Monday, February 5, 2018

Some Knoxville Churches - 1905

Some religious architecture of Knoxville.

Second Presbyterian

Clinch Street Methodist Episcopal

Third Presbyterian

First Presbyterian

St. John's Episcopal

From Vol. 4, Nos. 2 & 3 North & South, June-July, 1905.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Locations mentioned in "The Great White Way"

To augment my recent post about "The Great White Way"of Knoxville, or the electric lighted signs in 1908, I assembled a rough map of where those businesses were located.

I used the 1908 City Directory to find the addresses of the businesses, then overlaid some of them on a 1903 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map.

  • Kuhlman's Drugs - 301 S. Gay Street
  • Hope Brothers Jewelers - 519 S. Gay Street
  • Hotel Imperial - 530 S. Gay Street
  • Ashe's Restaurant - 601 S. Gay Street
  • Ritter's Cigars - 603 S. Gay Street
  • Colonial Hotel - 806 S. Gay Street
  • KECO - 716 S. Gay Street
  • Kern's - 1 Market Street
1908 Locations on a 1903 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map

* NOTE - I've updated the map, using new info from Robert McGinnis on fb.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The “Great White Way” of Knoxville

     The stranger who enters the city of Knoxville at night cannot help being impressed with the effective quality of the illumination of Gay Street, the city’s “great white way.” In the half mile which he traverses on his way from the railroad station to his hotel, he cannot fail to note that ingenuity, originality, and a certain broad spirit of civic pride are manifest in the sure sign of a city’s progress – the illumination of its streets and buildings. This fact becomes even more remarkable when it is known that it is only since the year 1905 that electric signs have been permitted by the city government of Knoxville, and that therefore practically all improvement and progress in the spectacular illumination of the city has been accomplished in the past three years.

     Going south on Gay Street, at Commerce, on come upon one of the most important signs in the city, stretching across the street – the sign Kuhlman’s, advertising the principal drug company of the city. This same name is also repeated in a large vertical sign on their store.

     “Have You Seen Smith?” – the question is blazed out at you, and of course you find yourself unconsciously asking, “Who and what is Smith?” Smith, you are informed, is the leading furniture dealer in the city – and the sign has served the purpose for which it was created.

     The store of the Peter Kern Company, purveyors of “Good Things to Eat,” is another example of the generous use of spectacular lights. Surmounting the building is a large American flag in electric lamps, and the shop is further ornamented and distinguished by two signs bearing the word “Kern’s,” one running vertically on the corner of the building and one across the sidewalk.

     Hope Brothers, jewelers, have succeeded in obtaining a most striking effect for the fa├žade of their shop. Above and across the sidewalk is an elaborate sign displaying the name “Hope,” and underneath, “Jewelers.” This sign is fastened on the street end to the tall, dignified post-clock which further marks and advertises the name of the shop, besides being of very useful and practical services to the belated citizens of Knoxville.

     The Hotel Imperial is marked by a large sign running vertically down the building, and by another across the top of its doorway. The Colonial Hotel, with its quaint line of arches, reminiscent of foreign architecture, displays a huge horizontal sign composed of single letters spelling its name. Far down Gay Street one can see these luminous, welcoming signs; and the stranger in Knoxville has no excuse for asking, as the farmer did on entering New York by train, "Which is the way to the hotel?"

     If you are hungry, perchance, you will be more than forcefully reminded of the fact as you approach Ashe’s Restaurant, where you will be boldly confronted with the very suggestive word "Eat," exhibited in a large, staid electric sign of uncompromising appearance. This sign was originally one of three of a class, the other two being "Smoke," which is still displayed over Ritter's Cigar Store, and "Drink," which served as a potent motto for a nearby saloon before the town "went dry."

     While the photographs given in this article illustrate some of the best and most striking examples of Knoxville's spectacular illumination, they only serve to furnish a fair idea of the city's general display. All along Gay Street, which by no means belies its cheery cognomen, are gay little shops and theatres, all of which, with scarcely an exception, are brilliantly illumined at night with some form of lightsource, plentifully and effectively applied. All sorts of signs there are – little signs and big signs ; serious signs and comic signs; theater signs, hotel signs, shop signs; automatic signs; ornamental signs; even snake signs. In front of the Miller Department Store are seven of the so named "Doherty gas lights," while for the window display well-shaded electric lights are used with excellent effect.

