The Week of Feb. 27
This week’s Time Capsule looks at Civil War damages, a bank robbery, the Atherton’s Drug Store explosion, a gas pump fire and ham radios.
100 years ago …
In Friday, Feb. 27, 1914 edition of the Marietta Journal and Courier, the front page reported that the claim of the Presbyterian church for $3,000 in damages against the government caused by Federal troops during the Civil War had successfully passed every stage and was in the hands of a Senate Committee. Col. Fred Morris, who represented the church, had been pushing the matter vigorously. In 1864, the church was badly damaged when it was used by soldiers as a field hospital.
Also that week there was a story about the early morning discovery that burglars had unsuccessfully tried blow open the vault of the Bank of Smyrna. The work was believed to be done by experts, but the bank vault was too strong for the charge and very little damage was done.
50 years ago …
In the Friday, Feb. 21, 1964 Marietta Daily Journal there was a story reporting that Dr. Herman E. Jones, director of the State Crime Laboratory, had concluded in a report presented to city officials that the Halloween night explosion at Atherton’s Drug Store on the Marietta Square was caused by a natural gas leak. The Jones report echoed the Marietta Fire Department’s report, which also blamed a leaking gas main. Read more about the Atherton’s Drug Store explosion here
Three construction workers were also reported that day as being injured when scaffolding collapsed at the site of the new Atherton’s Drug Store. The men were placing masonry on a rear wall about 10-12 feet from the ground at the time of the accident.
The late Otis A. Brumby Sr., founder of the Cobb County Times and the first board chairman of Times-Journal Inc., was reported in the Sunday, Feb. 23, 1964 paper as being named to the Hall of Fame of the Georgia Press Association. Brumby, who died in 1953, was one of four newspapermen who received the distinction at the Georgia Press Institute held in Athens. A portrait of the nationally acclaimed publisher was to be placed in the Reading Room of the Henry Grady School of Journalism at Athens.
Another story that day reported that Admiral David L. McDonald, chief of Naval Operations, stressed the importance of military reserve training on a visit to the Naval Air Station in Marietta. He pointed out that reserve strength was more important to the nation than ever before. The native Georgian said with all the crises around the world that the United States “must have ready reserve forces” and “the reserves provide our residual strength.”
In the Thursday, Feb. 27, 1964 paper it was reported that a gas pump at Reece Brothers Standard Oil station on Roswell Street burst into flames when a truck knocked it over. The truck, which was towing a 60-foot house trailer, was parked across from the station and the brakes apparently failed. The truck rolled across busy Roswell Street without mishap before knocking over the pump and severely damaging another. Sparks ignited the gasoline and fears that the three 1,100-gallon tanks underneath the pumps would explode. A fire truck was dispatched from a nearby Marietta Fire Department sub-station and extinguished the blaze.
A group of 18 Mariettans were also reported that day as having petitioned the City Council to do something about ham radio transmissions which repeatedly interfered with television reception on Hill Court, Mimosa Drive, Parkview Drive and Aviation Road. City Manager Walter Brown said the city had no authority in the radio field and probably would have to refer the matter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The petition called for the city council to “do something about the invasion of privacy and nuisance created” by the radio transmissions.
20 years ago …
The long-standing plan to build a conference center on the grounds of the Marietta City Club was reported in the Monday, Feb. 21, 1994 MDJ as possibly being scuttled by new city council members – most of which favored using the property for a continuing education center instead. Although the city council had yet to formally take up the issue after nearly two months in office, a poll of the seven members revealed that at least four supported a change in plans.
In the Tuesday, Feb. 22, 1994 paper it was reported that as his stunned wife looked on, the body of a Dallas man who drowned in a private south Cobb lake was found at almost the same spot he was last seen. The man fell into G.B.’s Lake off Hicks Road near Smyrna. Cobb police divers found his body the next day in about six feet of water. Divers were hampered throughout the search by the murkiness of the water and by submerged tree limbs and other man-made debris such as metal and plastic plumbing pipes in the small lake. The victim was fishing with two others when his rented flat-bottom metal boat flipped over halfway across the lake.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.