MDJ Time Capsule by Damon_Poirier
This week’s Time Capsule looks at a circus, lawsuits, robberies, Ernest Barrett, moonshine, the Duchess of Vinings and Haiti.
September 27, 2014 04:00 AM | 77343 views | 0 0 comments | 2487 2487 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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The Week of January 31st
by Damon_Poirier
January 30, 2013 04:39 PM | 1005 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
In this week’s Time Capsule, we look at gun violence, deaths from exposure and a proposed granite monument at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.

50 years ago …

A gunman was reported in the Sunday, Jan. 27, 1963 MDJ as having jumped out of a car on U.S. 41 north of Marietta armed with a pistol and threatened to shoot a young hitchhiker if he didn’t have at least $100. The victim was shot and seriously wounded when he darted across the highway in an attempt to escape, the gunman who stole $8 and his suitcase.

This was the second shooting in the county over the weekend. A 16-year-old Smyrna youth was also hit in the hip by a bullet which ripped through the side of a car carrying seven teenagers. The shooter told police that he had fired at the car with the idea of frightening the youths away.

It was also reported that day, that an elderly Austell woman was found frozen to death the day before just a short distance from her Maxham Road home. Relatives of the woman said she was discovered in a field about 150-feet from her house where she apparently collapsed the night before.

Later in the week, in the Thursday, Jan. 31, 1963 paper, a second exposure death was reported. In that case, the body of a 36-year-old Atlanta woman was discovered by two hunters in a field in a remote section of the county. Medical examiners at Kennestone Hospital said that the young woman died of exposure a week to 10 days before the discovery.

Firemen from South Cobb and other neighboring counties were reported in the Monday, Jan. 25, 1963 paper as having rushed to Douglasville over the weekend to battle a two-building fire that threatened a block of businesses on the east side of town. Douglasville Fire Chief W.C. McLarty told the paper that six fire departments, including three from Cobb, and a number of off-duty firemen came to the aid of his volunteer unit.

Another story that day reported funds were being sought from the state legislature by Rep. A.A. Fowler Jr. of Douglas County to erect a $6,500 granite monument in memory of the Georgians who died in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. The monument would occupy a place of honor at what is now the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.

The project was backed by Mrs. Forrest Kibler of Atlanta, chairman of the Georgia Hall of Fame committee, who said that there were no monuments to Georgia’s dead while the state of Illinois had a monument to their dead at the mountain. Mrs. Kibler also said that the proposed monument was one in a series of monuments placed in recent years at Civil War battle sites such as Gettysburg, Antietam and Vicksburg.

A playful 18-month-old boxer named Champ, described as “the pet of the whole block,” was reported in the Tuesday, Jan. 29, 1963 paper as horribly burned the day before when someone threw lye on him and blinded one of his eyes.

20 years ago …

In the Monday, Jan. 25, 1993 MDJ, Marietta Schools Superintendent Dr. Roy D. Nichols was reported as having announced at a press conference in Norfolk, Va., the night before that he was accepting the position of superintendent of the Norfolk City School District. The announcement came just a few days after three members of the Norfolk Board of Education came to Marietta to tour Marietta High and A.L. Burruss Elementary schools and talk with Marietta School Board members.

Also that day, Cobb Hospital and Medical Center in Austell and Kennestone Hospital in Marietta announced they hoped to break ground on a new shared laundry facility that was to be built at 1011 Williams Drive, a 6.96-acre lot near Interstate 75 and Canton Highway in north Cobb. The $2.6 million cost would be shared equally by both hospitals.

Damon Poirier is the Newsroom Administrator for the Marietta Daily Journal.

If you are interested in learning more about the stories that were presented in this week’s column, you can search the newspaper’s digitized microfilm archives online. NewsBank, which hosts the archives for the Marietta Daily Journal, charges a fee for retrieved articles and has various price packages available. If you have any trouble with your username, password or payment options, please contact NewsBank at mariettadaily@newsbank.com.

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The Week of January 24th
by Damon_Poirier
January 22, 2013 06:04 PM | 1021 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
In this week’s Time Capsule, we look at a birthday celebration for a Confederation general, record cold weather and options regarding the West Cobb Loop.

100 years ago…

It was reported, in the Friday, Jan. 24, 1913 edition of The Marietta Journal and Courier, that on the Sunday before the First Baptist Church’s Sunday school room had a large gathering of the congregation celebrating the birthday of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. A portrait of the general was drawn upon the room’s blackboard, which was draped with Confederate flags. The opening song in the celebration was one of Gen. Lee’s favorite hymns, “How Firm a Foundation.”

W.H. Bivins’ store in the Elizabeth community was reported that week as having been burned to the ground. Bivins said that he had received several letters threatening to burn his store unless he fired his black employees, but he had not taken the matter seriously. It was also reported that several other stores in the area had received similar threatening letters.

