Looking Back: 20 years ago, 32 Masland employees laid off

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Twenty years ago, in 1998, an Atmore man who was arrested for attempted murder, may also face conspiracy charges.

Atmore was being racked by vandalism in some public parks in town and the city council was thinking about closing the parks at night. They later would make that decision and the public parks were to be closed at 11 p.m.

The whole city was getting ready for one of its most popular events, Williams Station Day.

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For the second time in six weeks, a deputy sheriff died on duty. Deputy David Copeland, 43, had a massive heart attack and died while he was on a call. Later on, it was determined that it happened after a scuffle with a suspect.

Thirty-two employees of Masland Carpets were laid off due to a slow down in business.

A groundbreaking was held in Flomaton for a science center. This would later be named Turtle Point Science Center.

A load of hay being driven on U.S. 31 caught on fire. Officials said it may have been caused by low tire pressure. The driver of the truck tried to stop and pull the hay off on the ground, but he was afraid that fire was going to get to the gas tank.

The Swift home was to be featured in the Grand Ole Dames Garden Club Christmas Tour.

Williams Station Day was considered a success. Both Escambia Academy and Northview High School celebrated homecoming. The queen for Escambia Academy was Ashley Gibbs and the queen for Northview was Tiffany Showers.

Jack Beck retired after 40 years of service in the Alabama National Guard.

Damage from Hurricane Georges was so bad at Atmore Public Library, it might be forced to close.

Lastly, a story ran about the steam engines The General and The Texas ran in The Atmore Advance because a miniature replica of The General was on display at Williams Station Day.

If you don’t know the story of these engines, it is very interesting. The railroad was the lifeline of the South during the Civil War. A plan was devised by some northern raiders to cut the supply routes, and they boarded the General while the crew was eating breakfast. Their plan was to tear up the tracks as they steamed back to their troops. When the Confederates found out, they took another train, The Texas, and took off after the raiders, driving backwards. To make a long story a bit shorter, the Yankees were caught.

I remember this story very fondly as I got a chance to see The General many years ago as it made a trip to Greenville, Ala. where I lived at the time.