Looking back: 50 years ago, Atmore experienced an economic boom

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Fifty years ago, in 1966, Atmore seemed to be booming.

In the months of June and July, there were dedications held at the opening of a new Atmore City Hall Complex and a new hospital.

On June 16, the grand opening of the new Greenlawn Hospital was held at the newly opened facility, and an estimated 2,500 people attended the ceremonies. There was also a good photograph of the first hospital in Atmore, the Baggett Hospital, which was owned by two Baggett sisters and located at the corner of East Ashley St. and Carver Ave.

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The hospital was built in the early part of the century and torn down in 1929.

Also in June, the new Atmore City Hall Complex was dedicated and an opening held to which 2,000 people attended. The facility was on the corner of East Ridgely St. and Pensacola Ave., and was to house the different offices to service the city, built at a cost of $375,000.

In other happenings, John H. Sherrill of Atmore was named as a coordinator for the University of West Florida.

Crops were not doing very well in the heat and dry weather that seemed to be very severe. The corn and soybean crops were reported to be suffering from both the heat and the lack of rain.

Well, for the past few weeks we have had some of the hottest weather that I can remember. At least we have been getting a little rain to go with it. Sometimes I wonder if we have grown to dependent on our air conditioners. I am sure that it used to be this hot when I was a child, but I don’t remember it. It may have been the way our homes were built back then. I lived in a big old house on the top of a hill. It had windows that came all the way down to the floor and the ceilings were 12 feet high. Most of the time there was cross ventilation and it just didn’t seem to be as bad as it is today.

Piggly Wiggly had some good buys, which included four six-bottle cartons of Coke or Pepsi for $1; chuck roast for 38 cents a pound; beef stew meat for 68 cents a pound; and strawberries with a price of $1 for four 10-ounce cartons.

The Maid of Cotton contest had to be changed from W.S. Neal School in East Brewton to Escambia County School in Atmore because W.S. Neal was undergoing repairs.

A local man, Sgt. Gene H. Baggett of Atmore, was recommended for the Silver Cross Medal in Vietnam. He and seven others were cut off from their company and in the midst of the enemy. They fought back for seven hours until they were finally rescued. All eight men were wounded, but they put up quite a fight. There were 35 Viet Cong dead and 19 wounded.

These are the ones we owe a great debt of gratitude. I am sure that you, as I do, want to recognize the sacrifices of our troops around the world. Although the Fourth of July has come and gone, it’s not too late.