     The electric lighting interests in Knoxville are controlled by the Knoxville Electric Company, an illustration of whose store, with its handsome electric sign, "K. E. Co." and brilliantly lighted window, exhibiting electrical apparatus and lighting fixtures, is given in this article.  It is not to electricity alone that Knoxville owes its good illumination. Since Henry L. Doherty has been in charge of the Knoxville Gas Company, the gas-lighting of the city has been of the most excellent quality. Skirting Gay Street, in front of its shops, are ornamental posts, with handsome gas lamps, which would afford Gay Street good illumination even without its generous supply of electric arcs. Since the gas lighting properties have been controlled by Mr. Doherty, much improvement has been made, not only in the plant, but in the general policy of the management of all the property. The office of the Knoxville Gas Company is now located in the downtown district, and the company has manifested in many ways a worthy spirit of progress and public benefaction. It has devoted one floor of its building to the service of church societies, in which to bold bazaars, dinners and other functions instituted for charitable purposes. They not only donate the room, but also furnish the stove and gas for cooking, and demonstrate to the public the use and convenience of the gas stove – of which, by the way. the company sold 81 carloads during the past year.

The article, The “Great White Way” of Knoxville by R.P. Williams, appeared in the The Illuminating Engineer, Vol. III, No. 3, May 1908.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Journal of Antiquity

An advertisement was placed in the Knoxville Daily Chronicle in late November of 1871.  A new journal would soon be published.  Almost an almanac.  Plenty of room to make notes.

Knoxville Daily Chronicle - November 18, 1871

It rolled off the presses in early January.

Knoxville Daily Chronicle - January 4, 1872

Dr. C.W. Crozier was Carrick White Crozier, son of Captain John and Hannah Barton Crozier.  His brother, John H. Crozier, was a US Representative in the late 1840s.  Here's a photo of the Crozier brothers and friends.

Knoxville Daily Chronicle - January 3, 1872

Two months later the second issue was printed.

Knoxville Daily Chronicle - March 9, 1872

Apparently their friends and patrons didn't aid in extending the circulation of this journal.  I cannot find any more information about the Journal of Antiquity, save for the fact that there is one copy in the Rare Book Room at the McClung Collection.  My guess is that the one copy could be both numbers bound together.

From Calvin M. McClung's catalog, there are only two issues in his collection.

Calvin Morgan McClung historical collection of books, pamphlets, manuscripts, pictures and maps relating to early western travel and the history and genealogy of Tennessee and other southern states, 1921

I need to make a visit.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Colorizing Gay Street

I came across a photo imaging tool today that colorizes black and white photos., part of Algorithmia, makes it easy to add color to photos.  I went to the Library of Congress website and found an image of Gay Street, looking north from Wall Street.  I assume the photo was taken around 1905 or so.

The first image is right from the LoC.  The second shows a partially colorized version.  The third shows the final product.

Is it perfect?  No.  Is it fun?  Yes.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

B.B. Smith and The Flashlight Herald

I was speaking with Louisa Trott, who is the Digital Projects Librarian at the University of Tennessee. For sometime she has been the Project Coordinator of the Tennessee Newspaper Digitization Project.

On that site is a list of African-American Tennessee newspapers.  A title from that list that has intrigued me is The Flashlight-Herald.  In the spreadsheet that the TNDP maintains there is no publisher/editor listed.

Using the resources of the Knox County Public Library and their Papers to Pixels Project I was able to find out more about The Flashlight-Herald.

From The Knoxville News-Sentinel I've collected just a few of the many instances where The Flashlight-Herald is mentioned.

It starts in early 1931.  B. B. (Bernis Branner) Smith published a paper in Kentucky and was coming to Knoxville.

Smith was in and out of legal trouble during his career.  Sometimes he lost.

Sometimes he won.

This is the only photo of Smith that I could find.  He's on the far right.

Trouble followed him and he was shot in the hip.

Smith died in 1958 and is buried at Longview Cemetery in Knoxville.

There's much more to the story of the Smith and The Flashlight-Herald to be told.  Maybe another day.