Remember when: 100 years of New Year’s

Published 2:17 am Saturday, December 31, 2016


“Should auld (old) acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne? For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne. We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.”

Auld Lang Syne,” a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song is well known especially in the English speaking world, its traditional use being to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight.

In the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Eve, the last day of the year, is on December 31. In many countries, New Year’s Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings where many people dance, eat, drink, and watch or light fireworks to mark the new year. The event celebrates love, hope, forgiveness, second chances and fresh starts.

Looking back 100 years ago, it was enlightening to discover the life and times of residents in Andalusia in the last part of December 1916 and early January 1917 as I perused the old newspapers on microfilm at the Andalusia Public Library.

“Andalusia is already showing signs of improvement in the matter of keeping the streets cleaner in the business part of town. We need to reach a point where every citizen will take a pride in the appearance of the town. You cannot have a clean town unless you help to keep it clean.” (I wonder what kind of street sweeper there was back then, maybe just a hired pooper scooper!)

“You must pay your 1916 poll tax before February 1, 1917.”

LOST Saturday afternoon downtown – a pink cameo pin with plain gold mounting. Return to The Star office and receive a reward.”

THE BUSY CORNER – All its working force wishes a Happy New Year to all its friends and patrons. May its beginning and ending be filled with happiness and prosperity for you and yours. Wilder Mercantile Co.” (This booming business was located in the Prestwood Building.)

PRINCE ALBERT puts new joy into the sport of smoking!”

“While we still have a good quantity of coal on hand, we have no assurance of setting an additional supply at the moment needed. Better buy your coal now. Price per ton: $6.50 when delivered from wagon; $7.00 if carried to bin. Andalusia Ice Co.” (So many of the older homes on the town’s main streets and neighborhoods had and still have coal fireplaces. Remember when a coal yard was located on Sanford Road on the right just before one crosses the railroad track?)

“The traveler knows he can depend upon the L & N to land him at his destination with speed and dispatch in comfort and on time. Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co.”

“They say skirts are to be longer this spring. Well, if there is to be a change, it looks like they’ll have to make them longer as they have about gone the limit on the ascending scale.”

“An Andalusia businessman suggested to the editor of The Star (Oscar M. Duggar, Editor and Owner) that he believes an overall manufacturing establishment at this place would be a paying business proposition. We heartily agree with him. This town is in need of many small enterprises of the kind. The bigger our weekly payroll becomes, the more rapid will be the growth of the metropolis of the wiregrass. If you want to start something worthwhile, Mr. Business Man, suppose you begin the work of organizing a stock company for an overalls factory.” (It was definitely a man’s business world back then!)

“FOR SALE – My granite bungalow on East Three Notch Street. Edward Doty.” (A typical 1917 real estate ad! This is the present location of Dr. Reid Kerr’s medical office! The Brooks family eventually purchased this home, 1923, I believe.)

“Drink Chero-Cola in a bottle through a straw to quench a keen healthy thirst – 5 cents.”

Miss Jessie Folsom returned yesterday afternoon to Columbus, Georgia where she is taking a course in kindergarten.” (I remember “Miss Jessie” being a substitute teacher for my 5th grade class at East Three Notch School. She was red-headed and would nod off and go to sleep at quiet time after lunch. All of us students would look at each other and giggle!)

Clean Up and School Improvement Day has been arranged by the State Department of Education for Friday. Excellent suggestions for clean-up work in the schools of the state have been made in a bulletin issued by the department.”

“We must give the boys and girls of the rural South longer school terms, and we must do this no matter what it costs in time, effort, and money….Your boys and girls in Alabama, kind reader, who are getting a five months average school term must face the competition of boys and girls from other states in the Union with a combined average school term of seven monthsl

“There is an age when a premium is placed upon sobriety. The young man who would go into a railway company’s office to apply for a position carrying the odor of liquor on his breath would be shown out in short order.”

“ ’Tis refreshing to breathe the pure fresh invigorating air of Andalusia. That town is much more appreciated after a visit to a city in a neighboring state where one’s nostrils are assailed throughout the entire section of the business district by the odor of nauseating stale whiskey and beer.”

The Christmas tree at the school house in Loango Friday night was much enjoyed by both the children and grown up folks.”

“Sheriff J. W. Livings is not only giving attention to every detail of the sheriff’s office, but he is also a member of the Andalusia Brass Band and takes a great interest in the work being done by the organization. Sheriff Livings blows the biggest horn of any of the band boys and says he has plenty of wind and then some! He is a lover of music and is a favorite leader at many of the old harp singings in the county.”

“The president and general manager of the Central of Georgia Railroad was in Andalusia Monday on a tour of inspection.”

ESTRAY – A butt headed Jersey cow. Left premises Wednesday night. L. M. Studstill.”

Little Miss Marjorie Darling is ill of typhoid fever at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Darling on East Three Notch Street.”

“Yesterday morning C. C. Anderson sold his grocery store to J. W. Shreve and Company. Both Andalusia firms.”

“Judge A. B. Foster hands the appointment to Judge Fletcher as a New Year’s gift and the latter is now receiving the congratulations of his numerous friends. A unanimous endorsement was given by the officials and the bar of Andalusia and Covington County.”

“You cannot boost a town by talking for it alone. You have to work as well as talk. About fifty-fifty is a good division to settle.”

The Star Needs You – You Need The Star – We want to place The Star in every home in Covington County. Is it in yours? Get Wise – 104 issues of The Star for $1.00.”

R. L. Kearley, Veterinary Surgeon, At the Riley’s Drug Store. Treat all domestic animals; Dehorn cattle; Telephone calls given prompt attention.”

“I have a one-horse farm which I will rent cheap. J. W. Davis, Andalusia.” (Is a one-horse farm and a one-mule farm the same? Help, I am such a city girl!)

Mr. Merchant, you should make it your New Year resolution to set aside a definite amount for your 1917 advertising. No man can make his business what it should be in this day of progress without keeping his business before the people. The man who goes after business is the man who gets business.”

“Andalusia is growing all the time. The new stone courthouse, the packing plant, the Adams building, the Sessoms Grocery Company’s immense warehouse, the Henderson block, the Tisdale warehouse, the Milligan block, and the new brick building being erected by Judge Snead are evidences of the rapid business growth of the town since these were all built or work begun within the past year (1916).”

“Suits and Overcoats – $15. to $25. I Berman.” (That store was later Thrifty Stores.)

“The new drinking fount purchased for the city by the Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls has been installed on the square in front of the Pickford Theatre. The drinking fount has long been needed. In addition to its usefulness, it is pretty!” (Hey, not a bad idea for a project on the Court Square!)

Does anyone living today REMEMBER WHEN (and where) there was a drinking fountain on the square? All of these remembrances and more to come have served through the 40 years of programs being presented at historical society meetings (1976-2016). If you would like to join or just support the Covington Historical Society, send the annual dues of $25. to P. O. Box 1582, Andalusia, Al. 36420. Meetings are held the last Thursday evening of each month. Join us in 2017 as we preserve and publicize the history of Covington County.