Tuesday, December 27, 2011

27 December 1936: New Social Security Office to Open in Athens

On this day in 1936, more than a year after the act was signed into law, news that the Social Security Board would be opening an office in downtown Athens made the front page of the Athens Banner-Herald

The Social Security Act had been signed into law on 14 August 1935, but Georgia's governor at the time, Eugene Talmadge, had been adamantly against most New Deal programs. However, in 1936, Georgia Speaker of the House Eurith D. Rivers was elected governor with 60% of the vote promoting New Deal programs such as rural electrification, and supported Georgia participating in the Social Security Program.

According to the brief story in the paper, a long-term lease had been signed for offices in Athens, in "a suite of rooms ... next to Lumpkin street" on the first floor of the Holman Hotel. No employee names had been announced, but the office would open after January 1st, 1937.  The paper reported that "it is expected that the office will have charge of Social Security activities for this immediate territory." Today, there are 33 SSA offices in the state of Georgia.

Located on the corner of Clayton and Lumpkin Streets, the nine-story Holman Hotel was built in 1913 by William S. Holman, originally intended to be office spaces. The top floor was arranged for meetings, banquets, dances or other social functions that provided a view of the city. It was converted into a hotel, and "became the major competitor of the Georgian Hotel which had opened in 1908."

Holman came to Athens from Kentucky after the Civil War, was on the Board of Commissioners, helped develop the northwest part of town, and was one the major investors in the Athens Electric Railway Company, which later became the Athens Railway and Electric Company. He died in 1931, and is buried at Oconee Hill Cemetery.

The Holman building was fully renovated in the 1960s when Citizens & Southern National Bank took over the property. In 1991, it became NationsBank, which later became Bank of America, who still has offices on the property.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

24 December 1897: "No Postage Having Been Placed Upon the Chicken..."

On this day in 1897, news of this holiday surprise was published in the Weekly Banner:

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

21 December 1906:"Many Improvements In and Around the City of the Dead"

On this day in 1906, news of plans to upgrade the home of the sexton of the Oconee Hill Cemetery, and change the entry site to where it is currently located was published in the Weekly Banner

The new burial lots were made available when the sexton's house was moved in February, 1908.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our Holiday Hours

On this day, we'd like you to be aware that the Athens-Clarke County Library will be closed Friday, December 23rd through Tuesday, December 27th for the Christmas holiday, and closed Sunday, January 1st and Monday, January 2nd for the New Year holiday.

We will be open until 9 pm on Thursday, December 22nd, and will be open our regular Saturday hours (9 am to 6 pm) on New Year's Eve. 

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

18 December 1896: For Children, "Dolls, Knives, Etc."

On this day in 1896, McGregor's Bookstore, which also sold athletic equipment and stationery supplies, much like college bookstores do today, ran this advertisement of their holiday offerings:

At the time, David W. McGregor's store was on the corner of Broad Street and College Avenue, across from the University, where Starbucks is located today.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

15 December 1885: Robert Toombs Oak Is Not Struck by Lightning

On this day in 1885, General Robert Toombs died at the age of 75, at his home in Washington, Georgia, after years of declining health.  Despite long-woven tales to the contrary, the oak tree outside the Chapel at UGA where Toombs supposedly gave a great speech after his expulsion in 1828, was not struck by lightning.

Augustus Longstreet Hull recounted the myth in his 1894 book, A Historical Sketch of the University of Georgia, and explained that neither the speech nor the lightning strike actually happened:

        A story of Robert Toombs has swung round the circle of the papers of late years, which represents him expelled from college for gambling, standing beneath the old oak in front in front of the chapel at commencement, pouring forth such burning words of eloquence that the chapel is deserted and the speakers left to declaim empty benches. And from this circumstance, the old tree has ever since been known as the "Toombs Oak." It has even been said that on the day of Mr. Toombs' death, the old oak was struck by lightning and destroyed.
        There is not the semblance of truth in the story. It was a fabrication of Henry W. Grady, who, in an admiring sketch of the great Georgian, wrote charmingly of his overwhelming eloquence and pointed it with a story drawn from his own vivid imagination.

