Skoby’s World Ashtray

There’s nothing particularly special about this 3,5″ x 3.5″ ashtray.  There were probably hundreds made during the two or so decades Skoby’s World was in business.  The unusual thing is that it showed up in a sports equipment – clothing – antique store in downtown Pound (across from the Pixie – and don’t even come up to the ordering window with a cigarette!*).

*For the few of you who haven’t passed through Pound recently:  there’s a handwritten sign by the ordering window at the Pixie warning cigarette-smoking citizens to keep away.  Not smoking?  Order away!

Warriors’ Path State Park

 

This is how the Park looked in the early 1960s.  It was published by Roanoke’s Haynes Distributing Company. The company did a photo run through our area in the early 1960s and C. H. Ruth seems to have been their go-to guy for airplane shots.   These cards are called “chromes”, since Kodachrome was the film of choice then.

I’d heard a story that this park grabbed the State Park designation from what is now Steele Creek Park (it was going to be Watauga State Park) in Bristol and, thus, left Bristolians sad and bereft.  The dates don’t add up, though.  There were plans to make Steele Creek a State Park, but organizers had given up on that in 1945.  The land for WPSP was acquired from TVA in 1952, a year before the dam was completed.

Steele Creek Park, a city park, came about in 1964.  Many Bristolians I’ve talked to have fond memories of enjoying this park when they were kids.  It’s still just fine.  Good hiking trails!  And a LOT of ducks.

 

Sixty-six Years Ago

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Dobyns-Bennett High School. This card, luckily, was printed by Curt Teich in Chicago and I can read the inventory number to tell when it was printed: 1951. The photo may have been taken in 1950. Again, the coloring is false (the photo was taken in black and white), though the application at the printing company hewed to notes taken by the photographer.  Any automobiles or other distractions may have been edited out.

It was published by Blackburn News Agency in Kingsport.

The linen finish on the front, applied during the printing process, is rather heavy handed.  I know the company experimented with different linen patterns at times, so this may have been a new plate.

Our Venerable Civic Auditorium

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This is a Haynes Publishing postcard (printed by Dexter) from the mid-60s.  When the photo was taken, this barrel-roofed building was over 40 years old; it was finished in 1940 as the Kingsport Civic Auditorium and Armory.  It was built under the Public Works Administration.  If the resolution of the image were better, I might be able to read more of the sign, but I think it’s for a wrestling match. I checked the Times-News archives, but couldn’t match anything up.

I wonder if all the armor, since it’s no longer an “armory, is now down at the library…

Eastman, with Bridge

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Another Haynes Distributing postcard, printed by Dexter, West Nyack NY.  On December 4, 1967, that bridge, already 50 years old, collapsed when the driver of a 13.5 ton truck drove onto the 5-ton limit bridge.  Someone had helpfully removed the load limit sign on the Long Island side of the bridge.  The driver, though quite chilled after the 30-odd foot drop into the South Fork of the Holston River, wasn’t hurt.Afterwards, Eastman firmly opposed rebuilding the bridge, citing things like height, depth, width, water, air, arm-waving and other important considerations.

Since this card was mailed at the Downtowner Motor Inn, which wasn’t completed until 1962, the slightly non-existant postmark is probably 1965.

And we all hope Mrs. Frisco got out real soon.

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.