Kingsport Press

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I’m posting this not because it’s a fine, 1920s postcard, but because it was published by T. J. Stephenson and I finally know pretty much who this was.

T. J. Stephenson was born in 1884 (thereabouts) in Virginia.  He was, however, thoroughly Kingsport as a property owner (bought into the Hillcrest property when Federal Dyestuff company went belly up at the end of WWI), merchant (Baylor-Stephenson Furniture Store), an agent (Kingsport Mercantile Agency), member of the Board of Elections, a churchgoer (Broad Street Methodist), a city alderman, a supporter of the WCTU, and more.  He seems to have been a pretty straight up guy.  His first wife, Maxine, died somewhere in the 1920s.  He was listed as “widowed” in the 1930 census.  But he was remarried in the next census, to Pauline.  T. J., jr. was born in 1908, but died after a “three week illness” in a Knoxville Hospital in 1936.  He was working for Tennessee Eastman and, apparently, was well liked.  There was another son and a daughter who went to school to learn the comptometer, an early mechanical computer.

Since T. J. Stephenson was interested in Kingsport, my guess is that he is the one who commissioned Tichnor Brothers (out of Cambridge MA) to come take some black-and-white views of the growing city and have postcards printed.  The cards were tinted prior to printing according to notes taken by the agent at the time the photos were taken.

I don’t know how many cards are in this series.  I have 18 and I know of at least one more.

6 thoughts on “Kingsport Press

  1. Eddie Pyle

    I believe there are 20 cards in this series. They are as follows:
    *Country Club and Golf Links, c. 1929 (#121034)
    *Broad Street, From Main Street, Looking North, c. 1929
    *The Homestead, Sullivan and Clay Streets, c. 1929 (#121034)
    *The Kingsport Inn, Broad and Sullivan Streets, c. 1929 (#121032)
    *C.C.&O. Railroad Passenger and Freight Stations, c. 1929
    *Community “Y,” Center and Shelby Streets, c. 1929
    * “Busy Corner,” – Clinchfield Portland Cement Corp. in Fore Ground, c. 1929 (#121028)
    *Shelby Apartments,Shelby Street, c. 1929 (#121035)
    *Central High School Building, Watauga and Sevier Streets, c. 1929
    *The Famous Rotherwood Farm at the Junction of the North and South Forks of Holston River, c. 1929
    *The Circle—Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches, c. 1929
    *The Kingsport Press, Where Books are Made, c. 1929 (#121038)
    *Tennessee Eastman Corporation, c. 1929
    *Kingsport Extract Corporation and Kingsport Tannery, c. 1929
    *Corning Glass Works (Southern Division), c. 1929
    *Watauga Street in Resident Section, c. 1929
    *Meade Corporation, Pulp Mill and Finishing Plant, c. 1929
    *Kingsport Hosiery Mills, c. 1929 (#121040)
    *A Bird’s-Eye View of Kingsport,Tenn.From “The Cement Hill,” c. 1929 (#121031)
    *Kingsport Brick Corp. Showing Tile and Brick Plants, c. 1929
    This series have the description printed above the photo, white bordered. I’m currently trying to find images of the following cards counting from the top down, 13,14,& 20 and the ID #’s not listed above. Thanks!

    1. Bob Lawrence Post author

      I really, really appreciate this information. A list of the cards (that I know of) in this series and pix of Kingsport Brick and Tennessee Eastman are coming to you via email.

      Note: all my emails to you were rejected by

      1. Eddie Pyle

        Sorry, typical they will end up in the “suspect email” catagory where I can select and add to my verified list. If you would try sending an email without attachments that should go through. I’ll then add your email to the appropriate inbox and we’ll try again on the pictures. I have information regarding the other Kingsport series postcards that I would like your input on.

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