Looking back at some news from 1954

Published 9:44 am Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This week, we are taking a look at what will be our next to last column on news from 1954. We have also added a few excerpts from other years gone by.

In 1954, Mike Simpson and his son moved his Simpson fertilizer plant to Atmore providing jobs to several local residents. The plant, which sold to local and area farmers, was located just off Hwy. 21 north across the Frisco Railroad tracks.

The famous Hummingbird passenger train had an unexpected layover as tracks had to be repaired and two train freight cars had to be put back on the track following a slight derailment. Passengers, mostly from up north, toured the town talking with residents and local merchants. Ernestine Miniard of WATM quoted one of the passengers who said, “you can just feel that down south southern charm in Atmore.”

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The train was en route to the West Coast.

Fairhope Creamery made its debut here in 1954. “Churn Fresh Buttermilk” was its biggest seller.

I would be willing to assume many of you knew exactly how the old folks churned their milk as they sat on the front or back porch in the cool of the evening pumping that wooden paddle up and down in the large wooden churn. I certainly do. Thing about that is that you never knew when your milk cows may have eaten bitter weeds causing a very bitter taste.

The Advance classified section carried these ads: “FOR SALE: 1946 Chevrolet 4-door with 1950 motor. $200. Call 7163-R. LOST: One tarpaulin 16’x28’. Reward $5. Call 715-M.

Nearby Florida Forrest Rangers began wearing their new green motif uniforms that year. For years they worked in their khaki clothing.

In 1975, Buford Coon and W.D. Driskell of McCullough were named top cotton growers in the county and Susan Tennant represented nine southern counties in the “Miss Alabama” contest in Birmingham.

Amelia Solomon, talented daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Preston Solomon of Walnut Hill, Fla., won a coveted baton twirling award at the Escambia Florida Talent Show in Pensacola, Fla.

Former Atmore radio station owner and highly talented technician Dale Gehman won the top award in a TV and electronics contest in Birmingham. The senior at Atmore Vocation Center in later years drew on his expertise to build and manage a radio station here. Serving the Atmore community with news, music and information, the station was recognized for its diverse programming and talented announcers.

In other news, you probably know this column is carried nationwide on the Internet and we never know who reads it. But, for some reason this week we received more emails than normal. One man, a Mr. Jernigan, formerly of Bay Minette and now living in New Mexico wrote “ I was employed at Goodwill Manufacturing Company back when we were paid with $2 bills. He went on to say, “I had a difficult time telling some of my friends that I did not win those bills at the Pensacola Dog Track.” He was, of course referring to our column last week when I wrote the $2 bill story.

One other reader Jerry Flannigan formerly of Century and now living in Pace, Fla. commented on the potato sheds column written two months ago.

He wrote, “I worked at a shed operated by Mr. and Mrs. Erickson who were from Minnesota. I started out sewing 100 pound bags and loading boxcars.” He related, “One day Mr. Erickson sent his wife and me in their Oldsmobile sedan to get a bale of burlap bags at O’Farrell’s Supply….the bags fell out of the trunk coming across the Main Street railroad track….and she and I struggled to get that 500 pound of bags back in to the car trunk just before a train coming from Canoe got here…”. Jerry said that was his fond recollection of the Atmore potato sheds.

From another nostalgic vein, do you remember that young girl doing those “Open 8 to 8, so Don’t Be Late” floor covering commercials on TV? Well, she is not a little girl now. In fact, she has grown into a very beautiful young lady. She was reportedly seen not too long ago doing those commercials.

And, remember Brenda and Dianne, the attractive ladies who advertised Leon Atchison Furniture commercials on TV? Apparently they no longer advertise on TV as the store, I believe, is now out of business. I always wondered if they were sisters.

“That eventful night Water Oak trees supported the clinging, fingerly, grey, thick and stubborn moss that struggled to retain drops of dripping water caused by shrouded fog. You could hear the constant drops of water falling into the swamps and bayous while crickets chirped, owls screeched and alligators whipped their tails like oars that Cajuns used to navigate their pireaus. When daylight came the arena took on a look of paradise. But, little did Mr. Moncon realize that his investigations would lead him into this paradise. It would soon be evident that his work has lead him to a situation filled with “Poison in Paradise.”

What in the world is this? Just my way of spending spare time, little by little filling a manuscript with a “laughed at” idea. Why not? Everyone needs something to keep them occupied. Retired life finally gives me that opportunity to do. It is also good for ones nerves to do “what you enjoy.”

Next week we will conclude our columns from 1954.

“….yes…it always whispers to me…those days of long ago….”.

Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at exam@frontiernet.net