It Became “Johnson City” 100 Years Ago Today
A "Village of Johnson City" sign on March 21, 2016. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]
It was 100 years ago that Broome County's village of Lestershire was renamed the village of Johnson City.
Voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to name the village in honor of George F. Johnson,
The village had been incorporated less than a quarter-century earlier as Lestershire. It was named for the Lester Brothers Boot and Shoe Company.
According to The Binghamton Press, only eight of the 102 votes cast were against the proposal to change the name of the village.
The newspaper reported a Binghamton resident, Hiram Goldsmith, suggested the new name about a year earlier. Initially, the United States Post Office Department rejected the change, noting two other communities in the country already were known as "Johnson City."
The Post Office ultimately decided to allow another Johnson City after listening to appeals from local representatives.
Broome County historian Gerald Smith said people in Lestershire had come to the realization that the Endicott Johnson Shoe Company was "here to stay." They wanted to show appreciation for the jobs the company was creating and for the firm's housing and medical programs which helped employees and their families.
According to The Press story following the vote, this telegram was sent to George F. Johnson, who was vacationing in Florida: "The people of this village today changed the name of the town as a mark of honor to you, its best friend. In so doing we show you in but slight measure our appreciation of what you have done for the village. When your Winter vacation is over you will find in the village named in your honor a warm welcome home awaiting you and yours."
Johnson City Mayor Greg Deemie said there was no observance planned to mark the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the village name. Some events may be held next year in conjunction with the 125th anniversary of the village's incorporation, which occurred on September 15, 1892.
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