This week in local history

Published 10:10 am Monday, April 1, 2019

By the Bell County Historical Society

The following events occurred during the week of March 31 through April 6 in Bell County:

1891: Bellevue House, a fashionable boarding house, opened on Arthur Heights.

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1892: The elegant Four Seasons Hotel in Harrogate opened for business.

1894: The Middlesborough Town Company was attempting to get its taxes lowered. However, many argued that the company did not deserve that consideration since the city paid the company $43,000 (equivalent to about $1,000,000 today) for the sewer system which was washing away.

1899: A Men’s Reading Club was organized with a room containing periodicals “where young men…may spend their leisure hours.”

1903: James Brown, a fireman on the Southern Railroad, was placed under arrest for selling cocaine to local “fiends.” The newspaper stated, “Middlesboro possesses a large number of depraved things who cannot live without the fearful drug.”

1912: Otto Brown, manager of the Amuzan Theatre, opened an annex to his show on 19th for colored people only.

1921: All the business houses in Middlesboro closed for the big baseball game at East End Park between the Kiwanis and the Country Club.

1924: A foot bridge over the canal at 21st Street was completed.

1929: Dedication of the new Christian Church at 22nd and Cumberland.

1940: The Elks elected Alva Ball as their exalted leader.

1947: Editorial warned that the American Communists were in league with Moscow and that local Tannery employees are considering joining the United Fur and Leather Workers Union whose leader was a charter member of the U.S. Communist party. It went on to say the union organizers had been wining and dining Tannery workers. “We had noticed unusual activity lately in the ‘gin mills’…even the prostitutes seemed to be more prosperous than usual…Can it be that some of ‘Uncle’ Joe Stalin’s cash is helping the neon lights on 19th?”

1954: Nearly 1/3 of Kentucky’s miners were idle, while only a few of the approximately 34,000 employed miners were getting a full week’s work. Most of the unemployed are in eastern Kentucky.

1965: Announcement that Lee Majors (stage name for Middlesboro’s Harvey Lee Yeary) would receive co-billing in the new color TV series “Big Valley.”

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.