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Today in Johnson City History: October 17

Rebecca Henderson and Johnson City Press • Oct 17, 2019 at 5:30 AM

Oct. 17, 1889: James A. Martin, W.W. Faw, and Jesse Bean, who owned several blocks on Poplar Street, had decided to grade the street through their property and to build four dwellings at once. The dwellings were to cost $4,000 each. That’s the equivalent of about $111,600 in 2019.

Oct. 17, 1947: In a sea of mud at Memorial Stadium, the Science Hill Hilltoppers lost a close game against Knoxville Central. The Bearcats’ defense scored the game’s only touchdown on a blocked punt that landed in the end zone.

Oct. 17, 1960: U.S. Speaker of the House Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn spoke before a cheering crowd at East Tennessee State University in campaigning for the Kennedy-Johnson ticket for the presidency. The Texas Democrat held the speaker’s post longer than anyone in history: 17 years, 53 days. That run ended with his death a year after his appearance here, Nov. 16, 1961.

Oct. 17, 1975: The Hanneford Circus began a two-day run at Freedom Hall Civic Center. More than 6,400 people enjoyed their performance.

Oct. 17, 1977: Tennessee native Roscoe Tanner and Dutchman Tom Okker played in a tennis exhibition at Freedom Hall Civic Center. Tanner, of Lookout Mountain in the Chattanooga area, had won the Australian Open the previous January. Okker was the 1976 U.S. Open men’s doubles champion with American Marty Riessen. 

Oct. 17, 1994: Iris Glen Environmental Center landfill opened.

Sources: The Comet; Kingsport News; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall; City of Johnson City.