Archive for the ‘Memories of Smyrna’ Category
The location of our meeting on March 29, was the Henry Clay Ruff House, situated in Cobb County’s first Historic District next to the Concord Covered Bridge, We appreciate very much the present owners, Dr. Bob and Pat Roche sharing their home with us.
The house is believed to date to the construction of the Grist Mill around 1850, The earliest deed of record is May 17, 1856.
The program for the evening, presented by Dr. Roche and Harold Smith was about the house, the Grist Mill, and the Concord Woolen Mill. A display of interior pictures of the “millers” house, a list of the property owners over the years, and some stories about the Daniell, Ruff and Rice families were of particular interest to the members present.
Smyrna Historical Society members and lifelong residents of Smyrna, Mary Terry, Robert Baldwin and visitor Ethel Turner also contributed stories of their remembrances of the area during their teen age years.
Robert Baldwin recalled that his parents went to all day singings at Concord Baptist Church which was located nearby, and on the way back home his father held him up so that he could look out the windows of the covered bridge and see the water in the creek and the lake behind the dam. He also said that when, the grist mill was in full operation both corn and wheat were ground and the miller got to keep 1/8 of the ground goods.
Robert’s sister Mary Terry recalled going to the mill in a horse-drawn wagon to get corn. When she left her mother would tell her, “If I hear of you getting in that mill-pond you’re gonna get a whipping.” Mary said that when she visited her cousin they would put on their “black bloomers” and the cousin would ride her on back.
Robert also recalled an incident where his father was engaged to help make some repairs to the house by putting a mixture of lime and hair for plaster on the walls in the house. The plaster was put up and during the night a hard freeze engulfed the area. The plaster froze and all of it fell off the walls.
Dr. Roche said that little of the grist mill remains inside. There are a few wooden funnels, a number of square holes through the interior walls and floors, a water spicket [sic], a pot belly stove and some large timbers which were used in the construction.
Another interesting thing about the grist mill building is that three of the walls are made of stone and one is constructed of wood. This was done to allow easy access for the installation and removal of equipment, grinding stones, wheels, and other massive pieces of machinery used in this type of operation.
Harold Smith mentioned that one of the Ruff children was crushed to death in the mill while Mrs. Ruff was giving birth to another child.
Briefly the Concord Covered Bridge area is one of the oldest communities in Cobb County. Even before the Cherokees Indians left, settlers moved into the area in the 1830′s. By 1849 references were made to the Concord Factory on Nickajack in White’s Statistics of Georgia.
Traditional history says that Robert Daniel and Martin Ruff combined efforts to build a small industrial complex in the area,
Traditional history also says the factory was destroyed in the War Between the States and rebuilt in 1869. Daniel and Ruff later sold the holdings to Rice, Love, and Porter of Atlanta,
The grist mill passed through a number of hands but the Henry Clay Ruff house which is located next to bridge was the residence of the “miller” until the 1920′s when it was purchased by a doctor.
The house has been renovated extensively over the years, and the Roche family members have added their own historical items to make the interior as interesting as the outside.
Pat Roche says her grandfather was the first doctor in Western Minnesota in the late 1800′s and that in 1898 he was one of the first to use gloves when performing surgery.
One item of business presented by Harold Smith concerned the April 17, groundbreaking for the new Civic Center and Library Complex. He explained that no provisions had been made in, the complex for a museum of history for the city nor had any provisions been made for a theatre or space where performances could be presented. Smith suggested that the Society urge the Mayor and City Council members to consider such an addition to the complex before the construction gets underway.
A motion to this effect was made by Bill Barnett and seconded by Bill Sanders. The motion passed unanimously after some discussion.
[Please see a physical copy of this issue for names of members and visitors to the meeting.]
Gladys <Privatized>, who joined the Smyrna Historical Society on July 28, 1988, is a descendent of Robert and Margaret Daniell, one of Smyrna’s pioneer families who moved to this area in the mid 1800′s.
Gladys, born in Atlanta, is the daughter of Ethel and Charles R. Turner Sr. She married Buren , August 8, 1954, and they had two children: and .
Gladys’ mother, Ethel Turner is 91 years old and has been a visitor to our meetings. She too was born in Atlanta, March 27, 1898, but the family moved back to Smyrna when she was a small girl. She married her first husband Elmer Leonard Norton in December 1918. They had two children: Leonard Cole born in November, 1919 and died at birth. Their second child is <Privatized>.
Ethel’s second husband, as mentioned above was Charles R. Turner. They married on August 31, 1924. Their two children were <Privatized>
Mrs. Turner recalled her childhood in Smyrna. She said they lived in the family home on Concord Road, located in the area of what is now Bennett Woods north. Constructed in 1872, it was a one story brick house with a basement. The bricks were hand made from clay dug and fired on the property. The walls were about 18″ thick. Facing the house, directly in front there was a hall that went from front to back. On the left was a bedroom for company. On the right the first room was for ma and pa , the next room back was for the girls, and the back room was for the boys. The kitchen was behind the boys room and a large porch was at the rear of the house. The house was demolished several years ago.
