1950 — This week in history

Posted 12/29/17


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1950 — This week in history



A decision on the controversial issue of consolidating three elementary schools in southeastern Bradley County, Wooten’s, Zion Hill and Number Four, was deferred today until Jan. 26, by County Court. A committee was appointed to “study the situation.”

The consolidation question arose shortly after Wooten’s School was destroyed by fire last year and has since been sidestepped by the County Board of Education while efforts were made to “effect a compromise among citizens in the territory where the schools are located,” the Cleveland Daily Banner was informed.

According to an informed source, opinion on the consolidation question is sharply divided with residents in Wooten’s vicinity favoring reconstruction of their burned-out school and those in Number Four and Zion Hill areas unable to decide whether they favor consolidation.

A number of patrons of the three schools attended the regular County Court session today, but the question was not discussed from the floor. Court members had previously agreed in caucus, it was stated, to defer action.

Squires Walter Lawson and Fred Longwith were appointed to “study the situation and recommend what action should be taken to the County School Board prior to the adjourned session.”

Proposed location of the consolidated school would be on Spring Place Road, as near an equal distance from the three communities as possible. The Daily Banner’s informant said.

Bus service would be furnished pupils living furthest from the consolidated school. According to School Supt. Sim L. Beaty, the three schools have a total enrollment of 273, broken down as follows: Number Four 113; Wooten’s 105; and Zion Hill 55.

School is now being held in a residence in Wooten’s Community, Supt. Beaty said. Wooten’s residents contend, the informant said, that to remove the school would be to “break up the community because any community’s life is centered in its church and school.”

Opinion in Wooten’s settlement is practically solid against consolidation, while it is sharply divided in Zion Hill and Number Four areas, he said. Action on a school building program, recommended at the court’s October meeting by Supt. Beaty, is being held up pending settlement of the consolidation dispute, it was pointed out.

The Board of Education, at an open meeting several months ago, heard representatives from each of the three communities involved state their views on consolidation, but no decision was reached.


Miss Ethel Jane Lewis, day-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Lewis of Cleveland, Route 5, Monday appeared as Cleveland merchants’ Miss 1950 and owner of some $500 worth of gifts.

Though not official, the 6-pound, 6-ounce child born at 6:39 a.m. Sunday at Physicians and Surgeons Hospital was almost assured as the winner of the “First Baby Contest” sponsored annually by the city’s merchants.

Possibilities of another winner, however, could not be ruled out. Entries may be mailed or otherwise submitted to The Cleveland Daily Banner before midnight Tuesday. Official winner will be announced Wednesday.

Contest rules provide that entrants must be born in either Bradley or Polk Counties and be accompanied by a doctor’s certificate of birth, stating exact time and place of birth, sex, weight and name and address of parents.

First arrival automatically will fall heir to the following prizes, which may be picked up in the city’s merchant houses after the official announcement:

Fike’s Furniture Store, bassinet; Pinion Jewelry, baby gold ring; Dooley’s Drug Store, nylon brush set; Pendergrass Children’s Shop, diaper bag; Sterchi’s, high chair; Abel Hardware, stroller; Miller’s, gift set; Penny’s, 100 percent wool blanket; B-B Food Store, $1 worth of baby food; Parks-Belk, dress and booties; Hardwick’s Woolen Mill Store, baby blanket; Sterchi’s Jewelry Dept., trainer set; and Dobson’s, a crib blanket.

In addition, The Dairy Bar will host parents of Mr. or Miss 1950 at a dinner; McClain & Son will give free rides to all babies born January 1, from the hospital to home; Domestic Laundry will launder 10 pounds of clothing; Blevins and & Goode Cleaners will give a pressing due bill, and Vest Dairy will give the baby a bottle of milk daily for the entire year.

Reports to date show only one other New Year’s baby was born in a city hospital Sunday. It was Ira Mae Coffey, six pound, 10 ounce daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R.I. Coffey of Cleveland, Route 3, at 6:28 p.m., January 1.


More than 100 copies of the History of Bradley County, published by the American Legion here as a public service, were being sold by the Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of the Foreign Wars, it was reported early today as the volumes went on sale at several retail establishments.

There are only 500 copies of the work, which was compiled by the late John Morgan Wooten, well known Bradley County clergyman and educator.

The volume is dedicated to the men of the armed services who lost their lives in the two World Wars. Joining with the two veterans’ groups on sponsorship of the sale are the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Daughters of the American Revolution and the Cleveland Daily Banner.

The history treats all phases of the origin and development of Bradley County and the founding of Cleveland. Its pages include the names of all men who served with the armed forces since the War Between the States. It received commendation in the Chattanooga Times recently.

Places at which the books may be purchased include Central Drug Store, Five Points Pharmacy, Ted’s Pharmacy, Dooley’s Drug Store, Commercial Office Supply, Hardwick’s Woolen Mills retail store and American Legion Home.


