US Weather bureau’s historic
National Weather Service
U.S. WEATHER BUREAU KIOSKS
The National Weather Service (NWS) was established in 1870 and will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2020. The NWS has always understood that weather, including the general forecast and information about hazardous conditions such as tornadoes and floods, was of great public interest. Prior to the early 1900’s however, access to this information was limited to local newspapers and telegraphs.
Weather kiosks became a means of publicly posting the most up-to-date weather information for the public. People gathered at the corner kiosk to read the latest postings.
As radios became popular in the late 1920’s, forecasts were available at home and work, so the need for the weather kiosk quickly faded. Over the years, new methods of communication including the World War II teletype, the 1960’s satellites, and the 1990’s advent of the internet allowed weather information to be streamlined and disseminated quicker than ever before.
Today, these weather forecasts and hazardous alerts are available to anyone with a smartphone. It is amazing to consider the communications “explosion” that has occurred over the past 100 years!
Weather kiosks, like the one at the East Tennessee History Center, had an important role back in the early 1900’s in providing weather information to the public. Knoxville is fortunate to have retained this piece of history to share with the world, exactly where it stood 100 years ago.
Come see the Knoxville Weather Kiosk for yourself and learn more about its place in the past!
KNOXVILLE’S WEATHER KIOSK
Installed in May of 1912, the Knoxville Weather Kiosk reminds our city of our nation’s past, and remains a fascinating aspect of weather forecasting history.
Once the weather kiosk was installed at the corner of Clinch Avenue and Prince Street (now Market), it quickly became the most 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 its removal; however, 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 who 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.