There was also a story that week about a movement to send the Marietta Rifles to Washington, D.C., to take part in the inauguration exercises in March. Several cities and towns across Georgia were raising money to send their military post groups. Rome was cited as raising $1,500 to send a company from its neighboring Lindale community. Meanwhile, only $500 was being sought for the Marietta Rifles. The military group said that the raised money would only be spent on railroad fare, while the individual men would pay for their own food and the group would arrange to sleep in a school house.

50 years ago…

It was reported, in the Monday, Jan. 21, 1963 MDJ, that centuries old rare coins valued at approximately $600 and a .41-caliber collector’s pistol were stolen by a thief over the weekend from an east Marietta store. Included in the loot were 12 Spanish “pieces of eight” with identifying marks showing use in Hong Kong, several 1600-era Roman coins, seven U.S. silver dollars minted in the early 1800s and a 1931 U.S. penny. The thief apparently only selected the rarest coins from those on display.

The Cobb County Hospital Authority, in the Wednesday, Jan. 23, 1963 paper, learned that a proposed 200-bed hospital in south Cobb would cost between $4.5 and $5 million – nearly double the estimated figure of the originally planned 150-bed unit. Authority members were also told that if plans went to the drawing board that very day the project would still not be ready for at least two years.

A blast of Arctic air and bone-chilling wind was reported, in the Thursday, Jan. 24, 1963 paper, as plunging temperatures to an official four degrees below zero. It was, at that time, the coldest temperature in the metro Atlanta area for the century. The then-official, all-time low for the Atlanta area was an eight and a half degree below zero reading and a 10-below mark specifically in Cobb County on Feb. 13, 1899.

Sheriff Kermit Sanders said, in the Friday, Jan. 25, 1963 paper, a specially-trained team of detectives to probe major crimes was expected to be formed as part of a reorganization of the Cobb County Sheriff’s Department. Sanders also said he was planning a number of changes in the operation of his department after the county advisory board transferred the county’s seven-man detective force under his command the day before. Commissioner Herbert McCollum said that a trained detective would now be on call 24 hours a day with county police handling all traffic patrols and regular police duties except investigations.

20 years ago…

Assembly began at Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Co. on what would be the first of eight P-3 Orion submarine hunters that were to be delivered to the South Korean air force in 1995 as part of a $595 million contract awarded in December 1990, according to the Thursday, Jan. 21, 1993 MDJ. The first stage of the major assembly was a cockpit that would be outfitted with state-of-the-art avionics.

Also on that day, Cobb Commission Chairman Bill Byrne and Commissioner Bill Cooper said that they supported building a new $37 million road to complete the West Cobb Loop. Both said they favored building the road through a relatively undeveloped area beside Noses Creek over a less-expensive option of widening West Sandtown Road.

At an informational meeting the month before, 152 of 241 residents voted in favor of the Noses Creek option. The others divided their votes among four other options presented by the Cobb Department of Transportation.

The commission would eventually choose the 5.5-mile Noses Creek option, which crossed some 15 acres of federal wetlands and required bridge crossings, which connected the East-West Connector in Austell with the Ernest Barrett Parkway Extension in Kennesaw.

Damon Poirier is the Newsroom Administrator for the Marietta Daily Journal.

If you are interested in learning more about the stories that were presented in this week’s column, you can search the newspaper’s digitized microfilm archives online. NewsBank, which hosts the archives for the Marietta Daily Journal, charges a fee for retrieved articles and has various price packages available. If you have any trouble with your username, password or payment options, please contact NewsBank at mariettadaily@newsbank.com. 

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The Week of January 17th
by Damon_Poirier
January 16, 2013 11:23 AM | 1050 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
In this week’s Time Capsule, we look at pinball machines as gambling devices, a local lawmaker coming under enemy sniper fire in Somalia and the governor’s attempt to change the state flag.

100 years ago …

Taking up half of the front page of the Friday, Jan. 17, 1913 edition of the Marietta Journal and Courier, was a letter from Marietta Mayor J.J. Black on the financial state of the city. The letter said that the city’s income had not covered expenses and that debt was just being added to debt year after year.

The second page of that week’s edition showed a half-page graphic with financial statements citing information from the administrations of former Mayors Dobbs and Clay alongside Mayor Black’s. The remainder of the page was taken up by an ad from the Chamber of Commerce urging citizens to attend a 7:30 p.m. joint meeting of the Chamber and the city council that night at the Kennesaw House to discuss the city’s finances.

50 years ago …

A lifeline to pull in more revenue for Marietta schools in case federal impact aid was cut off for the 1963 school year was added to the city’s rules, according to the Sunday, Jan. 13, 1963 MDJ. The city council voted 5-1 to raise the allowable school tax ceiling on private property and to let the school fund donations by the city-owned Board of Lights and Water Works be raised.

Police said, in the Tuesday, Jan. 15, 1963 paper, that they attempted to stop a driver for a routine traffic offense in Marietta, but the car raced off and started a high-speed chase through the downtown area. The chase, which reached speeds of 75-80 mph, ended when the driver hit a patch of ice and his car skidded into a utility pole. A search of the vehicle turned up one and a half gallons of non-tax-paid moonshine whiskey and a concealed .38-caliber pistol under the dashboard.

