Remember when: Summer was busy in ‘51

Published 1:39 am Saturday, July 28, 2018

“Summertime, Summertime, Sum, Sum, Summertime” – “No more studying history, No more reading geography, We’ll shut them books and throw them away, We’ll go swimming every day…” This was a song made popular in the 1950s by the Jamies then revived in the 1960s by Sha Na Na.

Lots of activity in Andalusia and Covington County was written about in The Andalusia Star News in the summertime of 1951.

May 31, 1951 – “The Church Street School swimming pool will be opened for the summer months on Monday, June 4. The pool will be operated 7 days a week with John. G. Wright, Jr. and Billy Hamiter as lifeguards. Bobby Locklier will be in charge of concessions. Patrons are asked to bring their own towels.”

Foreman Funeral Home provided ambulance service in the 1950s.
Courtesy Photo

The Andalusia Public Library will sponsor a Summer Reading Program for the children. All young people interested in reading are urged to come to the library to see the book lists. Each child is required to read 10 books and turn in a short report on the books read. A certificate will be given to those children having completed the requirements.”

June 7, 1951 – “Prospects are brighter that First Presbyterian youth will break all their past records in attendance at the annual Vacation Bible school to start Monday, June 18. Those in charge of the departments will be Nursery, Miss Dorothy Clark; Kindergarten, Mrs. Max Milligan; Primary, Mrs. H. H. Broadhurst; Juniors, Mrs. Lester Thagard, Jr.; and Pioneers, Rev. Max Milligan. Mrs. J. A. Thompson is Superintendent. Music will be furnished by Mrs. W. H. Albritton, Jr.”

June 18, 1951 – “Alatex and Andala have announced that the company swimming pool at Alatex will be open for employees only beginning June 18. A lifeguard will be on duty. Several general rules have been made to keep the pool a safe place for swimming.”

June 21, 1951 – “The Community Youth Council met to plan a program of recreation for the remainder of the summer months. The Council has secured the services of Mrs. Donald Mock as Recreational Director. Mrs. Mock, a teacher in the Andalusia City Schools is well-qualified for the job. Mrs. John G. Wright will serve as volunteer assistant and handicrafts instructor. Malcomb O’Neal, a qualified American Red Cross instructor, will teach a class in swimming and water safety at the Municipal Pool on Church Street. There is no charge for participation. Any boy or girl between the ages of 10 and 16 is invited to take part in the program.”

Don’t Halt Your Vacation Plans – Fear of infantile paralysis in the Panama City area is unwarranted if vacationers, especially children, remain outside the city proper. There have been 9 cases of polio in P. C. since February. Dr. C. D. McLeod, Covington County Health officer, consulted with Dr. Stringer, Florida Health officer, who both recommended vacationers plan to go to the beach several miles distant from the city proper.”

July 12, 1951 – “Stewards of the First Methodist Church Tuesday night voted to not hold regular Sunday morning services July 15. Lieut. S. M. Baker, Jr., only son of the Methodist pastor and his wife, will be buried following a memorial service at the church Sunday afternoon at 3:30. The body of the Army officer who gave his life in the Korean warfare is expected to arrive in Andalusia on Friday. A veteran of World War II, Lt. Baker’s battery was ordered to Korea when the war broke out there. A bronze plaque will be unveiled and placed in the church foyer.”

July 19, 1951 – “‘Opening day crowd on Sunday at Andalusia’s Speedway topped 4,000,’ Hinton White, owner, announced. ‘Improvements are being made to avoid congestion at the entrance at the next race.’”

NEW BRIDGE FLOOR WILL STAND ABOVE 1929 FLOOD CRESTRights of way are being secured for the construction of a new bridge over the Conecuh River between Andalusia and River Falls. Most of the property owners have either granted rights of way or indicated they will. Property owners involved include: L. L. Alley, John Grant Wright, John D. Riley, Annie Lee Sikes, Nannie F. Fuller, and A. B. Campbell. The span must stand above the high water mark of any flood in history. High water elevation for 50 years is 171.5 feet. In the famed 1929 flood, the Conecuh River rose to 173.5 feet. Height of the new bridge is to be between 174 and 175 feet, blue print plans for the structure indicate.”

July 26, 1951 – “10-gallon straw hats seen about town atop the heads of the young men of Andalusia are among the gifts that will be awarded at the Grand Ole Opry program to be staged at the Andalusia Municipal Stadium on next Thursday, August 2. The Ernest Tubb presentation featuring String Bean, Annie Lou and Dannie, and the Texas Troubadors is to be sponsored under the auspices of the Andalusia Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees). The straw hats worn by Jaycee members to publicize the affair continue to generate unusual interest. Lee Sullivan lost his hat and had to pay a one dollar ($1.00) fine. In some circles, it was intimated that Sullivan’s hat was misplaced intentionally by funmakers!”

