Looking Back - May 12, 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.

Albany was a growing city in 1899. There were many merchants to complement the business of farming. Here is a look back at the city from that time.

• A committee of citizens was busy canvassing the city to enroll as many members as possible to the Library Association. The Herald encouraged readers to attend the next public association meeting to further the efforts of obtaining a public library for Albany.

• The Fourth Regiment band stayed overnight in Arlington to furnish music for a Calico Carnival held at the opera house there.

• Reports showed that revival services at the Methodist Church were well attended. Each day there was a sunrise prayer meeting, a 4 p.m. service and yet another at 8 p.m. Such was the interest that services were held over for a second week.

• Pickert’s Comedians performed four shows at the Sale-Davis Opera House in Albany. Proceeds from the shows went to benefit the Albany Guards.

• Notice was given that applicants for teacher’s licenses would be tested in late June. Pending the applicant’s score on the exam, a license was issued for one year, two years or three years. Anyone scoring 96 percent or higher on the test was eligible for a permanent state license and could teach in any Georgia county.

• A 12-year-old boy was among a group from Thomasville on a train bound for a picnic. During an attempt to open a window, a “pistol of large caliber” discharged, killing the youngster. The pistol was in an inside pocket of the boy’s coat.

• The day current of electricity was turned on so businesses could operate fans. A good number of soda fountains and barrooms were pleased to be able to cool their establishments. The City Council stated that not enough users were yet enlisted to pay for having day current, but there was hope that private homes would soon want daytime electricity also.

• The Steele Furniture Company on Washington Street had in stock frames for mosquito netting for wooden or iron bed frames.

• An iron pole outside of the Albany Drug Co. was responsible for knocking down at least two horses. The pole carried an electric charge after the day current was turned on and, while not lethal, was quite powerful.

• The city’s fire chief requested a pair of clippers for the department’s horses and was granted permission for the purchase by the City Council.

• An ice cream festival was held on the lawn at the residence of Mrs. Sam Farkas for the benefit of the Hebrew Ladies’ Aid Society.

• The city treasurer’s quarterly report showed a balance of $4,414.44 in the coffers.

• The largest fire remembered by most local people raged in the thriving suburb known as East Albany. When the fire burned itself out, there remained little beyond ashes of a dozen shops, a gin, a newly-erected barn, stables, wagon works, stockade, homes and tenant dwellings as well as 1,000 bushels of corn. It was estimated that $30,000 worth of property went up in smoke with only about one-third covered by insurance.

• Due to early season drought conditions, city water consumers were restricted to one hour per day (6 p.m.-7:00 p.m.) for sprinkling flower beds and lawns.

• Paul Jones Whisky was available at local drug stores for “medicinal and family purposes” at the price of $2 per quart. Crow County Corn Whisky was available for 75 cents per quart.

• The City Council voted to give the Street Committee the power to act upon erecting a pumping station at the foot of Broad Street for use in sprinkling down the city streets.

• A petition was being circulated to be forwarded to Atlanta in hopes of establishing a chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

• The Ocean Steamship Company of Savannah offered a special summer rate for all certified teachers in the state. Upon presentation of a signed certificate, teachers could travel round trip from Savannah to either New York City or Boston all the while enjoying first class accommodations for the moderate cost of $20.

• Reckless bicycle riding along Albany streets was a growing problem. Enforcement of ordinances was stepped up, especially for those traveling without bells and at night without lanterns.

• Plans were being finalized for Albany’s first cotton mill. It was expected that the initial investment would be in the neighborhood of $100,000.

• The Arlington City Council met to deputize 20-25 men to search each house in the area for stolen goods. Burglars entered through the back door of W.D. Porter and Co. taking the best of everything in the store. Items stolen included a barrel of granulated sugar, half a barrel of coffee, several sides of meat and dry goods. A day later, the City Council stated there was to be no search of homes.

• Housekeepers in Albany were complaining about the scarcity of chickens and eggs.

• Electric ceiling fans and the current to run them were available for monthly rent at the following charges: one ceiling fan — $4.50; three ceiling fans — $9 and desk fans —$1.50 each.

• O.E. Mattox, a revivalist singer, was found dead in the streets of Pelham in an apparent suicide. The singer had purchased an ounce of bromo chloral (a sedative) from the local druggist and was found lying with the wrapper to the bottle in his hand.

• Members of the city police force were sporting new straw hats, gifts from the mayor.