Another story that day reported that the city of Kennesaw’s Police Chief W.J. Freeman had resigned after city officials announced their intention of cutting his pay from $5,720 a year to $4,500.

In the Wednesday, Jan. 16, 1963 paper, soaring flames were reported to have destroyed a building containing three businesses – Beets Barber Shop, a beauty shop and a washateria – in the Elizabeth community, located along the Church Street Extension corridor near Kennestone Hospital. The pre-dawn fire, with 30-foot flames, burned through an overhead cable and disrupted local phone service for most of the day.

A court decision that pinball machines awarding free games were gambling devices was reported as being allowed to stand by the State Supreme Court, in the Thursday, Jan. 17, 1963 paper. The Supreme Court’s action allowed Georgia’s law officers to stamp out pinball machine operations as a violation of the state’s anti-gambling statutes.

20 years ago …

U.S. Rep. George “Buddy” Darden, D-Marietta, was reported in the Monday, Jan. 11, 1993 MDJ, as being among a group of congressmen in Mogadishu, Somalia, who came under enemy sniper fire during the first visit by U.S. lawmakers since the start of Operation Restore Hope.

Snipers began shooting as the congressional delegation arrived at one of Mogadishu’s hot spots, a sports stadium where 1,500 U.S. Marines were encamped along the Green Line that divided the city between rival clans. Marine riflemen took up positions behind stacks of sandbags as the congressmen were rushed from their vehicles into rooms beneath the stadium.

Several Cobb legislators, in the Wednesday, Jan. 13, 1993 paper, said they were taken aback by Gov. Zell Miller’s impassioned plea to change the Georgia state flag during his annual State of the State address to the General Assembly. Most members of the Cobb delegation said they wanted a statewide, public referendum on the controversial issue, while the governor was pushing for a legislative vote to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the flag.

Damon Poirier is the Newsroom Administrator for the Marietta Daily Journal.

If you are interested in learning more about the stories that were presented in this week’s column, you can search the newspaper’s digitized microfilm archives online. NewsBank, which hosts the archives for the Marietta Daily Journal, charges a fee for retrieved articles and has various price packages available. If you have any trouble with your username, password or payment options, please contact NewsBank at mariettadaily@newsbank.com. 

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The Week of January 10th
by Damon_Poirier
January 09, 2013 03:46 PM | 1253 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
In this week’s Time Capsule, we look at proposed rapid transit, important legislative decisions and wind damage to the Big Chicken.

100 years ago …

On the front page of the Friday, Jan. 10, 1913 edition of the Marietta Journal and Courier, there were reports published from the various offices within Marietta government for December 1912.

The City Clerk reported collections of $10,476.77 for property taxes, $2.50 for a street tax, $95 for a special tax, $39 from the City Sexton and $166.50 for cemetery lots.

The City Marshal reported having made 73 cases with 15 discharged and 58 fined. While the Chief of the Fire Department reported 28 fire calls for the entire year.



There was also a front page ad that week from Northern Pacific Railroad about the Jan. 20th arrival at the L. & N. Depot in Marietta of their 75-foot railroad car specially designed and decorated to exhibit products raised by farmers and fruit growers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

50 years ago …

An article, in the Sunday, Jan. 6, 1963 MDJ, stated that rapid transit from downtown Marietta to downtown Atlanta could take 25 minutes and cost riders only 45-cents, but the catch was that it wouldn’t be available until January 1980 and only if construction of the lines went as planned.

Marietta was the farthest stop from the proposed Atlanta transit center on any of the seven planned lines. The northwest line was also the longest, 18.3 miles, and the costliest at $54.9 million, not accounting for inflation.

Cobb’s state legislators were reported, in the Tuesday, Jan. 8, 1963 paper, as almost having agreed to abolish an old legislature rule that gave each delegate the power to single-handedly kill a local bill. Several members of Cobb’s five-man delegation declared in a forum the day before sponsored by the Marietta PTA Council that they would favor changing “legislative courtesy.” Rep. Joe Mack Wilson, however, squashed the idea stating that he favored unanimous consent among the delegation before allowing local bills on the floor.

Also that day, the Smyrna City Council allocated $100,000 of its street bond funds for the purchase of the right-of-ways in two long-sought highway projects – the widening of Old Highway 41 to four lanes and the relocation of Spring Street.

The FBI, in the Thursday, Jan. 10, 1963 paper, said they arrested three men in connection with the Oct. 22, 1962 theft of a $19,296 shipment of whiskey, gin and vodka. Agents found the truck, missing its shipment, abandoned and empty behind a truck stop on Highway 41 in Cobb County on the day of the theft.

