This week in local history

By the Bell County Historical Society

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

1890: The first regular train on the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap & Louisville Railroad passed through the tunnel under Cumberland Mountain and left passengers near the residence of John Colson since the new L&N Depot was not quite ready.

1892: Arrangements had been completed to connect the telephone system of Middlesborough with that of Cumberland Gap and Harrogate. The line between Middlesborough and the Gap was tolled at $.25 a message.

1895: The sale of the Four Seasons Hotel in Harrogate was confirmed. It was bid in about four weeks earlier by holders of receivers certificates for $28,000. Creditors holding inferior claims had fought confirmation of the sale. The hotel cost over $700,000 (equivalent to $140,000,000 today) to build.

1904: Special excursion coach tickets to the World’s Fair in St. Louis were being offered for $7.00 each.

1916: Stack No. 2 of the Middlesboro blast furnace was blown in after being idle since July, 1909. A gathering of 250 residents watched as Mrs. A.A. Arthur lit the fire.

1922: The New Manring Theatre opened. It had a capacity of 1100. The lobby was of mahogany and marble. The central attraction was a proscenium arch with heavy moldings and large plaster figures supported by massive columns.

1932: Crowds were “on the increase” in the community wide simultaneous revival services begun this week in all the churches. Planned by the Middlesboro Ministerial Association, services were being held in each church “by its own forces” every evening of the week.

1955: Strike by operators for Southern Bell Telephone Company, which serviced Bell County. Strike involved their entire 7 state operations. Supervisors and management personnel were handling all calls.

1965: Grand opening of Montgomery Ward’s Services Department at the corner of 18th and Cumberland. The building had been occupied by Epp’s Chevrolet.

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.