Remember when: Andy was ‘city of lights’ in 1936

Published 12:47 am Saturday, December 17, 2016

“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays, ‘Cause no matter how far away you roam. When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze, For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!”

Listed in the Top 15 Christmas songs of all times, this song made popular by Perry Como reminds me of our hometown, Andalusia. After all, “the heart of South Alabama” is posted on welcoming signs at all roads leading into town.

This must be a warm and friendly place!

When we look back a few years, we can find where some of our Christmas traditions are rooted.

It was eye-opening for me to look at the old newspapers at the Andalusia Public Library and to discover exactly what was going on in Andalusia around Christmas time during the Depression.

Well, from what all I read on the microfilm editions, December 10, 17, 24, and 31, 1936, of The Covington News, it looks to me like everyone in town 80 years ago was having a pretty good time in spite of hard times. See what you think!

“The Andalusia garden clubs, the Hortamantes and Southside Garden Clubs, are calling on everyone in Andalusia to cooperate in having outdoor Christmas trees.

For the most attractive tree, the Alabama Water Service Co. is offering for first prize ten dollars worth of electrical appliances.

The second prize, three dollars, will be given by the two garden clubs. If you have not already planned to have an outdoor tree, do so at once. Let Andalusia be called “The City of Lights.”

“Andalusia can truly be called “The City of Lights.” If all the Christmas decorations in Andalusia, and there are many of them very beautiful, were judged by a committee, the committee would have to give Jack Graves honorable mention for the artistic display he has assembled in the showroom of the Count Darling Company, Chevrolet dealer here.”

Mr. and Mrs. G. M. Etheridge were awarded first place prize in the outdoor Christmas tree contest. Mr. and Mrs. Will O’Neal, second prize.

These clubs are conducting contests of this kind each Christmas in connection with this program of conservation of trees and shrubs.”

“The Rotary Club at Tuesday’s luncheon voted to contribute to many of the underprivileged children and families in this section…Mr. J. G. Scherf made this proposal.”

“Through the courtesy of Mr. J. G. Scherf, more than one hundred and fifty underprivileged children will be given a free turkey dinner at the (E3N) school cafeteria. The children are assured of a real good old fashioned Christmas dinner.”

“The annual Methodist Men’s Banquet at the Methodist Church was one of the most enjoyable of the season. Approximately 100 men attended the banquet including guests of the Baptist and Presbyterian churches. A most delicious turkey dinner was served by the Methodist ladies. Mr. E. B. Norton served as toastmaster while Dr. D. W. Haskew, Methodist pastor, presided. Short talks were made by Dr. J. A. Cook, pastor of First Baptist Church and Mr. J. H. Johnson, principal of the Andalusia High School and guest from the First Presbyterian Church.”

“A cantata of Christmas music will be presented by the choir of the First Presbyterian Church on Sunday morning at 11 o’clock. Those composing the choir are Mrs. R. K. Coffee, organist, Mrs. Herman Brown, Mrs. J. A. Thompson, Miss Jane Underwood, Miss Catherine Shockley, Miss Dorothy Dunn, Miss Carolyn Raborn, Miss Daisy Davis, Miss Elizabeth Bozeman, and Miss Marion Coffee. There will be no evening service. All are urged to attend the cantata at the Methodist Church on Sunday night.”

NOTICE – The shooting of fireworks of any kind whatsoever is prohibited on the streets of Andalusia, by ordinance. Violators will be punished accordingly. Police Department, City of Andalusia.”

Diamond Rings for $12.00 and Up at P. Lewis, Court Square.”

Shreves pays cash for syrup, pecans, fur, and field peas.” J. W. Shreve & Sons.”

PURE – Every bottle sterilized. Ice cold Coca Cola is every place else. Belongs in your ice box at home. Coca Cola Bottling Co.”

Paramount TheatreThursday midnight show beginning at 10:15, out at 11:50. “Rose Bowl” with Tom Brown and Eleanor Whitney. You will think you are really at the Rose Bowl. Don’t miss this show!”

“According to C. W. Wood, local agent, the Central of Georgia will establish a new passenger train service on December 10 between Columbus, Georgia and Andalusia. The train will arrive in Andalusia from Columbus at 11:30 a. m. and will depart Andalusia at 3:15 daily. The inauguration of this new experimental service will doubtless be of interest to the merchants of Andalusia as it will allow ample time for the shopping public to visit Andalusia and do their necessary shopping and return home the same day….It is hoped that sufficient business can be developed to justify the continuance of this service.”

“The L & N is your Home Sweet Home on the rails – Friendly Service.”

REWARD – For information about 175 pound black sow that left Henry Fletcher’s place about three weeks ago. Call L. C. Barton, Route 2.”

“Wishing you a prosperous New Year – We hope that you will bring us all of your long hair and whiskers during this year. On-the-Square Barber Shop. Lowman-Cosby-Jones.”

“We continue to receive quite a few comments about our “Operator 13” column, and these comments are very complimentary. One lady Monday morning asked us who wrote the column saying that it (the social/gossip column) was the best thing in the paper.”

The ghost columnist wrote, “Did you see the eyebrows go up when people looked around and saw that that was really ____________ in church?”

“’Operator 13’ – Neighbors are complaining that Miss Maggie Mae Robinson is getting awfully prissy now that she has a new picket fence! The others are complaining because she isn’t their neighbor!”

Isn’t it inspiring and even heart-warming to learn that citizens back then were setting the stage for the holiday traditions we have today in Andalusia. The churches are still presenting Christmas cantatas, caroling around town, hosting seasonal dinners for their members, and gathering canned goods for citizens in need. The civic clubs continue to provide presents for the less fortunate children. Homeowners adorn their porches and yards. The City of Andalusia illuminates the streets including the court square with decorative lighting and a Christmas tree, and we indeed earn the title of “The City of Lights!” Boys and girls are still shooting fireworks. The advertisers graciously advertise in our local Andalusia Star News making a hometown newspaper possible while promoting their wares to stimulate business and to urge folks to shop at home!

So we can once again REMEMBER WHEN and voice the motto of the Covington Historical Society, “There is a history in all men’s lives” while reaffirming that there is a rich and proud history in the life of Andalusia. Do visit the Three Notch Museum on Historic Central Street during the holidays where the past meets the present.