This week in local history

The following events occurred during the week of June 17-23 in Bell County:

1890: Middlesboro reported a population of 6000. It had seven churches, three banks, a steam laundry, three brick yards, a foundry and machine shop, the largest tannery in the world, electric lights, 15 miles of railroad around the city and 5 miles of line up Cumberland Ave. Building improvements over the last ten months totaled $2,750,000 (roughly equivalent to $55,000,000 today).

1900: The Bloomer Girls baseball team defeated the local team 14 to 9 in an exhibition game. According to the newspaper, “The game was strictly moral and without any objectionable feature whatever.”

1909: The opening ball of the season took place at The Middlesborough with all three ballrooms being in use. Cornwell’s Orchestra from Louisville had been secured for the season.

1910: Lay’s Distillery was totally destroyed by fire. Revenue officers had been investigating some irregularities in the operation of that distillery and others in town.

1927: Final plans were being laid for a big motorcade of businessmen into the Bluegrass for the purpose of advertising the scenic attractions of our area. Fifty-five citizens were already signed up. The Hoe Brothers Quartet was to furnish the entertainment.

1930: A Tom Thumb miniature golf course was built around the Coal House, which was located next to the Cumberland Hotel on Cumberland Ave. between 18th and 19th Streets.

1937: Bell County “wets” carried the day with a total of 4132 to the “dry” vote of 3030.

1943: Horse and buggy days were coming back due to war restraints on the use of cars. A. P. Lieburg of Middlesboro Steam Laundry was using a pony and wagon for delivery service while Chester VanWinkle of One, Two Three Taxi Service was using a pony and buggy for short hauls.

1952: Negotiations completed for the purchase of 11.61 acres of land for a hospital for the United Mine Workers (now Middlesboro Appalachian Regional Hospital).

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.