[PW] Historical time zones in the US

Lonn Taylor taylorw at fortdavis.net
Sat Aug 20 05:48:36 PDT 2016


Dear Jeanne,

I'm glad I could be helpful. I was only six at the time, but the incident
stuck in my mind because my mother, who was usually very even-tempered, was
very out of sorts with my father for not stopping on the Virginia side of
the line in the first place, at a restaurant she had spotted (the one we
eventually went back to).

All best,

Lonn

On Fri, Aug 19, 2016 at 10:02 AM, Bristol Library <bplref at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> > >> list at project-wombat.org
> > >> 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
> > > list at project-wombat.org
> > > http://www.project-wombat.org/
> > _______________________________________________
> > Project Wombat - Project-Wombat-Open
> > list at project-wombat.org
> > 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
> list at project-wombat.org
> http://www.project-wombat.org/
>


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