Things are perking up near Walmart area

Published 12:22 pm Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Things are perking up on North Main Street and Highway 21 in the general area of Walmart. I see four new small firms are underway with construction. Perhaps this area will begin to take on new growth.

Over the years and even today, this North Main Street area sand Alabama 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.

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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 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.

Back in the early days, the CCCs (Civilian Conservation Corps) located camp houses up Highway 21. This 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 from1975, 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 newspaper. Latham guided in 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.

Former Atmore radio station owner and highly talented technician Dale Gehman won the top award in a TV and electronics contest in Birmingham. A senior at Atmore Vocation Center he later drew on his expertise to build and manage a popular and well listened to radio station here. This was after WATM went out of business. Tom Miniard often spewed praise for Dale’s expertise and technical knowledge.

You know you really feel down and out when your favorite reclining chair comes apart. That’s what happened to mine several years ago. We were all having coffee at Busters and Ray Lambert was sitting in with us. He spoke up and told me to bring him the chair and he would fix it like new. Well, I did just that and he did just that. I have never seen such a talented man at work repairing that chair. It literally was collapsing but he took it and made it just like new. It is such a pleasure to see talented craftsman at work like Ray. And, you know, now that he’s gone, his son carries on that same masterful manner. His fine work is truly a reflection of his dad. He also has done work for me, which was excellent in the highest.

I had the opportunity to correspond with Becky Roberts recently. Now living in New Mexico she was born here in Atmore. Her father is Mike Roberts who worked as a sports announcer for WATM back in the early 1960s. I have mentioned Mike several times. His talented sports casting ability led him to the University of New Mexico where he became the main play-by-play personalty of the University of New Mexico Lobos. It is always good to learn of “good things happening to good people.” I hope one day Mike, and his family will return home here in Atmore for a visit.

It is good to know our Tax Assessor Office is operated in a congenial manner. They came to my help recently with my exemptions. But the friendly courteous staff came forward with a pleasant solution. So I want to publicly say thanks for their assistance and for the congenial manner they displayed.

The column is a little short this week due to some medical procedures. But, hopefully we will be back with more next week.

Contact Lowell McGill at