RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Bristol TN

Arches

arches

On the site of the old Columbian Paper Company in Bristol.  These were supports for a Norfolk & Western railroad loading ramp at the plant.  This ramp was made for very heavy loads. The first arch (at the other end) has a 1931 date formed in the concrete.  Oh, wait, here’s a shot of it now (taken with my VERY CRAPPY cell phone camera…I always have a good camera with me, well, except for this day):

firstarch

Wilbur Dam, Twice

wilbur

On the back: PLANT OF WATAUGA POWER ON WATAUGA RIVER NEAR JOHNSON CITY WHICH FURNISHES ELECTRICAL CURRENT FOR INDUSTRIAL, COMMERCIAL AND DOMESTIC PURPOSES TO THIS CITY, THE CITY OF BRISTOL AND SEVERAL SMALLER TOWNS.

This is Wilbur Dam.  The dam, fully completed and on line in 1912, actually began generating electricity on a test basis to Elizabethton on December 25, 1911, apparently making it the earliest major hydro-electric generating facility in Tennessee.  According to Jackie and Dawn Trivette Peters in Images of America – Carter County (page 101), it was named for James Wilbur, a sawmill operator “in the community”.  Thanks to Joe Penza, Archivist at the Elizabethton – Carter County Public Library,  I found out the whole story and it hinges more on the importance of a railroad name than that of a logging operator.  Joe forwarded documents to me that noted the Virginia and Southwestern Railroad Company had established a flag station and side track for the logging operation on Big Laurel Branch.  The railroad named it “Wilbur Station”. So, the dam, officially known as “Horseshoe Bend Dam”, took on the name “Wilbur Dam”.  When TVA bought the dam in 1945, the name stuck.

Dan Crowe, in his book The Horseshoe People (1976/self-published), quotes an Aunt Cass Carden as saying during the dedication of the dam ceremony, “Youngins, they’re a-burnin’ a hairpin in a bottle.”  I think she was referring to a light bulb.

Curt Teich Printing Company of Chicago began producing the (above) C.T. American Art Colored cards in 1915, using an offset printing process.   Later, in the early 1930s, using new European inks and linen-effect embossing, they brightened the cards up tremendously.  This Asheville Post Card Company card, from the 1970s, shows how the process, along with more careful and artistic photo editing of the original  black-and-white photograph, produced a much more pleasing picture.  The colors and other details were added at the facility and printed using a five-plate process:

wilbur2

That suspension bridge in front of the dam was for a time the only access to the powerhouse.

You Just Never Know…

You just never know what will turn up at a local antique store…

man

As you can see, this portrait was shot at Hodges in Bristol, sometime in the early part of the 20th century.  There is no other information anywhere on the picture.  It’s just a b&w photographic print mounted on a stiff board, not a carte d’visite.  Unless this dude’s carrying a puppy in his coat pocket, he’s awfully wide hipped. He’s also holding up an unfurled umbrella. Is that a code?

You can make all sorts of guesses about his expression.

Yeller Cab

yellowfront yellowback

I’m going to put this in a new card folder, but this is mostly how it looked when I bought it (for under $4).  My pencil notation is what I dug up on the web.

Professional Building Woodlawn Avenue Bristol, Tennessee

This damaged card is from the 1950s.  Woodlawn Avenue does not appear on any current maps of Bristol TN.  It may be under a different name now.

On the back: Professional Building, Woodlawn Avenue, Bristol, Tennessee  The Tri-Cities’ newest and finest office building. Five stories completely air conditioned with paved parking lot accommodating 170 cars. Beautiful interiors, elevator service, drug and fountain service. Gorham Boynton, manager. Telephone SOuth 4-4189

John Steel

Posted on

johnsteel

This is John Steel.  The name is penciled in handwritten script on the reverse.

The photo was taken at Boy’s Photo Studio, 537 Main Street, Bristol, Tenn.

A little archive searching turned up another Boy’s Photo Studio portrait securely dated to 1910, so I feel certain that this dates to the early quarter of the 20th century.  The Steel family came to the Bristol area in the late 18th century.  This man is probably a non-professional worker, judging by the shirt, but he looks alert and healthy, though his face is pretty lined.  I’m terrible at guessing age, but I think he’s in his mid- to late-40s.