Kingsport: Found in the Archives

Today, while I was searching the archives’ collections for photographs of a historic Kingsport neighborhood called The Fifties, I came across something even better in the Huffaker Family Collection (KCMC 75).

I am working on expanding the number of images on our HistoryPin site by including images of some of the historic residential areas of the town. Some of the areas, like Cement Hill, no longer have houses standing. I knew the Huffaker Collection had images of The Fifties as well as Cement Hill (employee housing for a cement company overlooking the train station in downtown Kingsport), because I processed that collection as a volunteer in my second semester of grad school. To make my selection I was really studying the photos when, low and behold, I recognized the dam on Bays Mountain. I don’t think I would have if I hadn’t just pinned a few archival images of it.

Here is an image already on our HistoryPin Channel.

Bays 1917
Below are the two images I discovered, today!

Huffakes on Bays Mtn

Those stones might look like they support the pyramids of Giza, but an East Tennessean would definitely recognize them as part of the Bays dam structure. Why didn’t I notice these before, you ask? These pictures are only about 2″x3.”

And here is a close-up of the happy, hiking group!

The John E. and Ruth B. Huffaker family came to Kingsport in 1917, the very year that the reservoir on Bays Mountain was completed. They were an adventurous family and the collection has many photographs of them hiking and picnicking around the area. I think if they were around, today, they would definitely be up for an Archiventure.

By the way, if you look at the feature image at the top of this post, you will see a modern-day photograph of the dam. Both edges of the concourse that runs along the top are protected by a chain link fence. No climbing along the stacked wall stones anymore. There is just enough room up there to cast your line into the lake or zip on by on your way to a trail run. Sigh.


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