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100 years ago: we've come a long way baby, since 1910

For the most part I have no problem remembering that it is 2010; the 21st century. And when I think about the 1800s I have no problems remembering that we do not live there. But, up to this point, I have lived most of my life in the 1900s. Even when I think of the early years in that century, long before I was born, there is an attachment, and I feel like I have never really left home.

One hundred years ago, in 1910, the U.S. population was 92,407,000, as compared to 281,421,906 in 1999 (2000 census). Men lived until the age of 48, women to 52, and the average salary was $750 per year. The divorce rate was 1 in 1000 and a 12-day cruise cost $60. (Whitley, 2008)

In Knoxville, the Mayor was Samuel G. Heiskell, a lawyer and historian who was serving this office for the fourth time. There were two new banks, the Knoxville Savings Bank and East Tennessee Savings Bank. Historic Knoxville High School building was built, and served as Knoxville’s first citywide school and its only high school for many years.

Women’s skirt hems were now above the ankles. The Boy Scouts were founded, and Marie Curie won the Nobel Peace Prize for Chemistry. Here in Knoxville, the Bijou had opened just the year before in the Lamar House.

In December of 1910, A.D. Collier passed away after having served as County Judge since 1903. He was attributed with substantially reducing the debt of Knox County by running a “tight ship.” In July of that year, he reported that the county had saved $123,237.27 since 1902. The same year the tax rate was reduced by five percent. He was known for cutting out waste, and as a proponent on improvement of the roads so that they would last longer. He felt the problem lie in lack of maintenance once a road was built. In October, the Court voted to stop building roads outside five miles of the Knoxville City limits, and instead improve the roads within that boundary. This allowed expansion of public transportation to include the Dummy Line Station and Depot of Fountain City.

This series will bring to you people, places, and events that have influenced the development of Knoxville and Knox County. Don't forget to subscribe.

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