Public Works Department


As downtown Kingsport was developed, cleanliness and sanitation became an important part of the Kingsport image. Above, Kingsport city workers pose with an early model water tank and street flusher. Below, Roy Onks (left) and Frank Cloud (right) pose in front of the city’s refuse collection truck. Onks, known as the “handy-man” of the Public Works Department, came to Kingsport in 1924. As general foreman for the Public Works Department he oversaw the maintenance of city streets and refuse collection. Frank Cloud was the longest serving city manager until his death in 1946. Kingsport was the first city within the State of Tennessee to adopt the City Manager form of government.

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Christmas Eve in Kingsport Holiday Cards

The Friends of the Archives are once again selling these beautiful Christmas Eve in Kingsport Holiday Cards! They have sold out the last few years so if you want them you better hurry! You can purchase them here at the Kingsport Public Library, The Carriage House, and at Berry’s Pharmacy. They are $8 a pack and all proceeds go directly to the Friends.Image

Eastman Aniline Explosion Program

eastman explosion 2013

The Friends of the Archives of the City of Kingsport will host their Annual Meeting and Betty Gibson Memorial Lecture on Tuesday, October 29, 2013. The meeting is held in conjunction with American Archives Month and welcomes guest speaker Pete Lodal, whose topic will be “The Eastman Explosion.” The event is free and open to the public. Lodal’s presentation will be highlighted by archival footage and photographs of the memorable day in Kingsport’s history.

A reception will be held in the Mead Auditorium of the Kingsport Public Library Tuesday night at 6:00 pm and the program will begin at 6:30 pm.

On October 4, 1960, Eastman Chemical Company’s Aniline Plant exploded sending a plume of black smoke that could be seen for miles, causing the deaths of 15 people, and injuring 200 more. Residential homes in the area received damage and debris from the explosion was found throughout the area.

A piece of 8mm footage shot during the explosion and donated to the Archives was recently transferred to a high-quality, digital format and will be shown during the lecture.

Pete Lodal has 33 years of experience with Eastman Chemical Company and has spent the last 16 years in process safety and loss prevention. The Friends of the Archives are enthusiastic about the appeal that coverage of this topic will have for Kingsport residents who remember or who have family members who were affected by the disaster.

The Kingsport Public Library is located at 400 Broad Street in downtown Kingsport. Free parking is available on the street and in the lot behind the library on New Street. For more information, please contact the archives at 423-224-2559 or follow the archives blog at New members to the Friends of the Archives are always welcome and needed.

Kingsport Historical Society Talk

Monday, September 9th, Kari Roueche, archives intern, will be giving a talk to the Kingsport Historical Society on the Muriel C. Spoden Collection. The group meets in the Eastman Boardroom at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce Building at 9:30 am. The meetings are open to anyone, even if you aren’t a member, so please come and bring your friends!

For more about Kari and her work on the Spoden Collection check out her awesome blog “Archiventures”.

“Kingsport Means Business”

The Kingsport Public Library is partnering with local businesses during the month of September (National Library Card Month) to increase library membership and promote the importance of shopping locally.  

The campaign is called “KPL Means Business.”  Customers who show their KPL card to participating businesses during September can take advantage of the discounts or special offers.  If you are a local business and are interested in partnering with the library, go to for more information and list of current partners/discounts.Image