This week in local history

The following events occurred during the week of Sept. 16-22 in Bell County:

1862: Union General George W. Morgan prepared to evacuate the Cumberland Gap by blowing up all his munitions and setting fire to everything else. The resulting explosions almost destroyed the Gap so that it took several days for the pursuing Confederate forces to force their way through the Gap, which allowed the Union forces to escape to Ohio.

1899: Work was being done on the Fairgrounds to extend it to 24th Street. The race track was being enlarged to ½ mile and a new grandstand was under construction.

1909: A Shakespeare Company was presenting “Twelfth Night” at the Manring Theatre.

1927: Bell County was in the grasp of a heat wave—the thermometer registered 119 degrees in the sun. Playground operators reopened the swimming pool and the man who delivered ice to homes was working all hours of the day and night.

1928: The Fall Festival opened on grounds at 21st and Chester. Some of the events included a horseshow pitching tournament, an Old Fiddlers contest, a poultry calling contest and an auto show.

1935: With the assassination of Louisiana Governor Huey Long, attention centered on Lieut. Governor James M. Noe who would be named the new governor. He traced his roots to the Noetown section of Middlesboro, which was named for his uncle, Crit Noe.

1946: Lt. Jack E. Inman was named commanding officer of the local Civil Air Patrol squadron. The Bell County unit had 160 members and was the second largest in the state.

1951: Four new polio cases were reported, making a total of 15 so far this year in Middlesboro.

1952: The local Elks Club discussed plans to organize a Little League Baseball organization in Bell County. The movie “This is Little League” was shown to the group.

1953: The police opened a drive to end “open prostitution” in Middlesboro by arresting 28 women.

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.