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Looking Back July 8 2012

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.

Here is a look back at the summers of 1956-1960 in the Albany area.

1956

A brand new Sears Roebuck and Co. was preparing to open for business at the corner of Jackson and Oglethorpe.

Installed every 100 feet or so around the downtown area were bright red iron boxes called “Fine-O-Meters.” Any shopper who found a parking ticket on his or her car could simply slip a $1 bill in the ticket-turned-envelope and drop it in any of the many boxes.

Albany’s Master Sewer Committee voted to launch a $4.5 million sanitary sewers project. The plan included a sewage treatment plant. At the time, untreated waste was dumped into the Flint River. Aside from health risks, the issue was discouraging industries from locating here.

The Liberty Theatre held a Cartoon Carnival each Saturday morning starting at 10 a.m. Kids were invited to join the Cartoon Carnival Club and be eligible for lots of prizes. Admission for everyone was 25 cents.

Staff at Phoebe Putney Hospital received a refresher course in safe patient evacuation in case of fire. Fire Capt. Carl Callaway jumped from the roof of one hospital structure to demonstrate the use of a fireman’s net.

1957

Classes were held during the summer months at Albany High School for those wishing to gain American citizenship. On Mondays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., students were instructed in citizenship, English and American history. The class enrollment fee was $5, but tests were free.

The Albany City Commission approved a budget item that would allow for repairs at the Municipal Auditorium. Basic repairs and new stage draperies and drops were budgeted at $9,000.

A parking limit of two consecutive hours was implemented downtown Albany. Two officers on motor scooters patrolled the streets and the minimum fine for a parking violation was $2.

Once a week for eight weeks, junior and senior high school girls were invited to attend a “Charm Course” held at the Teen Center.

A residence at 907 Pine Ave. was raided and three people arrested in a large-scale lottery operation.

The Albany Marine Corps League sponsored stock car races on Saturday nights at “Suicide Circle.” Included in the events was a Powder Puff Derby.

1958

Hubble’s at 311 N. Washington St. advertised one-half fried chicken for $1. Hot dogs were two for 25 cents and hamburgers were 25 cents each.

A low bid of $22,200 by L. Earl Robinson for additions to the Dougherty County Courthouse was accepted. The contract included expansion of the sheriff’s office, a new office for the motor vehicle tag unit and a basement for records storage. All work was to be completed in 180 days.

The State Theater was the place to see “The Lost City of Gold” featuring The Lone Ranger. Extras included “World in Marsh” and a color cartoon.

Ernest Vandiver, gubernatorial candidate, held a rally at the fairgrounds on Newton Road. Vandiver’s 4 p.m. speech was broadcast over a 70-radio station hookup. There was free barbecue for all.

According to a report from the federal government, physical assets at Turner Air Force Base were valued at just over $19 million.

1959

Leary Methodist Church held services in its new sanctuary. The new $40,000 structure was capable of seating 120 people. In May 1958, the church burned to the ground.

The Swap Shop located at 108 N. Front St. offered top prices for all military personnel and families for used furniture. New items were also available for purchase, such as screen doors for only $1.99.

Summer juvenile problems in the city included an 11-year-old boy, already awaiting transfer to a training school, confessing to seven burglaries. A juvenile petition was filed against a 14-year -old girl after she stabbed her father with an ice pick, scratched her mother’s face and attacked the two patrolmen responding to the disturbance.

East Albany Lumber Co. had everything needed for home improvement. One especially good bargain was mahogany flush doors (2.6-by-6.8 feet) for $6.15.

1960

A plan was presented to a group of interested parents for organizing a private school in Albany. One goal of the group was to attract above-average students with good character.

The 5th All-Marine Corps Swimming and Diving Competition was held at the Albany Marine Corps Supply Center. It was the local base’s first time hosting the event.

Albany city commissioners approved the paving of nearly three miles on seven suburban streets. On the list: Azalea Road, Rosewood Drive, Skywater Boulevard, Oleander Road, Camelia Road, Dogwood Drive and Colquitt Avenue.

James Hart had 10,000 bushels of peaches for sale. the orchards were located three miles west of Americus on State Highway 30.

Sponsored by Wallace Chevrolet, Albany’s first soapbox derby was held in the 500 block of Pine Avenue. Mike Brundage, 14, outran 27 other boys, winning a trip to Akron, Ohio, in August for the All-American Race.