50 years ago this week

• John W. Foster of Coaling and Paul Kuykendall of Tuscaloosa were leaving the County Board of Revenue. Replacing them were Robert Dewberry and Frank Lary.

• William J. Strickland was named to the Tuscaloosa Planning and Zoning Commission. Strickland was an executive of Drake Printing Company and would fill the unexpired term of Ward McFarland, who resigned for health reasons.

• Plans were shaping up for the city’s sesquicentennial celebration. Tentatively plans were for a spectacular parade through downtown Tuscaloosa with floats depicting the sesquicentennial theme. The parade would honor the sesquicentennial queen and her six princesses who would be chosen by the public before the celebration week began. A pageant was planned as the highlight of the celebration to be held in the University of Alabama Memorial Coliseum.

• Elaine Kilgore of Ralph became Tuscaloosa County’s first woman bailiff.

• Coach Lou Mims’ Druid High football team carried top honors at the annual Jaycee Football Banquet. The team had a perfect 10-0 record for regular season action. Steve Sloan, a former University of Alabama All-America quarterback and an assistant coach for the Crimson Tide, was the featured speaker for the event.

• Construction started at the University of Alabama on a metals casting facility, a move that was thought to mark significant advancement in the school of engineering training program.

• New equipment for manufacturing synthetic resins at the Tuscaloosa plant of Reichhold Chemicals went into operation.

• Gordo High’s conference champion Green Wave dominated the 1968-69 All-Warrior Athletic conference football team. The 11-man first team included five members of the state Class AA Champion Gordo club. Gordo players chosen were tailback Mike Driver, halfback Dwain Harris, end Jerrell Holley, tackle Don Shepherd and guard Rex Abrams.

• Hale Memorial Hospital passed with flying colors inspections by state and federal auditors, had been judged in compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, had established rehabilitation and social service departments and “was potentially eligible, for the first time, for accreditation by the Joint commission on Hospital Accreditation,” according to medical director, Dr. David Bahar.

• The production of belted bias tires was expected to comprise more than half the production at the Tuscaloosa plant of B.F. Goodrich Co. by the end of 1969, requiring new machines and equipment and more production space. An annex was planned for the front side of the plant next to the processing department.

• The University Presbyterian Church had an organ of unique structure installed in the sanctuary. It was designed by Warren Hutton, organist and choir director of the church, for the size and structure of the church.

• The highest honor given by the American Legion, the Distinguished Service Award, was bestowed upon Armistead I. Selden.

• The Warrior River Bridge between Northport and Tuscaloosa would be closed around the clock for as long as five days while workmen attempted to repair one of the large cable wheels atop the bridge’s superstructure. Tuscaloosa County Rep. Bert Bank said that the closing “constitutes an emergency situation” and that the state highway department should work around the clock to make the repairs.

• Former Alabama quarterback Joe Namath, then quarterback for the New York Jets, had critics eating their words after the 25-year-old quarterback drove his team to a 16-7 American Football League victory over the National League champion Baltimore Colts in the Jan. 12 Super Bowl game. Namath had predicted a week earlier that the Jets would win.

• Greene County Commissioners voted to purchase the Coleman-Banks home in Eutaw. The three-story, antebellum mansion was started in 1847 and completed in 1953, and is a prime example of Greek Revival architecture. The home is located at 430 Springfield Avenue.

• Deaths this week included Mrs. Edna Anders, widow of James Anders, who was mayor of Northport for 18 years.

25 years ago this week

• The city’s last remaining example of an “L” shaped house was put up for sale. The house was located at 709 17th Avenue. Though damaged by fire, the house remained sound, according to Robert Mellown, a member of the Heritage Commission of Tuscaloosa County. The house featured beading siding, heart pine floors and Federal-style woodwork. The original section of the house was built by Marmaduke Williams, who lost to William Bibb in the first Alabama gubernatorial race.

• Marvin Elmore was retiring after 48 years in a general merchandise business in Gordo. Elmore started in the general merchandise business with Sam Davis Sr. and later bought out Davis. The store was first known as Davis and Elmore.

