Archives: Ghost Towns and Boysenberry Pie

Last week a patron came to the Kingsport Archives to make an addition to the Mary Porter Collection. Ms. Porter’s parents were savers . . . and we are so glad. The collection consists of advertisements, mailers, brochures and other business communications from mid-20th century Kingsport. On this day, she brought in more gems for the collection and the archivist went through the items to identify those that pertained to Kingsport history. Ms. Porter set aside one piece that obviously did not, but I jumped all over it. When I told her I grew up less than half an hour from the location the brochure promoted, she offered it to me. Continue reading

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Kingsport: Everyday History

Have you ever wondered about the history behind locations you pass nearly everyday? I have often wondered about a home right in the middle of Kingsport. The house looks like it might have been pretty grand for its day and the property has several rustic outbuildings that really look like they have a story to tell. I’ve asked a few local residents about it but haven’t found anyone yet who’s acquainted with the property. Soooooo, I headed to the archives to learn about Grass Dale. Continue reading

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Kingsport: Hold On To Your Hat

There’s a new archival exhibit at the Kingsport Public Library and it honors the many roles filled by Kingsport residents over the last century; roles of volunteerism, leadership, mentoring, and service. “Throw Your Hat Into The Ring, Kingsport!” will be displayed on the main floor of the library through the end of November 2014.
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Kingsport: Spotlight on Nancy

While searching the Kingsport Archives collections recently for artifacts for an upcoming exhibit, I had reason to search KCMC 309; the Nancy Necessary Pridemore Collection. Everyday since, I have found an excuse to plunk myself onto the floor in front of that collection and look into just one more box and just a few more folders. Is it possible for a collection to be charming?

Nancy Pridemore applying make-up to an actor.

Nancy Pridemore applying make-up to an actor.

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Field Trip: The Archives of Appalachia

Recently, Laura Smith, the Education and Outreach Archivist for the Archives of Appalachia in Johnson City, gave me a wonderful tour of the facility. Located on the 4th floor of the Sherrod Library at East Tennessee State University, the archives has a collecting mission to preserve the culture and history of Appalachia as well as the history and records of the university. Here is a behind the scenes look at the archives and a peek at just some of the many collections available for patron research.

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Field Trip: A Day with Davy Crockett

Contrary to the popular song, David Crockett was not born on a mountain top in Tennessee. A friend and I recently visited the Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park. Along the banks of the Nolichucky River, visitors can examine a replica cabin and read detailed narrative boards about the former politician, soldier, and frontiersman.


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Genealogy: Census Strategies

I have been trying to nail down the exact birthdates and given names of a family on my father’s paternal side, that of John Gillis and Margaret MacFarlane. I have a well-researched genealogy prepared by my late cousin Robert J. Gillis, but the dates are often estimates from census records or from published genealogies. Because of the naming patterns in this line, children frequently went by their middle names and several children in one family might have the same first name. Nicknames, rather than full given names, were often what was recorded on the census. Continue reading

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Kingsport: Scavenger Hunt

It’s FunFest time in Kingsport. The Archives of the City of Kingsport has once again put together a wonderful activity to engage the public with the historic and picturesque setting of downtown Kingsport. Continue reading

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Kingsport: Play Ball!

Kingsport has had a long love affair with America’s favorite pass time. The keepsakes from this relationship are not movie stubs, pressed carnations, and love letters.

A 1989 FunFest Youth baseball Clinic

A 1989 FunFest Youth Baseball Clinic

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Kingsport: Painting the Town II

Once you start looking for painted brick, you just can’t stop finding it! That’s what happened to me after the City Archivist challenged me to find the examples of this early Kingsport form of marketing. Continue reading

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