Highway 21 is an important thoroughfare

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, October 28, 2015

In the 1940s and 1950s prior to the construction of Interstate 65, travelers used Highway 31 as the main thoroughfare to travel cross country. You could sit on a bench at the corner of Main Street and Highway 31 in front of Elmores, and watch vehicles with license plates from practically every state. Travelers frequently stopped in Atmore for gas, food and sometimes auto repairs.

Most service stations and stores located near this highway always stocked small tubes or cans of tire and tube repair kits. It contained patches, plugs and small tubes of glue. If a tire injury was caused by a simple nail the plug could be inserted for a quick repair. There were two kinds of patches, cold and hot. The kit also contained a special tool used to cut the patch and scrape around the damaged area so that the patch or plug would have more adhesiveness when the glue was applied.

It took about 15 minutes to repair the tire. And most repairs would hold up until the driver could get to a full tire repair shop. However, some repairs were left intact indefinitely.

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There were several well-known repair kits on the market in those days, but one of the more popular ones was the “Camel Tire Kit.”

Most kits sold for under $1.

Over the years and even today, Highway 21 has served Atmore well.

In fact, it is always just about this time of the year that we remember those pleasant trips to the State Farm area where we purchased sugar cane for chewing or jars of that sweet juice.

That was the highway “the boys from Auburn” used to get to their summer camp houses. Those houses were located across the highway at the entrance of Little River State Park.

Auburn University operated this summer camp in connection with Forestry courses. It was usually considered a “lab course” coming at the end of their studies, requiring completion prior to their graduation from college.

Those students always looked forward to the camp as they found relaxation and pleasure at the state park. They always came into Atmore to go to movies, to eat out and some dated our pretty girls.

Many used this highway in earlier days to travel to Selma, Montgomery and Birmingham. Even today, this route is considered ideal for reaching these destinations.

Our northwest Florida neighbors from Walnut Hill, Bratt, Enon, Oak Grove, Byrneville, McKinnonville and Davisville use it regularly, under the name of a Florida highway, to come to town for shopping, eating out and entertainment.

Now that Wind Creek is up and running, this highway has become practically the main thoroughfare for those seeking entertainment and gambling.

We have mentioned numerous times about our good times at Little River State Park. Well, Highway 21 is the only route leading to this relaxing spot.

Back in early days the CCCs (Civilian Conservation Corps) located camp houses up Highway 21. The government organization created forest and road-related jobs for young men having difficulty finding gainful employment. These men also planted trees and shrubs and help beautify our forests and roadsides.

In news from 1975, a local and prominent businessman Minor Corman passed away. As president of Southland Telephone Company he owned and operated that firm here for many years.

Jack Lovely, manager of TG&Y, donated an assortment of merchandise to Jennifer Ashley Ward, the first baby born in 1975.

Glen Latham, head football coach at Escambia County High School, was named “Coach of the Year” by the Birmingham Post Herald. Latham guided the 1974 team to the 3A championship. Lou Ikner, a standout on that team who later played at the University of Alabama, was named to the All-Southern High School football team. Other team members garnering recognition for their contributions included Joe Latham, Jimmy Woods and Curtis Coleman.

The 1975 eagle Scouts receiving awards included Brent Whitaker lll, Ken Whitaker, Rob Faircloth and Chad Daniel.

Florence Kennington retired as Atmore librarian. She served 13 here in that capacity.

And a few years ago, prior to his retirement, Sammy Day, son of Joel and Louise Day, was recognized as an outstanding member of the Northview High School faculty and sports department. Sammy served just less than forty years with the Escambia County Florida school system.

Well, this is Halloween weekend and many of you will engage in activities at churches and schools. Churches normally refrain from typical Halloween names, primarily calling it fall carnivals, etc. While I am not sure about the activities at all churches in our area, I do know what our church will be doing Saturday night. And, that’s at Brooks Memorial Baptist Church.

There, you will find a most tasty treat-chili and chips in a bag. Our ladies do an outstanding job cooking up this “meal in itself” product. Other tasty foods include hot dogs, cakes and popcorn.

You will also find the cakewalk to your liking, too. In addition to the food, there will be the Bouncy House, Trunk or Treat and face painting contests. And, you are invited to come. All ages are welcome. It begins at 5 p.m. and lasts until 8 p.m.

Oh, by the way, every Alabama fan in the state will be down on his and her knees pulling for Auburn to beat Ole Miss on the plains Saturday. The Rebs need to loose one more SEC game to fall behind the Tide in the standings. That will indeed be a first won’t it, cheering for a win by the Tigers.

Next week, we will take a look at more people, places and events from days gone by.

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