This week’s Time Capsule looks at Cheatham’s Hill, the Atherton’s Drug Store explosion, a bus wreck, liquor and the Olympics.
100 years ago …
In Friday, May 15, 1914 edition of the Marietta Journal and Courier, there was a front page story about the $20,000 monument being erected on Cheatham’s Hill by the State of Illinois. The monument’s unveiling was expected to be June 27.
Cheatham’s Hill was one of “the memorable battles of the war. The Federals and Confederates faced each other there for six days and six nights, their lines being so close that the soldiers were in ordinary speaking distance.” The battle was fought from June 27 to July 3 and on the last day the Confederates withdrew because of a flanking movement. The withdrawal was well timed since Union forces had constructed a tunnel far into the hill and placed explosives under the Confederates position intending to blow them up on the 4th of July.
The monument was being built to honor the site where the Illinois regiments fought at the battle. Soldiers, who had been in the battle, bought about 40 acres of land from B.B. Channell. The State of Illinois contracted McNeel Marble Company to use Georgia marble to make the monument, which was to be 28-feet square at the base and 26-feet in height. On the face was to be a bronze group with the central figure being a soldier at parade rest. On one side was to be a woman representing the State of Illinois and on the other a woman representing Peace.
50 years ago …
A proposed constitutional amendment, sponsored by Cobb Rep. Joe Mack Wilson, was reported in the Sunday, May 10, 1964 Marietta Daily Journal that was designed to prevent annexation of Cobb County areas into the city of Atlanta. Wilson was reported as being perturbed by Atlanta officials’ announced intention to annex large neighborhoods which adjoin the city. Leaders in Atlanta cited their annexation drives as a move to prevent the city’s rapidly growing black population from becoming politically dominant.
Also that day, the City of Marietta hired a dog catcher and was expected to begin enforcing the dog control ordinance adopted earlier in the year by the Council. City Manager Walter Brown said that the first phase of the drive was to clear the streets of dogs and pick up “obvious” strays.
An 18-year-old spurned lover was reported in the Monday, May 11, 1964 paper as being held without bond in the county jail after shooting his 15-year-old ex-fiancé’s father at an Allatoona campsite the day before. The father was listed in critical condition at Kennestone Hospital after suffering shotgun injuries to the groin and upper leg. The man’s daughter was also struck in the upper chest with a pellet from the shotgun and was treated then dismissed from the hospital.
Another story in that paper reported that excavation operations continued on the construction of the proposed new Cobb County courthouse. There had been speculation that an attempt might be made to halt the work on the project, but the Clerk of Court John LeCroy said no injunction orders had been filed.
In the Tuesday, May 12, 1964 paper it was reported that the largest commercial order for airplanes designed exclusively for cargo, which totaled $44 million, was placed with Lockheed by The Flying Tiger Line. The eight Super StarLifters order was reported by Flying Tiger president R.W. Prescott and Lockheed-Georgia Company president W.A. Pulver.
An additional story in the edition reported a suit stemming from the Halloween explosion of Atherton’s Drug Store on the Marietta Square had been filed by Jimmy Lee Smith for $250,000 against the Atlanta Gas Light Company. Smith, who was 18, contended that the explosion caused him the loss of his left leg. The suit taken by Smith’s mother charged that the Atlanta Gas Light Company was negligent in maintenance of the gas main leading to the basement of the drugstore. The suit alleged that the gas main was corroded and a small hole developed in the line causing the basement to fill with natural gas and explode.
Cobb County parents, upset by a school bus wreck earlier in the week, were reported in the Wednesday, May 13, 1964 paper as asking the Cobb Board of Education for an explanation. The bus, occupied at the time by the driver and five students, plunged off Franklin Road at the Rottenwood Creek Bridge in Marietta after a wheel came off. School Superintendent Jasper Griffith said an expert mechanic examined the wheel and determined that the cause of the mishap was a worn bearing.
Efforts to bring the wet-dry issue to a vote in Cobb County was reported in the Friday, May 15, 1964 paper as having drawn a severe setback as Ordinary Garvis Sams ruled that a petition submitted and found lacking sufficient names last month was void. Sams’ ruling came as representatives of the Committee to Bring Tax Revenue to Cobb County attempted to file a 305-name amendment to the ill-fated petition. Sams said the petition was now a part of the county records and therefore it was not amendable.
20 years ago …
In the Tuesday, May 10, 1964 MDJ it was reported that a dozen gay-rights activists took to Interstate 75 and formed a moving blockade to slow traffic and make a point – get the Olympic volleyball preliminaries out of Cobb or face the consequences. Almost a dozen cars entered I-75 at the South Loop about 6 p.m. and drove six-abreast all the way to Atlanta at 40 mph or less with frustrated motorists lining up behind them. Police said they were unable to create a massive traffic jam.
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.