Friday, October 28, 2011

28 October 1918: Athens Quarantine Partially Lifted

On this day in 1918, at 7 o'clock in the morning, the quarantine that had been imposed on the city of Athens and the county of Clarke for the previous three weeks, was partially lifted. County schools, the Lucy Cobb Institute, the University of Georgia and State Normal School, and church services would be allowed to meet, but "city schools, movie houses, theatre, pool rooms, shooting galleries, soda founts and ice cream parlors will remain closed." Sunday schools were also asked to refrain from meeting.

The quarantine had first gone into effect October 7th, when Athens had only a few cases of influenza reported, but wanted to avoid a larger outbreak. Mayor Andrew Erwin had the Chief of Police notify the management of a carnival scheduled to come to town that they would have to cancel their visit, and strict enforcement of the anti-spitting ordinance was put into effect. 

The Board of Health met and immediately closed gathering places such as movie theatres, pool halls, soda fountains, and other "amusements." Physicians or the head of a household where the flu struck had to report the case to the Board of Heath within 24 hours, and city schools were closed. The University of Georgia shut down, and all students who lived off the campus were told to stay at home. The Superior Court also delayed their October session. The only exceptions for meetings were for "necessary war work."

Despite the drastic procedures, the Athens Banner took a measured tone, telling its readers that "there is no need for fear, precaution and proper care from exposure will do more to wipe out the disease than anything else." People were generally asked to stay home, and most were willing to comply. In order for students to return to school, they had to present a letter from a physician stating they had not been exposed to the disease for the previous seven days.

Upon partial removal of quarantine, the chairman of Athens Board of Health, Dr. McKinney, did ask for everyone to "continue to exercise the greatest of care for we are not yet out of danger of a further spread of the contagion." Though only 5% of Athens was thought to have contracted the flu, the epidemic was harshest on those ages 15-34, and was so severe "that the average lifespan in the US was depressed by 10 years." 

By early November, it was news that the Colonial had booked entertainment for two weeks out,  but there is no article that notes the official date quarantine was fully lifted from the city. When Armistice to end World War I was declared on November 12, hundreds of citizens and students gathered in the streets to celebrate the event, with no thought of the flu.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

25 October 1892: Outsmarting the Jailbreakers

On this day in 1892, the Weekly Banner  explained the problems faced by Sheriff John W. Wier in his jail:

At the time, the courthouse and jail were on Prince Avenue; the jail Sheriff Wier was trying to secure is still standing on Meigs Street, where it now houses offices for the Oconee River Land Trust, the Georgia Land Conservation Center, and the studio for artist Charles Pinckney. The bars are still on the windows.

John W. Wier was elected Sheriff of Clarke County in 1880, and served a total of 26 years. He died while in office, and was replaced in a special election one month later by Walter E. Jackson. His family was allowed to stay in the Sheriff's house on the courthouse square during the election period. Wier was also known for keeping several pets in the jail, including a frog.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

21 October 1903: 44 Bushels of Apples to Clemson

On this day, news of a promise to the Clemson College football team by the University of Georgia football team was published in the Athens Banner:

Georgia had opened the 1903 season with a 29-0 loss to Clemson, then lead by legendary college football coach John Heisman. The following year, Heisman would leave Clemson to begin a 15-year tenure as the coach of Georgia Tech. 

This 73-0 victory remains Clemson's biggest win over Georgia Tech in the history of the two teams' meetings. Unfortunately, the surviving newspapers do not tell how long it took the Georgia team to make good on their promise.

In 1903, six points was the most that could be scored on a single possession: touchdowns were worth only five points, with the modern one-point kick to add to the score.  Field goals, however, were also worth five points. They would not be lowered to the modern three-point score until 1909, and the goal posts would not be moved to the back of the end zone until 1927.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

News You Can Use!

On this day, we'd like to remind you about the two Heritage Room newsletters offered free of charge and delivered right into your Inbox!

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, October 16, 2011

16 October 1908: Note in a Bottle Found in Old College Wall

On this day in 1908, the Weekly Banner reported an interesting discovery from the renovation of Old College on the University of Georgia campus:

Old College was built in 1806, and spent most of its years housing students and suffering for such service. The first attempt to remedy the constant wear and tear came in 1824, when the foundation and large cracks in the interior walls were repaired, and "fixed two belts of iron bars to go round the house fastened and united together at the corners of the house by screws to keep the four walls in 'status quo.'" 

The building's use as a Wayside Home for injured soldiers during the Civil War did not improve the structure's soundness, and in 1888, underwent a major renovation that included tearing down the interior walls and adding indoor bathrooms for the dormitory.  A. O. Lyndon, who placed the note into the wall while working on the building, was an Atlanta plumber.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

13 October 1920: Lady Mistakes Fire Box for Post Box

On this day in 1920, the Athens Banner ran this story of mistaken boxes on the front page:

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

9 October 1897: Georgia Plays Clemson for the First Time

On this day in 1897, Clemson College came to town for their first ever game against the University of Georgia "Footballists:"

Clemson had started their football program the previous year, and came to Athens to play at the newly seeded and renovated Herty Field. This first meeting featured a 75-yard run for a touchdown by Georgia halfback J. T. Moore, and Georgia won the game, 24-0. 

Over the next 24 years, Clemson and Georgia would meet annually, with the exception of 1917-1918, when Georgia did not field a team due to World War I. Though the teams played one another only sporadically from the 1920s through the 1950s, the rivalry intensified during the 1960s and 1970s, with near-annual meetings. In the early 1980s the rivalry became even more fierce as both teams were often vying for the National Championship. The two teams have met a total of 62 times, with Georgia holding the advantage, 41-17-4. 

