Williamsburg, Whitley County and this newspaper all have big plans for celebrating the 200th anniversary of the county and the city in April. An impressive list of the many activities were listed in last week’s edition of the News Journal. More information will be published in future editions of this newspaper. Already some businesses are publishing their histories. Look on page A-8 for one this week.
I have been doing some research in anticipation of the big event. I have a copy of the Williamsburg Times, a newspaper that preceded the Whitley Republican. It is dated December 21, 1899. It was only four pages and mostly a trade issue with articles about the various businesses in Williamsburg.
The lead story was about the town. The headline read, “Williamsburg, The Capitol of Whitley County.” The subhead read, “A Beautiful Little City on the Cumberland River, Surrounded by Towering Heights of Jellico Mountain Trend.”
The writer states, “No booms have cursed its life, nor have any unstable projects here found birth.”
The articles describes the businesses, schools, churches, resources, and the town’s society. “The many handsome homes that adorn the broad streets are fair prototypes of modern art, and in them are found culture and content.”
On the front page of the Times was an ad that read, “This grand medicine is what this country needs.” The medicine, Electric Bitters, claimed, “All America knows it cures liver and kidney trouble, purifies the blood, tones up the stomach, strengthens the nerves, puts vim, vigor and new life into every muscle nerve and organ of the body.”
An even bigger ad on the back page advertised for “Your Holiday Liquor.” A gallon of Anderson Co. Sour mash Bourbon, 5 years old, was only $3.00. A dozen Cincinnati bottled beers sold for dollar. It claimed all orders would be promptly filled and shipped by first express.
You can see how much fun it is to view our history and there will be plenty of it during the month long celebration in April.
I will be writing more on this subject. There are many stories to share. Hopefully everybody and all businesses will participate in this big event.
•Say it isn’t so! After being part of the downtown business community for over seven decades, Maxine VonGruenigen has announced that she will be closing Maggie J’s Dress Shop on Main St.
Downtown will not be the same without Maxine. I want to express our gratitude for her leadership and involvement in the many events and activities that brought enjoyment to so many of us.
For me, as a member of the downtown community for over 30 years, I called upon Maxine many times for her opinions and advice. I have many good memories. Thank you Maxine, everybody will miss you!