[PW] Historical time zones in the US

Bristol Library bplref at gmail.com
Fri Aug 19 08:02:00 PDT 2016


Lonn, your comment interests me greatly.  I had been going through the
newspapers for 1946 and I found an article stating that both Bristol, VA
and Bristol, TN were going to observe DST.  At this point, it wasn't
mandatory; the nationwide DST ended with WWII. However, when I checked the
paper for the supposed ending date-- September 29, according to the first
article-- there was no reminder about adjusting the clocks.  And, according
to the information Ivan provided, Bristol wasn't known to have observed
DST.  I had already been wondering, and now I believe that both sides ended
DST before the intended date and it's quite possible that the Tennessee
side did so first.  I'm going to have to go through all the microfilmed
newspapers to confirm this hypothesis, and you've given me added incentive.

Glad you have a lovely lunch at least!  Mmmmmmm... butter beans and
cornbread!  (And now I'm going to have the song "Butter Beans" stuck in my
head!)

Regards, Jeanne

On Thu, Aug 18, 2016 at 1:09 PM, Lonn Taylor <taylorw at fortdavis.net> wrote:

> In the summer of 1946 my parents and I were driving from Washington, DC to
> Fort Worth, Texas and we stopped in Bristol for lunch. We went into a
> restaurant and were told rather abruptly that "dinner ain't ready yet"
> because we had crossed into Tennessee and it was only 11:00 AM and not noon
> as my
> father's watch showed. I remember this vividly even though I was only six
> because it was my first awareness of time zones.
>
> We crossed back to the Virginia side of the line and had a delicious lunch
> of country ham, cornbread, and butter beans.
>
> Lonn Taylor
> Fort Davis, Texas
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> On Aug 18, 2016, at 11:42 AM, Bristol Library <bplref at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Hi, John,
> > Would you mind if I quoted your letter to the patron to give some
> context?
> > I have found some newspaper notices of train schedules departing Bristol
> > with the notation that some are using "Washington Time" while others use
> > "Knoxville Time" but without the explanation you give, that won't mean
> > much.  Thank you again for the information!  I'm still going through the
> > paper to see if I can find any articles about the Calder Act.
> >
> > Regards, Jeanne
> >
> > On Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 8:31 PM, John Sleasman <johnsleasman at gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> >> I have no expertise (other than knowing its complex) in the state
> >> assignment of different counties to the next time zone for the
> convenience
> >> of residents, or exemption from DST, but as a railroad buff, let me add
> an
> >> additional complication.
> >>
> >> Prior to the Standard Time Act of 1918, there were no official
> government
> >> boundaries for time zones. Standard time and zones were mostly set by
> >> railroads in 1883 and after, often at junction points where transfers
> were
> >> made from one company to another, or crews were changed. Cities might
> not
> >> agree with the railroad, and set their clocks differently, but mostly
> did,
> >> as people missed trains if they weren't following the same time as the
> >> depot. If you look at that 1913 map, you'll find that there are often
> lines
> >> - actually, more varied than shows at that scale - that bounce back and
> >> forth around the states, with the central zone reaching the Atlantic in
> >> Georgia, and the pacific zone reaching into Texas, mostly for the
> >> convenience of the Southern and Southern Pacific railroads to simplify
> >> their operations.
> >>
> >> I have an old Official Guide of the Railways that shows the Southern
> >> having three lines out of a common station (with the N&W) at Bristol.
> The
> >> line going west to Knoxville and Chattanooga operates on central zone
> time,
> >> as expected. The line west to St. Charles VA also operates on central
> time.
> >> But the line east to Mountain City TN operates on eastern zone. Hard to
> >> tell without exhaustive research, but I might hazard a rough guess that
> was
> >> indicative of the surrounding territory, and that Bristol VA could have
> >> operated on eastern time and Bristol TN on central in that era. They
> would
> >> be far from the only border pair that did so. Weirder things happened,
> >> which was one of the reasons that in additional to establishing DST, the
> >> 1918 act set up standard boundaries and gave control over zones to the
> >> government(s).
> >>
> >> The Standard Time Act (Calder Act) was signed by President Wilson on
> March
> >> 19,1918, setting up both the zones and DST. You might check local
> sources
> >> around that date to see if they note any comments about standardization
> >> and/or boundary changes. Mandatory observance of DST only lasted one
> year,
> >> that provision being repealed after the end of WWI.
> >>
> >> On 08/17/2016 6:25 PM, Bristol Library wrote:
> >>
> >>> I have a patron who wants to know if our twin cities were ever on
> >>> different
> >>> times. The state line goes down the center of town, half in Tennessee
> and
> >>> half in Virginia.  My first thought was perhaps there was a time when
> one
> >>> side didn't observe DST, but so far I haven't found that to be the
> case,
> >>> though admittedly this is difficult to ascertain.  I'm going through
> >>> microfilmed newspapers but between 1945 and 1967, states could decide
> when
> >>> they wanted DST to begin and end, providing they wanted to change at
> all.
> >>> However, in poking around I found an image of a 1913 time zone map for
> the
> >>> U.S. which would seem to show Virginia in one time zone and Tennessee
> in
> >>> another.  Does anyone known when the next time zones were set?  Or
> exactly
> >>> when this time zone might have been set? My thought is that there
> might be
> >>> an article in a local paper at the time this took place, commenting on
> the
> >>> event.
> >>>
> >>> TIA for any help,
> >>> Jeanne
> >>> who is really, really tired of trying to read old microfilm
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> Project Wombat - Project-Wombat-Open
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> >> http://www.project-wombat.org/
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Bristol Public Library
> > Bristol, VA/TN
> >
> > See what we're reading now:
> > http://bristol-library-bookblog.blogspot.com/
> > _______________________________________________
> > Project Wombat - Project-Wombat-Open
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>



-- 
Bristol Public Library
Bristol, VA/TN

See what we're reading now:
http://bristol-library-bookblog.blogspot.com/


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