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Looking Back Mar. 20

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

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 mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.

The first of the baby boomers would have been eligible for lottery-funded pre-K in 1950, had there been such a thing. Here is a look back at life in Albany and surrounding areas in March of that year.

* Plans were in place for a new wing at the Howard-Pirkle Hospital in Pelham. The hospital was completed in 1946 by C.L. Howard and J.C. Pirkle, both physicians. The pair of veterans came to Pelham to live after being discharged from the medical corps at the end of WWII.

* Sponsored by sororities Beta Sigma Phi and Nu Phi Mu, the newly decorated teen club was ready to reopen in Albany. The Wigwam was open on Friday and Saturday nights to give young people a safe place to go. Four members from the organizations served as chaperones each night.

* Simultaneous evangelical week-long revival services were held at 15 churches in Albany.

* Although employment figures for the state had shown a decline over a two-week period, job placements in Albany were up. Construction workers were extremely busy with no applications on file with the local employment office.

* Albany State College was approved for funds to build a new men's dormatory. The cost was set at $242,764.

* Earl Brunson Grocery & Market at 917 North Washington Street offered free delivery -- any time, any size, any amount -- within the city limits. Specials included: Rice -- three-pound bag -- 35 cents; Spare Ribs -- 40 cents per pound; Maxwell House coffee -- one pound, 75 cents, and a four-pound can of lard, 55 cents.

* The Dougherty County Health Board faced two very important issues. First, how to steer public health personnel away from better paying federal jobs and, second, the mammoth job of rat control. Solutions, at least in part, included raising the salaries of five nurses by $15 a month (about $130 in 2009 dollars). The board declared that public education was key to rat control, but also elected to hire two men and place a truck in rat service.

* Lee County 4-H Clubs celebrated National 4-H Week with an opening program at Smithville Baptist Church. Activities wound down with a Sunday program at Leesburg Baptist Church.

* Albany milk prices were slashed by one cent beginning April 1. The Albany Milk Control Board set prices at 80 cents per gallon, 21 cents per quart, 13 cents per pint. Seven cents was to be charged for a half-pint of whole milk , buttermilk was 56 cents per gallon, whipping cream brought $3.70 per gallon and skim milk was 52 cents per gallon.

* Wives were talking to their husbands participating in the gigantic "Portrex" mock war games in the Puerto Rico area. What magic technology was allowing such a privilege? Ham radio contacts were made from Albany thanks to the Albany Amateur Radio Club.

* Leesburg Elementary and Lee County High School PTAs sponsored Lee County's first hobby show. There were more than 200 entries and attendance numbered about 600.

* For the first time in the post-war era, a new class of Red Cross Nurses' Aides were training to work alongside nurses in hospitals. In Albany, there were 11 students enrolled in the 80-hour course.

* The Albany High Squaws competed in the first Class AA girls basketball tournament in the state's history. The Squaws won the first game 30-20 against Rome but then lost the second round to Glynn Academy, 29-17. Considering the team had only won one regular season game ...

* Roy Acuff and his entire Grand Ole Opry unit performed at the city auditorium. Acuff held two shows beginning at 7:15 and 9:30 p.m. on a Monday night.

* All seven coal yards in Albany were without a supply of domestic-sized coal due to a miners' strike. A crisis was averted at Phoebe Putney Hospital when surplus coal from schools was delivered for use.

* The executive committee of American Legion Post 30 accepted an offer of $10,000 from Ben Wills for the old USO Club building and approximately one acre of land.

* Morgan High School was cited by state education officials as progressive in school safety for its ultra-modern fire escape.

* Mothers of high school seniors expressed concern to school board members about the number of parties held during the last few weeks of the school term. Plans to curtail some social activities included replacing the traditional junior-senior prom with a picnic.

* The Calhoun County sheriff and state revenue agents shut down the largest still ever located in the county. Situated near Leary, beside Spring Creek, the still was capable of producing a gallon of moonshine about every five minutes. Three 350-gallon capacity vats along with 1,200 gallons of mash and 70 gallons of fresh moonshine were destroyed. A gallon jug usually sold for $8.

* The Defense Department disclosed that a $25 million Marine depot had been proposed for Albany.

* The Palmyra Pharmacy opened its door at 1000 N. Slappey with the latest in equipment and merchandise.

* Henry L. "Mac" Tallman, manger of Albany Herald radio station WALB, died of a heart attack at the age of 58.

* Slappey Drive, the new four-lane approach to Albany from Atlanta, was 85 percent complete.

* Dougherty Superior Court granted 54 divorces in one court session. Fourteen other couples decided to stay together and their petitions were dismissed.

* City Manager Donald P. Wolfer completed the job of signing city employees into a group insurance plan. Cost for participants was set at 98 cents for the employee, $2.19 for an employee and one dependent and $2.95 for an employee and two dependents.

* A city firefighter, who police reported as being drunk at the scene of an auto accident, was given a suspended fine of $25 or 20 days. The explanation for the suspended sentence and/or fine was that the firefighter's vehicle was "practically demolished" during the wreck. Judge Abner Israel did, however, revoke the firefighter's driver's license for three months.

* Home Freezer Week was observed the last week of the month. Appliance dealers throughout the city held in-depth demonstrations about home freezing. Some dealers offered payment plans, sale prices, and even up to $20 worth of frozen food with purchase.

* With the successful testing of a new city well on Cleveland Avenue, Albany had the potential to pump 11 million gallons of water each day.