Today in Johnson City History: April 2 | Living

April 2, 1922: A century ago today, The Sunday Chronicle reported exciting news in the life of Johnson City. Readers learned that “Junior High” is the official name of the new school building.

“Mrs. FM McNees, 108 Millard Street (sic), is the winner of the Chronicle’s $25 prize for submitting the winning name first: although the same wording was sent in later in the contest by Dorothy Pardue, 512 West Pine Street (sic) and Mrs. JH Pierce, 917 East Watauga Avenue (sic).

“In reviewing the 1445 names submitted by the people, the Board of Education yesterday spent nearly two hours. The main and final discussion revolved around the exact wording to choose, with the more finely-tuned arguments over including or issuing the word “school” in the official title. Finally, it was pointed out that “the school” was perfectly obvious, and was necessarily implied in the name; and that the two words “Junior High” were not only expressive enough, but actually were more distinctive and dignified than a longer name which stated a perfectly obvious fact.

“It was noted that the new building is the first high school ever erected in East Tennessee and the second in the state; and is, in a sense, a pioneer in this particular branch of education. From this point of view, it becomes at least partly distinctive and different from other schools, as a college or a seminary might differ, although to a lesser degree. Historical though fanciful significance could also be attached to the word “high” as indicating its highest or first place on the list of such institutions. After careful consideration, the use of these two simple words is considered to imply and declare such great honor and distinction as would be bestowed. It does not indicate any sect, creed, denomination, party or clan. It is not intended to be descriptive in detail, this is considered unnecessary; it’s an official name, ‘Junior High’.

Twenty-five dollars in 1922 currently equals about $418, according to

The Sunday Chronicle was published as the Johnson City Chronicle during the week.

April 2, 1947: Seventy-five years ago today, the Johnson City Press-Chronicle alerted readers: “Alfred H. Abernethy, a member of the firm of Cardwell and Abernethy, architects of the new Memorial Hospital, has returned from Memphis, where he attended a meeting… called to discuss the Hospital Construction Act, known as Public Law No. 725.

“The meeting was attended by approximately 100 architects and physicians from Tennessee and Arkansas. Various phrases of the law were discussed with hospitalization in general, and may mean, Abernethy said, the first step toward obtaining federal aid for the construction of the local hospital.

“Speakers included Dr. Vane Hoge, Chief Surgeon, Hospital Division, United States Public Health Service; Congressman Clifford Davis of Memphis; Dr. Lewis, U.S. Public Health Service Program Director…Thomas Creighton, Progressive Architecture Editor; Dr. RH Hutcheson, Tennessee Health Officer; Marshall Shaffer, chief architect of the Hospital Facilities Division of the United States Public Health Service; and Walter Chandler, former chairman of the United States Council of Mayors.

“Abernethy said that for the first time in history, integrated state- and community-level hospital planning has been developed, in which Washington has sought, through the Surgeon General, the guidance of the architectural profession in its national organization on how best for the private practitioner could help make these hospitals and health centers a reality.

““Decentralization to the state level seemed to be the answer, with the United States Public Health Service again formulating with the collaboration of the American Institute of Architects a code of minimum requirements and guidance for planning at the state level,” Abernethy said.

“In explaining the methods of receiving federal assistance for building hospitals, Abernethy said that all hospitals wishing to be paid by the government must first prepare preliminary documents for approval by the State Advisory Board, which is currently being organized.After the completion and approval of all plans, specifications and documents by the State Advisory Board, the final working drawings, etc., can be launched for acceptance The document must be sent to the Surgeon General’s office for final approval before the allocation of funds is granted.

“’The funds, of course,’ Abernethy said, ‘will be distributed by the state to areas most in need of hospitalization and an investigation is currently underway,’ he said. into three categories – basic, intermediate and rural areas.

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“Base areas refer to sections of 100,000 or more people and should contain a general hospital of 200 or more beds. Approved by the American College of Surgeons and also by the American Medical Association for internship and at least two or more residencies, or an accredited medical school teaching hospital.

“The immediate area in which Johnson City would be classified requires at least one hospital with 100 or more beds for at least 25,000 residents or four beds for every thousand residents.”

“The rural area so designated by the state agency is an area in which no part is included in a base or intermediate areas and they should have 2.5 beds per thousand inhabitants.”

“Abernethy further explained that under the program, the total number of beds needed for all areas of the state may be distributed at the discretion of the state agency, if deemed necessary, without regard to of the aforementioned standards.”

“In determining priorities for various projects, the state agency will scale its construction based on the proportionate needs of each of the five categories – general, medical, tuberculosis, chronic disease and health centers,” Abernethy said. “New hospitals and additions to existing hospitals will take priority over replacement, but exceptions are made in hospitals that are a public hazard, so replacement is essential.”

“Abernethy emphasized that in arriving at the proportional monetary percentage (sic) due to a specific project, no money will be awarded on existing facilities or appraised values ​​of former physical plants, sites, etc.”

“‘In other words,’ Abernethy said, ‘the allocation of funds will be earmarked for new buildings and facilities.'”

Memorial Hospital was the precursor to Johnson City Medical Center.

April 2, 1972: The Johnson City Symphony Orchestra performed at the VA Theater under the direction of Gilbert Oxendine. Handel’s Water Music Suite was among the selections performed. (Source: Johnson City Symphony Orchestra Program.)

The VA Theater is located on the campus of the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center.

April 2, 1972: Fifty years ago today, according to the Johnson City Press-Chronicle, “Charles Orren was treated in the emergency room at Memorial Hospital for a laceration behind his right ear on Friday evening. Police reports indicate the laceration has suffered when the subject fell from a bar stool in a local tavern.

As noted elsewhere in today’s column, Memorial Hospital was the precursor to Johnson City Medical Center.

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