Two teenage boys were reported, in the Friday, Jan. 11, 1963 paper, as sentenced to two consecutive life terms each after pleading guilty to shooting a gas station attendant in a Thanksgiving Eve robbery. Cobb Superior Court Judge James T. Manning told the defendants that the state had the right to sentence them to death but because of the boys’ good record up until the time of the crime he was only going to give them life sentences.

Also that day, Lockheed air crafters began putting together the “body” of the Air Force’s C-141 turbofan aerial giant ahead of schedule. The forward, center and rear body sections of the new plane were placed in a tremendous mating jig to be riveted together. The move was 25 days ahead of schedule for the aft fuselage and 11 days early for the other two fuselages.

20 years ago …

In the Thursday, Jan. 7, 1993 MDJ, it was reported that U.S. Reps. George “Buddy” Darden of Marietta and John Lewis of Atlanta sided with House Democratic leaders in expanding congressional voting rights for the delegates from Washington, D.C., and four U.S. commonwealths. House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich, R-east Cobb, led the fight against approval and angrily pointed out that citizens of the four provinces – Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam – paid no taxes to the federal treasury, yet they would have the same representation in the House as the residents of Georgia.

Also that day, Kentucky Fried Chicken officials were reported as saying that the 30-year-old Big Chicken would be restored after a rectangular hole was ripped in the Roswell Road side of the landmark structure at the corner of Highway 41 by strong winds the previous weekend.

Damon Poirier is the Newsroom Administrator for the Marietta Daily Journal.

If you are interested in learning more about the stories that were presented in this week’s column, you can search the newspaper’s digitized microfilm archives online. NewsBank, which hosts the archives for the Marietta Daily Journal, charges a fee for retrieved articles and has various price packages available. If you have any trouble with your username, password or payment options, please contact NewsBank at mariettadaily@newsbank.com. 

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The Week of January 3rd
by Damon_Poirier
December 31, 2012 10:17 AM | 1103 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
In this week’s Time Capsule, we look at annexation attempts in both Smyrna and Marietta along with developments in the investigation of the Sara Tokars’ shotgun murder.

100 years ago …

In the Friday, Jan. 3, 1913 Marietta Journal and Courier, the entire front page held an ad from the T.L. Wallace Clothing Company thanking friends and customers for their patronage.

There was also a story that week about how a woman on Christmas morning was cranking her automobile in front of a residence on Kennesaw Avenue when the handle flew back and broke her right arm in two places. Dr. Howard Perkinson attended the woman and quickly had her fractures reduced and bound.

Another story told how the Gignilliat property, which had a five to six room house that sat on two to three acres of land, was going to be auctioned off the following Tuesday.

50 years ago …

The Cobb Advisory Board was reported, in the Wednesday, Jan. 2, 1963 MDJ, as having voted to buy the part-time services of Marble J. Hensley of Chattanooga, Tenn., as a professional planning engineer who would review zoning change applications. He was also to gather data in preparation for the county’s setting up of a full-time planning department.

Also that day, more than 100 people lined up outside the motor vehicle license tag office in Marietta to buy the new red and white lettered 1963 Georgia tags.

Residents of a sprawling southwest Smyrna area overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to annex into the city in an unofficial straw vote that was reported in the Friday, Jan. 4, 1963 paper. Somewhat stunned Smyrna officials reacted to the lopsided decision by declaring that new fees might be considered for city services provided to many of the 1,200 residents in the area.

Mayor Jake Ables said he believed the vote doomed city expansion into the area during his administration. But, he declared that the area was bordered by the city on three sides and would eventually be swallowed up and automatically annexed.

Another annexation story that day featured the boundaries of the city of Marietta growing by some 40 acres after it annexed six separate tracts. City officials had already okayed the taking of the property, but actual annexation depended upon the Cobb legislative delegation amending the Marietta charter at the upcoming session of the General Assembly. The largest of the tracts was some 25 acres in the then yet-to-be developed Whitlock Valley subdivision, located in west Marietta off Kirkpatrick Drive.

20 years ago …

In the Friday, Jan. 1, 1993 MDJ, Fred Tokars denied any involvement in the Nov. 29 shotgun murder of his wife, Sara, and begged reporters to quit hounding him and his two sons. Meanwhile, the two men charged with the murder were scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing before Cobb Chief Magistrate James Bodiford. Cobb investigators and District Attorney Tom Charron said that they also considered Fred Tokars a suspect.

Damon Poirier is the Newsroom Administrator for the Marietta Daily Journal.

If you are interested in learning more about the stories that were presented in this week’s column, you can search the newspaper’s digitized microfilm archives online. NewsBank, which hosts the archives for the Marietta Daily Journal, charges a fee for retrieved articles and has various price packages available. If you have any trouble with your username, password or payment options, please contact NewsBank at mariettadaily@newsbank.com. 

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The Week of December 27
by Damon_Poirier
December 24, 2012 10:12 AM | 1264 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
In this week’s Time Capsule, we look at Christmas power outages, train wrecks and developments in the sale of the Kennesaw House.

