Saturday, December 06, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 12/7/1964 to 12/13/1964

Apparently there were lots of ambitious plans in the 1960s that never came to fruition: A Georgia state legislative committee talked about launching a study of the possibility of developing Rome into a major inland port. They committee was confident that the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Alabama Power Company, and the US government were going to expand the Coosa-Alabama River system into a fully navigable waterway capable of bringing cargo barges to Rome. The committee recommended that $12 million be budgeted to develop plans for Rome's ports as well as a railway expansion to move shipments from the ports to other cities across the Southeast. The committee proposal indicated that the port and docks should be up and running by 1971.  Alas, this was yet another governmental pipe dream, as neither the waterway expansion or the port development ever came to be... I guess the Shrimp Boat restaurant in Central Plaza was as close as we ever came...

More segments of I-75 opened this week in 1964, including a 16-mile section between Calhoun and Dalton and a 19 mile section from the Tennessee Chattanooga state line to a location just north of Dalton. And showing that hope springs eternal, Rome and Floyd County civic leaders were optimistic that a direct link from Rome to I-75 would be completed by 1972.

On December 10th, WROM was granted a permit to construct and operate its very own FM station  at 97.7 megacycles. WROM president Charles Doss said construction of the Dempsey-Covington Building studios and broadcast center and the Mount Alto Road tower would take just over two months, and the station would be on the air by February 1965. (Can anyone build anything on this scale in two months today?)

While West Rome's girls had a good weekend, defeating East Rome 27-23, the boys basketball team didn't fare as well, falling to the Gladiators 43-37. Diane Bell was top scorer for the girls with 13 points, while Rusty Oxford was tops for the Chiefs with 10 points.

The American Cancer Society sponsored an anti-smoking chapel program on Thursday, December 10th, in the West Rome auditorium.

The West Rome Tri-Hi-Y and Hi-Y clubs placed decorated goodwill boxes in each homeroom this week in 1964; the students filled the boxes with canned goods and other food items to be given to needy families to make their Christmas holidays a little brighter.

The Rome News-Tribune and the Associated Press made it easy to remember the historic events of 1964: they began taking orders for 1964: The World As We Lived It, a handsome $3 hardcover that offered a month-by-month view of the most important news stories, complete with hundreds of black & white and color photos. The Rome News-Tribune offered gift cards for those who wanted to give the book as a Christmas present, since the book wouldn't actually be available until late January or early February 1965. I fell in love with these books as soon as I saw the first volume, and still have a set of all the volumes published until the series was discontinued in 1977.

National City Bank increased its savings certificate interest rate to 4.5% this week in 1964 (if only we could earn that interest rate today!). Rome Bank & Trust was advertising an interest rate of 4.375%.

Just how expensive was a color television back in 1964? Well, B&L Appliance Center had a 21" Westinghouse console with VHF and UHF tuners, complete with an all-wood cabinet in maple or  oak, for only $18.95 a month... for 36 months! That's $682.20 total--and when you allow for the inflation multiplier of 7.54, that makes the total cost equal to $5,143.00 in today's dollars. Meanwhile, Rome Radio had a 21" RCA color console in a similar all-wood cabinet for $19.25 a month for the same 36 months; that's a total of $693.00 in 1964 dollars and the equivalent of $5225.00 today. The bargain color TV of the season was the Zenith Clayton model, a contemporary console priced at $498 or $15.60 a month for 36 months--that's $561.60 total, which equals a mere $4234.00 in today's dollars. If you think a 65" 4K UHD television costs a lot today, just imagine how much better it looks than this 1964 21" set.

Piggly Wiggly had Wilson pork sausage for 33¢ a pound, oranges for a dime a pound, and eggs for 45¢ a dozen. Kroger had center-cut pork chops for 49¢ a pound, pork & beans for a dime a can, and a 14-ounce bottle of Heinz ketchup for 15¢. Big Apple had sirloin steak for 87¢ a pound, five pounds of Domino sugar for 39¢, and tangerine for 25¢ a dozen. A&P had fresh whole fryers for a quarter a pound, five pounds of Gold Medal flour for 49¢, and Sealtest ice cream for 69¢ a half-gallon. Couch's had cured ham for 35¢ a pound, Double Cola for 89¢ a case plus deposit, and the always-popular-in-my-home Campbell's Tomato Soup for 9¢ a can.

And just in time for sandwiches made out of upcoming Christmas leftovers, Merita began promoting their "ultra-long giant loaf" of white bread, which had 30 slices plus the two end pieces, for only 29¢.

The first half of the week offered moviegoers a choice of Fail Safe at the DeSoto Theater and Take Her, She's Mine (with Jimmy Stewart & Sandra Dee) at the First Avenue. The mid-week switch out brought The Fall of the Roman Empire (with Sophia Loren & Alec Guinness) to the DeSoto, Connie (with Connie Francis & Jim Hutton) to the First Avenue, and a double feature of Blood on the Arrow and The Thin Red Line to the West Rome Drive-In (which has still showing films on weekends only).

The number one song this week in 1964 was "Come See About Me" by the Supremes. Other top ten hits included "I Feel Fine" by the Beatles (#2); "Mr. Lonely" by Bobby Vinton (#3); "She's Not There" by the Zombies (#4); "Ringo" by Lorne Greene (#5); "Time Is On My Side" by the Rolling Stones (#6); "Going Out of My Head" by Little Anthony & the Imperials (#7); "Dance, Dance, Dance" by the Beach Boys (#8); "I'm Gonna Be Strong" by Gene Pitney (#9); and "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks (#10).

No comments: