From Our Collections: Evolution of a Town

Author: Sierra Maxwell, Archives Graduate Assistant

For the past week, I have been working on the Mildred Kozsuch collection. Kozsuch graduated from ETSU in 1969 with a M. A. in library service, and continued to D.C. where she obtained archives training at the National Archives’ Modern Archives Institute in 1979. She worked for ETSU’s Sherrod Library from 1956-60 and 1968-78 in the cataloging department. From 1978 until her retirement in 1985, Kozsuch worked as an archivist in the Archives of Appalachia. Much of her collection is dedicated to her efforts to register the John Sevier home site, Mt. Pleasant, as a national historic site.

One of the most interesting parts of Kozsuch’s collection are the several binders of local postcards. Many of them are blank, which may lead some to believe that they are not worth keeping. On the contrary! Postcards are an excellent resource for historians and genealogists alike; they inform researchers about how a town or area evolved over time, what subjects were seen as important or popular at any given time, and they are a snapshot of a country or region’s culture. Many of Kozsuch’s postcards related to both Jonesborough and Johnson City’s main streets. By comparing postcards from different decades, you can see the evolution of both towns.jonesborough


If anyone has visited Johnson City’s downtown recently, you may have noticed a “new” feature. There has been a brick courtyard added in front of Freiberg’s, and the famous “Lady of the Fountain” has been restored to her original position. The bronze piece is believed to first grace the city with her presence in 1904, and was removed from Fountain Square in 1937 when she was placed in front of Memorial Stadium. In 1943 she was replaced by a Doughboy statue, and tossed into the trash! Luckily, a family from North Carolina rescued her, and she remained in their garden for the next 30 years. In 1973 her family agreed to donate her back to the city, where she was properly restored and placed in front of the Public Library. The Lady was returned to the downtown area, at the intersection of East Main and Buffalo Street, and in the fall of this year funds were raised to restore her to a functioning fountain in her original position! (Did you know that September 20th is Lady of the Fountain Day?!)


Information on the Lady of the Fountain found at


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