MDJ Time Capsule: The Week of August 14
by Damon Poirier
August 16, 2014 04:00 AM | 1854 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

This week’s Time Capsule looks at the death of a President’s wife, integration and a restaurant fire.

100 years ago …

In Friday, Aug. 14, 1914 edition of the Marietta Journal and Courier, there was a front page story about the death and burial of Ellen Louise Axson Wilson, the first wife of President Thomas Woodrow Wilson who was then the 28th President of the United States, in Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Rome.

A special train brought Mrs. Wilson’s casket from Washington with President Wilson beside it in almost constant vigil. With the President was his daughters and family members, Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo Jr. of Marietta and other dignitaries. As the train passed along the bell on the engine was rung constantly and at every large city there were “exquisite tributes of flowers” added to a car carrying those brought from Washington. Most of the flowers from tributes in Washington were sent to area hospitals.

The city of Rome was draped with “black and white crepe and white flowers" and green foliage was used "instead of the gay tri-colored bunting planned to beautify the city on home-coming week when Rome expected to entertain Mrs. Wilson as its guest of honor.” Thousands of people, many in automobiles, were in Rome to catch glimpses of the President, his daughters and companions.

50 years ago …

Cobb County residents were being asked in the Sunday, Aug. 9, 1964 Marietta Daily Journal to break open their piggy banks to relieve a shortage of coins in stores and banks. Grocery stores throughout the county had posted signs at checkout counters urging customers to supply the correct change with their purchases. One Marietta bank had even hung a sign reading “Pennies Wanted” at both of its offices.

Damage suits totaling $400,000 were reported filed with Cobb Superior Court in the Monday, Aug. 10, 1964 paper against two wrestlers and two other parties. Wrestling stars Joe Scarpa and Elmer “Sputnik” Monroe, promoter Elmo Chappell and the ABC Corporation were named in the suits which charged them with responsibility for the “abortive birth” allegedly suffered by a Cobb County woman, who was injured at Larry Bell Auditorium on May 30.

Also that day, it was reported that professional burglars used nitro glycerin to blow open the safe at the Marietta Lumber Co. on Atlanta Road over the weekend and had made off with an undetermined amount of cash.

Jasper M. Griffin, the superintendent of Cobb County Schools, was reported in the Tuesday, Aug. 11, 1964 paper as “seriously thinking of giving up” his life membership in the National Education Association because of what he described as the organization’s “ineptitude and inefficiency and the rudeness shown toward Southern members” at the July NEA national convention in Seattle. Griffin charged that Mrs. Thelma Davis Griffin, national president of the Department of Classroom Teachers, was “treated with extreme disrespect simply because of where she came from.” He also pointed out that 25 percent of the NEA membership was Southern.

A shotgun blast was reported in the Wednesday, Aug. 12, 1964 paper as having been fired into a car carrying two young white men as they rode through a black neighborhood in Canton the night before. One of the youths suffered minor injuries while his 16-year-old companion was in danger of losing the sight in one eye, according to doctors.

A mob numbering in the hundreds, earlier that night, had been broken up in downtown Canton after they had gathered in defiance of a new police-imposed 8 p.m. curfew. Five white teens were arrested for violating the curfew after a crowd had collected as a result of the desegregation of the theater in the center of town by a group of blacks. The integration group was bombarded with eggs and tomatoes by the crowd, one of their cars was overturned and the other was damaged by rocks and bottles as they fled.

The following day, Thursday, Aug. 13, 1964, the paper reported that state patrolmen and city police dispersed a milling crowd of white people for the third consecutive night following the desegregation of the theater. The FBI confirmed that it was investigating the racial trouble to determine if there was any violation of the Civil Rights Act.

In the Friday, Aug. 14, 1964 paper it was reported that vandals attacked and destroyed a new stone fountain in the center of Glover Park. The fountain, which was made of heavy stone and topped with a figurine, was pushed over and “completely destroyed.”

A second story that day reported that a bridge on Highway 5 over Sweetwater Creek, four miles west of Powder Springs, was found to be “not safe for any vehicle” by a five-man committee of the Cobb Grand Jury. In its presentments, the Grand Jury described the bridge as displaying a sign giving a load limit of 4,000 pounds but that it was “used daily for school buses in excess of 4,000 pounds.”

20 years ago …

Commuters travelling between west Cobb and Marietta, who were crawling along Whitlock Avenue, were reported in the Thursday, Aug. 11, 1994 paper as having the option to move at a brisker pace in a few weeks when a series of “run-around” lanes were completed at five intersections near the Marietta Square. However, the city hit a roadblock in its plan to extend the right-hand turn lane on Whitlock Avenue at the Loop. Late in July, the city appealed a court ruling which denied its petition to condemn frontage on two historic properties to make room for the turn lane.

In the Friday, Aug. 12, 1994 paper, it was reported as the lights went out on Major League Baseball because of the players’ strike, a little of the shine was off the game for some of Cobb’s aspiring stars. Members of the East Cobb Braves, who captured their second consecutive Dizzy Dean World Series title in July, said the strike was pointless and the only ones who would suffer were the fans. Owners had insisted on a salary cap and union negotiators said they would not accept one.

A door on a barbecue cooker left open by an employee at Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q was reported in the Saturday, Aug. 13, 1994 paper as having started a small fire that turned into a blaze that caused $100,000 in damage. The fire at the restaurant started about 3:45 p.m. and ripped through the roof at the rear of the then-20-year-old building with a column of thick, black smoke that could be seen a half-mile away as firefighters fought to keep the flames from the propane tanks that feed the cookers. No one was injured in the fire.

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


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