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Today in Johnson City History: December 31

Rebecca Henderson • Dec 31, 2018 at 7:15 AM

Dec. 31, 1891: The Comet reported that the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railway’s No. 5 engine jumped the tracks four miles south of Bristol en route to Johnson City. No fatalities were reported, but among the seriously injured was Judge Roderick R. Butler, who had represented Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1887-89.

Dec. 31, 1977: Movies playing in Johnson City included “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” at the Mall Theater and the Clint Eastwood’s non-“Dirty Harry” action flick “The Gauntlet” at the Majestic downtown. Appearing at the Down Home were bluegrass musicians Phil and Gaye Johnson.

On Dec. 31, 1983: In Scott Pratt’s commentary in the Johnson City Press-Chronicle, he opined that with the hiring of Dr. Mike Simmons, hopefully the Johnson City Schools were on the right track. For the decade before his hiring, no school superintendent had been in place more than three years. Simmons would serve until 1994.

Dec. 31, 1999: Awaiting the turn of a new century, Johnson Citians were wondering if computers would crash, if telephones would function, and if electricity would work. Thankfully, the Y2K preparations for daily life were unneeded, and computers continue to function without a glitch.

Sources: The Comet, Johnson City Press-Chronicle.

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