100 years ago …

In the Friday, Dec. 27, 1912 Marietta Journal and Courier, there was a front page ad that published expressions of thanks to the people of Marietta and Cobb County from the merchants and business men of Marietta that advertised in the newspaper during the year.

50 years ago …

A member of the Cobb Advisory Board called, in the Monday, Dec. 24, 1962 paper, for a speeding up of a long-range plan to extend water lines down the western side of the county. At the time, most west Cobb residents were depending on private wells. Ordinary Garvis Sams, who made the proposal, said the county should also consider acquiring easements for laying sewer lines in conjunction with the new water lines.

Also that day, the entire city of Acworth was reported as blacked out for 30 minutes the morning before when a car hit a utility pole on Southside Drive. Crews from the city Water and Lights Department put up a new pole.

During the outage, one woman called the fire department in distress stating that her Christmas turkey was cooking when the lights went out.

In the Wednesday, Dec. 26, 1962 paper, more than 3,000 Cobb County and City of Marietta homes were reported as not having power for up to five hours on Christmas Day as freezing rain weighed down power lines and snapped off tree limbs. Heads of both the county and city electrical departments said the power outages were the worst for any Christmas Day that they could recall.

On the heels of the Dec. 3 train derailment in Kennesaw carrying atomic materials for the AEC, that was mentioned in an earlier column, another train derailment occurred in Kennesaw. Twelve of the southbound 76-car Louisville and Nashville freight train derailed on Thursday, Dec. 27, 1962 in the heart of the city after an automobile rammed into the side of one of the cars at fog-blanketed Moon’s Crossing.

Rail cars loaded with cargo were thrown along the tracks near the historic depot in the center of town. Two men traveling in the automobile were injured in the mishap, but reported in good condition at Kennestone Hospital.

Cobb police were reported in the Friday, Dec. 28, 1962 paper, as searching for a slender young bandit who calmly drank a bottle of milk at a grocery store before drawing a pistol and robbing the operator of $162.

In the Sunday, Dec. 30, 1962 paper, it was reported that an automobile carrying two people crashed through the guard rail of the bridge on Old Highway 41 that spanned the Louisville and Nashville railroad tracks north of the Chattahoochee River. The automobile plunged 40 feet to the railroad tracks below and then was hit by a passing freight train. Both passengers survived the mishap, but were severely injured.

20 years ago …

Two men were arrested and charged with the murder in the shooting death of 39-year-old Sara Tokars of east Cobb in the Thursday, Dec. 24, 1992 MDJ. The arrests were announced by Chief of Detectives A.B. Allread at a news conference at the Cobb police headquarters. Police declined to say which of the two men acted as the lone gunman who shot Tokars in front of her two young sons as she drove along Powers Road in east Cobb.

After months of eager waiting, the Downtown Marietta Development Authority in the Thursday, Dec. 31, 1992 paper, was expected to close on the sale of the historic Kennesaw House. At a specially called meeting the day before, DMDA officials unanimously approved a 15-year loan with Barnett Bank for $550,000 that would allow the self-taxing group to purchase the house that sits on the Marietta Square. The house was being bought from Boston-based firm, Petrous & Co., for $25,000.

Damon Poirier is the Newsroom Administrator for the Marietta Daily Journal.

If you are interested in learning more about the stories that were presented in this week’s column, you can search the newspaper’s digitized microfilm archives online. NewsBank, which hosts the archives for the Marietta Daily Journal, charges a fee for retrieved articles and has various price packages available. If you have any trouble with your username, password or payment options, please contact NewsBank at mariettadaily@newsbank.com. 

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The Week of December 20
by Damon_Poirier
December 19, 2012 12:15 PM | 1348 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
In this week’s Time Capsule, we look at a pair of bold robberies and a jail break by a career escape artist.

100 years ago …

In the Friday, Dec. 20, 1912 Marietta Journal and Courier, there was a story about how the newspaper had installed a Standard Mergenthaler Linotype machine at its offices. The machine, also called a type-setting machine, was operated by one man and could set as much type as seven or eight men.

50 years ago …

Marietta public schools, according to the Sunday, Dec. 16, 1962 MDJ, were expecting to lose $143,000 a year in federal funds if Congress allowed a law providing aid to “impacted areas” to expire at the end of June 1963. The funds comprised 11-percent of the city school budget.

In the Monday, Dec. 17, 1962 paper, thieves reportedly battered their way through a wall of a service station to steal $469. Police said the hole was torn through a sheet-rock wall of an outside restroom at the Marietta Oil Company on Powder Springs Street.

The Lockheed-Georgia Co., according to the Tuesday, Dec. 18, 1962 paper, paid its county taxes and was the biggest single payment in Cobb’s history for the second year in a row. Lockheed paid with a check for $550,140.02.

The previous year’s check was $547,510.34. Company spokesmen said the increase was due to taxes on commercial JetStars, exports of aircraft and parts, and new fixed assets.

