Remember When: Andalusia’s star was bright in ‘58

Published 3:24 am Saturday, December 30, 2017

January of 1958, Andalusia citizens were busy with a new campaign. From The Andalusia Star News archives, it is inspiring to see happenings of our little town, so industrious and on the move!

“The kickoff for Andalusia’s first United Fund Drive has been scheduled for Monday, January 27. Lester Thagard, president of the United Fund’s Executive Committee, reports that a goal of $39,920. has been set as the budget. When Andalusians put their shoulders to the wheel to cooperate, the results show up on the scoreboard.

“There are some early reports ‘in’ on the United Fund Covington capitol city’s first campaign of ‘United Giving.’ If all of Andalusia is as liberal in giving ‘The United Way’ as the employees and personnel at Alatex-Andala, the school folks and those people who carry the mail, this United Fund, Andalusia’s first, will go over the top with colors flying!”

January 2, 1958 – “Thieves Loot Green Front – Peace officers were mum at mid-week about their sweeping investigations into the robbery over the weekend of the State ABC Store on South Cotton Street. The robbery netted thieves between 20 and 25 cases of top-grade whiskey valued at between $1,500. and $1,800.”

“Coming in via the vacant lot at the L & N station, the thieves broke a lock on a gate of a 12-foot fence and approached the rear of the liquor store over an abandoned grease rack that was used when the REA occupied the building where Gunter-Dunn is now located. The whiskey was removed through a rear window over a heavy comforter placed to protect the bottled goods. The comforter was recovered and is a prime piece of evidence in trailing the robbers.”

DECORATIONS WINNERS – The Christmas decorations at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Luther Taylor, Jr. won first place in the Home Christmas Decorations contest sponsored by the Andalusia Chamber of Commerce. 2nd place winner was Mrs. Ernest Spicer and Mrs. Raymond Shreve. Other winners were Mrs. L. R. Deal and Mrs. John Hill West, 3rd prizes; Mrs. Ray Evers, Mrs. T. A. Patrick, Mrs. Chalmers Bryant, Mrs. James Prestwood, and Mrs. Martin Wyatt, 4th prizes. ”

“Even though the commercial establishments were not eligible for prizes, the judges were impressed with the Hillcrest Infirmary decorations; the REA office building with the choir boys in the windows and nativity scene on the lawn; the
Gulf Naval Stores nativity scene; Bell’s Grocery Store decorations; and the Mason Reese Christmas tree with its mass of colored lights.”

I spotted a beautiful nativity scene this week in downtown Carolina on the main highway!

Do any of you readers live in the homes or businesses of those 1958 winners of the Christmas Decorations contest? Just curious!

ED DANNELLY EDITORIAL – “The star of 1958 is bright, indeed, for Andalusia if the New Year holds the realization of a modern sewerage system for the Covington capitol city.”

Mr. and Mrs. Andy Floyd and Mr. and Mrs. Abner Powell entertained at the annual Christmas party of the residents at the Bonner-Thames Subdivision. Just about all of the neighbors of the community were represented.”

AD – “The Best Costs You No More – Pruitt CleanersSouth Cotton Street. Phone 31.”

January 9, 1958 – “There is no windmill located down at the corner of Church and River Falls Streets. Just Manny Russo, the old fightin’ Marine swinging his arms, trying to explain how it took four shots for him to bag that deer which lil’ Joe Proctor, the Junior at AHS, grounded his buck with just one bang!”

SALK VACCINE – COME AND GET IT – The Jaycees have undertaken the project to provide transportation for children and young adults under 21 years of age to receive their 2nd and 3rd Salk vaccine shots. Dr. C. D. McLeod, Covington County Health Officer, has reported that more than 300 Covington citizens who have taken one or two shots have failed to show up for their final shots.”

Oh, do I REMEMBER WHEN polio shots were administered at East Three Notch School at which time I was an elementary school student! They had to summon my mother to the school to hold me down! Those shots consisted of a thick white substance that was contained in a vaccination vile about as big as a push-up rocket Popsicle! My mother said that in my frightened state, I pulled off her maternity jacket exposing her protruding abdomen since she was wearing one of those cut-out skirts that used to be fashionable! Back during the Polio scare, doctors suggested that all children take short naps right after lunch. It was important to not get chilled or tired, but it was an afternoon dread! I guess we were all “Polio Pioneers” at the time!

UNDERAGE MOTOR SCOOTER OPERATORS – “A crackdown has been ordered against underage youths operating motor scooters, Police Chief John Hammac announced this week. Since Christmas, there have been several near tragedies caused by reckless operation of motor scooters by boys not old enough to qualify for licenses!”

AD – “WALLACE’S The House of Quality Merchandise – On the Square – Fall and Winter Final Clearance.”

THERMOSTAT TAKES A DIVEJanuary 1958 has been colder, day in and day out, than any other January since 1940. Brother, it’s been cold! Whether you burn oil, coal, wood, bottled gas or natural gas, you burned about 80 percent more of it in January than you did a year ago. Everybody these days is talking about the high cost of living!

AD – “Thrifty Stores – Savings Will Be Great in ’58.”

IN THE ANDY SWING – “The editor of this newspaper was kept so busy during the Christmas holidays ‘dodging the mumps,’ he was unable to side-step the Christmas gift that was wholly unexpected. Arising for a ride to town about 9:30 a. m. on the day after the Xmas celebration, the editor found right below his steering wheel a pile of animal droppings. A smaller pile was on the rear seat of the Chevrolet. As the wife cleaned up both the front and rear, no dog was to be found anywhere. After some 30 minutes of applying every known brand of soap cleanser and disinfectant, the wife stepped back to take a look. It was then found that a fat young ‘possum was still in the car. From beneath the front seat, a 12-inch tail extended. The ‘possum was broomed from the car and sought refuge in a nearby tree. That made us a circus for all the boys in the neighborhood. Robert Wayne Cremer, a championship Little League pitcher, nailed the ‘possum with a brick to the head, and along with Ed Dannelly, III, made the kill.”


James Gordon ‘Sleepy’ Bradley, 57 year old rural mail carrier, and one of Covington County’s most popular citizens, died at his home at Dunn’s Crossing on Gantt Pond after midnight Wednesday, January 29. Bradley, a former National Guard officer who served as a First Lieutenant for six years during World War II, was planning to retire from the U. S. Postal Service on May 31. He would have completed 39 years of service as a rural mail carrier on April 16, 1958.”

Bradley owned and operated ‘Sleepy’s Place’ near the Dunn’s Bridge Crossing Bridge. He had purchased the property some 8 or 9 years ago when he and his wife moved from his home on Sanford Road to the Gantt Lake site. When the new Dunn’s Crossing Bridge was erected a few years ago, Bradley renovated his store and fish bait facilities planning to operate this business on a full-time basis after his retirement in mid 1958.”

Editor Ed Dannelly wrote, “There are hundreds of persons who have met and done business with ‘Sleepy’ Bradley. He loved the home he built out on the cove that juts into Gantt Lake right where Cottle Creek pours into the Conecuh River. ‘Sleepy’ was one of the better informed ‘experts’ on where and when the fish were biting in any area of Gantt Pond!”

January 23, 1958Jimmy Prestwood Sweeps the Deck in Pleasant Home Magazine SalesJimmy Prestwood, the 17 year old son of Andalusia City Police Officer Earl Prestwood of RFD 5, recently won an all-expense paid trip to Havana, Cuba, 2 automatic rifles, and a hunting knife as the champion salesman in the Pleasant Home magazine sale contest.

AD – “King’s Cafeteria – For Party or Anytime – Hol’n One Donuts – Made Fresh Daily – Mr. & Mrs. Gaston King, Owners & Operators – Phone 972.”

WEATHER FREEZING – POLITICS A-BOILINGAllen Cook running hard for Circuit Judge with rigorous backing from Prohibitionists and Baptists!”

AD – “Let Us Clean Your Venetian BlindsAcqua Venetian Blind Co. – Call 373 – East Three Notch Street (At Wilson’s Grocery).”

I REMEMBER WHEN the late and great portly gentleman regularly wrote about Mrs. Grundy peeping out her Venetian Blinds in a society column of The Andalusia Star-News that will long be remembered. Look for a tribute to Mr. Joseph Cecil Wingard in next week’s REMEMBER WHEN column.


Sue Bass Wilson (AHS Class of ’65) is a local real estate broker and long-time member of the Covington Historical Society. She can be reached at