In 1985, 100 years after Robert Toombs died, the Georgia General Assembly passed a resolution to have an historical marker placed on the University of Georgia campus, commemorating General Toombs and the "legend" of Toombs Oak. The marker is located between the Chapel and Demosthenian Hall on North Campus.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

13 December 1902: Santa to Visit at the International Doll Show

On this day in 1902, Santa Claus made an appearance at the doll show benefit raising funds for Winnie Davis Hall:

(click to enlarge image)

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Monday, December 5, 2011

5 December 2009: It's Our 2nd Blogiversary!

On this day in 2009, we started this blog, This Day in Athens, in hopes of bringing a glimpse of Athens past to Athens present.  

This Day in Athens has shown how Athens has grown, expanded, and changed over time, but also how some things, like rooster issues on Pulaski Street, an obsessive love of Georgia football, and a passion for Farmer's Markets, are timeless truths of this town. 

Our hope is that as you travel around town or are on the University of Georgia campus, you'll think of Hajos's Photography Studio, of Union prisoners guarded by Mitchell's Thunderbolts, of the Hancock Street sidewalks being laid in 1906, of the literary club meetings at the State Normal School, of fires that could not stop progress, of the water power  and railroads that fueled the growth of Athens and the University. 

Thank you for all the kind and encouraging words over the past two years, for passing along items to friends, for suggestions for wonderful post ideas, and adding information where you could. We hope you've found book titles that peaked your interest in our Learn More section, have subscribed to and enjoy our Heritage Room newsletters, and we hope you'll keep reading in the coming years.  If you have a favorite post, or a topic you would like us to cover, please let us know! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

1 December 1907: Of Interest to Women: Christmas Pudding, Of Course!

On this day in 1907, in the regular newspaper feature Of Interest to Women, included amongst the club meetings, teas, and engagement parties this recipe for a traditional Christmas pudding.

This recipe is far more detailed than most from this time period, when it was understood that women knew how to cook generally, and all they really needed to create a new dish were approximate ingredient amounts. Rather than standard "cups," this recipe calls for "wineglassfuls" and "teacupfuls."

Of Interest to Women was the society page for the Athens Banner. It often included a week's calendar of society events, along with news about travels, visitors, parties, fashions, cooking, clubs, and school pagents or presentations.  

(click image to enlarge)

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

29 November 1945: "Cheer Up! Bacon Long Dreamed of Is Coming Soon"

On this day in 1945, the Athens Banner-Herald announced that "the supply of pork has overtaken the demand," so bacon, and other pork products such as lard, would finally become more available in the near future. 
According to the story, "cold weather has brought on a heevy [sic] hog slaughter on southeastern farms, but...most of the meat and fats would be used replenish home shortages." Thus, the paper's encouraging headline to "Cheer up!"

During World War II, many items were rationed by the United States government, including meat, rubber, sugar, shoes, metal, dairy products, and gasoline. An Office of Price Administration was established in 1941 to place ceilings on prices for some goods to keep prices within the reach of most Americans, and to ration the items that were most needed by the troops during the conflict. Though meat rationing ended in November, 1945, labor shortages meant lower crop yields in the months following the end of the war. 

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

24 November 1910: Thanksgiving at the Athenaeum Cafe

On this day in 1910, the Athenaeum Cafe downtown offered the following reprieve from cooking at home: 

(click image to enlarge)

The price of 50 cents would be equal today to a charge of $11.80.

The Athenaeum Cafe was next door to the Athenaeum pool hall, and both were below the two floors of the Athenaeum Hotel, owned by Victor Petropol. In the 1909 Athens city directory, some travelling salesmen and the hotel's clerk, W. G. McNair, list the hotel as their residence.

Today, the space where the hotel was located has been divided. The pool hall is occupied by Frontier, and the cafe is occupied by Native America Gallery.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

22 November 1871: Let the Babies Ride!

On this day and several other days in the winter of 1871, the Hodgson Brothers carriage company ran the following ad for their baby carriages in the Southern Watchman

In the 1870s, baby carriages were becoming more popular items for Victorian baby care; as seen in this ad, the Hodgson brothers were not making these for their customers, but stocking standard carriages aimed at the general public. 

Baby carriages typically mimicked the shapes of adult-sized carriages, and were made of wood or wicker with cushions inside the bed. Some came with an attached cover while others installed a parasol over the cushioned bed for the child. 

Fancier models could be custom ordered. These more elaborate baby carriages were constructed as though they were miniature horse-drawn carriages, complete with glass windows, lanterns that held candles, and a suspension system intended to smooth the ride. An elaborate baby carriage was also a status symbol for the Victorian mother, a symbol that still exists today.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

19 November 1953: Opening of the Ilah Dunlap Little Memorial Library

On this day in 1953, the new Ilah Dunlap Little Memorial library opened on the North Campus of the University of Georgia. 

Ilah Dunlap was born in February of 1874 to Mary Anne and Samuel Scott Dunlap in Bibb County, Georgia. She was the fifth daughter in a family of six children. Her father was a Captain in Phillips Legion during the Civil War, who started out as a farmer, then later became a successful merchant and city alderman in Macon. 

In 1896, Miss Dunlap married Leonidas A. Jordan.  Mr. Jordan owned Oakland Plantation in Lee County, Georgia, and died within four years of their marriage. In 1900, Mrs. Ilah Jordan is listed as the 26-year-old widowed head of a household in Macon that included her brother Samuel S. Dunlap, Jr.; her profession listed as "Capitalist." She was regularly featured in the Macon Telegraph Society page, often in relation to bridge club meetings or trips to Atlanta and New York. 

In 1906, she married John D. Little, an Atlanta lawyer, and moved to Fulton County. She was already widowed when she died in late July, 1939, on a vacation with a friend in German-occupied Czechoslovakia, just one month before Hitler's invasion of Poland and the start of World War II.  Though her will left $400,000.00 to the University of Georgia for a library, the settlement of the estate took a prolonged period of time.  Much of her jewelry and effects took more than a year to be returned to her executor in Macon, as both the American consulate and German officials had greater priorities than her estate, and faced disruption in communication, the latter sometimes noted in the communiques between various government agencies.

Mrs. Little's bequest gave the impetus to fund a much-needed upgrading of University of Georgia library facilities. UGA had only 185,000 volumes, compared with 751,000 at the University of Texas and 352,000 at the University of Kentucky. The cost to build the library was $2,000,000.00, and the operating budget for the library was increased dramatically as well. The University of Georgia President, Harmon Caldwell, argued that a $1,000,000.000 operating budget was necessary to make the library one that could compete with other southern schools after World War II.

The day after UGA's library opened , the Georgia Institute of Technology had the grand opening of their new Price Gilbert Memorial Library, and the weekend was a series of festivities in both cities to celebrate the events. 

Among those who participated in the celebrations were now University System Chancellor Harmon Caldwell; University of Georgia President O. C. Aderhold; Georgia Attorney General Eugene Cook; and members of the University Board of Trustees. Invited guests included Dr. K. Y. Metcalf of Harvard University; Derner Clapp, Acting Librarian of the Library of Congress; and Ralph Ellsworth, Director of Libraries for Iowa State University. Claude Davidson, Jr., director of the UGA news bureau, even composed a poem for the occasion.

In his dedication address, Dr. Ellsworth praised Georgia for opening two major libraries, stating that, "Only a vigorous University can overcome the terrible inertia that always seems to develop when a new library building is needed. Universities that are on the decline don't build new libraries."

UGA recently completed construction on a new Special Collections Library on Hull Street. Such collections as the Richard B. Russell Library, the Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and the Peabody Awards collection are in the process of moving into their new space. The building will open officially in January, 2012.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Newsletters for You!

On this day, we'd like to remind you about our two Heritage Room newsletters, free updates of information that land easily in your email inbox and make keeping up the world of genealogy and history research and events easy as can be.

Our History & Genealogy Events newsletter offers you a schedule of  the upcoming tours, classes, fairs, festivals, meetings, book signings, lectures, and other happenings in Athens and around Georgia. We also include webinars sponsored by genealogy companies such as Legacy Family Tree  in which you can participate from your own home. As items are added to the month's calendar, we will send out updates so you state current with all the historical events.

Our Genealogy News & Tips newsletter provides you a round up of recent genealogy and research information, such as newly published books, new online resources, ways to get past your brick wall, tricks for researching ancestors in other parts of the nation and world, the way various records can be used, and free software available for doing your family tree. It's a great, concise way to keep up with all the ways you can research without spending all your time seeking out information yourself.

Click here (or either newsletter link above) to read the current newsletters and subscribe to have them delivered to your email Inbox. They are a free service of the Heritage Room, and it couldn't be easier, so sign up today!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

13 November 1867: "with a view to matrimony"

On this day in 1867, the following personal ad was run in the Southern Watchman:

The names used by the young women placing the ad are likely pseudonyms, since they are engaging in somewhat forward behavior for "refined and accomplished" ladies "of good family." However, the war had changed the social world and expectations for many young southern women. Even before the end of the conflict, "changed attitudes and often changed strategies proved necessary as women recognized that men were becoming ever scarcer resources."