Also that day, it was reported that Kennesaw City Councilman James Adams, who decided not to seek re-election in order to run for the mayor’s post, unseated Mayor Hugh Brinkley 287 to 233 in the city-wide election the day before.

In the Wednesday, Dec. 19, 1962 paper, auto safety seat belts were being installed in all county police and sheriff’s vehicles as the result of a near-fatal crash in which two Cobb police officers were injured on Dec. 8. In that incident, a patrolman was thrown partially through the windshield of a county police car when the vehicle wrecked while chasing another car on Bankhead Highway.

Thieves, reported in the Thursday, Dec. 20, 1962 paper, ripped open a safe at the Cobb County tax office in the pre-dawn hours and fled with an estimated $8,000 in cash and thousands more in checks. This was the fourth safe raided in Marietta in the past two weeks.

A career escape artist, whose parole was revoked when he was charged in a Cobb robbery 18 months earlier, was reported in the Friday, Dec. 21, 1962 paper, as having made his ninth break for freedom. The convict and three other prisoners threatened an unarmed guard at the Meriwether County prison camp in Warm Springs, took keys to a prison truck and escaped.

20 years ago …

Cobb police officials in the Tuesday, Dec. 15, 1992 MDJ, refused comment on a TV station’s report that police had questioned a former business associate of east Cobb tax lawyer Fred Tokars in connection with the Nov. 29 slaying of Tokars’ wife, Sara.

A story broadcast by WXIA-Channel 11 in Atlanta said the man had been arrested on a bad-check warrant and subsequently was being questioned about the murder. Quoting an anonymous source, WXIA reported that prior to Sara Tokars’ slaying, the man had tried to hire a hit man for a friend.

Also that day, Watergate player John Ehrlichman of Sandy Springs, a former advisor to President Richard Nixon, took shots at President-elect Bill Clinton’s choice of cabinet members in a speech before the Marietta Kiwanis Club at Jimmy’s On The Square.

Topping Ehrlichman’s list of poor choices was Rep. Leon Panetta, D-Calif., chosen by Clinton to be director of the Office of Management and Budget. Currently, Panetta serves as the U.S. Defense Secretary under President Barack Obama.

In the Sunday, Dec. 20, 1992 paper, there was a story about the arrest of a Marietta woman who had been waiting to have her child photographed with Santa Claus. The woman was held in the Smyrna jail on an aggravated assault charge after a gun in her purse was accidentally fired and shot another parent waiting in line.

Damon Poirier is the Newsroom Administrator for the Marietta Daily Journal.

If you are interested in learning more about the stories that were presented in this week’s column, you can search the newspaper’s digitized microfilm archives online. NewsBank, which hosts the archives for the Marietta Daily Journal, charges a fee for retrieved articles and has various price packages available. If you have any trouble with your username, password or payment options, please contact NewsBank at mariettadaily@newsbank.com. 

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The Week of December 13th
by Damon_Poirier
December 12, 2012 09:59 AM | 1346 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
In this week’s Time Capsule, we look at the beginning of the state fire inspector’s office, Fred Tokars offering a reward for his wife’s killer and Lockheed Corp. spending $1.525 billion to buy General Dynamics Corp.’s fighter jet division.

100 years ago …

On the front page of the Friday, Dec. 13, 1912 edition of the Marietta Journal and Courier there was a story about a deputy sheriff who had returned from Gadsen, Ala., with an escaped fugitive from Marietta. The man, jailed on charges of selling whiskey, had escaped the city jail by sawing through the bars of a window.

Also that week, there was a story about W.R. Joyner, a longtime fire chief and former mayor of Atlanta, being appointed by Insurance Commissioner W.A. Wright as the state fire inspector. Joyner’s duties with this new office created by the state legislature was listed as investigating the causes of mysterious fires and finding evidence against people suspected of arson.

50 years ago …

A Marietta Police sergeant was reported in the Monday, Dec. 10, 1962 paper as having been attacked and disarmed by a burly 220-pound man who declared that he was going to kill the officer around 7 p.m. the day before on heavily-travelled Whitlock Avenue just a few feet from the intersection with Lindley Avenue. The sergeant, who had stopped the man on the suspicion of drunk driving, was beaten to the ground with his own pistol.

The officer, also said, that at one point the armed man calmly directed traffic around them. Numerous cars passed as the uniformed officer lay sprawled in the middle of the road, but no one stopped to help. After firing three times at the injured officer, the man fled with the four other individuals that were in his car. Police later caught the vehicle and its occupants on Dallas Highway.

The county’s two hospital authorities meet for the first time to work out a cooperative agreement, according to the Tuesday, Dec. 11, 1962 paper. Dr. W. Harold Dellinger, a Smyrna dentist and chairman of the Cobb County Hospital Authority, said his group wanted to avoid duplicating facilities at Kennestone Hospital when it built its proposed new hospital in south Cobb. Kennestone was at the time operated by the Marietta Hospital Authority.

20 years ago …

In the Tuesday, Dec. 8, 1992 MDJ Cobb’s new superintendent Dr. Arthur Steller defended collecting $80,000 in unused sick leave before leaving his previous position as superintendent of the Oklahoma City school system. The payment had been the target of an internal investigation being conducted by the Oklahoma auditor and inspector’s office. The dispute centered on Dr. Steller receiving the money through the school system payroll office without prior approval from the school board.

East Cobb tax lawyer Fred Tokars, whose wife, Sara, was shot to death Nov. 29, announced that he was offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to her killer in the Wednesday, Dec. 9, 1992 paper. Tokars said that he had nothing do with his wife’s death and pledged to fully cooperate with police in the investigation.

Tokars would later be convicted and sentenced to two life terms for the murder of his wife and other crimes including money laundering and racketeering.

Lockheed Corp., moving to better its position in the shrinking defense industry said in the Thursday, Dec. 10, 1992 paper that it would spend $1.525 billion to buy General Dynamics Corp.’s fighter jet division. The purchase of the tactical military aircraft division gave Cobb-based Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Co. two-thirds of the F-22 stealth fighter contract.

In April 1991, Lockheed Aeronautical, General Dynamics and The Boeing Co. of Seattle, Wash., were awarded a $9.55 billion contract to build 11 developmental versions of the 21st century fighters – nine single-seat fighters and two twin-seat trainers – for the Air Force. The construction contract – estimated to be worth $90 to $100 billion – to build 648 of the planes was expected to be awarded in 1995 and would run through 2015, with the possibility of being stretched out.

However, Lockheed learned in 2009 that the 195th F-22 Raptor would be the last one ordered by the U.S. military.

Damon Poirier is the Newsroom Administrator for the Marietta Daily Journal.

If you are interested in learning more about the stories that were presented in this week’s column, you can search the newspaper’s digitized microfilm archives online. NewsBank, which hosts the archives for the Marietta Daily Journal, charges a fee for retrieved articles and has various price packages available. If you have any trouble with your username, password or payment options, please contact NewsBank at mariettadaily@newsbank.com. 

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The Week of December 6th
by Damon_Poirier
December 07, 2012 01:03 PM | 1907 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
In this week’s Time Capsule, we look at Lockheed being allowed to continue testing a nuclear-powered space engine and the murder of Sara Tokars, which set in motion the high-profile Fred Tokars murder trial.

100 years ago …

In the Friday, Dec. 6, 1912 edition of The Marietta Journal and Courier there was a story about Mariettan John D. Northcutt having sold his apple orchard in Gilmer County to W. A. Gatlin for $23,000. The property, which had more than 6,000 trees of eight apple varieties, covered nearly 650-acres in the north Georgia mountains.

Tax Collector W.P. Stephens had an ad on the front page of the newspaper that week announcing that there were only 16 days until State and County taxes were due. The ad also stated that 4,372 people had not yet paid their taxes.

Another ad on the front page was for The Marietta Book Store which announced it was Santa Claus’ headquarters for games. Games of every description from Jackstones to Mumble Pegs, card games, Tiddle-de-Winks, Old Maid and dozens of others were on sale for five cents to 10-cents.

50 years ago …

Skin divers were reported as combing the bottom of the Chattahoochee River in the Sunday, Dec. 2, 1962 MDJ in search of two pistols used in the slaying of a Cobb service station attendant, mentioned in last week’s column. Divers were called in after dragging teams, using three large magnets, worked for four days in up to 15 feet of water near the Powers Ferry Road bridge without finding the weapons.

The Cobb Advisory Board in the Tuesday, Dec. 4, 1962 paper ordered a uniform policy drawn up governing when the county would pay for autopsies on accident victims and when it would pay medical bills for jail inmates who needed hospitalization. Board chairman Herbert McCollum, the county commissioner, said what he considered to be unnecessary autopsies were costing the county thousands of dollars a year.

The transfer of the Georgia Nuclear Laboratories at Dawsonville to the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was expected to open a new chapter in space work done in Georgia, according to the Wednesday, Dec. 5, 1962 paper. The AEC intended for Lockheed to continue to operate the labs, which previously operated them under lease from the Air Force in a contract set to expire in April 1963.

Lockheed was participating in the reactor-in-flight-test (RIFT) program at the labs, which was the testing of a nuclear-powered space engine. The company was excited because the AEC had made a statement that the Georgia labs seemed suited for testing space engines even more powerful than the RIFT engine as well as programs related to electrical nuclear propulsion.

The development of a nuclear-powered rocket engine began in May 1962. At that time, NASA awarded Lockheed $180 million to test the engine. The first nuclear-powered rocket stage was expected to be ready for launching by an advanced Saturn booster in the 1966-1967 period.

Also that day, Marietta Mayor Sam Welsch said he would move that the city council consider adopting an ordinance making it a violation of the city code to show obscene movies in Marietta. The mayor had received telephone calls complaining about a film that was currently being shown.

