April is holding on like the new leafy poison ivy vines unfolding in the last rainy days of the month about our hometown, but when May arrives in a rush the temperatures are set to exceed 80 degrees.

The big story and problem for many, other than paving East Broadway last week, was late April flooding. I was at the Jefferson-Cocke County Utility District board meeting where I learned about a propane tank that got floated down river and ended in Douglas Lake. Will tell you about this in a Plain Talk news story this week.

The cool wet days have made me go indoors to the newspaper archives to find out some news from decades long ago. I picked out the 1959 volume of Plain Talk & Tribune to see what was happening early that year. The top story in January was the 10 cents per hour wage hike at Wall Tube & Metal Products for all workers. Business was good.

What wasn’t so good for speeders along Highway 25/70 west of Newport were speeding tickets. Newport and highway patrol troopers gave out 15 tickets one day in the 45 mph zone. You might recall these lawmen: Don Meredith, Bob Wilmeth, Don Bible, Jack Sams, Lloyd McKenzie, L.D. Johnson, and Hal Noe.

Freeman’s Furniture was busy lower prices and giving out cash awards. Carson Howard of Reidtown won $500. It was a time that you could purchase a Maytag washer for $218 or five-piece dinettes for $48.88. Of course, the Freemans are still in Newport offering low-priced furniture.

Hunting always has been part of the news coverage. I’ve made many a photo of deer and bear hunted here and a big fish or two. This particular 1959 photo showed five hunters with a collection of 29 rabbits they killed. The determined hunters were Allen Hutson, Buddy Owenby, Lee Gunter, Jerry Hudson, and Earl Hudson.

January was atypical cold month with snow so I found a photo to illustrate that and you see it here. Another photo that caught my eye was a professional football player visiting C. D. Fisher, the insurance agent who went on to work in the business half a century. I only know of B. A. Trent today with that longevity in insurance service.

I wish the photo had been better of the car that crashed into Austin Jenkin’s tavern at intersection of Cosby Highway near the post office. By the way A.J.’s tavern is still there.

Most of the newspaper issues in the 1950s focused extensively on the battle against polio. Local people participated in the March of Dimes fund raising. One young fundraiser mentioned and shown with photo was Danny Lethco. If he were still alive, he would be about 66. Would like to hear about him. Call me at 865-322-1474.

Another up and coming business just west of Newport known by many was Wall Tube & Metal Products. At one time it employed two-three hundred men. The year 1959 had several news items and photos about the industry. I selected one showing the metal grill manufactured in Newport.

I don’t want to take up too much space writing and rather allow the old photos to speak for themselves. Hope you like the trip looking back to memories past.

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