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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