Miss Dennie Jo Richards entertained with a breakfast at her home on 20th Street Sunday morning following the New Year’s Eve dance at the Country Club.

Guests included Miss Ella Sue Sullivan, Bill Dietzen, Miss Betty Lynn Pinion, “Pe-Dab” McIntyre, Miss Joan Thorogood, Wesley Pritchard, Miss Shirley Cornutt, Wallace Poteet, Miss Jane Simbro, Jimmy Tucker, Miss Sarah Tipton, Buddy Million, Miss Joyce Brown, Dee Wattenbarger, Miss Sarah Park, Bill Flummer, Sissy West, Don Henderson, Sara Tucker Hardwick, Ray Hayes, George Tucker and Miss Richards.


Cleveland’s 21-man volunteer Fire Department, described as “one of the best of its kind in the state” by National Fire Underwriters inspectors, ended 1949 with only one fatality resulting from fire, and property damage estimated at less than $25,000, Fire Chief L.F. "Scrubby" McDaris said today.

Buster Cronin died in a fire that destroyed his one-room frame house last Feb. 7, according to Fire Department records.

The blaze was believed caused by an overturned kerosene lamp. Other members of the family escaped injury.

Property damage in 1948 was officially listed at $16,000, one of the lowest rates in the city’s history, compared to $22,000 in 1949, also a low rate for a city Cleveland’s size, Chief McDaris said.

During 1949 only 92 calls were answered. Two were false alarms, leaving 90 actual fires, 73 inside city limits and 17 outside. Eleven were blamed on grass burning; five on auto blazes and five were caused by defective stove flues.

Except for a small number on the “undetermined origin” list, a major portion of the remaining 69 fires were caused by electrical short circuits and heating systems. These figures, Chief Engineer Jess Chesnutt said, compare with 105 actual fires in 1948, 85 inside the city and 20 outside.

A majority of these were also attributed to grass, defective flues, heating systems and autos. Only one “freak” fire was reported in the city last year when a 100 watt bulb in the basement of Otis Renner’s residence ignited coal. The bulb was covered by coal, causing it to ignite the fuel when sufficient heat had been generated. No damage resulted.

According to Fire Department records, the city paid approximately $9,000 to maintain its fire fighting force in 1948, compared to $9,621 last year, or slightly more than $100 per run in 1949. “This department operates on about one third of what it costs to operate those in other cities of comparable size,” Chesnutt said.

The city’s most destructive blaze in 1949 came December 23, when fire of undetermined origin swept through Bohemia Theater and an upstairs photographic studio causing damages estimated at $10,000. “Had it not been for this fire,” Chief McDaris said, “property damage last year would have been much lower than in 1948, probably one of the lowest rates in the city’s history.”

The Bohemia fire, listed as of “undetermined origin” but believed caused by a basement furnace explosion, was described as the worst fire since Shelton’s Restaurant was twice ravaged in 1947.

Cleveland’s Fire Department is made up of a fire chief, two assistants, two engineers and 20 volunteer workers. The chief, assistants and engineers are the only salaried workers. Volunteers receive $2.50 for each run, regardless of time required, Chesnutt explained.

Operational expenses will probably increase in 1950, Chief McDaris said, since more territory has been added to the city. This requires additional equipment and personnel and plans are now being studied to enlarge the department to furnish new areas adequate protection.


An extensive landscaping program, directed by Easterly Nurseries, is in full swing at Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Second Sreet N.E. and will cost an estimated $500, the Rev. Carl C. Durbin, pastor, announced today.

“We recently decided to beautify our church grounds, which will include complete relandscaping, grading and leveling,” Rev. Durbin said.

Among major improvements already made are a concrete sidewalk, extending from the west side on Church Street to the church entrance, and trimming of all trees surrounding the building.

Old shrubbery has been removed to make way for new plants, and for resodding next spring when the church’s exterior will be repainted. The interior recently was redecorated. Cumberland Presbyterian is one of the city’s oldest churches.


A man and his auburn-haired wife, believed to have been the couple who shoplifted jewels valued at $2,000 here last summer from Pinion Jewelry Store, face preliminary trial Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., where they are charged with theft of $9,600 in diamond rings from a Charlotte jewelry store.

The affable couple, identified as Mr. and Mrs. Roy Hicks, of near Gatlinburg, were arrested last week in Winston-Salem shortly after the Charlotte theft. The couple waived grand jury indictments and indicated they would plead guilty.

A waiver has been received from Gainesville, Ga., authorizing a hearing Tuesday on Federal charges of transporting jewels valued at $7,600 from Tampa, Fla. Another waiver was expected from Savannah, Ga., where the couple is charged with stealing $21,000 in diamond rings and other jewelry.

The couple is wanted in five states for what officers have described as “bold, daylight jewel thefts.”


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