Tuesday, February 21, 2006

That Johnson City Statue

Reader Billy Coomer remembered a statue of pioneers somewhere between Kingsport and Johnson City. I remembered it, too, and it made me realize that the statue is no longer there. It was a statue of a pioneer family and it was located in north Johnson City, where the road splits and one goes to Kingsport and one goes to Johnson City. After a conversation with Johnson City native Gorman Waddell, I found out it was the Massengil Monument - only one "l" on Massengil. After a little research, I discovered that road construction had sent the statue packing...down the road. It was moved in 1990 to the Winged Deer Park, three miles down Bristol Highway. Winged Deer is the old J. Norton Arney farm. (Arney was one of the first car dealers to go on TV in Tricities. I think he was the original sponsor of the Bonnie Lou and Buster Show on WJHL-TV back in the mid-fifties.

I found two old postcards showing what the monument looked like in the forties. (It was erected in 1937.)

I remember it well because it was next to the old Texas Steer, my favorite place to visit in Johnson City.


At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Jeff Bradley said...

J. Norton Arney--now there's a name I haven't heard in a while. I remember his television show on WJHL. He would often sit in a wing-back chair, and he wore various toupees that always looked as if they were about to spring from his head.

At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


How about a vintage Bonnie Lou and Buster photo courtesy of the Archives of Appalachia...

Great column Vince

At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Ken Riddle said...

J. Norton Arney, "A Square Deal or No Deal!"

Bonnie and Buster didn't work for Arney. They had their own show "Mountain Music Makers" and Bonnie also did a cooking show before "Memo from Ilo" came around.

At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Bonnie Lou and Buster lived just across the road from where the Massengil statue stood, first "trailer as it was a 8' wide brown colored, very small) on the left at the entrance to Pioneer trailor park.
Brother pepe... Homer Harris and his trick horse, Stardust. They all made their way up on Tannery Knob to the then WJHL-tv studios where they appeared live.
J. Norton and all the gospel singers were performing from the rear of his boat, a very large boat on Boone Lake, later it was broadcast on Ch. 11. Never did know how they recorded it, but I found out not long ago as there are tapes still of J. Norton's tv show/commercials.


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