This week’s Time Capsule looks at a train robbery, a fist fight, a wounded solider, Cobb Hospital, Fred Tokars, neo-Nazi groups and a brush fire.
100 years ago …
In Friday, March 20, 1914 edition of the Marietta Journal and Courier, the front page reported that a man was charged with the January 1914 robbery of the N.C. & St. L. Train in Vinings. After hearing testimony for most of the day in the Cobb County Superior Court, the jury brought a guilty verdict against him and a sentence of 20 years in the state penitentiary was pronounced by Judge Henry L. Patterson.
Also that week there was a story about Henry S. Manning buying the old Gem Theatre building on Lawrence Street from Marshall C. McKenzie. The building was to be remodeled and turned into a furniture store for J.S. Dobbins.
50 years ago …
A fist fight between two elderly men behind the Marietta Police Station after the Marietta City Council heard proposals for the closing of MacArthur Drive and MacArthur Circle was reported in the Sunday, March 15, 1964 Marietta Daily Journal. One man had requested the closing, while the other had spoken against it. The situation stemmed from the city’s efforts to eliminate street name duplications, which was drafted by City Planner Leo LaForge. After the 6-1 vote by the council to kill the plan, the two men went outside in the rain, fought it out and had to be separated by Chief E.R. Sanders.
It was reported in the Monday, March 16, 1964 paper that Lt. James E. Allerheiligen, a Smyrna airman critically wounded in the terrorist bombing of a Viet Nam movie theatre, had begun the week-long flight back to the United States. In the February attack, the airman was reported as having received near fatal head injuries and sat for days in a Saigon hospital unable to move or talk. At the time of his departure for home, the airman was walking, talking and had only a bandage under his left ear as visible evidence of his injuries.
Lockheed Aircraft Corporation announced in the Tuesday, March 17, 1964 paper that net earnings for 1963 were $43,254,000, which was up 16-percent from the previous record of $37,199,000 that was established in 1962. Sales for the year had increased 10-percent to $1,930,488,000 from the previous high of $1,753,074,000 in 1962 net sales.
In the Thursday, March 19, 1964 paper it was reported that the Cobb Hospital Authority had reaffirmed its decision to construct the new 150-bed South Cobb Hospital on a controversial 50-acre site at the intersection of Austell and Mulkey Roads, which currently is the location of WellStar Cobb Hospital. Members of the authority took action after listening to a lengthy statement from County Commissioner Herbert McCollum in which he branded as “cowardly” the charges stating that he had pressured the authority to approve the site earlier in the month. An over flow crowd of about 200 people turned out for the meeting and a large contingent from the Austell-Mableton area applauded loudly at times during the commissioner’s statement.
20 years ago …
A sleepover was reported in the Monday, March 14, 1994 MDJ as having turned deadly for an Austell sixth-grader when a friend pointed a pistol to the ground, fired a blank and then fired a second time at the boy, which killed him. The boy was pronounced dead at Cobb General Hospital in Austell after he was brought in with a gunshot wound to the neck. His friend was charged with murder, even though the victim’s father said that he believed it was an accident.
Two Cobb police detectives were reported in the Tuesday, March 15, 1994 paper as being taken off the Sara Tokars murder case for allegedly receiving money from a movie contract six months before the victim’s husband was charged with her murder. The detectives were placed on administrative leave for 10 days, pending the conclusion of an internal affairs investigation. The news came at a time when federal prosecutors were putting up their case against Fred Tokars at a trial in Birmingham, Ala., on money-laundering and racketeering charges. Tokars was also facing a death-penalty trial in Cobb Superior Court, where he was to be tried for murder, kidnapping and armed robbery in his wife’s November 1992 shotgun slaying.
In the Thursday, March 17, 1994 paper it was reported that representatives from the Atlanta-based Neighbors Network and the Cobb Citizens Coalition claimed that Cobb County was a hotbed for racist and neo-Nazi groups in Georgia. The groups also charged that the county commission had indirectly supported them through its anti-gay resolution and other public stances. The groups held a news conference in the Marietta Square to release a four-year study by the Neighbors Network that named Cobb as a “base for Nazi skinhead organizing.” The report detailed the activities of a number of current and former Cobb residents the Neighbors Network claimed were known Klan and anti-Semitic group sympathizers.
Another story that day reported that teens playing with matches in a wooded area near their home started a brush fire that burned 10 acres and threatened several homes near Harrison High School in west Cobb. It took 25 firefighters and 11 pieces of equipment to douse the fire that was fed by tinder-dry brush and driven by winds up to 30 miles per hour.
Damon Poirier is the Newsroom Administrator for the Marietta Daily Journal.
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