This week in 1963, Pope John passed away after three final days of agony before he succumbed to cancer. Catholics were not alone in mourning the passing of the revered pontiff whose tenure lasted only five short years.
After months of promotion and preparation, Rome and Floyd County presented the State Regents Board with their hefty application for one of two proposed North Georgia junior colleges. Rome's push to become the site of one of those two schools was supported by neighboring counties, by large numbers of students in the area, by the business community, and by educators (which is why it came as no surprise that Floyd Junior College was one of the two schools eventually announced by the Regents).
This was the week that Powatan Beach opened for the summer of 1963. In the 1960s, this large sandy beach on a lake 7 miles south of Rome was a major recreational site for the Northwest Georgia area, offering swimming, miniature golf, a small private zoo, picnic areas, paddle boats, fishing, and more.
Floyd County's economic growth continued as the area showed a 3% gain in retail sales over the first quarter of the previous years. Rome and Floyd County remained the economic engine for Northwest Georgia; once again, the county's growth exceeded even that of Atlanta.
West Rome was the home of Rome's first martial arts dojo when the Tokyo Judo School opened on June 4th at 7 North Division Street (behind Henson's Drug Store). Sensei Mario Kohly was the director and chief instructor, with classes scheduled six days a week.
West Rome growth also led to the opening of Bently-Hayes Fabrics one mile past West Rome High School on the Alabama Road.
The Partridge Restaurant held its formal grand opening of its 330 Broad Street location on June 4th at 5am. The new space allowed them to seat 150 diners; the move also lead to an expansion of the menu and their hours of operation (open from 5am to 9:30 pm daily, 11am to 9pm Sundays). I had many meals at the Partridge in the 1960s and the 1970s, and never went away disappointed!
Piggly Wiggly had a ten-pound bag of potatoes for 39¢, cantaloupes for 33¢ each, and whole fryers for 23¢ a pound. Kroger offered a 24-bottle case of Pepsi for 89¢, bacon for 49¢ a pound, and a pound of coffee for 49¢. A&P offered Campbell's Soup for a dime a can, peaches for a dime a pound, and celery for a dime a bunch. Big Apple had spare ribs for 29¢ a pound, Reynold's Wrap for a quarter a roll, and white corn for 6¢ an ear. Couch's had pro roast for 39¢ a pound, Poss Brunswick stew for 49¢ per 24-ounce can, and pinto beans for a dime a can.
The DeSoto Theater offered The List of Adrian Messenger for the first part of the week, while the First Avenue had Duel of the Titans and the West Rome Drive-In had Diamond Head. The weekend brought King of the Roaring 20s and Police Nurse to the DeSoto (if anyone has heard of or seen either of these films, I'll be amazed!), the First Avenue had Mutiny on the Bounty, and the West Rome Drive-In had The Kentuckian and Apache.
The number one song for this week in 1963 was "It's My Party" byLesley Gore. Other top ten hits included "Sukiyaki" by Kyu Sakamoto (#2); "Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)" by the Crystals (#3); "I Love You Because" by Al Martino (#4); "You Can't Sit Down" by The Dovells (#5); "Two Faces Have I" by Lou Christie (#6); "If You Wanna Be Happy" by Jimmy Soul (#7); "Still" by Bill Anderson (#8); "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer" by Nat King Cole (#9); and "Surfin' USA" by the Beach Boys (#10).