1917 – 2017: Kingsport’s First 100 Years Remembered
Long-time Kingsport residents share their memories of their hometown’s first century. Stop by frequently, as new videos are added regularly.
Narrated by Kingsport Library archivist, Brianne Wright, the fascinating story of J. W. Dobyns, Kingsport’s first mayor, and the early development of the Model City was compiled from Dobyns family memoirs and photos contributed by Lois Dobyns, Bobby Dobyns, Betsy Tretola and her sister Charlotte.
Park Associate, Raine Greer, provides an overview of Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, Tennessee’s largest city park.
Skip Norrell came to Kingsport in 1965 to work for Tennessee Eastman. He’s spent most of his life living in the Park Hill Historic District, a neighborhood that dates back to 1916. His century-old home reflects the Model City’s original vision for its residents and his experiences living there made Skip an advocate for a […]
Asbury Place residents Baird Harned, Billie Chesney, Marcine Berry, Martha and Glen Jones, and J. Spurgeon McCartt share early Kingsport memories. Baird: 00:06 Billie: 03:14 Marcine: 09:27 Martha: 13:03 Glen: 15:15 Sturgeon: 19:03
Betty Jones has been cooking since she was 10. She opened Betty’s Stockyard Cafe more than 25 years ago. Most first-timers who have eaten there have become repeat regulars over the years.. The cafe’s popularity with folks rich and poor, far and near is due to a winning combination of great tasting food served with […]
Anna Lee Huffine was born in what is now known as the Hammond House, located in the historic Boatyard District. She’s had a love affair with Kingsport her whole life, and recounts happy memories of her family home, built by her Great Uncle E.D. Smith, and her life in early Kingsport.
Phil Kestner, former Old Kingsport Presbyterian pastor, relates the fascinating history of the church dating back centuries and tied closely to early Kingsport history. Learn who the famous person is who’s connected to the church’s early history.
Cindy Lemons is a Kingsport native through and through. She credits her love of the model city to her grandparents and parents, who instilled her with the Kingsport spirit. She shares memories of her childhood Christmases and tells the story of the Church Circle nativity scene and how important it is to be a part […]
Randy Still tells the story of his grandparents who started Tom Still Transfer Co in Kingsport, which grew from local business to become an international shipper with customs authority. Today, Still Transfer Company is transitioning its leadership to a fourth generation of the Still family.
Jane Boyd, DeeDee Dietrich, and Jane Harris started working on the First Presbyterian Church’s first 100 years of history back in 2010 in order to have it ready for the church’s 2017 centennial celebration. Learn how they researched, compiled and designed “Our First Century.” The 276 page book is filled with photographs and stories of […]
Learn how the historical treasure of Kingsport TN was transformed by a “non-mortgage’able” house to a beautiful restored home.
Learn how the historical treasure of Kingsport TN has been maintained by the leadership of both charters of her history.
The Kingsport Delphian Club meeting on September 9, 2016 introduces the club’s theme for the year, “Kingsport, 100 Years of Treasures: People and History.” Enjoy nearly a full hour of stories and conversation with Kingsport treasures Josie Reid and Nancy Gideon, Delphian Club members; Jo Morrison, mother of member Ann Garver; and Sam and DeLois […]
Winkle McKinley talks about St. Paul’s 100th anniversary and it’s role in the foundation of early Kingsport.
Bill Bovender joined the law firm of Hunter, Smith Davis in 1975. This year marks the firm’s 100th anniversary. In fact, HSD worked to incorporate Kingsport in 1917. Bovender is a Tennessee Bar Foundation Fellow, past president of the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce and helped found the annual FunFest celebration in 1980.
