Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a booklet published by H.T. McIintosh and J.A. Davis Jr. in 1904, the virtues of Albany and the surrounding area were touted. Here is a look at some of the selling points included in the pamphlet:
By way of introduction, "The City of Albany and Dougherty County" was "a descriptive and illustrated pamphlet issued under the auspices of the city and county authorities." The pamphlet was officially sanctioned by the mayor and council of the municipality, the Board of County Commissioners and the Albany Board of Trade.
FACTS OF INTEREST
* Albany is the center of a region far-famed for the great fertility of its soil. The city is the center of the watermelon and cantaloupe district of Georgia and ships hundreds of carloads of these fruits during June and July.
* The soil and climate are perfectly adapted to the requirements of peaches, plums, pears, grapes and many nuts. The finest pecan groves of the South are within a few miles of the city.
* Albany is surrounded by open, gently rolling country and there are no swamps near to endanger the health of her people.
* The municipal government is administered by a mayor and six aldermen. The police department is under the control of a police commission, composed of six members.
* The city has a bonded indebtedness of $115,000, incurred in the construction of complete waterworks, sewerage and electric light systems. There is no floating indebtedness.
* Albany is called The Artesian City because of her 15 flowing fountains of health. The wells vary in depth from 750 to 1,200 feet. So abundant is the supply that artesian water is used from all fire hydrants and in flushing the sanitary sewers.
* Albany has for several years maintained a paid fire department, which is recognized as one of the most efficient in the state. Fire plugs are located at every street intersection and in the center of every city block. Fire losses in 1903 amounted to $3,000.
* A modern system of waterworks and sewerage was constructed in 1892-93 at an expense of $105,000. Additions have since been made, and the system now reaches all sections of the city. The water rate for a small family with bath, closet and sink is $1 per month.
* No small city in the South ranks with Albany as a railway center. She is the hub of a great wheel from which radiate seven spokes, each a band of steel leading to other cities and all conspiring to give her a dominant commercial and industrial position.The Central of Georgia has two lines as does the Atlantic Coast Line. In addition, there is the Albany & Northern, Georgia Northern and the Seaboard Air Line.
* Albany's magnificent shade trees constitute one of her chief charms. The streets are bordered by splendid oaks, stately elms and majestic sycamores, while hundreds of cedars, maples, pecans, magnolias, mock olives and sugar berries add variety. The trees receive constant care and attention.
* The Flint River is navigable along its whole course below Albany. The federal government includes in the biennial appropriation for improvement of rivers and harbors an apportionment for the Flint and the channels of the river are being constantly widened and deepened.
* It has been said that Albany is the best lighted city in Georgia, and the claim is probably not extravagant. There is a 1,500 candle-power arc lamp at every street intersection; in the business district they are more numerous. The electric meter rate is 12 1/2 cents per thousand watts.
* Albany is an important cotton market with annual receipts that never fall below 80,000 bales. There are six large warehouses for the storage of the staple crop.
* Albany's courthouse, completed only a few months ago, is one of the most imposing edifices in Southern Georgia. It was erected at a cost of about $45,000.
* The largest auditorium in Georgia is located in Albany. It was erected and is owned by the Georgia Chautauqua Association and will accommodate an audience of nearly 4,000.
* The Sale-Davis Theatre is a commodious and well-appointed amusement place and attracts to the city some of the best theatrical companies that tour the southern states.
* The Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Roman Catholic and Hebrew congregations of the city have commodious houses of worship.
* The St. John Hotel and the Central Hotel are well-known hostelries, both located on Broad Street. The New Albany Hotel contains more than 100 rooms for guests.
* Diversified farming has taken hold as the area recovers from the Civil War. Instead of just cotton, a farmer now plants corn, oats, rye and perhaps a little wheat. He raises sweet and Irish potatoes and plants sugar cane in the rich bottoms. The up-to-date farmer plants ground peas and in the fall turns his hogs in to fatten. He cures his own bacon and hangs hams in his smokehouse when cold weather arrives.
* One exceptional facility in the city is a natatorium.
* Twelve miles southwest of Albany is Pretoria, a village of 500 inhabitants that has grown up about the plant of the Red Cypress Lumber Co. There millions of feet of lumber can be seen drying.
THE COFFEY WELL
* Previously owned by Cornelius Coffey, the municipality now owns the artesian well still known as the "Coffey well."
* The "well of wells" is, to Albanians, synonymous with "health, strength and a clear conscience."
* The well is 835 feet in depth and its natural flow is 60 gallons per minute. One can drink of it in astonishing quantity without resultant discomfort. It acts promptly and freely on the kidneys, corrects stomachic disorders as if by magic, and has proven a boon to chronic dyspeptics.
* Hundreds visit the well daily, and its fame is fast spreading to other parts of the country. Many serious and stubborn cases of diabetes have yielded to its remarkable power.
* In addition to several private schools, there are 27 schools in Dougherty County, outside of the city and two large schools in Albany for colored children.
* Dougherty County has one of the most efficient of all Boards of Education in the state, its personnel comprising some of the most trustworthy men in the county.
* To be qualified to teach, a person must first pass a written examination, and certification of good moral character is required before a license is issued.
* The schools of any community are an index to its present conditions and hold a prophecy of its future. Albany has in her schools excellent exemplification of the cultured character of her citizenship.