I was listening to historians in an online group chat when one of them made an interesting point. He said the people saving the newspapers showing what happened in the 9/11 terrorist attack should also save the newspapers from the day before to show how things were before everything changed.
It’s an idea I thought it would be fun to try. So let’s get into the Wayback Machine (bonus points for anyone who recognizes this reference) and head to October 3, 1957, the day before the start of the space race. A time when we thought we were the undisputed leader of science and technology.
Before we get to the newspapers, here are some facts to get you in touch with the times. Dwight D. Eisenhower was President of the United States. The construction of the interstate road network was only just beginning. Elvis Presley made his first television appearance and first record for RCA Victor the year before in 1956.
Americans were fascinated by space and science fiction at the time, as some of the films shown at Kingsport show. One of those films, “UFO – Unidentified Flying Object”, had been played at 81 Drive-In earlier this year and “Destination 60,000”, about an experimental supersonic fighter, was playing at the Taylor Theater on 3 October.
Eisenhower had started an exchange of science between nations with the International Geophysical Year. He predicted that the United States would be the first to launch a satellite into orbit, between July 1, 1957 and December 31, 1958, to take measurements of the Earth. This would be Project Vanguard and would be managed by the Naval Research Laboratory because NASA, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, did not yet exist.
But neither rockets nor science featured in the Kingsport Times or Kingsport News on October 3. The big deal on the front pages of both newspapers, as well as the nation, was the integration of Central High School in Little Rock. , Arkansas.
A little over a week earlier, Eisenhower had sent the 101st Airborne there to enforce a court ruling allowing black students to attend the all-white school, and Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus was still furious. on this subject. The Times also had Eisenhower stating the requirements for him to withdraw the troops and a report of a group of white college students in Little Rock who were trying to stage a mass protest against racial integration at the school. Their protest failed because no other student followed the instigators out of the school.
The other national story on the front pages of both newspapers was the union vote clearing Jimmy Hoffa of all corruption charges.
In local articles, the News reported that school officials were seeking approval for a $ 1,253,570.80 school bond issue that would fund three high school additions and three elementary schools. These upgrades included a physical education plant and the conversion of the old gymnasium into a cafeteria at Blountville High School; a physical education factory, study hall, library, and additional classrooms at Bluff City High; and a study room, library and additional classrooms at Holston Valley High School. There were also additions for Lynn Garden, Weaver and Orebank elementary schools.
Below this story was the report of a woman sitting in her car on Buckles Drive talking to a neighbor when she was bitten by a monkey. It wasn’t his monkey.
The Times reported that new school safety lights have been installed on the Gate City Highway in Lynn Garden. The posted signs advertise a speed limit of 15 mph when the turn signals were on. In addition, another proposal had been presented to the BMA to allow hunting and fishing on mountain town property on Bays Mountain.
In local sport, both newspapers wrote about how the Douglass Tigers football team would achieve their fourth straight victory when they hosted Lincoln High from Middlesboro, Ky. At J. Fred Johnson Stadium.
In national sports there were two big stories in the two newspapers. One was the World Series, as the Milwaukee Braves faced the New York Yankees. The News, the morning newspaper, saw the Yankees beat the Braves in the opening game of the World Series the day before, Whitey Ford was the winning pitcher and Warren Spahn was the loser. The Times, the afternoon newspaper, had the results of Game 2 with the title “Lew Burdette throws 7 hitters for National League champions as Braves whip Yankees 4-2 to tie world series 57 ”on the first page.
The other big history of the sport in the newspapers was the mention of the move of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants to California.
The fun pages featured cartoons like “Scamp”, “Moon Mullins”, “Dick Tracy” and “Popeye”. The TV shows had the test pattern at 6:45 am, followed by shows like “Captain Kangaroo,” “Truth or Consequences,” “Beat the Clock,” “Guiding Light” and “Grouch Marx” later in the evening.
So here is a look at our local newspapers on October 3, 1957. The next day Russia launched the first satellite, Sputnik, into orbit, and the United States was no longer the clear leader in science and technology.
And the race was on.