News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

Cathy D. Wahl

All-electric service station opens

From the archives of THE DECATUR DAILY:

75 Years Ago

Feb. 3-9, 1930

Decatur's first all-electric service station opened at Sixth Avenue and Eight Street under the supervision of Clarence Halbrooks. The Bee Line Gas & Oil Co. owned the concern.

A total of 1,207 Lawrence Countians paid their poll tax for a total of $2,392. Only 1923's collections of $4,000 exceeded 1930 revenues.

50 Years Ago

Feb. 6-12, 1955

The Rev. John Horgan, pastor of St. Ann's Catholic Church, conducted a groundbreaking ceremony for Saint Ann School this week. The $100,000 building will open to first through fourth grade students in September. St. Ann's convent will be on the west side of the school and will contain an office, reception room, five bedrooms, a community room, private oratory, full kitchen and dining room. Eventually a second story can be added. The building will be 100 percent fireproof, built of solid masonry, tile and brick, trimmed in limestone. The Benedictine sisters from Cullman will teach.

Wynelle Hall, attractive 21-year-old brunette of Decatur, is the national second place winner in the "Valentine Girl for 1955" contest for Beta Sigma Phi sorority. Columbia Pictures star Jack Lemmon chose the national winners. A graduate of Austinville High School, Miss Hall is a member of Alpha Alpha chapter. She is payroll clerk at Alabama Hosiery Mill and is advisor to the newly organized chapter of Nu Phi Mu of Beta Sigma Phi.

The Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow at Decatur High School is Evelyn Dinsmore. Ann Burns won the title at Priceville High School.

Mack Maples won his third term as chairman of the board of $750,000 Athens-Limestone Hospital. T.G. Steele will serve as vice chairman. Clifford Zehner, W.E. Estes, Harold Lovvorn, Willis Hill and Jack Anderson will comprise the hospital's executive committee.

Decatur Electric Department's four servicemen will sport new green uniforms. The servicemen are H.D. Norris, Charlie "Red" Roberson, Bobby Eaton and Virgil Morgan.

Melvin Hutson, president of Mutual Savings Life Insurance Co., announced that Joe D. McPherson, 36, resigned as deputy insurance commissioner for the state of Alabama to accept an administrative position of the Mutual Savings home office in Decatur.

Emma Warren installed new officers of the Thursday Thimble Club in an impressive ceremony at the Cashin Center.

Freezing rain, snow and sleet covered the Tennessee Valley with temperatures plunging to 5 degrees.

Hartselle Boy Scouts' Charter Nicholson of Troop 92 and Franklin Penn of Troop 30 celebrated National Boy Scout Week by acting as Hartselle mayor. Other scouts took stations at the police and fire departments.

A no-kink nylon tube developed at Decatur's Chemstrand plant is being tested in the chest of a man at the Medical College of Alabama in Birmingham. The late Pat Moore of the plant here helped develop the artificial artery.

25 Years Ago

Feb. 3-9, 1980

Oak Park Middle School's Red Raiders fell 55-53 to Appleby Middle School in Florence, marring its heretofore 16-0 undefeated season. Randy White coached teammates Darrell Shackelford, Barry Thompson, Phil Olinger, Mike Lovelace, Woodrow Johnson, Jeff Chambers, Felix Hampton, Tony Brown, Chris Wallace, Brent Chandler, Brian Neil, Cary McCrae, Allyn Crane, Bill Huff, Kent Beasley, Kirk Graves, Lynn Blackwell, Jeffrey Stovall and Tim Douthit.

So many people volunteered to help renovate the Somerville Masonic Lodge for a rural medical clinic that work schedules were rotated so workers wouldn't get in each other's way. Somerville Mayor J.D. Williams said the volunteers are turning a portion of the former lodge into a clinic to serve east Morgan County. Dr. Jim Johnston will work there when it's complete.

Beverly Lynn Carraway of Moulton is homecoming queen at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. She is majoring in biology and plans to become a doctor.

Decatur's first Girl Scout leader, Mrs. Earl Foster, bought her cookies this year from Brownie Sally Windle and junior Amy Glover. Foster organized the first Girl Scout troop in Decatur in 1924 at Central High School. Wanda Harris, her second assistant, became the North Alabama Council's first full-time worker. Foster said her troop began selling two kinds of cookies in the late 1920s.

A decline in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing jobs boosted Morgan County's unemployment rate to 7.1 percent, higher than the state's average of 7 percent. The national rate is 5.6 percent.

Bobby Jett is the first Decatur resident to install a subterranean heating and cooling system in his home. "When my heating bill last month was $196, I decided to do something," he said.

10 Years Ago

Feb. 5-11, 1995

Decatur native Jennifer Bendall, 30, lobbies Congress on behalf of recording artists and companies. Bendall graduated from law school at Catholic University of America and is now vice president of government affairs for the Recording Industry Association of America.

The eighth-grade Algebra I team from Cedar Ridge Middle School won a second place trophy at the Muscle Shoals High School Mathematics Tournament. Teammates include Scott Asher, Leonard French, David Gilliam, Sarah Broom and David Shea.

Snow and ice gave area motorists few problems after 1.75 inches of snow fell.

— Compiled
by Cathy D. Wahl

THE DECATUR DAILY welcomes the loan of any photos depicting people, places and events from Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan counties for each Sunday's "Valley of Years Past" column. Photos will be returned. Contact the Living Today department at 353-4612, or Cathy D. Wahl at 350-6983 or

Cathy D. Wahl Cathy D. Wahl
DAILY Staff Writer

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