• Gene Stallings, a four-year contract extension in hand, announced the first major staff reshuffling in his four-year tenure as head football coach at the University of Alabama. He announced the hiring of UCLA offensive coordinator Homer Smith to head up the Alabama offense, with assistant head coach Mal Moore moving into an administrative position as associate athletic director in charge of external affairs. Stallings elevated defensive secondary coach Bill Olive to defensive coordinator and named wide receivers coach Woody McCorvey as assistant head coach.

• Georgine Clarke, who helped transform Northport’s Kentuck Festival into one of the South’s largest arts and crafts shows, resigned as executive director of the Kentuck Association to take an arts position in Montgomery.

• About twenty Holt residents asked postal officials to reconsider the closure of the Holt Post Office, arguing that they were losing the cornerstone of their community.

• Tuscaloosa City School high school students would have four classes a day instead of six when they begin school in the fall.

10 years ago this week

• Northport halted plans for a senior center at Civitan Park on Main Avenue. The city had received a grant for the center that required matching funds that the city council could not provide.

• Innisfree Irish Pub was moving from its Greensboro Avenue location to University Boulevard next to Hooligan’s.

• Caring Days, a nonprofit organization that provides adult day care, announced plans to build a new center on 31st Street.

• The Fayette City Council hired Danny Jenkins, chief agent for the 24th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force, as the city’s new police chief.

• Circuit City Inc. announced the closure of its 567 stores, including the store at Midtown Village, leaving the shopping center without a key retail anchor.

• Plans for new downtown facilities for the YMCA and Focus on Senior Citizens were underway.

• West Alabama residents boarded buses in the early morning hours, headed off on a 16-hour drive to Washington, D.C., to be present at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

• State Rep. Robert Bentley said he would focus on health care and ethics reform if he decided to run for governor in 2010.

• Deaths this week included Marion C. “Pete” Pierson, former Tuscaloosa High School basketball coach, at 75.

Five years ago this week

• Brumfield’s, a new restaurant that specialized in different burgers opened in the Shops of Lake Tuscaloosa.

• Coach Nick Saban hired Bo Davis away from Southern Cal to be his new defensive line coach. Davis had coached at Alabama as the defensive line coach from 2007-10 and was on Saban’s previous staffs at LSU and with the Miami Dolphins.

• Austin Holliman, a student at Shelton State Community College, was given the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award, the highest honor a Civil Air Patrol cadet can earn.

• Deaths this week included the Rev. William McKinley Branch, an iconic figure in the 1960s-era civil rights movement. Branch was 95.

• Pickens County’s Jermarcus Brown was named the Class 1A Back of the Year by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association.

• Jalapenos Mexican Grill co-owner Jheovanny Gomez was named the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama’s Member of the Year.

• Wintzell’s Oyster House would close its Northport restaurant on the banks of the Black Warrior River, but planned to reopen at a new location in Tuscaloosa in March.

One year ago this week

• Ronnie Colvin retired after spending two decades helping addicts find hope for recovery. Since 1994, Colvin had served as the executive director of the Phoenix House, a residential addiction treatment center in Tuscaloosa’s West End.

• The Buffalo Bills hired Brian Daboll as their new offensive coordinator. Daboll had directed the Crimson Tide offense last season. Alabama assistant coach Mike Locksley would take over as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator.

• Foster Auditorium on the University of Alabama campus was included on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. The auditorium was the site of the infamous “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” on June 11, 1963, when then-Gov. George C. Wallace tried to block the enrollment of two black students at UA. After denouncing the federal effort to desegregate UA, Wallace stepped aside and the students, Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood, were allowed to enroll.

• Soapy Jones, the owner and operator of Left Hand Soap Co., said her small business would leave Parkview Plaza Shopping Center and open a new store on University Boulevard downtown.

• Charles Steele, a two-term Tuscaloosa city councilman, longtime Alabama senator, and president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, would be inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.

• Northport attorney Laura K. Gregory kicked off her campaign for Tuscaloosa County probate judge to replace incumbent Probate Judge Hardy McCollum, who age would legally prevent him from seeking his eighth consecutive term in that office.

• The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama named Bobby Bragg of JamisonMoneyFarmer PC its Charles H. Land Member of the Year.


Compiled by retired News librarian Betty Slowe.