Remember When: Thanksgiving in Andalusia in 1923

Published 2:45 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Looking back 100 years to what was going on in Andalusia is quite interesting and inspiring. The Andalusia Daily Star November 28, 1923 edition reported – “Tomorrow the citizens of Andalusia and of America will take a day off as a day of Thanksgiving. This is a Christian nation, and once a year at the call of the President, our people take this day off to return thanks to Almighty God for his goodness. ‘Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord’ is abundantly verified in our own national history. This nation has been most wonderfully blessed far beyond any other nation – in commerce, in invention, in agriculture, in home life, in the arts and trades, in manufacturing, in all that make for human comfort and happiness. It is a challenge to us to show our gratitude to God, for all realize that every good gift comes down from above.”

“In our own Andalusia, we have abundant reason to thank God devoutly. Our people have been prosperous, healthy, and happy. In material things, we have gone forward. We have our new high school building (Church Street School) which was finished during the year. We have a number of private business and residence houses that have either been started or completed during the year.”

“The movement for our big cotton mill has taken such momentum that it can be announced with finality that work will be started by the first of the year on the plant.”

Our people are united, the churches have larger attendance, the Sunday schools are flourishing, there is a spirit of good will on the part of all our people.”

“Thanksgiving services in which all the local churches will participate will be held at 6 a. m. Thursday morning at the Andalusia Baptist Church, it was announced today by the local pastors. It is expected that all the congregations of Andalusia will be well represented at the early morning service, one of the most beautiful and impressive services of the entire year.”

“BULLDOGS CLOSE SEASON THURSDAY WITH GREENVILLE –

‘One more river to cross’ and the curtain will have been wrung down on the Andalusia gridiron stage for the year 1923. The team will be accompanied to Greenville on Turkey Day by a goodly representation of the student body, and plans are being made for a great day aside from the game which will be bitterly contested.”

“Greenville coach Hovater has been looking the field over carefully within the last week. Greenville is aware of what sort of a scrap to expect and is working laboriously this week in preparation for the game.”

“Bulldog Coach Green’s men came out of the Monroeville game without injuries and are this week fresh for the final game with the Butler county lads.”

“DIXIE TEAMS WIND UP SCHEDULE ON TURKEY DAYDixie’s college football season rings down the curtain Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, on the gridiron. Many of the teams having already closed their schedules will witness the play of their neighboring institutions. Three Southern classics are scheduled for the day – Georgia Tech and Auburn at Atlanta; Sewanee and Vanderbilt at Nashville; University of Alabama Crimson and the Florida Alligators – all games of long standing and interest for Thanksgiving Day.”

“MUSICAL PROGRAM THANKSGIVING EVENING – A splendid musical program will be given by six Andalusia young people on Thanksgiving night at the residence of Mrs. D. A. McArtan on Sixth Avenue under the direction of Mrs. W. A. Lyons. Students to perform include Elizabeth Ellison, Annie Albritton, Louise Bozeman, Elizabeth Stanley, Helen Claire Padgett, and Mr. D. O. Gantt. Music by composers Chopin, Mozart, Grieg, Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Weber will be presented by these pianists. A cordial invitation is extended to parents, friends, and all others who are interested.”

Local businesses who advertised in the Thanksgiving edition in 1923 included Dr. E. L. Gatlin, dentist; Dr. H. H. Martin, chiropractor; C. J. Ward, optometrist; P. Lewis, optometrist; Daniel Candy Co.; T. M. Campbell Drug Co.; A. M. Riley Drug Co.; Patrick Hardware; Andalusia Grocery Co.; Brown and Broughton Drug Co.; I. Berman; Henderson’s Haberdashery; Andalusia Motor Co.; J. M. Taylor Auto Co.; Kilpatrick and Mashburn; Shreve Store Co.; J. L. Knox & Co.; First National Bank of Andalusia; Andalusia Manufacturing Co.; and The Andalusia National Bank.

To see the names of these businesses advertising in this small town in the early 1920s is admirable. It reminds me of what I read about the same time in the newspaper which quoted businessman Mr. E. R. Merrill of the Andalusia Manufacturing Co. He had just returned from what he called, “The Metropolis of the South” or Atlanta. He had been on an out of town business trip where he stated, “That whole city in action is a veritable beehive, sidewalks crowded, streets jammed with motor vehicles and street cars, business men so rushed that you can see them only by making advance engagement.” Merrill said he finds here in Andalusia much of the same spirit which has built Atlanta. “In fact,” he exclaimed, “Andalusia has been called the Atlanta of Alabama.”

As we Remember When during this Thanksgiving season, let us be mindful of these early businesses for which we can be thankful for the part they played in establishing the business climate of Andalusia. We take pride in learning about how they set the stage for future and greater possibilities of growth that resulted in the progress made that we enjoy today in 2023.

Sue Bass Wilson, AHS Class of 1965, former K-12 choral music teacher, is a local real estate broker and long time member of the Covington Historical Society. She can be reached at suebwilson47@gmail.com.