This week in local history

By the Bell County Historical Society

The following events occurred during the week of May 19-25 in Bell County:

1890: The Belt Railroad opened with an excursion trip in open carriages to the Pinnacle station at the mouth of the railroad tunnel. Some people then rode the railroad train through the tunnel while others visited King Solomon’s Cave (now Gap Cave). The only unfortunate incident of the day occurred when the boat in the cave sunk.

1891: A fight on Cumberland Avenue between Charles Schuck and Ben Harney was notable because it occasioned one of the few public notices of young Harney, who would one day gain international fame as “The Father of Ragtime.”

1892: Edwin Powers returned from London where he had secured sufficient funds to complete Middlesborough’s water works.

1912: Walter E. Johnson was in Bell County with the first airplane ever seen in the area, a Thompson Headless Biplane.

1914: Rogan Brothers installed a Bowser self-measuring gasoline tank in the sidewalk at the curb in front of their hardware store on Cumberland Ave. in order to conveniently serve automobiles.

1933: The Middlesborough Garden Club’s annual flower show had over 250 entries.

1938: The first air mail was transported from Middlesboro to Lexington by a plane piloted by Jack Colson, accompanied by H.C. Chappell and Ray White.

1941: Sterchi’s was advertising a 15 piece bedroom suite, including bed with springs and mattress, vanity and vanity bench, chest of drawers and dresser set for $58.53.

1965: Announcement that Lee Majors (stage name for Bell County’s Harvey Lee Yeary) would receive co-billing in the color TV series “Big Valley.

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.