Remember when: Down the street in the 50s, 60s

Published 12:57 am Saturday, July 15, 2017

     RW – teenagers used to go hiking on Saturdays on the dirt roads off Lindsey Bridge Road that eventually became the Meadowbrook Subdivision.

RWAHS football boys used to leave school at lunch time and go to Maggie’s Diner on River Falls Street to eat. Those guys could get away with anything!

RW – the long sidewalk beside the new AHS auditorium was a popular spot for skateboarders. This was around 1964-65 when girls still wore dresses to school.

RWsummer baseball games were played at the Andalusia Municipal Stadium (built Circa 1950) field. This was the Babe Ruth League who played in the original horseshoe where the diamond was located.

RWping pong, rook, and bridge tournaments were held at the end of the summer when the Summer Recreation Program for teenagers was held in the old AHS gym.

     RWonly a few cars and trucks were parked in the AHS student parking lot during school days. A lot of those vehicles were family automobiles, farm vehicles, and hot rods. Every teenager did not have a car back then. Sometimes they drove the family car.

RW – teenagers in the late 1960s drove in “carloads” to Opp to “Granny’s” to dance and socialize.

RW – teenagers in the early to mid 1960s loaded up in “trunkloads” and went to the Fendley Drive-In on the Florala Highway.

RW – the automobiles that teenagers dreamed of were the Pontiac GTO, Corvet, Chevy Malibu, Olds Cutlass, and Ford Mustang.

     RW – the sidewalks of Andalusia were enjoyed by roller skaters.

     RW – the chimes at the Methodist Church rang and played hymns at 5:00 in the afternoons when most Alatex employees got off work. This was thanks to Mr. John G. Scherf.

RW – the Key Motel was one of the first “motels” (a new inn concept) and the first establishment of its kind to have a swimming pool.

     RW – the Amvets Club in Gantt had a swimming pool with the coldest spring water. The sides of the pool were slippery!

   RW – a great place to eat the best catfish in Covington County was Dutch and Nell’s just off the Heath to River Falls Road. It was “come as you are!”

RW Wells’ Grocery was located in the Colquett Building on East Three Notch Street next door to Tolon Brown’s Texaco Station. The (Buck) Colquett Building built in 1950 was in a new “shopping center complex” there on East Three Notch. Genia Johnson Dorman’s beauty shop, Hi-Style, occupied one of those storefronts. Wells’ Grocery had previously done business on the Court Square adjacent to Covington Stores. Delta Thread Company operated a big business in that building later in the 1960s. That business owned by George Evans Barnes supplied the thread for the Alatex shirt and garment industry for many years. Delta Electric Supply was a little south of there and prior to that was the M. L. Moore car dealership.

RW – driving across the old iron Prestwood Bridge at night was one of the scariest things to do! One guy who posted on FB’s “Growing Up in Andalusia” stated, “My prayer life began on Prestwood Bridge Road! There were some SERIOUS whirlpools in that water just downriver. As we slowly drove over, the boards would crack and groan and sometimes some were missing so that the tire would drop a few inches. Everyone in our car would scream especially the girls!”

RW – you spent weekends riding or cruising from Charlie Bradley’s Big R to the Shamrock where broasted chicken (Big R) and steak sandwiches (Shamrock) were consumed by the young customers. Later in the 1970s that ride went from McDonald’s to Hardee’s. That 70s crowd also enjoyed Johnny’s Disco on Hwy. 29 South and Mr. D’s Disco on Church Street.

RW“Rah-Rahs” (red & white saddle oxfords) were the rage! Somebody, find me a pair on the internet – size 8 ½ M!

     RWbeginner bandsmen at the elementary schools got to perform at the AHS football games – in the stands. Tonette players, of course. Many of them were “stars” in the marching band performances a few years later.

RW – there was a “smoking area” at the high schools. One student remembers that he had to have a smoking “permit” in the good old days. It only cost a quarter!

RW – the students, girls mostly, I suppose, learned lessons and recipes in Mrs. Louise Yeargin’s Home Economics class. “I still use those today,” one alumna stated on Facebook.

RW – teachers actually paddled students when report cards came out or on occasion just for the heck of it as they walked through their classroom door – Coach Robert Waller and the late Bebe Greene! We loved them both!

     RW – the Board of Education was really the “board” of education and used quite frequently by teachers and principals. That is when real R-E-S-P-E-C-T was in style!

RW – the summer mosquito trucks used to ride around from one street to another, and some kids on bikes in some of the neighborhoods used to ride right behind in a cloud of fog!

     RW – there were several garden clubs in town, some of which had been in existence since the early 1900s. They all participated in beautifying the LBW Nature Trail when it was first established. Each club installed a plaque on site at their area. Shrubs, bulbs, trees, and other flowering bushes were planted and maintained for a long time until the garden club ladies had passed on and the clubs existed no more. Only one garden club is still organized as of 2017, the El Martes. Reminds me of the English Romantic Poet William Wordsworth’s famous poem“I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills when all at once I saw a crowd beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze…and then my heart with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils.”

     RW“Brownie” cameras were popular. Everybody took one to the beach. They made only black and white pictures but were easy to carry around in a beach bag and fun to have especially at Mary Esther, Laguna, Grayton, Blue Mountain, and Sunnyside Beach where many Andalusia and Opp people vacationed.

     RW – clothes were hung out on the clotheslines. One FB friend stated that her mother hung out the clothes on the line at 5:00 a.m. just before she went to work. She also remembers them frozen on the line, too, in the winter time. Thanks for those memories, Rita Wiggins. Judy Ward Buck’s mother was a perfectionist, she recalls. The clothes had to be hung a certain way. “Mother would tap on the window to turn the garment around, because we lived on a busy street, and she didn’t want anyone seeing a sloppy job of clothes hanging in her yard!” Another FB friend said that you didn’t dare do laundry on Sunday or New Year’s Day!

RW – children in the Robinson Avenue, Broughton Avenue, Allen Avenue, Walker Avenue area near Church Street School used to play outside together all day in the summertime. Jimmy Wilson remembers, “We were supposed to go home when the street lights came on! If we didn’t, Mother started calling out our names. If we didn’t answer and she called us by our full names, we knew then we were in big trouble.”

RW – there was a Poorhouse/Almshouse located where the present county administration building and county jail is located. Mary Snowden Kanaley remembers that her grandparents were in charge of it in the 20s and 30s, the Charles Snowdens. That later became or was replaced by Hillcrest Memorial Hospital that eventually changed to Columbia General Hospital operated by Dr. Ray Evers with CEO Sybil Barton.

RWMr. J. Vernon Bell’s Supermarket was one of the first supermarkets in town. An ashtray he gave out for advertising reads, “Happy Days, Compliments of Bell’s Super Market.”

Artifacts that are collector’s items like this and much more can be seen at the Three Notch Museum on Historic Central Street and Tisdale Street. If you have never visited our local history museum, you will be pleasantly surprised. Take your children or your grandchildren this summer and you, too, may REMEMBER WHEN.


Sue Bass Wilson is a local real estate broker and long-time member of the Covington Historical Society. She can be reached at