This week’s Time Capsule looks at the construction of Bankhead Highway, a fire at Happy Flat, a whiskey blockade and school vandalism.

100 years ago …

The Thursday, Oct. 2, 1919, edition of The Cobb County Times reported that work on the $75,000 Bankhead Highway road project was to start the following week under the supervision of Cliff Mayes, road superintendent.

The long-delayed project would construct a road that would run from the Mason-Turner ferry bridge over the Chattahoochee River to Austell and then into Powder Springs and on into Paulding County. It was to be a 24-foot wide road, graded and graveled the entire way.

The project was billed as giving citizens of the lower part of the county a “first-class road all the way to Atlanta.”

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The new garage and showroom of automobile dealer Ralph W. Northcutt was reported as having been completed the Tuesday before. The building was said to be “one of the handsomest garages in Georgia and would be a credit to a city many times the size of Marietta.” The building was owned and built by J.T. Anderson.

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Happy Flat, a black district, was reported as almost being wiped out the Tuesday before by a fire caused when an oil stove exploded in a cottage.

The dry pine home was “a solid mass of flames” and had burned to the ground before the fire department could arrive. The cottages on either side were also partially burned.

Happy Flat was listed as being located behind the old Glover foundry on Whitlock Avenue in Marietta.

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In the “News About the City” column, written by editor Dorothy Lewis, it was reported that R.P. Barnard had left the employ of The Times and left for Birmingham, Alabama, to accept a position “as the linotype operator in one of the largest printing establishments in that city.”

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A photograph on the front of the second section of the newspaper showed Mr. and Mrs. M.J. Martin surrounded by their family at the Martin home in Smyrna the Tuesday before. The family had gathered to celebrate the golden wedding anniversary of the couple, who had six children, 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. They were married in Gwinnett County on Sept. 9, 1869.

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On the Editorial Page, the editors wrote the following:

“This issue of The Times carries the No. 52 and ends Volume 3 of this publication. The Times is now three years old. It was on Oct. 5, 1916, that the present management and editorial staff introduced this newspaper to the people of Cobb County.”

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The Friday, Oct. 3, 1919, edition of The Marietta Journal reported gossip and rumors were said to be “as thick as smoke from a haystack fire” regarding the handling of a whiskey blockade in Marietta. The Tuesday night before, the police force and a number of Marietta citizens were looking for a “blockade runner” that managed to get away. Two young men were said to have disappeared from their business that night and having been gone for several days created even more talk around town.

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In business news, the Journal editors reported:

♦ The L.W. Rogers Co. of Atlanta, which operated a chain of over 100 grocery stores, was reported as having bought the stock of Medford & Black at 101 Church Street in Marietta. Newt Medford was to remain the local manager of the store.

♦ The consolidation of the Third National Bank of Atlanta with the Citizens and Southern of Savannah was reported as making it “the greatest in the South.” Marietta’s Henry S. Cohen was promoted to assistant cashier of the merged banks.

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An advertisement on Page 4 from the Board of Commissioners urged residents to pay their road tax by Nov. 1, 1919, in order to get a 50-cent rebate. Those who paid after that date would be charged the full $3 by tax collectors.

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On the Editorial Page, the editors wrote the following:

“When we have business with a stranger, and he then asks the way to our hotel, we are really ashamed to tell him, and feel like sending him back to Atlanta for a bed or meal. How long is it to be before Marietta has a hotel?”

50 years ago …

In the Tuesday, Sept. 30, 1969, Marietta Daily Journal it was reported that students at Norton Park Elementary were enjoying an extra day’s vacation as cleaning crews and electricians worked to patch up the fire damage at the school.

Cobb Fire Marshal H.E. Davis said that vandals hurled bricks through a classroom window at the school the Sunday before, entered the building and started the nighttime fire. Crews were working to clear debris and set up temporary wiring to restore power to the school. Two of the school’s classrooms, the lunchroom and the library were reported as not being able to reopen for some time.

The following day, the paper reported that two Marietta teens were arrested and charged with the ransacking of two Cobb County schools early that morning and that a third arrest was expected. The two burglarized and ransacked schools were Richard B. Russell Elementary and the LaBelle School.

The vandalism brought the total number of damaged schools to five in the last four nights. The East Valley School was hit the day before Norton Park and Hollydale was hit the day after.

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

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