50 years ago, a fire destroyed the unoccupied Hoehn’s building

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 6, 2016

With the beginning of a new year, we move to different books from the vast supply of bound volumes in the back room.

In 1966, 50 years ago, the old year ended with a major fire, which destroyed the unoccupied building of Hoehn’s Trading Center. In the early morning hours of Dec. 31, the building went up in flames. It also threatened the whole block of buildings next to the center. The fire chief said that it was one of the largest fires to have occurred in Atmore and took several hours to contain.

On the same night, three Bay Minette men were arrested and charged with armed robbery at Hancock’s Service Station.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

It would seem that the old year went out with a bang in Atmore.

Hopefully, 2016 will be a bit quieter.

BECO, Inc. announced that they were planning to relocate to Atmore. They would be working with a defense department contract and were planning to employ 25 people.

It never hurts to begin a new year with more jobs available and I am sure this was no exception. The Atmore Advance had a front page notice for those who wanted to apply for a job at the new business.

Funeral rites were held for a local soldier who was shot in the back in Vietnam.

I include this notice because it reminded me of the times.

Beginning in 1950, troops were sent to Vietnam as “advisors” in the hope of preventing the spread of communism. The involvement became more and more pronounced until there was a full-fledged war going on.

I remember those days and listening to the news to hear that another soldier had been killed. They actually numbered them for a while, until the numbers became so high.

It was announced in the Atmore Advance that January 20, had been set as a special day to sign up under the Medicare Plan. The program was to go into effect as of July 1966.

I assume that this was the beginning of receiving the benefits of Medicare. I don’t really remember when it all first began.

I checked some of the prices in the first week of 1966 and found that at the local A&P one could buy Eight O’Clock coffee for 65 cents a pound. They also had stew meat for 99 cents a pound and bacon for 79 cents a pound.

It’s hard to believe but as good as these prices sound, we have to remember that income amounts were also a lot lower.

Lastly it was noted in the newspaper that everyone who wanted to vote in the next election should make sure to pay their poll tax by Feb. 1. Do you remember the poll tax?