This week in local history

The following events occurred during the week of Feb. 4-10 in Bell County.

1890: The Middlesborough News received a new press. It weighed 1400 pounds, came in 22 boxes and took an entire railroad car to transport it. There were 300 separate and distinct parts. The cost was $1900.

1897: The Gaiety Big Burlesque gave a performance in the Opera House to a crowd of men and boys. After the basic show, the “oocha-koocha” was given by three girls. (Boys under 15 were not to be admitted.) The newspaper reported it was “one of the hottest troupes on the road.” By special request, the show was continued a second night.

1905: After a long and heated discussion, the Middlesborough Odd Fellows Lodge elected to have a telephone installed in one of its anterooms. The main objection came from members who feared their wives would “ring up” to find out if their husbands were really present.

1925: A fire broke out in the old Brewery in the East End (location is now within the Cumberland Gap National Park). Since the area went “dry” in 1915, the Brewery had been closed, but a part of the building was being used by J. F. Schneider and Sons as a packing house for their meat business. 120 hogs were penned in back of the building and when the fire broke out, they all scattered.

1936: In the depths of the Depression, the Tannery was running full time and hiring 250 men.

1952: Pvt. Kenneth Sells was awarded the Silver Star for heroic action in the Korean conflict. He picked up a grenade that had been thrown near his company and attempted to throw it back, thus saving the lives of his company. He lost his arm in doing so.

1960: Eighteen men, beginning with little funds but a great deal of zeal, started the Middlesboro Rescue Squad. The group was headed by Barton Massengill.