Friday, January 06, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 1/9/1967 to 1/15//1967

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on Thursday, January 12th at the corner of Redmond Circle and Shorter Avenue—directly across the street from West Rome High School--to celebrate the signing of contracts for the construction of Gala Shopping Center, which was described as “the most modern and largest shopping center ever build in Northwest Georgia.” The 115,000 square foot shopping center would be anchored by a Big K department store—the first Big K in Georgia, according to the Kuhn Brothers Company of Nashville (the owners of Big K). Shopping center owners also confirmed that they had signed Cole Drug Store to open a 12,000 square foot location in the shopping center. Other stores set to open in the new center included A&P Food Store, with an 18,400 square foot store; Economy Auto, with a 9,000 square foot store; Kay’s Ice Cream; and a number of unidentified tenants, including a coin laundry, a men’s store, a ladies’ dress shop, a jewelry store, a shoe store, and a fabric shop/sewing center. Plans called for the center to be completed by September 1967 to take advantage of the 1967 Christmas season. West Rome Students were already counting the days until they could cut class and sneak through the pines to the new shopping center...

Cedartown beat West Rome’s boys 58-32 in one of the worst trouncings in Chieftain history. West Rome’s girls lost in a closer match, 40-36.

Rome closed out another banner year for building permits, with over $6.8 million in permits issued in 1966. General Electric pushed Rome over the top with a $1.134 million expansion of their Redmond Road facility. There were also 180 permits for new homes, 37 permits for new business construction, and 286 more for renovations and repairs of existing businesses. 

More good news for Romans: juvenile crime dropped for the second straight year, with 1966 setting a five-year low with only 169 juvenile arrests in 1966 (61 less than the number arrested in 1965).

One of the strangest gubernatorial elections in Georgia history came to an end this week in 1967 when the state legislature selected Lester Maddox as governor. State Representatives Sidney Lowry & Richard Starnes cast their votes for Republicans Howard “Bo” Callaway, who received a plurality (but not a majority) of the votes in the November election, while J. Battle Hall and Jerry Minge cast their votes for Democrat Lester Maddox. Neither candidate won a majority because of the surprisingly successful write-in campaign for former governor Ellis Arnall. Since Georgia’s legislature was predominantly Democrat, it’s no surprise that the Democratic candidate was the winning choice among legislators.

National City Bank began offering 5.1% interest on saving certificates (now known as certificates of deposit) for 1967, which put them .1% ahead of the other banks in town. (And now, a half-century later, we struggle to find banks that pay 20% of that interest rate… so much for progress!)

Two juveniles were arrested and charged with burglary after being caught in a Shorter Avenue coin laundry after hours. The same juveniles had already broken into Rome Roller Rink on three prior occasions; the Rome Boys Club on two occasions; and had shattered windows in a number of cars in West Rome, looking for cash or car keys so that they could take the cars for joy rides. One juvenile was 15, the other was 13.

Piggly Wiggly had chuck roast for 35¢ a pound, lettuce for 15¢ a head, and a case of Coca-Cola for $1.29 plus deposit. Kroger had split chicken breasts for 45¢ a pound, eggs for 39¢ a dozen, and a 1 pound can of Maxwell House coffee for 69¢. Big Apple had corned beef for 69¢ a pound, Shurfine saltines for 19¢ a box, and Van Camp vienna sausages for 19¢ a can. A&P had baking hens for 29¢ a pound, Ann Page mayonnaise for 49¢ a quart, and ripe Florida tomatoes for 29¢ a pound. Couch’s had ground beef for 33¢ a pound, Aristocrat ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and large tangerines for 35¢ a dozen.

The cinematic week began with The Professionals (with Burt Lancaster & Lee Marvin) at the DeSoto Theatre, The Sound of Music (with Julie Andrews) at the First Avenue, and a double feature of That Funny Feeling (with Sandra Dee & Bobby Darin) and Moment to Moment (with Jean Seberg) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought Follow Me, Boys! (with Fred MacMurray & Vera Miles) to the DeSoto and Tickle Me (with Elvis Presley) to the West Rome Drive-In, while The Sound of Music kept sounding off at the First Avenue.

The first-ever Super Bowl took place on January 15th, 1967—and viewers could watch the game on both CBS and NBC, since CBS had the NFL television contract and NBC had the AFL television contract. The game ended with a 35-10 Green Bay win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The big halftime show consisted of performances by marching bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling State University. The game is the only Super Bowl in history that was not a sellout; 33,000 seats were unsold in the 94,000 seat stadium, with most people saying the outrageous $12 ticket cost priced them out of the market.

January 15th, 1967 was also the night when the Rolling Stones gave in to Ed Sullivan’s demand that they change the lyrics to “Let’s Spend the Night Together.” When the stones performed the song on the Ed Sullivan Show that evening, the lyrics had become “Let’s Spend Some Time Together."

The Monkees held on to the number one slot this week with “I’m a Believer.” Other top ten hits included “Snooby Vs. the Red Baron” by the Royal Guardsmen (#2); “Tell It Like It Is” by Aaron Neville (#3); “Good Thing” by Paul Revere & the Raiders (#4); “Sugar Town” by Nancy Sinatra (#5); “Words of Love” by the Mamas & the Papas (#6); “Standing in the Shadows of Love” by the Four Tops (#7); “Winchester Cathedral” by the New Vaudeville Band (#8); “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra (#9); and “Georgy Girl” by the Seekers (#10).

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