City gets missing mayoral pictures back

Published 11:50 am Thursday, July 6, 2023


After disappearing for roughly 40 years, some of Middlesboro’s history has been restored, with 16 previously lost photos of past mayors returned to City Hall. These photos of previous mayors previously belonging to the city, were first spotted in a pawn shop by local businessman Tony Maxwell, who in turn called the Bell County Historical Society.

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Soon after, father and daughter Larry and Susannah Cadle, owners of Antique and Modern Jewelry and the East End Pawn Shop, gave the pictures to the Bell County Historical Society Museum after learning Mayor Boone Bowling wanted to hang pictures of all the mayors of Middlesboro in City Hall.

“We are finishing the collection and will loan them to City Hall to display,” said Jes’Anne Givens with the Bell County Historical Society. “I just think it’s always a nice thing to see something get returned to its original place.”

The pictures of past mayors that have been recovered are:

• J. M. Brooks — 1890-1891

• D. E. McDonwell — 1892-1893

• David G Colson — 1884-1896

• Walter G Bishop — 1897

• J. G. Fitzpatrick — 1898

• W. H. Turner — 1899-1900, 1900-1905

• E. S. Helburn — 1906-1913, 1918-1921

• J. L. Manring — 1914-1917

• J. H. Keeney — 1922-1925

• Ray Moss — 1926-1929

• M. S. Hollingsworth — 1930-1933

• Isaac Ginsburg — 1934-1937

• Dr. W. K. Evans — 1938-1941, 1946-1949

• H. R. Giles — 1942-1945

• Sherman Chasteen — 1950-1953

• F. R. Whalin — 1954-1957

• Hubert White — 1958-1961

The only past city for whom there is no known picture is R. C. Ford, who served as mayor from Feb. 5, 1900 to Aug. 16, 1900.

The majority of these pictures are the only known copy, and the next challenge is finding a safe way to make copies of them. This find has inspired the historical society to do the same with the previous Pineville mayors, fiscal court, and Middlesboro and Pineville city councils.