20 years ago …

In the Wednesday, Dec. 2, 1992 MDJ, there was a story about how 39-year-old Sara Tokars of east Cobb was killed by a single shotgun blast to the back of the head. Mrs. Tokars was killed by a person who abducted her and her two sons from their home at gunpoint after they returned home from a Thanksgiving holiday trip to visit family in Florida.

Mrs. Tokars was driving along Powers Road less than a mile from her home when she was shot by the man sitting in the backseat. Her late-model Toyota 4Runner then veered off the left side of the road, through a row of brush and small trees before coming to a stop 75-feet into a vacant lot.

The case would eventually become one of the metro area’s high-profile murder cases of the 1990s.

Damon Poirier is the Newsroom Administrator for the Marietta Daily Journal.

If you are interested in learning more about the stories that were presented in this week’s column, you can search the newspaper’s digitized microfilm archives online. NewsBank, which hosts the archives for the Marietta Daily Journal, charges a fee for retrieved articles and has various price packages available. If you have any trouble with your username, password or payment options, please contact NewsBank at mariettadaily@newsbank.com. 

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Cobb’s Atomic Train Wreck
by Damon_Poirier
December 03, 2012 02:06 PM | 2336 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Fifty years ago, on the heels of October’s 13-day long Cuban Missile Crisis, the residents of Cobb County faced the fear of yet another nuclear crisis. This time, however, the threat was not coming from Russia or the distant Caribbean island nation of Cuba, but a train wreck that happened right in their backyards.

A northbound freight train whose cargo included a classified shipment for the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) jumped the tracks near Kennesaw at the U.S. 41 underpass in a violent pile-up at about 5 a.m. on the morning of Monday, Dec. 3, 1962. At the time of the wreck, the train was believed to be traveling at 38 to 40 miles an hour.

The Marietta Daily Journal reported that 24 of the 67-car Louisville and Nashville train, which was being hauled by three diesel engines, derailed with AEC guards onboard accompanying a secret nuclear shipment. Two of the five guards, riding in a passenger car in the middle of the train, suffered minor injuries.

Twisted, torn cars and rails were scattered for more than 300 yards along the tracks. An empty automobile-trailer car had crashed over an embankment and tore down telephone lines running next to the tracks, while a fuel car had torn open and spilled gasoline into the nearby woods. A flat-bed car carrying a heavy tractor-trailer, lashed down with chains, was found leaning at a 45-degree angle.

The two cars that carried the AEC’s secret nuclear materials, however, appeared to have escaped serious damage. Guards quickly sealed off the wreckage from onlookers as Cobb County police dealt with two minor car wrecks on U.S. 41, which passed within sight of the wreckage.

At first the media was kept away and the guards refused to allow pictures to be taken. After receiving word from their superiors, the guards allowed journalists to approach the scene. But, government agents continued to stand guard at the AEC cars and prevented folks from getting too close.

AEC spokesmen arriving on the scene following the derailment would not reveal what kind of nuclear material was being transported in the rail cars or whether the material included military weapons.

The secret nuclear material was speculated as having belonged to either the Air Force or the Army and possibly being transported from San Antonio, Texas to the Oak Ridge National Laboratories in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Some in the community were worried that the incident might be like the one in Florence, S.C., several years earlier where an Air Force bomber had accidentally dropped an unarmed nuclear bomb near that city. While the nuclear device did not detonate in that case – a charge of explosive contained inside the bomb did go off causing considerable damage.

Officials, however, told the local community that there were no bombs or other explosive materials aboard the wrecked train and that there was no danger of any leaked radioactivity.

Gene Blanc, the regional director of the AEC in Atlanta at the time, was quoted as saying that the AEC and federal government frequently shipped quantities of radioactive material to civilian institutions – including hospitals and schools, which were licensed by the AEC to handle the material. Marietta’s own Kennestone Hospital was one local institution that received material from the AEC for use in patient treatment.

Officials also said that typically when the military services transport nuclear material, they send along guards to watch over the materials with an escort car – which is often converted into living quarters featuring bunks and a kitchen.

The tracks were finally cleared of debris by railway workmen after more than 17 hours. Specially-equipped trains had to be brought in from Atlanta and Chattanooga to remove the wreckage from both ends of the scene.

Investigators said there was a possibility that an old, rusty section of rail might have snapped or twisted out of place causing the derailment. But, the railroad officially reported that the cause was undetermined.

A team of AEC investigators, however, were sent to the scene to probe the chance of sabotage.

Damon Poirier is the Newsroom Administrator for the Marietta Daily Journal.

If you are interested in learning more about the stories that were presented in this week’s column, you can search the newspaper’s digitized microfilm archives online. NewsBank, which hosts the archives for the Marietta Daily Journal, charges a fee for retrieved articles and has various price packages available. If you have any trouble with your username, password or payment options, please contact NewsBank at mariettadaily@newsbank.com. 

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