Since Southeastern Conference expansion in 1992, Clemson and Georgia have not met as regularly. However, the closeness of the two campuses, less than 75 miles apart, and decades of tradition have meant that the rivalry has only continued to simmer despite episodic play. 

Their next two meetings will be in Clemson in 2013 and in Athens in 2014 to start the football seasons.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

6 October 1891: Dispensary Rules Published

On this day in 1891, the Weekly Banner-Watchman published the rules for the new Athens Dispensary, which had opened earlier in the week. It also reprinted their daily paper story about the opening with the title "Presto, Change!"

The Athens Dispensary was the city's solution to the alcohol problem in Clarke County. Athens had tried prohibition, only to find that crime and unruly behavior were as much a problem as ever, and corrupted black market liquor was causing health issues and deaths. The Dispensary would both guarantee that only high quality liquor was sold within the county and bring in much needed revenue.  

The law establishing the Athens Dispensary was passed by the Georgia legislature the previous August. By mid-September, Dispensary commissioners were doing "quality testing" for products to be sold by the city, with tests run by UGA Chemistry Department head,  Dr. H. C. White. The Dispensary doors opened on September 29. 1891, at 7 o'clock in the morning. In the first few days, the Dispensary averaged between $200-300 in sales per day, but the level of intake was not expected to keep at the pace of newly available alcohol.

Once Athens was in the alcohol business, fines for selling unauthorized alcohol increased dramatically. Disorderly conduct, including keeping a lewd house, may bring a fine of $5-50 in the Mayor's Court, but those arrested as blind tigers faced fines in the hundreds of dollars, or no fine option at all, just labor at 50 cents per day installing the city's new paved streets, and sewer and water systems, with materials purchased with funds from the Dispensary. 

The Athens Dispensary went out of business on New Year's Eve, 1907, the day before state-wide prohibition went into effect. They had record sales that day, and several frequent disorderly conduct prisoners were given prison sentences that lasted until the Dispensary's 7pm closing time. Georgia would not repeal prohibition until 1935, and even now, some counties within the state remain "dry."

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

4 October 1914: Delmar's Lunch Reopens

On this day, Delmar's Lunch announced its reopening on Clayton Street:

(Click to enlarge)

Delmar's had been gutted by fire in the early morning hours of June 6th, causing their restaurant, the Woolen Mills Company, and the dentistry practice of L. C. Hiram, who also lived above the establishment, to be entirely destroyed. Dr. Hiram, his wife, and child escaped with only "the clothes in which they came out of the fiery building," losing everything else.

The building had been built by Pink Morton, with a "marble front, and was well constructed." Mr. A. H. Talmage owned the building, and did carry insurance to cover rebuilding costs. Delmar's owner, Mr. W. A. Ivey, also had insurance, but the owner of the Woolen Mills Company and Dr. Hiram had only some coverage, and not enough to fully replace all their lost goods. 

Though early newspaper reports anticipated a reopening within 60 days, it took over 90 for Delmar's to be ready to serve meals again. During that time, Mr. Ivey tried to obtain a partial refund of his business license from the city council, but his pleas were not entertained. 

Over the next four years, Delmar's rarely advertised their meals and specials in the city paper, but did advertise in the University of Georgia paper, the Red and Black, noting their business was run by "Two Americans." Their location on Clayton Street, between the Majestic and Elite Theatres, made them convenient a convenient meal option for the many businessmen, shoppers, and University students that came into downtown daily.  

In 1918, new management took over the restaurant, promising the same good coffee and high standards, despite the food shortages associated with World War I. However, in May, 1921, the business was sold again, and while they continued to host post-meeting dinners for the Confederate Veterans and the Masons, by December, 1921, Delmar's Lunch had gone out of business and its fixtures and equipment went up for auction. In later years, ads for other businesses would use "Delmar's old stand" as a way of indicating exactly where on Clayton they were located.

Today, the building is home to the local gift shop Helix.

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

1 October 1918: Student Army Training Corps at UGA Take Oath at Noon

On this day in 1918, five hundred University of Georgia students who registered to enlist in the Student Army Training Corps were sworn in with a program "essentially military in its nature, with patriotic features." 

According to the Athens Banner, the ceremony plan sent by the War Department was as follows:

In compliance with these orders, all the membership of the corps will be assembled on Herty Field promptly at noon. The flag will be raised, with military ceremonies, and every man will repeat after the commanding officer the oath of allegiance. The general and special orders of the day will be read by the adjutant, and the special messages which will be transmitted by the Secretary of War. Four minute addresses will be made by Chancellor Barrow, Dr. E. L. Hill, Mr. W. T. Forbes, and Judge A. J. Cobb. The soldiers will then pass in review and the ceremonies will be concluded.

The Student Army Training Corps were created by the War Department the previous summer in order to conduct "emergent war education through the medium of colleges." Students who enlisted were inducted en masse across the nation on October 1st, 1918, and were considered soldiers on active duty.  There were two tracks of enlistment: 

High school gradutes of 18 years and over will be eligible to the ranks of the collegiate training division of the S.A.T.C. Grammar school graduates are eligible to the vocational section. Transfers will be made from one branch to the other in keeping with the ability shown by individuals.

All students would be monitored to see if they exhibited any sign of being "officer material," and if so, would be recommended for the Central Officer Training Corps. The War Department was also interested in students with scientific and technical skills who could be given "an opportunity to complete intensified courses of direct military value."

The S.A.T.C. program went into effect just a few months before World War I came to an end. By the middle of December, 1918, both Company B and Company A at the University of Georgia had been demobilized and its soldiers given honorable discharges. In late December, the University's Naval unit was demobilized, but those soldiers were placed into the Naval Reserves. 

All members of the S.A.T.C. were encouraged to keep their military insurance policies, but were not entitled to the Victory buttons distributed to veterans in spring of 1919.

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