“AMBULANCE – Foreman Funeral Home – Phone 595 – The 13th year we have served the people of this area with ambulance and funeral service. E. M. Foreman – Levi (Pat) Thompson – Thomas Vaughn – Mrs. E. M. Foreman – Lady Attendant At All Times.”

July 26, 1951 – “Overflow Crowd Fills Courthouse at 53rd Annual Covington County Songfest on July 18Chairman C. C. Wood directed the first two songs. A welcome address was given by E. O. Baldwin. Thanks were extended to each business concern and individual who contributed to support the Andalusia Sacred Harp Singing Society as has been the custom for so many years. Thanks were also voiced to Mayor Tracy Wilder for welcoming people to Andalusia.”

As cars would ride around the square, singing could be heard by the passers-by with open windows. Courthouse windows were open, to, because this was before the days of air conditioning! Do you REMEMBER WHEN?

August 2, 1951 – “The recent Federal Communications Commission ruling permitting expansion of television could mean that Andalusia will be able to receive broadcasts in another year or so. This prediction was made by Richard Kearley, Jr., Nashville engineer. Young Kearley, an Andalusia native and graduate of Auburn, holds a responsible TV engineering position with a Nashville television station. ‘With full power, TV broadcasts could reach South Alabama readily,” Kearley predicted.’”

In the early pioneering days of TV development, Kearley, a registered professional engineer, went on to be the driving force in helping to establish WTVY-TV station in Dothan. He was also responsible for securing the CBS network for them. Along with receiving his Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University, Kearley also contributed to the successful trip of America’s first astronaut into space. Kearley who became associated with Texas Instruments, Inc. of Dallas, Texas played a major role in the basic design of the transmitter which relayed astronaut Alan Shepard’s temperature, medical information, cabin pressure, and other environmental data during his flight. Shepard was the first American to travel into space in 1961. In 1971, he walked on the moon.

August 2, 1951 – “The Green Acres paving project is expected to begin. It is a 4-mile stretch starting at Everage’s Store (Theo Welch) on the Florala Highway (corner of Lindsey Bridge Rd.) running through the subdivision. 3 or 4 weeks will be required to complete this project.”

The Book and Card ShopThelma Moates, Manager 300 East Three Notch StreetPhone 58 – Stationary and Note Paper With Scriptural Quotations – Children’s Books – Bibles” (This business, the town’s first Christian book store, which opened August 1, 1951 was located in the J. J. Moates home where it is remembered that Moates and his wife, Vassie Speller Moates once entertained at a dinner reception for Governor and Mrs. Bibb Graves in 1928. This is probably one of five 100+ year old dwellings left standing along East Three Notch Street. Moates owned and operated the Victoria Hotel on Pear Street then later started the J. J. Moates Auto Company on S. Three Notch that his sons J. T. (Jake) and Speller ran after his death in 1946.)

“The Adult Choir of the First Baptist Church will present their first concert on Sunday night. Mrs. Mark McGowin is the director. When she took over as director in November 1950, the choir had approximately 15 members. Since then, the choir has grown to 49 members, all of whom will sing in the concert featuring anthems, spirituals, and a capella numbers. Accompanist is Mrs. Robert Barrow.”

“The Wednesday night showers brought to a hurried close the summer concert of the Andy Hi Bulldog Band out at the Municipal Stadium. The musicians had played three numbers before Maestro Dan Hanna blew the whistle as water encircled the podium. The band boss expressed appreciation for the understanding audience. The crowd was sizable considering the threat of a downpour.”

ANDALUSIA MATTRESS COMPANYBetter Bedding Since 1918 Invest in Rest – J. K. Burke, Owner – Despite the fire which damaged our plant on August 24, we will be back in full production by September 10.”

August 9, 1951 – “A civic dinner to applaud General Wiley Ganey upon his elevation to brigadier general is being planned by a group of Andalusia citizens. Attorney Albert Rankin is shaping plans for a banquet. General Ganey was born in Andalusia December 18, 1907, son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter D. Ganey of 413 South Cotton Street. A graduate of the AHS Class of 1925, he attended the University of Florida before receiving his appointment to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point in 1926. Ganey served in World War II in the Pacific theatre of operation and in Korea where he flew missions in B-29 Superfortresses. All friends and former classmates will be invited.”

Wiley Duncan Ganey went on to be Major General W. D. Ganey. He retired in 1950 and died in 1982. I REMEMBER WHEN his son from California called me once. The Ganeys and the Brunsons, my grandparents, had been next door neighbors. He stated that his dad was assigned in January 1946 to the Joint Task Force where the atomic bomb tests were conducted. His father later died from the effects of radiation that he was exposed to during those post WWII days of experimentation. I had hoped to get a 3-star general’s military uniform for displaying in the Three Notch Museum, but so far that has not happened.


Sue Bass Wilson, AHS Class of 1965, is a local real estate broker and long-time member of the Covington Historical Society. She can be reached at