1955 full of noteworthy news in Atmore

Published 7:04 pm Wednesday, October 7, 2009

By By Lowell McGill
There were quite a lot of interesting events back in 1955. I’ll tell you about some of them beginning with today’s column.
Locally, The Frisco Railroad discontinued their two passenger trains, which made trips to and from Pensacola to Armory, Miss. The trains, numbers 207 and 205, consisted of the engine, fuel car and two passenger units. The continuing loss of riders forced the company to dispose of the route. Those trains had made those trips many times back then.
The new image of America’s large automobile was displayed on Chrysler’s sedan. One of the features was the ‘wrap around scenic” windshield. Frank Bricken at Bricken Motors showed that vehicle in January that year. His dealership was located on North Main Street. At the same time Bill Hendrix and Hendrix Tractor Company advertised Ford tractors at $555.
That was a good year to buy car batteries. Long Motor Company advertised them at $9.95 as opposed to today’s prices from $95 to $125.
Marshall Law ended at Phenix City in Russell and Lee Counties in January. This came about one month after the fatal shooting of Albert Patterson. Patterson, who had vowed to fight crime and corruption in that area, had won the Democratic nomination for Alabama Attorney General. Gov. Gordon Person pulled the Alabama National Guard troops after order had been restored. Patterson’s son John, in a special election, was elevated to his father’s position. He later became the Governor of our state.
The Elec Shop, owned by “Shorty” Holland was deemed one of the most diversified electrical firms in the county.
Former ECHS majorette Kay Cunningham was chosen a “Dixie Darling” at The University of Southern Mississippi, John Sherrill was named Atmore’s “Man Of The Year” and the Rev. George Merkel was elected District Governor of South Alabama’s Rotary International.
The local Alabama Power Company office received recognition from the State for outstanding service and sales to the county.
Atmore Truckers introduced a unique contract to area farmers. They formed a Co-Op for growing popcorn. Farmers from Escambia and surrounding counties participated in the contract.
Some of the popular hit songs in 1955 included Bill Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock,” Mitch Miller and “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” “Sincerely” by the McGuire Sisters and Bill Monroe’s “Let The light Shine Down On Me.”
This week an interesting article appeared on an internet website. In that story Alabama and Auburn football coaches, Nick Saban and Gene Chizik, were identified as the ‘most handsome and physically fit” coaches at large universities in one state. Comparison was drawn to two “chubby” coaches at two other major universities. I think it best I do not identify these two “round men.” Perhaps, you could tell me who they are.
The article further stated it was rare to find such admirable coaches like this in the same state. The writer, however, gave Chizik the nod as the better “diplomat” of the two. It is good to see our two state universities looked upon nationally in this manner.
While we are on football there was a nice piece yesterday praising Bart Eddins, the son of Liston Eddins, former Ernest Ward High and Auburn University standout. Bart made an important offensive contribution in the Tiger’s victory over Tennessee Saturday night. Recruited as a defensive lineman from a Montgomery high school, Bart has apparently made a successful switch to offense.
I remember quite well when Liston played at EWHS when Joe Latham was coaching that team. Alabama was also in the hunt for him and sent Coach Haden Riley down to try to sign him. The rumor was that Auburn had him “hid out” and Riley was never able to locate him. In any event, he went to Auburn where he accomplished an outstanding record with the Tigers. Murray Johnson can furnish more details about that.
Have you watched The Weather Channel lately? You may have noticed the “NBC image.” But give praise particularly to that guy who went on a diet and trimmed down and now does early morning weathercasts. He and a few other on air personalities also identify with NBC. Well, the reason you are seeing these ‘new faces” is because NBC now owns TWC. Several Weather Channel personalities were “fired” when NBC took over. They included favorites Dave Schwartz and Cheryl Lemke.
It is no wonder they lost viewers when they got rid of some of the favorites. Viewers have been dropping very much like the NBC network itself. Some polling websites sites described this network at the very bottom for viewership. Their liberal agenda, I am sure has much to do with this. One of its most popular shows “Law and Order” has now exposed a political viewpoint. In a recent episode the Bush administration was cast in somewhat a negative image.
However, Pensacola’s Joe Scarborough comes through as their best personality right now.
Well, last week I asked you to identify the business that featured the motto “When Clothes Are Dirty Call Two Thirty.” I am happy to say I received several correct answers. And, the correct answer was Johns Cleaners. Yes this firm operated successfully for many years here. One of their services was home pickup and delivery. They even had a route down in my hometown at Perdido.
I want to thank each one of you who called and emailed the answer. I won’t identify you but I do appreciate your response.
This week I have another Nostalgia question. Which firm was identified as “The Checkerboard Store?”
That will do it for this week. More to come next week.
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at exam@frontiernet.ne

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