Tag Archives: T.J. Stephenson

The Original Country Club

This post card shows the Kingsport Country Club and Golf Links clubhouse, located near what is now the intersection of Lamont Street and Pineola Avenue.  The golf course, designed by the famed Albert Warren Tillinghast (1874 – 1942), opened in 1919 and closed in 1953.  Tillinghast, acquired the epithet “Tilly the Terror” for his challenging and frustrating courses.  The American Legion apparently used the clubhouse for a period after 1953, but it was eventually torn down when the Greenacres neighborhood was developed.  This a one of a series of early Kingsport post cards commissioned by T. J. Stephenson and printed by Tichenor Brothers in Boston.  I don’t have an exact date for this card, but the Stephenson cards were generally published in the 1920s.



Shelby Street Apartments


Early morning, sometime around 1925.  It’s another T.J. Stephenson card…I’ve posted information about him here.  (Nothing special on the back, except the inventory number of 121035…the lowest number of these cards I have is 121023 and the highest is 121042.  It’s a Tichnor Quality Views card)

I think these were all residential then.  When I delivered papers down this street in 1957, there were several businesses along the way.  Whenever I catch the smell of kneaded erasers, my memory escorts me back to an art supply store about halfway down the street.  I’ve mentioned before that my dream was to have all the illustration board I wanted.  Got there.  Did that.

Oh, look, Ma!  No antennas on Bays Mountain.  Obviously.

Kingsport Press

kptpressfront kptpressback

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.

Community Y



On the back:

Pub. by T. J. Stephenson, Kingsport, Tenn.

(Plate number) 121036

Printed by Tichnor Quality Views (Boston Mass.)  (here’s a link to their Tennessee issues)

Notes: This is the Shelby Street side.  I remember the open porch.  That part of the building was the Public Library in 1957.  The rest of the building housed City Hall offices.

Earliest confirmed postmark date I have for this series is 1926.  I also have post dates into the ’40s, so they hung around for quite a while.


Kingsport Hosiery Mills


Hello, Dobyns-Taylor Warehouse.  In some places on the current building, the old sign is beginning to show through.  This is a T. J. Stephenson postcard.  A Tichenor printing, plate 12140.  It’s postmarked on the back: Kingsport Tenn. July 11 3-pm 1935.

The postmark covers some of the message. “spent night in (unreadable) we’ll spend night in Tenn.  then head for home.  Krepps”

Addressed to: Mrs. M. Valentine & Family  Keymar Carroll (?) 6 (?) 0 Md.

The card was published in the late 20s.

Kingsport TN from Cement Hill


This postcard is interesting for several reasons, the first being that it was actually used, so there’s a postmark on the back.  It was mailed in 1931 from Kingsport by a couple passing through on the way to Knoxville and addressed to a lady in Reidsville North Carolina, R.F.D. #6.
It’s also a reasonably scarce issue by T.J. Stephenson of Kingsport (he took the picture) and printed by Tichenor Dual Views (Tichenor Brothers of Cambridge MA), plate #121031.  You don’t have to look very carefully to see that it is a black & white photograph that’s been rather crudely colored in by the publisher.  Stephenson had a whole line of postcards with pictures of Kingsport taken in the mid- to late-20s.  I love these cards and don’t have all in the series.  I saw one of Catawba Street that I so badly wanted to snatch out of the owner’s hand and sprint off with, but, sadly, I didn’t.