MARY BRASWELL: Looking Back - March 9, 2014

HISTORY: See what was making the news this week in 1915-69.

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.

From cabbage plants to convicts, there is always news to report.


— State law agents were assigned to Chatham, Bibb, Dougherty counties. Georgia officials stated their determination to enforce motor vehicle laws, with or without the support of local authorities, as the reason for such action. Anyone running an automobile without a license or with an old tag was to be “rounded up and prosecuted” to the fullest extent of the law.


— The cemetery committee of the Cordele City Council voted to begin digging up bodies that were buried in lots at Sunnyside Cemetery that had not been paid for and move them to the area used for the burial of paupers.

— A report from Albany’s post office revealed that the previous month (February) saw the greatest monetary receipts in its history. For the first time, receipts exceeded four figures by surpassing the $10,000 mark. At least a portion of the postal dollars came from the abundance of cabbage plants shipped from Albany.


— Historical documents and mementos were found in a box under the cornerstone of the A.W. Muse Warehouse at Broad and Front streets. The box was placed there in 1891. While little of the building itself was original, the site was that of the first building erected in Albany. The treasure was unearthed because the building was being partially demolished to make room for a filling station.


— A Dougherty County grand jury visited the stockade used to house members of the chain gang and found the facility to be in good sanitary condition. At the time of the visit, there were 97 prisoners present.


— The Pelham City Council ordered all theaters to close and suspended all public gatherings until further notice. The order came after physicians reported several hundred cases of influenza in and around the community.


In need of funds in 1924, how much money did the city appropriate for Phoebe Putney Hospital?

a) $650

b) $900

c) 1,325

d) $1,750

See the answer near the end of the column.


— The Dougherty County Commission expressed no plans to reduce convict labor to eight hours per day as some Georgia counties had done. Chairman M.W. Tift said this on the topic. “One must realize that a chain gang is a corrective institution. While the convicts are not to be mistreated, work is the best way to keep order and reduce free time. We can fully say that Dougherty County convicts have fully adequate quarters, good food, suitable clothing and expert medical attention. No place in Georgia will one find healthier men.”

— A reminder was published that Albany’s street taxes were due May 1 and that fees and penalties would increase the tax from $2 to $5 after that date. The tax could be remitted at any hour of the day or night to the desk sergeant on duty at the city police headquarters.


— In the first week of operation, Albany’s parking meters brought $675 — plus $202 in $1 violation fines — to the city’s coffers.


Roy Acuff and his entire Grand Ole Opry unit performed at the City (Municipal) Auditorium. Acuff performed at 7:15 p.m. and then again at 9:30 p.m. on a Monday night.


— Wanted: Curb boys for day or night at the Pig ‘n Whistle at 110. N. Slappey Drive.

— For the first time in Albany’s history, women were hired for school zone patrol. Starting with two, the new hires would begin soon patrolling Flint Avenue School and Highland Avenue School. Depending upon the success of the idea, as many as six women would be added to the Albany Police Department’s payroll in the same capacity.


— An Albany landmark for nearly a century disappeared from the downtown landscape. Built in 1859, the Albany Drug Co. at the corner of Broad Avenue and Washington Street and owned by J.R. Wetherbee, was dismantled brick-by-brick (for safety reasons) to make way for a parking lot. A four-room building in the rear, built in the 1890s, served a number of businesses over the years, including Bobs Candies. It too was demolished.


— Construction was under way on a modern 16-lane bowling alley on North Slappey Drive near the intersection of Palmyra Road. The building was a combination of concrete block and steel with a parking lot large enough to accommodate 200 vehicles. The $150,000 project included a snack shop, nursery, lounge and automatic pin-setters.


— Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s equipment was in place for opening its newly established Isotope Department.The three isotopes to be used included radioactive iodine, gold and phosphorous. Along with three x-ray technicians, the department had two radiologists on staff.

Serenity Inc., a corporation organized by Alcoholics Anonymous members, opened its new clubhouse at 416 Highland Ave.


— Under the authority of recent legislation giving municipal commissions the ability to raise salaries as desired, Albany city commissioners received a raise, as did the mayor. Commissioners’ monthly compensation jumped from $50 to $125 and the mayor’s paycheck increased from $100 per month to $150.


d) $1,750


— To dispel accusations of the county being a speed trap, Baker County Sheriff L.W. “Gator” Johnson increased the county’s speed limits. Johnson set the daytime speed limit to 70 mph and in the nighttime the limit was 65 mph. The new speed limits exceeded those set by the state by 10 mph in the daytime and 15 mph at night.


— The Lee County Commission awarded a solid waste removal contract to TriCounty Garbage Service. The monthly charge to customers was $3.50.