Betty Iverson arrived in Kingsport in 1957. As a religious educator, she served four counties in the area, providing churches with leadership training and skills. When she saw the four church spires on the city’s skyline, she knew she had found a good place to live and work. Today, she continues her love of history […]
Howard Young graduated from college in his home town of Birmingham, Alabama, at the age of 17, and then went on to earn a PhD at Brown University, while also serving his country as part of the US Army’s “Operation Dogpatch.” He joined Eastman Kodak in 1946, and, after a distinguished career there as a […]
Robert Hart grew up on a farm in Piney Flats, graduated high school in a class of nine, and eventually became president of Tennessee Eastman (Eastman Chemical), which is only 20 or so miles from where he grew up. Bob talks about the highlights of his distinguished career, and praises the men and women with […]
Dr. Robert Hasek joined Tennessee Eastman in 1943 after earning his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Illinois. Bob pioneered the development of T-16, a premium polyester fiber that was marketed as Kodel. As a result of his outstanding contributions to chemical research he was made a Fellow of the American Association for the […]
Lisa Alther was born in 1944 in Kingsport, Tennessee. Lisa describes her childhood in Kingsport and how her experiences inspired her to become a writer. She is the author of six novels: Kinflicks, Original Sins, Other Women, Bedrock, Five Minutes in Heaven, and Washed In The Blood. She has also written Kinfolks, a memoir; Blood Feud a narrative history on […]
Robert Miller has enjoyed an active retirement for nearly as many years as he worked for Eastman, a fact he considers pretty amazing. Bob is known throughout the area for his enthusiasm for hiking the region’s trails, as well as for climbing some of the highest mountains in the U.S. Bob is also one of […]
Virgealia Ellis calls herself an Appalachian woman and recalls early childhood memories growing up on the Rotherwood Farm, owned at the time by Kingsport’s John B. Dennis. Her mother, Inez Looney was the cook, and her father, James Looney was the chauffeur, the butler, and the mansion’s maitre’d. After serving Douglass High School principal V.O. […]
Jane King was born at home in White City and has many warm memories of life in early Kingsport. Her husband Jack King tells the intriguing story of how his father E. Ward King survived the depression to start the Mason-Dixon Line, one of the largest family-owned trucking fleets in the nation.
What is great about Kingsport? Dobyns-Bennett High School students from Joe McMakin’s video technology class share their favorite Kingsport features in this video produced and edited in the classroom. Video classes in high school? That’s something we like about Kingsport, too!
Ken Marsh, a retired Eastman transportation executive, has had a life long fascination for all types of transportation, particularly trains. He describes the amazing history of the Clinchfield Railroad, which impacted the growth of manufacturing in East Tennessee and tells the little known story of how Kingsport and Eastman helped the US win WW2. Today, […]
Calvin Sneed, senior news anchor at WTVC-TV in Chattanooga, grew up in Kingsport’s African-American community of Riverview and graduated from the all-black Douglass High School in the years before integration. Mr. Sneed’s interview provides a unique glimpse into the history of Douglass and Riverview. His web site, sonsanddaughtersofdouglass.org, is an online historical archive of Douglass […]
Jo Ann Riner and Phyllis Carter talk about life in Kingsport’s Long Island community and the history of Long Island Evangelical Methodist Church.
Kingsport native Sam Anderson, Jr. tells stories shared by his father, Sam Anderson, Sr. an early Kingsport business and community leader. Sam Anderson, Jr. was founder and president of Anderson Ford from 1960 to 1995 and has been involved in the development and growth of many other businesses in the region. He has been recognized […]
Kingsport community leader Josie Reid shares stories of a community united through a volunteer spirit at The Palmer Center, Junior League of Kingsport, and First Broad Street United Methodist. Josie notes the distinct joy that her husband, Toy F. Reid received when Eastman named the Employee Center in his honor — a tribute that recognized […]
Jack Pierce, community leader and retired Eastman employee, takes us back in time to enlighten us about the truths of segregation and the rocky path to integration and opportunity. Stories of his entrepreneurial father and grandfather, the strength of the Riverview community, “old Douglass” and Douglass schools, and the importance of a community that continues […]
Nancy Gideon tells of the many early leaders of the Kingsport Book Club — a community club that was the catalyst and foundation of the Kingsport Library. She also shares stories of Kingsport schools and communities and the memories of her Father’s work with Holliston Mills, and her Mother’s leadership with the Kingsport Symphony Orchestra. […]
Pal Barger shares childhood adventures, family history, entrepreneurial dreams, and the hard work and opportunities that brought him to leadership of Pal’s Sudden Service and Pal’s Business Institute. Along the way, we learn of the many ways Pal has helped build a stronger Kingsport through philanthropy and employment opportunities.