There was not a lot for children to do back in those days, and for entertainment, Mrs. Turner’s father would gather up all the children in a horse drawn wagon, and take a trip to Powder Springs or Lithia Springs for a picnic.
She attended elementary school at what she referred to as the Daniell School (a little building near the Covered Bridge), and later she was a student at Smyrna High until the 9th grade. The school was located at the site of the present Masonic Lodge on West Spring Street.
She also recalls riding the horse and wagon to Maloney’s Spring Primitive Baptist Church in the area of what is now South Cobb and Austell Road, and Collins Spring Primitive Baptist Church just off South Atlanta Road about a half mile below what is now 1-285. Neither of these churches had a Sunday School, and usually preaching was only once a month. But most of the time the meeting lasted for two days on both Saturday and Sunday.
Her father was first a farmer who raised corn and cotton to sell in Marietta and Atlanta and other crops for their own use. He later worked for the NC & St. L. Railroad.
Mrs. Turner’s father was Pliney Frank Daniell, born August 25, 1867 in Smyrna. He was the eleventh of 16 children born to Robert Daniell, and the second of seven born to Robert’s second wife, Margaret Fleming.
Mrs. Turner’s mother was Frances (Fanny) Almira Carmichael, born January 6, 1868. She died July 30, 1910 from a reaction to drugs administered for an asthma attack. Pliney and Fanny married on August 25, 1889, and had nine children:
- Ewell, born July 30, 1890;
- Brent Loela, born Nov. 30, 1892;
- Mazza David, born Dec. 18, 1894;
- Robert Ewell, born and died March 28, 1896;
- Ethel(already mentioned);
- Carl Leonard born Apr. 22, 1900;
- Pliney Franklin, Jr., born Nov. 2, 1902;
- Alma Fanny, born May 16, 1905;
- Jewell Elizabeth, born March 23, 1908.
Pliney Frank Daniell died July 20, 1919, and was buried in the Daniell Family cemetery located at the intersection of Cloudland Drive and Havilon Way in Bennett Woods. The land for this family cemetery was given by Robert Daniell, Pliney’s father. An inscription near the entrance to the cemetery says “This property 300 feet square deeded by Robert Daniell revised plat book Number 1, page 80 to the white citizens within 1 1/2 miles of same for cemetery purposes.”
Robert Daniell was one of Smyrna’s most prominent citizens in the mid 1800′s. He was born Feb. 2, 1813 and died June 21, 1881. There is some dispute as to when he actually came to Cobb County, but the traditional history says that it was about 1850 but the U. S. Census for that year showed him still living in Clark County, Ga. His brother-in-law William Barber (married Robert’s sister Rachel) moved to Cobb County in the 1830′s. Speculation is that William Barber told Robert and his brothers about the attributes of Cobb County and two of them settled here. Steven settled in the Mableton area (Ken Daniel a member of our Society and presently in Hawaii is descended from him) and Jeremiah located on the northern fork of Nickajack at what later became known as Benson’s pool.)
Two other brothers Alfred and Moses settled in Douglas County, and later Alfred moved to Alabama when he was 75 years old.
At any rate, sometimes in 1850 Robert Daniell sold his property between Athens and Bogart in Clark County and moved to Cobb. He located on the Nickajack Creek near where the Covered Bridge is and later he and Martin L. Ruff developed an industrial complex known as the Concord Woolen Mills, a grist mill fox flour and meal, and a saw mill, all powered by water from the creek. The woolen mill was constructed from stones from the banks and bed of Nickajack Creek and the ruins of three buildings stand today on private property not accessible to the general public.
The grist mill is still standing but the machinery was removed in the 1920′s. Society members Robert and Pat Roche own the property on which the mill is located. They purchased it from the Gordon Ruckart family in 1988.
The U. S. Census for Cobb County in 1870 showed Robert at 56 years old and his occupation was listed as Farmer. His total worth was listed at $24,800.(today’s equivalent of about $400,000.) He was living with his second wife Margaret Fleming, born Apr. 14, 1842(died June 28, 1914.) and their four children, his mother in law, Mary Fleming, and another female named Lucinda Gann.
He was said to be a very progressive farmer using methods and machines far ahead of his time and the first farmer in Cobb County to raise 100 bushels of corn on an acre of land.
In 1872 the Woolen Mill was sold to a group of Atlanta businessmen (Rice, Love, and Porter) and with some major and minor mishaps stayed in business until around 1910. The plant burned twice, and the dam broke once. Mrs. Judith Rice Lowry, a charter member of the Smyrna Historical Society is a descendent of the Mr. Rice who purchased the mill.
The mills provided employment for a number of people, and at one time manufactured 52 different kinds of jeans and cashmeres. In 1895 products from the mill won many prizes at the Atlanta Exposition. The area has recently been designated Cobb County’s first Historic District.
Robert Daniell and his first wife Naomi Burnett had nine children:
- Olive Ann,
- William P.,
- George Lumkin,
- Robert Putman,
- John Sidney and
- Pickney Young.
