Looking Back - June 16, 2013

Histiry 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.

At the time something is taking place, we rarely consider the fact that history is being made. Not all history makes its way to books or television, but old newspapers are treasure chests of information. Here, as usual, is a look back at some of the news from The Albany Herald.


The Presbyterian Church was officially organized with nine charter members. After the Civil War, only six members remained. In 1917, the original wooden church was taken down and a new sanctuary built at 220 N. Jackson St. — the same location as today.


Albany’s mayor agreed to let people work off fines owed to the city. The work included cleaning animal waste and whatever was needed in the streets of Albany ... while wearing a ball and chain.


Up until this time, it was common practice to throw dead animals in the Flint River and let them be carried downstream. The state put a stop to this practice, so some were buried just outside the city limits. Others were carried to the fairgrounds north of town and allowed to decay in the open air.


St. Paul’s Episcopal Church laid its white marble cornerstone for a new church at 212 N. Jefferson St. The parish was organized in 1851 and at one time occupied a frame building on the southeast corner of South Jefferson and Commerce (now called Oglethorpe Avenue).


At a meeting of the Board of Commissioners of Roads, it was reported that recent road improvement brought the “splendid roads” of Dougherty County to 50 miles.


The newly formed Albany Board of Automobile Examiners approved 49 applications for driver’s licenses. Only one was for a female.


The Red Cross announced the next allotment/quota from the surgical dressings department. Albany women were asked to prepare 3,780 paper-backed 10-by-18-inch cloth pads.


It was the law that all live births be reported. The city of Albany offered a $25 reward for anyone who reported an unreported birth.


A petition was received in the mayor’s office asking to use the Municipal Auditorium for a Ku Klux Klan meeting. The petition was denied.


Albany Undertaking Company purchased a full-page ad in the newspaper to show off the Henny ambulance. The vehicle was equipped with special spring suspension, full balloon tires, electric heat and a variety of first-aid supplies.


Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital built a home for nurses at the rear of the hospital facing Third Avenue. The two-story house had 13 large bedrooms, a reception area, library, modern kitchen and a long hallway allowing each room a private entrance.


Except for bonds, the city of Albany found itself completely free of debt with a surplus of $52,008.60 in the coffers.


The opening-day attendance of Daily Vacation Bible School was reported as 313. The two-week session was held at the First United Methodist Church for children ages 4-16 from all Sunday school classes in the city. Within a few days, attendance topped 400.

A truckload of “less than 4 percent alcohol by volume” beer arrived in Albany. At 20 cents per bottle, the 150 cases were disposed of in less than 24 hours.


The War Department approved the establishment of a pilot training field in Albany. At a cost of $2 million, the field would accommodate 437 enlisted men, 154 officers and 167 cadets.

In the midst of gasoline rationing, buses left the Albany Post Office six times daily to carry people to Radium Springs for swimming, golf and/or dining.


Trailways Bus Lines encouraged citizens to travel by bus on weekdays only, leaving seating on the weekend for soldiers.


The Albany Herald began airplane delivery of the afternoon paper. Same-day news was delivered to Baconton, Camilla, Pelham, Cairo, Climax, Bainbridge, Brinson, Iron City, Donalsonville, Colquitt, Damascus, Blakely, Bluffton, Edison, Fort Gaines, Cuthbert, Shellman, Graves, Dawson and Sasser. The bundles were dropped, usually in open fields, for local distribution.


Albany was the proud owner of a new $9,400 street sweeper. Residents were reminded that parking on the city’s paved streets after 1 a.m. was prohibited so they could be swept.


The Albany City Commission voted to outfit garbage collectors in white coveralls and caps. Commissioners believed the city employees should be “presentable,” especially to housewives.


Phoebe Putney Hospital received a third iron lung for its infantile paralysis (polio) center. A fourth iron lung was on order.


Joe and Agnus Moore lost their home to fire on Homewood Drive. An emergency meeting of the Albany Homebuilders Association was held and within 72 hours of the fire, work was started on a new structure. While not elaborate, the Moore family (which included seven children) was the recipient of a new and totally free home, a true gift from the community.


The Holiday Inn on Oglethorpe opened with 150 rooms. Each had direct-dial telephones, air conditioning, wall-to-wall carpeting, built-in radios and televisions with three channels. Also available were bonded babysitters, a swimming pool, two meeting rooms, a house physician, and free kennels and Ken-L-Ration food for dog owners.


The swimming pool at Tift Park, opened for public use in 1954, was operated as a private facility for whites only. Having been purchased by James H. Gray Sr., it was often referred to as The Albany Herald Pool.


Integration came (sort of) to the formerly all-white Carnegie Library. Books were available to all card holders on a stand-up basis only. No reading or reference room work could be done as all tables and chairs were removed. The library had been closed by the Albany Police in August of 1962 when integration was first attempted.


City Recorder Fred Bartlett “grounded” four teenagers for spreading toilet paper over a private residence. The four teens, two boys and two girls, had to surrender their driver’s licenses, observe a 9 p.m. curfew, stay away from all drive-in restaurants in town and travel in an automobile only if accompanied by one or both parents for the next 30 days.


Afternoon television in the Albany viewing area included “The Match Game,” “The Flintstones,” “The Real McCoys,” “Gilligan’s Island” and “Dark Shadows”.


For two days only, the actual car driven by Bonnie and Clyde was on display at Grant City Shopping Center.


Laska, the Asian elephant, was walked to her new home at Chehaw. Laska lived in the confines of her 137-foot round pen with a concrete floor at Tift Park for 24 years. She died four months after arriving at Chehaw.


A crowd nearing 1,300 filled the Downtowner Motor Inn for the annual Chamber of Commerce presentation of the Woman of the Year Award. For the first time, the award went to sisters, Bee and Anna Louise McCormack. The guest speaker for the evening was Art Linkletter.


A bomb threat was called in to the 911 center for the Albany Civic Center. At the time, a concert including Hank Williams Jr., Charlie Daniels and Travis Tritt was in progress. In an effort to avoid alarm to the 5,000 fans, they were not informed of the threat. No bomb was found.