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Knoxville Weather Kiosk

Before TV meteorologists, there were weather kiosks. This may be the last one in the United States. 

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Installed in May of 1912, the Knoxville Weather Kiosk is a fascinating relic of weather forecasting history. It was one of several weather kiosks across the country, designed in 1908 by Professor Charles F. Marvin of the Weather Bureau’s Instrument Division. The kiosks stood seven feet tall and four feet square, with 30-inch panels on each side that held weather maps, forecast information, and instruments for measuring temperature, humidity, and rainfall. 

Once the weather kiosk was installed at the corner of Clinch Avenue and Prince Street (now Market), it quickly became a popular spot in Knoxville. Residents, businessmen, and visitors flocked to the kiosk, to check the latest weather forecasts, socialize, gossip, and read important news postings. During World War I, many citizens learned of the wounding or the death of a loved one through its posted casualty lists.

The advent of the radio in the 1920s brought weather and news reports into homes, gradually replacing the role of the kiosk in daily life. As it grew worn and dilapidated and began to malfunction, some citizens called for it to be removed or repurposed. But a loyal following, with fond memories of the kiosk, opposed the move.

A friendly rivalry ensued as the two sides suggested ideas for its future use. Some of these suggestions included using it as a hotdog stand, a fortune-telling booth, or a traffic signal box.

The final decision was to auction the kiosk to the highest bidder in 1933. The winner was Greenwood Cemetery, which then used the kiosk to post news of upcoming funerals. By 2005, the Weather Kiosk was brought back to its original location, where it remains today, creating a space to gather and learn about weather history, as well as the history of East Tennessee.

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