Remember when: Stadium was completed in 1950
Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 16, 2017
March 1950 – “A group of Grand Old Opry stars will appear in Andalusia Wednesday, March 5, 8:00 p.m. under the auspices of the Andalusia Lions Club. Among the songsters that will be heard here will be Wally Fowler and the Oak Ridge Quartet, the Fred Maple Harmoniers Quartet, and the Happy Goodman Family. The program will be presented in the auditorium of the East Three Notch School.”
“Well, I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now, Gonna make it to heaven somehow though the devil tempts me and he tried to turn me around…” When I have watched the late Vestal and Howard (Happy) Goodman on the Gaither’s Saturday night tv programs, I never knew that they had actually performed in Andalusia until I read the above announcement in the 1950 Andalusia Star News. Founded in the 1940s, the Southern Gospel Group, the Happy Goodman Family gained popularity in the 1960s.
February 1950 – “There were 34 leaders participating in the Sunday afternoon Sacred Harp singing at the courthouse. It was one of the best attended songfests of recent months. E. O. Baldwin is chairman of the singers.”
Remember when – you could ride around the square on one of those afternoons when the Sacred Harp singers got warmed up, and vocal harmonies of the enthusiastic songsters could be heard echoing from building to building. (No air conditioning in the automobiles in those days so the car windows were always down!)
February 1950 – “Andalusia’s new $100,000. athletic stadium drew attention of many of the notables visiting the city on Tuesday in connection with Farm Achievement Day. Mayor Wilder told one inquirer that within another 30 to 45 days the new 4,000 plus seat stadium will be completed. It will be used for baseball games this summer. Giant electric light poles have been erected and fresh green has blossomed on the banks that surround the cinder trackl”
A new brick commercial building was completed about this time on East Three Notch Street built by “Buck” Colquett. The following newspaper ads appeared early in 1950.
“Move of the Wells Grocery Co. owned and operated by Ashton Wells from the city square to the Colquett building on East Three Notch Street will be marked by an ‘Open House’ Friday night. Mr. Wells has invited friends and patrons to attend the festivities marking the opening of his new store from 6 to 9 p. m. on January 6.”
“Edna’s Beauty and Dress Shop – Now located in the new Colquett Business Block. Visit us in our modern establishment.”
“Roselyn’s Donut Shop announces their formal opening – New Colquett Business Block – February 6 – FREE Donuts and Soft Drinks for every visitor during the times 8 to 11 a. m. – Mrs. W. J. Strickland, Owner-Operator.”
“The Presbyterians train their prospective ministers well before they are sent out to fill pastorates. All of the church’s elders and members can take pride in the comments that are being made about Rev. Max Milligan who has come here only since completing his seminary studies. Milligan’s predecessor was the widely revered John Crowell. We heard a ‘good Baptist’ say this week that the local Presbyterians seem to come up with an outstanding young minister of all times. That fine seminary background the Presbyterian Church offers produces a model method of schooling for men of the cloth.”
Isn’t it amazing at how Editor Ed Dannelly often wrote his words of expression so descriptively!
“Dance to the Music of Yesterday and Today at the Amvets Club – The Blue Barron and His Orchestra – Friday night, March 31”
Remember when – ballroom dancing was popular. Dance lessons were offered by Eloise and Glenn Merritt to young people in town – the Box Step, the Waltz, the Fox Trot, the Cha Cha Cha. Most of the parents had jitterbugged their way through World War II so they wanted their sons and daughters to learn the dance steps of the day. Little did they know that soon, the teenagers of the 1950s and 1960s would be doing the “twist!” By the way, Eloise Bedsole Merritt’s son was AHS graduate Johnnie Vinson who became the Director of Bands at Auburn University for over 25 years!
April 1950 – “Playing at the Mid-Way Drive In Theatre – Irving Berlin’s Easter Parade with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire – Also News and Cartoon – Thursday and Friday, April 6 & 7.”
“It’s a Queen at the King’s. Dr. and Mrs. Edgar Pugh King, especially the Dad, proudly announce the arrival of a young lady into their home. She has been named Lynda Ann. Cigars for the men and chocolate for the ladies are FREE at the King dental offices on the square.”
April 1950 – Andalusia long noted for its cleanliness and beautiful flowers has decided to capitalize upon its natural assets. There will be an organizational meeting at the High School Tuesday at 7:30 p. m. at which time a Men’s Camellia Club will be formed. The purpose of the club is to create, stimulate, and exchange ideas on the methods of growing camellias to promote a city-wide interest in the beautification of the city with camellias, to have an annual Men’s Camellia Show properly housed and exhibited, and to promote Andalusia as a city of beauty by conducting camellia tours. Any man interested in learning to grow camellias, to associate himself with a non-profit civic organization, to promote the Andalusia Camellia Show and Camellia Trails is invited to the session!
April 1950 – “Andalusia’s new $120,000 athletic stadium will have its formal inaugural on the night of Wednesday, April 12 at 8:00 p. m. when the University of Alabama brings its baseball nine to compete with the Andalusia Arrows, winners of the Alabama State Baseball League playoffs in 1949.”
“The game to be staged under the auspices of the Kiwanis Club is expected to draw a capacity crowd. More than 7,000 tickets are being made available for the contest that will draw spectators from throughout South Alabama. The Crimson Tide’s crew of baseballers is studded with football luminaries. Adult tickets are 60 cents; Students are 35 cents.”
The following week’s edition of the Star-News reported, “The Arrows were massacred Wednesday night by a slugging University of Alabama nine that never wavered in the face of ‘War Eagle’ cat calls that filled the Municipal Stadium. The final score was 24-10.”
“Andalusia Kiwanians manning the soft drink, peanut, and popcorn concessions for the Wednesday night baseball game between the Arrows and the U of A resorted to some high pressure sales methods. It was not, ‘Do you want a Coke?’ The Kiwanians simple went through the large crowd, row by row, collecting a dime a bottle with the slogan, ‘Do you want ‘em IN you or ON you?’ Final reports were that no one ordered a drink poured ON!”
Let me note that since I have been researching and writing about the new City Municipal Stadium that was completed in the Spring of 1950, I have seen figures of the cost of construction ranging from $120,00. to $150,000. Does anyone still living know the true cost? How was it funded? I think I will ask Mr. Eland Anthony, because I read in the 1950 newspaper that he made several talks to various civic clubs regarding the progress of the building of the stadium. He was a member of the Recreation Board at that time, I believe.
The Three Notch Museum wishes to thank Casey Jones who donated his Andalusia Arrows collection of pictures and other memorabilia to the museum. The picture appearing in this column is of the 1950 Arrows team posing in the new Andalusia Municipal Stadium.
At some point in time, the City of Andalusia conveyed the municipal stadium property to the school system so we refer to it now as the Andalusia High School Stadium. A committee, the Andalusia Building Authority, is in the tedious process of remodeling and updating the stadium facilities after 67 years of use. Please support their efforts. So it is fitting that at this time in Andalusia history, we should 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 email@example.com.