Due to poor record keeping during the war, the exact numbers of casualties on either side of the hostilities are unknown.  Of the estimated 1.2 million men who served in the Confederacy, approximately 250,000 were killed in action or by disease, and another 90,000 were wounded.  Estimates for Georgia were that of the approximately 120,000 men who served, between 11,000-25,000 men died in the war. It is generally believed that the country lost nearly 25% of military age (also marriageable age) men. 

Though there is record of some women embracing "spinsterhood" has a patriotic endeavor, "more common...were those single women who remained committed to increasingly impossible hopes." 

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Friday, November 11, 2011

11 November 1934: Report from the Athens CCC Camp

On this day, the Athens Banner-Herald published updates from the Civilian Conservation Corp Camp Company 485,  located in Athens at Sandy Creek.  Included was a list of the young men stationed at the camp and their nicknames. 

Alas, the microfilm cut off the last several letters of their nicknames, but this is the list as it appears, with the partial nicknames, some of which are easy guesses, some are lost to time:

Crawford ... Pun-
Linton ... Smokey J-
Patterson ... Uncle B-
Love ... Ju-
Lowry ... Wild C-
Nalley ... To-
Parker ... Possu-
Reynolds ... Preach-
Barton ... Bro-
Benton ... Diz-
Boswell ... Thirty-Fi-
Buggs ... D-
Champion ... Cha-
Cole ... Monkey Ma-
Culbertson ... Salty D-
Free ... Bal-
Foster ... Handso-
Gilbert ... Sli-
Harrison ... Chick-
Head ... Knock O-
Hunt ... Sha-
Jarrrard ... Fess-
Jones, Evans ... Pecker Fa-
Jones, J. C. ... Big-
Jones, R. B. ... Ninety-S-
Jordan ... Flat Fo-
Mann ... Pu-
Motes ... Whistle Britch-
McFails ... Speed-
McKeehan ... Wi-
Padgett ... P-
Potts ... R-
Queen ... Ridge Runn-
Rainey ... Hard Ro-
Ray, S. F. ... Ba-
Reagin ... Pe-
Rider ... Bu-
Sumake, Sam ... Shor-
Spruill ... Evoluti-
Strickland, Hoyt ... Crick-
Tipton ... Pie Fa-
Washington ... Georg-
Wiley, Hamp ... Pecker Ne-
Wiley, J. T. ... Fa-
Williams, R. B. ... Soldi-

In 1933, it was estimated that 25% of American men aged 15-24 were unemployed, and another 29% of men in that age range had only part-time employment.  At the same time, the United States had lost 700,000,000 acres of virgin timberlands, causing massive soil erosion, causing 3,000,000,000 tons of soil to be washed away every year. President Franklin Roosevelt believed he could remedy both problems with the Emergency Conservation Work Act that created the CCC. It passed within President Roosevelt's first month in office.

Most men who enlisted were between the ages of 17 and 28, single, and could enlist for up to four six-month terms. They were paid a maximum of $30 per month, with $25 of that check sent home to their dependents. They were given physicals and health care upon their arrival at the camp, and also received work clothes, room, board, and education opportunities. 

Each camp had an Education Advisor to assist those who wanted to take lessons in everything from basic literacy to college-level work, and vocational education was offered through the camp work itself or from businesses in the neighboring towns. The program was successful not just in putting money back into the local economies of the men's hometowns and the towns around the camps, but an estimated 40,000 men also learned to read and write while enlisted.

In Georgia, the camps offered employment to 78,630 men. They also built parks still enjoyed by Georgians today, including Indian Springs State Park in Flovilla, F.D.Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain, Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth, A. H. Stevens Historic Park in Crawfordville, Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge in Helena, and Vogel State Park in Blairsville.

Until the program was absorbed into the War Department in 1942, 3.5 million unmarried men and 225,000 World War I veterans served the corps. They built fire roads, installed telephone lines, built parks, and planted over 3,000,000,000 trees across the country. 

The National Association of Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni is currently raising funds to put a statue honoring the work of CCC in every state. In Georgia, the statue is located at FDR State Park in Pine Mountain, where they are offering hayrides the evenings of November 18th and 19th.

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