling briskly with prices advancing more than 10 percent in one week.

1899: Ben Harney, “one of the original boomers” and assistant postmaster in the early days was gaining a national reputation for his ragtime music.

1905: Members of the Middlesboro Orchestra demonstrated their expertise with a performance of music from the Cinderella opera.

1918: Clarence F. Hill was wounded in France in a German trench raid. He was the first man from Bell County to be wounded in action. His stepfather, Fred Perkins, was a veteran of the Spanish- American War.

1926: The men’s Sunday School class at the First Baptist Church was making arrangements for an attendance of 500 at their annual banquet, which was being catered by the Cumberland Hotel. Over 200 men were added to the class rolls in the past year and the previous Sunday there were 560 in attendance.

1934: One of the most completely equipped moonshine stills ever taken in Bell County was seized on Maxwelton Heights in Middlesboro. The still was in a ramshackle building behind the home of the owner. Although the building appeared abandoned, the basement was finished in concrete with electric lights. A pipe from the still attached to the residence chimney so smoke would not be noticed and the “slop” ran into the residence sewer. The still had a 600 gallon capacity.

1957: The Jaycees set up a Youth Center on Exeter for Middlesboro High School students. There was a juke box, an area for dancing, booths, ice cream fountain and a recreation area with ping-pong tables. Combos of students were encouraged to provide live music. There was no charge other than for food and drinks.

1960: Bell County had 13” of snow on the ground with more predicted to be on the way.

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.