This week in local history

The following events occurred during the week of June 10-16 in Bell County:

1891: The first water was pumped from Fern Lake to the city of Middlesborough. The dam was the first masonry core dam to be built in the U.S. It cost $185,000 (equal to approximately $3,700,000 today).

1893: The first batch of beer made at new brewery. Production started at 150 barrels a week and continued until Bell County went “dry” in 1915. Their premier brand was called Pinnacle Beer.

1898: The Middlesborough (hotel) was advertising the water of its mineral spring as having “extraordinary medicinal value.”

1911: The first house-to-house mail delivery in Middlesboro.

1914: Due to an “avalanche of orders,” R. M. Barry, the proprietor of the Coca-Cola Bottling Works, added a night shift. The newspaper reported, “Mr. R. M. Barry is the man who dons a big white apron after the fashion of a chef and with his magic spoon, he adds a little bit here and stirs a little bit there until it suits his epicurean taste, then he has that refreshing and satisfying beverage called Coca-Cola.”

1933: One hundred newspaper editors were meeting in Middlesboro for the 63rd mid-summer meeting of the Kentucky Press Association.

1941: Martin Brothers was busy working on war contracts, necessitating 3 shifts. The company had over 180 employees.

1965: Opening ceremonies were held for the Boy Scout Mischa Mohwa Adventure Trail at the Cumberland Gap National Park. At least 200 scouts were here for the event and there was a 25 unit parade through town with camp fire ceremonies in the evening.

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.