News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today
SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2005

Cathy D. Wahl

Hartselle population 3,336 in 1930

From the archives of THE DECATUR DAILY:

75 Years Ago

April 14-20, 1930

The 1930 census began releasing figures for some area towns. Hartselle's population rose to 3,336, a hefty increase from the 2,201 counted in 1920. Eva gained almost 500 people, climbing to 1,602 residents in 1930. Ryan's Crossroads added 68 since 1920, reporting 711 souls. But Mooresville's population declined from 144 in 1920 to 114 in 1930.

Eighteen contestants for the title of "Queen of Hartselle" rode around town in decorated cars before Bevelray Barclift won the title.

50 Years Ago

April 17-23, 1955

Morgan County National Bank officers honored Mr. and Mrs. E.W. McLeod for his 25 years with the bank. McLeod has served as president since 1934. The McLeods will visit their son, Webster McLeod Jr., who has headquarters in London with the advertising department of Time International.

Mrs. Daren Easter of Decatur won the office of president of the Alabama Junior Chamber of Commerce Auxiliary at the annual convention in Mobile. R.W. "Pete" Henderson, president of the Decatur Jaycees, was elected one of eight vice presidents in the state organization. Decatur won the Giessenbier Memorial Award for work in all round activities and second place in four other categories.

State Civitan officials installed the Hartselle Civitan Club on Friday night at the Methodist church. Robert J. Rea is president, with Charles A Simpson, vice president; Charles H. Rowe, secretary; and Ernest D. Ray, treasurer.

Rose Jewelry won over Wolverine 3-1 in the final game of the City Bowling League to take the city championship. Rose, with bowlers Bill Geloneck, Dick Hogan, Bob Hogan, Paul Darmer and George Schmidt, won the high team series (2,675) and Wolverine won the high team game (961). Geloneck compiled the individual high series with 637. Cecil Turner rolled the high individual game with 257. Schmidt, John Babis and Ed Weigel placed in the top scoring positions. Ralph Fleming won the "most improved" trophy.

Tanner High School's FFA quartet is one of the most popular school groups. Singers are Vermillion Rudder, Buddy Dougherty, Gerald Rudder and Gerald Robinson. Carol Ann Lankford accompanies on piano.

A surprise mobilization tested the National Guard's new role in this era of possible atomic warfare. "Operation Minuteman" raised an alarm for guard units, including Battery C, 279th, who policed the skies at Pryor Field. Lt. Robert Dean, Cpl. Clifford Wooten, Pfc. Robert West and Pfc. Michael Lovelady manned guns, along with Cpl. Donald Poole, Lt. Howard Proctor, S-1C Robert Smith, Sgt. David Blackwood, Cpl. Edward Hopper, Sgt. Donald Moser, Pfc. Earl Montgomery, Pfc. Howard Winton, Pvt. Paul Berryman and 2nd Lt. James Weaver.

Dr. Frank Chenault, Decatur physician who will mark his 51st year of practice in June, will take office as president of the Medical Association of Alabama. Dr. Frank was valedictorian of the Class of 1904 of Birmingham Medical College. In 1906, Dr. Frank and his brother, Dr. C.S. Chenault, located offices on Johnston Street, and later moved to Second Avenue over Speake, Warren and Ratliff. They also had offices over John W. Sandlin and Son Hardware Store. Later Dr. Frank moved to the first floor of the Masonic Building, and then moved to the new Medical Arts Building where he currently practices. In 1915, Dr. Frank was the first physician to perform an operation at Decatur General Hospital (then Benevolent Society Hospital).

Decatur dedicated its nine new or improved schools, the result of a nationally known $3 million building program. Visitors viewed science projects and listened to musical performances and speakers at every school, and then enjoyed a barbecue lunch at Delano Park.

25 Years Ago

April 13-19, 1980

In 1969, the Decatur School System became the largest system in the state to be fully accredited by the highest standards in the South. In 1980, Decatur's system is 30th in the state's 60 city systems, and more budget cuts are expected.

Someone is dumping asphalt in the old Goodlett Rock Quarry near Moulton. Lawrence County Commission Chairman Jerry Graham says the county is trying to clean up the site. He said no state trucks are dumping leftover asphalt, but two neighbors claim a large load of asphalt was dumped last week. They fear the material may have seeped into wells that supply their water.

Harold Balch Jr., secretary of the Racking Horse Breeder's Association of America, predicts that the ninth annual Jim Dandy Racking Horse Spring Warmup Show at the Southeastern Horse Center will be one of the biggest. Jewel McWhorter is manager at the arena.

Anne LeBaron, Decatur artist-in-residence, is a Fulbright scholar. She plans to study music in West Germany.

Decatur's Bank Street is the first Decatur historic district to be named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Decatur restaurateur Gerald Payne says that the local restaurant business is tough. Golden Rule Barbecue opened and closed. The Bonanza Steak house and the Sirloin Stockade, across U.S. 31 from each other, stand vacant, along with a doughnut shop and a deli on Sixth Avenue. John Harris, owner of the Lyons Dining Room at the Decatur Inn, says business is off. Part of the problem is the loss of traffic when I-65 opened.

Former Austin High School basketball star Tina Chairs signed a scholarship to play for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and coach Sharon Fanning.

10 Years Ago

March 20-26, 1995

An Alabama Public Television documentary will air on the life of Hartselle author William Bradford Huie. "Huie . . . sold more than 30 million books but is largely forgotten today," said co-producer Brent Davis.

Hubbard & Drake, an 11-year-old Decatur firm that grew from three staff members to more than 60, won recognition from the Decatur Chamber of Commerce as the Small Business of the Year. Ken Hubbard and Joe Drake are partners in the business.

Decatur lost a $300 million expansion project at Amoco Chemical Co. to a plant site in South Carolina. Decatur's plant is spending millions on three expansion projects, but they are not expected to add any jobs, said Lisa Montgomery, human resources manager.

Shooting began this week in Mooresville on the motion picture "Tom Sawyer." Stars Rachael Leigh Cook, Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Brad Renfro along with other actors and crew members are working in the Limestone County village.

Visiting Decatur, Japanese Consul-General Yuji Miyamoto predicted that a U.S.-Japan trade war would hurt both sides.

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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