Starting up 1973, Perdido getting anchor

Published 7:23 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2009

By By Lowell McGill
The year 1973 will be the theme of several upcoming column series.
We will only briefly touch on some people and happenings of that year in today’s column because I want to include a few other unrelated tidbits of information.
Very popular First Baptist Church pastor Arnold McRae left to assume a pastorate in Montgomery in January that year. He had served as pastor here for seven years.
Middle School Cheerleaders for the year were announced in early 1973. They were Georgia Greene, Susan Holk, Vickie Carter, Paula Drew, Lisa Faircloth, Cindy Gomillion and Mary Dailey.
Atmore Hardware celebrated 75 years of successful business. At that time it was called Atmore’s “oldest continuous business”, as reflected in a full page Advance newspaper ad. The firm, which originated in 1898, was managed by A.P. Webb.
As I stated, I will have more news on people and places from the year 1973 in future columns.
Now, to answer a couple of emails I received this week
One person wanted to know when Faulkner Jr. College and West Alabama University changed names.
Bay Minette College was one of several state Junior colleges that began operation in 1963. It became Yancey State Jr. College in 1966, named after pre-civil war General William Lownes Yancey. It became Faulkner State Junior College in 1970. In 1972 it was changed to Faulkner State Community College. The latter title was in honor of James (Jimmy) A. Faulkner, the late publisher of “The Baldwin Times.” Former Atmore Advance publisher Bob Morrissette, allegedly, played a role in that last naming due to his close affiliation with James Faulkner.
Livingston College became The University of West Alabama in 1995.
Another email from a man living in Colorado wanted to know how many tribes of Creek Indians originated from this general area. Well, I did not know the answers to these questions so I referred him to Buford Rolin, Keith Martin and Eddie Tullis. He told me he had heard about the successful operation of the Wind Creek Casino and he wanted more information on Creek tribes.
I continue to receive emails and phone calls thanking me for including Northwest Florida “Nostalgia News” in my columns. I appreciate hearing from all these fine residents, not only from Northwest Florida, but from all the surrounding areas of Atmore. You can be assured people and events of the yester-years from all these areas will always be included in our weekly columns.
On another subject, “The Mobile Press Register” reported March 10 that President Obama may be looking to delay for five years naming the winner of the often written about tanker contract. You recall, it was awarded to Northrop Grumman and Mobile last year, but Congress failed to deliver on that selection.
Then a PR story released on March 12 indicated the White House denied this delay. And, on March 13 the PR reported both Boeing and NG joined forces requesting Obama and the Defense Department to act quickly and name a winner.
Pa. U S Rep. John Murpha went on record, reportedly, after visiting the Mobile site a few weeks ago, requesting a split contract for the two giant rivals. It would appear to me that the Government would want quick action awarding the contract as it appears the President is obsessed to create more jobs in the USA. Only time will tell when we will learn the final outcome.
Finally, let me tell you about some big news from Perdido.
Little did I know back in the late 30s and early 40s as I rang that big outdoor bell on Sunday mornings at my “little Methodist Church on top of the hill”, that one day our little town would have an “anchor store”.
What’s this you say?
Well, watch out Atmore, Perdido is on the move. Yes, they are getting a spacious dollar store. In fact, it is under construction right now on the main highway near the school.
My, my, shades of yesteryears.
Those were the time when we had McCoy Drug Store, a turpentine shipping operation, a turpentine barrel manufacturing company, The Homestead Caf/, Luther Martin Auto Repair, North Baldwin Grist Mill, Frank Emmons Lumber and Saw Mill, Centennie Barber Shop (Freddie’s father), Jimmy Havard Tavern, Carey Havard Movie Theatre, Thomas Coleman Medicines and three department-grocery stores operated by Harold McGill, John Huff (GT McGill) and Foncie and Earnest Weekley, respectively. We, allegedly, had two whiskey stills and one deep-woods dice table somewhere “out there in the deep secluded adjoining forest.”
I remember working part time at Harold’s store when I was a student in Perdido Junior High. I, vividly, remember slinging 100 pound sacks of cattle and horse feed on my back taking them out to the customer’s cars or pick up trucks. The thing that stands out about those sacks of feed were cloth materials the bags were made of. It was not the ordinary old heavy duty bags, but beautiful print-patterned cloth. It was intended to be used for making shirts and dresses. Many of my school mates attended classes wearing nice looking clothing made from those bags.
Well, perhaps Perdido is on the way back. I never dreamed a major dollar store would locate there. After all, it is located on a very busy highway. In fact, it is situated on a heavily traveled highway that we all use getting to the interstate.
Some very interesting news appears to be in on the horizon regarding property insurance. Sources indicate that lower premium payments may soon come to commercial and residential property owners. Hearings are now ongoing and, hopefully, we will have some news on this possible development. This will be especially welcome news for those living south of I-10.
I’ll have more news of interest from 1973 next week.
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at

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