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Looking Back Jan. 29 2012

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 year was 1940. On February 10, a devastating tornado would hit the downtown area in Albany in the wee hours of the morning. Here is a look at the weeks of the new year leading up to that time.

• Yancey Tractor Co., located on Booker Avenue, was a thriving distributor of the Caterpillar line of heavy equipment as well as smaller pieces of machinery. The Albany location featured a large display area for customers to examine the available equipment.

• Banks Iron & Metal Company reported that, in one month, 450,000 pounds of scrap metal was shipped from their yards at 730 Roosevelt Avenue. In addition to iron, brass, copper, and aluminum, Banks also purchased hides, rags, bones, automobile tires and beeswax.

• Grading was underway on the new Dawson-Leesburg highway. Thirty men were working on the project that, when completed, would give Terrell County four miles of post (paved) road.

• A junior police department, the first of its type in any senior high school in the U.S., was installed at Albany High.

• St. Paul’s Auxillary Guild held a “Gone with the Wind” bridge party for local women. The event included a fashion show with apparel from the period of the film.

• Margaret Bickerstaff, interior designer, spoke at the Women’s Club meeting about period and modern furniture. Albany merchants loaned furniture and accessories for the presentation.

• The weekly luncheon of the Kiwanis Club held at the New Albany Hotel was broadcast over the radio on WGPC.

• A telephone cable was inadvertently cut on North Jefferson. Approximately 400 customers were without service. Southern Bell linemen worked until 2:00 a.m. to restore service.

• Three FBI agents visited with the Albany Police Department. The agents gave instruction on handling prisoners, proper filing systems as well as other topics.

• Ochlochnee Consolidated Schools began operating a cafeteria. The school was also the proud owner of a new movie projector which could show silent or sound film.

• The fare to travel from Albany to Miami round trip on a Trailways bus was $12.55.

• Dr. James R. Houghton, internationally famous baritone, along with the 32-member Boston University Glee Club, gave a free performance at the First Methodist Church in Albany.

• Albany was named as one of the terminals for the new route of the Southeastern Pipe Line Company’s gasoline line. More than 7,000 miles of gasoline pipelines were in operation in the country but none in the southeastern states.

• Caravel Films shot footage at the Tilman Jones market and grocery store on Broad Avenue for a Texaco “commercial movie.” The 200 block Of Broad was roped off to keep spectators from stepping in front of the rolling cameras.

• A dance was held in the Valencia Room of the New Albany Hotel for Albany High School football players and their dates. Cookies and punch were served.

• In a week-long campaign, the Albany Chamber of Commerce added 44 new members.

• After serving free hot and nutritious lunches to 63 underweight school children for three months, the Poulan School reported that those children eating regularly combined for a total weight gain of 210 pounds.

• A cold wave sent the temperature in Albany down to a record low of 18 degrees.

• Bennett Feed Store at 212 Broad Avenue was the city’s headquarters for dog supplies. From food to harnesses to medicine, Bennett’s had it all.

• Albany Police Chief Jim Moore urged all Albany parents to instruct their children not to shoot at street lights with slingshots, air rifles or .22-caliber rifles.

• Sears offered inlaid linoleum floors for $2 per square yard, including all materials and installation.

• Leesburg was experiencing a business and farming boom. Every house within the city was filled as were all hotel rooms. Only one store downtown was vacant. One of the largest sawmills in the state was in Lee County. Two relatively new peanut mills as well as a large nursery were in operation along with dairies and more.

• Three fires within eight hours in Tifton caused extensive damage. The Women’s Club and Library suffered the least damage of the three. A feed barn and its contents were destroyed at the Coastal Plains Experiment Station. Cohen’s Department Store, the largest in the city, lost all its inventory and the building suffered some damage.

• A trustee of the Dougherty County prison camp was reported to an escapee. The trustee was sent to town for some oil by way of a taxi. He then exited the taxi and set off on foot and had not been seen since.

• The 1940 balanced budget for the city was approved by the Albany City Commission. Expenditures for the year were budgeted at $249,250. Also at the meeting, an ordinance was read requiring cars to come to a full stop before turning right on a red light. As a first read, no action was taken on the ordinance.

• Trippe Motor Co. at 210 North Washington advertised the Studebaker Champion as getting 29.19 miles per gallon. Prices at the dealer began at $660.

• Eleven Randolph County patients and TB-suspects were examined at a clinic in Leesburg. Several indigent cases were being provided with food and medicine. One extreme case was provided isolated housing in a portable shack owned by the county.

• A president’s Birthday Ball was held at Radium Springs. A song for the event, “We Gon Miss You, Mr. Roosevelt” was written by Albanian Ernest W. Atkins. Admission to the gala was $1.50 per couple. Similar events were held all across the nation with proceeds given to the fight against infantile paralysis.

• The new Coca-Cola bottling plant on Pine Avenue, out near the western limits of the city, was nearing completion.

• From the classified ads: Cottage to rent on Seventh Avenue - $17.50 per month.