This week in local history

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

1891: The new chemical fire engine was brought out to fight a fire in a two story frame house and grocery at 22nd and Exeter. The newspaper reported, “Had it been left to those in charge of the fire hall, the engine would probably have rendered good service, but the crowd got hold of the fire hose and in the excitement pulled it in two.” The building burned to the ground.

1892: A building permit was issued to the A.M.E. Church to construct a building worth $300 in the area known as “Over the Rhine.”

1898: Due to the smallpox epidemic, the State Board of Health has issued an order to allow no one to come into or leave Middlesboro without special permission and a permit from the Board of Health.

1901: The Middlesboro Distilling Company made their first run of whiskey. (Their whiskey would win the gold medal for corn whiskey at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904.)

1911: Alexander Arthur, founder of Middlesborough, died in a modest cottage in Middlesboro.

1926: T. Russ Hill was elected the first president of the newly formed Chamber of Commerce.

1922: Middlesboro Country Club was organized. Membership was limited to 100 and already 50 had joined.

1940: “Gone With the Wind” was playing at the Manring Theatre. There was reserved seating only because of the expected high demand.

1954: One of the largest crowds ever to witness a baptismal service was present at the First Baptist Church. Approximately 900 people were there to see 21 baptized. Rev. W. B. Bingham of the Binghamtown Baptist Church and Rev. Wint Bolton of the East Cumberland Baptist Church were in charge of the services.