Palmer Memorial Center

Earlier this week the archives received a wonderful donation of materials from the Palmer Center. The collection contains scrapbooks, photographs and other miscellaneous materials pertaining to the center.

Promotional photo for the Palmer Memorial Fund. The picture was taken at the "future" home of the Palmer Memorial Center taken in 1956. Photo taken by David Peirce.

The center, now an Early Childhood Learning Center, was originally founded through the charter of the Tennessee-Virginia Cerebral Palsy Center, Inc., a private, non-profit corporation to educate and treat handicapped children.

The group began in 1948 when a few local families with handicapped children started to band together and organize education and treatment efforts for their children. The group opened a facility in 1949 at Area A of Holston Ordinance Works.

Through the efforts of the volunteer medical staff and community, the corporation was able to raise funds for a new building  and in 1957 the Cerebral Palsy Center opened on Ft. Henry Drive.

Exterior of the Palmer Memorial Center for Crippled Children located at 1609 Memorial Boulevard (now 1609 Fort Henry Drive), 1958. Photo taken by David Peirce.
Colonel E.W. Palmer sitting at his desk at the Kingsport Press, date unknown. Photo taken by Thomas McNeer, Jr.

In 1965 the building was renamed the Palmer Memorial Center for Crippled Children, Inc., in memory of  Colonel Elbridge Palmer. Palmer, one time president of the Kingsport Press, was active in civil affairs and was also a national and international figure in crippled children’s programs.

Dedication Program, 1965

In 1976, the corporation was dissolved and the Palmer Memorial Center became a facility of the Kingsport City Schools. In 1988 the center began housing early intervention programs for children. Since that time the Palmer Center has been operating as an early childhood center with a variety of preschool programs.

If you would like to learn more about the Palmer Center Collection that was just donated please stop by the archives or contact me at 224-2559.