Looking Back - April 7, 2013

History Column

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.

NASCAR held its first race for modified stock cars at Daytona Beach. Al Gore and Olivia Newton-John were born. The first long-playing vinyl records were made and played at 33 rpm. President Harry S Truman ended racial segregation in the military and Orville Wright died. The year was 1948. Here is a look back through the pages of The Albany Herald in April of that year.


• The Wesleyan College drama department presented James M. Barrie’s “delightful fantasy” Peter Pan at the Albany Municipal Auditorium. Tickets were 60 cents for students and $1.20 for adults.

• The public was invited to Turner Air Base for a surplus sale. Items available included aircraft parts, folding chairs, filing cabinets, radio equipment, medical supplies, footlockers, clothing, window shades and hand tools.

• For two days only, movie lovers could see John Wayne and Marlene Dietrich in “Seven Sinners” at the State Theatre.

• Fifteen freight cars piled up just west of Jakin near Donalsonville. The cars left the tracks after the area was flooded with at least eight inches of rain. Dougherty County farms were buried under muddy water as trucks floated off paved roads and fish were caught on highways. Road damages in the area were estimated at over $11 million.

• One-week-old baby chicks were available at the Ralph Allison store at 314 N. Jackson Street. The per hundred price was $15 or the chicks could be purchased individually for 16 cents.

• Young folks throughout the area attended the Churchmen’s Ball at Radium Springs. Among those present were the 500 baseball players from the Cardinals’ spring training camp.

• For sale: Approximately 10.5 acres in pecans with 165 feet of frontage on Sylvester Road; included a two-room house with electricity. Asking price: $2,500

• Lee Hardware Co. on Broad Avenue had the new Velva-Cut power lawn mower in stock. The easy to operate, twin cylinder gas engine mower by Maytag was light enough for anyone to use. Price: $112.50

• The South Georgia Trade and Vocational School at Souther Field near Americus opened. All the buildings and grounds were deeded to the state by the federal government. The school was expected to attract a large number of veterans but was open to anyone. A high school diploma was not required for acceptance.

• James H. Gray Sr., editor and publisher of The Albany Herald, presented his analysis of the diplomatic struggle between the United States and Soviet Russia. This was the 66th such broadcast by Gray on his radio station, WALB-AM.

• At an Albany Chamber of Commerce meeting held at Hotel Gordon (now the Water, Gas & Light headquarters), members were asked for project suggestions. The list included more paved streets, modernization and consolidation of schools, plan for a sizable farmers market, the addition of an agricultural class at the high school, a hands-on farming program for veterans, better housing and elimination of the city’s slums.

• Albany High School band parents, along with the Lions and Elks, held a street carnival in the 100 block of Pine Avenue to raise money for new band uniforms. The cost to refit the band was about $3,200. The carnival brought in about $1,000.

• For the first time in history, Albany failed to reach its annual Red Cross Fund Campaign goal. Volunteers planned to “take to the field” in an effort to keep Albany’s perfect quota record in tact ... which it did.

• Considered Albany’s pioneer morticians, the Albany Undertaking Co. announced the acquisition of additional automotive equipment to better serve all of Southwest Georgia. The company’s fleet: a white Cadillac ambulance, a blue Cadillac ambulance, a black LaSalle ambulance, a Packard three-way electric hearse, a Chrysler eight-passenger pallbearers limousine, a Cadillac family car, a Pontiac family car as well as a service car and a station wagon. Clyde and Viola Thomas were the sole owners of the company.

• The Federal Bureau of Investigation held a five-day session of police training for local officers. The subjects covered were parking problems, accident records and their use, preparation of cases for court, manual control of traffic and testifying in court.

• All dogs within the city limits were under a 90-day quarantine due to numerous cases of dog bites in Albany. Dog owners were reminded that to meet the quarantine guidelines,all dogs must be kept muzzled, kenneled on on a leash.

• Rotary International named the Albany Rotary Club the top club in Georgia.

• Located nine miles south of Albany on U.S. Highway 19, River Bend Park opened. There was skating every night and on Sunday afternoons and the dining room was open daily. Ample picnic grounds and a swimming pool were expected to be quite populated when summer arrived.

• It was in the the year 1880 when Mrs. M.A. Thornbury opened the Select School and Kindergarten on the northeast corner of Jefferson and Residence. Recently unearthed records from the school were donated to the Carnegie Library including student rosters and catalogs promoting the available services. It is believed that Thornbury’s was the first kindergarten program in the state.

• Four hundred acres of a new crop were planted in Dougherty County. Pastures were covered with Dixie Crimson Clover, pleasant on the eyes and good eating for cattle.

• Albany Coal Co., Inc. held its week-long grand opening of its new home at 823 Flint Avenue. In addition to coal and fuel oil, the new store sold household appliances. Door prizes throughout the week included a Robbins and Myer electric fan, Sunbeam Mix-Master, Speed Queen washing machine and Philco and RCA table-model radios.