Robert and his second wife Margaret C. Fleming Daniell had seven children:
- David Patman,
- Pliney Franklin,
- Mary Naomi,
- Jesse Layden,
- James Jordan,
- Ida, and
- Amanda Jane (Jennie).
Robert was an Elder in the Primitive Baptist Church and often preached at both Maloneys Spring and Collins Spring Churches.
Robert is also said to have been a partner with M. L. Ruff in providing Smyrna with it’s first brick commercial building. It was known as the Smyrna Boy’s Academy. At the beginning of the War Between the States it was turned into a training school for officers of the Confederate Army but that was only for a few weeks. Camp McDonald was ultimately established at Kennesaw to train officers. Later the building was used once again as a school, a Presbyterian Church, a school again, and then a Masonic Hall. This is the same building in which Mrs. Ethel Turner attended high school as mentioned above.
Another of Robert’s sons, James Jordan Daniell became a well known Judge in Cobb County and a school in North Cobb County is named for him.
Herman Daniell, a descendent of the Mableton Daniell’s is presently a member of the Cobb County Board of Tax Assessors.
Robert’s parents were William and Mary Melton Daniell. William and his first wife, Rachel, had seven children:
- Isaac, and
- [7th not listed in original article.]
William married his second wife, Mary Melton January 11, 1787. Mary was just 17 years old at the time and younger than five of her step children. They had thirteen children:
- Robert, and
All total, William and his two wives had 20 children. Traditional history says there were 27 children by William, but Mrs. Leslie B. Clark of Dallas, Texas, a family researcher, in 1937, said she was able to locate only 24. (She did not name them.)
William was a Revolutionary soldier and had been born in New Hanover County, North Carolina. His parents were John and Sarah Raven Daniell.
Writing in May, 1932, J. J. Daniell (James Jordan) said: “Regarding grandfather William I know little. As a child I heard the older people say that grandfather was a ship owner and they said he had a powerful voice that could be heard sometimes five miles down the river. Great grandfather John may have also been a ship owner. I do not know when grandfather moved from South Carolina to Georgia. His will is on record in the Ordinary’s office, Clarke County, Ga. and proven and ordered recorded at the November term of court, 1840.
John Daniell married Sarah Raven on January 23, 1736 and they had seven children:
- George, and
John’s parents were Robert and Martha Wainwright Daniell. Robert was born in Warwick County, Va. and was Colonial Governor of South Carolina. They had three other children besides John: Sarah, Martha, and Ann.
Robert’s father was Roger Daniell, Jr. He and the Senior Roger came to the colonies from Barbados in 1644 accompanied by his kinsman Miles Cary. Roger Daniell, Jr. and his two brothers John and Wilbert Daniell fled to Barbados in August, and they reached America and Port Royal Island in South Carolina the following November. Roger, Jr. became military commander and Deputy Governor of North Carolina and Acting Governor of South Carolina in 1717. He lived on Daniell Island near Charleston, South Carolina. He died on May 17, 1718.
An excerpt from a book entitled Eminent Georgians, published in 1937 by Southern Society for Research and History said of the Daniell family: “The Daniell Family of Georgia…is a branch of one of South Carolina’s most distinguished families. The family originally came from England where its genealogy is traceable to the Knights of the Norman conquest. The name was originally spelled DeAnvers and down through the centuries was changed first to Danyell and then to the present spelling of Daniell. There is a family tradition that on account of a political issue over which two brothers differed one dropped an L from the name, and they agreed that “henceforth they would be no kin.”. This tradition appears to be founded in the division among the English people at the time of Cromwell. The Daniells of Virginia claim that their ancestor supported Cromwell, so it must be that the ancestors of the Daniells were loyal to his king.”
Hundreds of descendents of the Daniell’s reside in Smyrna and Cobb County today and,many of them are still debating whether to, use one or two L’s.
However they spell it, their contributions to the development of the county have been and continue to be significant.
by Pete Wood
EDITOR’ NOTE At the Society meeting on November 22,1989, “Pete” Wood, a native of Smyrna recalled many of the experiences of his childhood, teenage years, and early adult life as they related to his remembrances of Smyrna, Georgia. His vivid recollections were extremely interesting and informative.
His comments are concluded in this issue of Lives and Times. We hope you will be able to see through Pete’s eyes, Smyrna as it existed in the late 1930′s, ’40′s, and ’50′s. We appreciate and thank Pete for sharing this with us.
Some other things I remember from the 1940′s:
Visiting the Smyrna Library which was located in the Smyrna Women’s Club building at the corner of Atlanta and Powder Springs Streets. Mrs. Mazie Nelson was the Librarian.
Ration Books and tokens during World War 2. Standing in line at Black and Webb Grocery to get meat, sugar and other products that were rationed.
Our neighbors on Bank Street: Mr. and Mrs. W. M. Presley; Reid and Mary McCollum; Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Hill; Mr. and Mrs. Howard Akins and their two sons Billy and Lamar; George and Eunice Groce and Mr. and Mrs. Miller, Eunice’s parents; The McIntosh family; the Duttons; the Voss family; Mr. and Mrs. Emory Paris and Duane; Playing baseball in the field between our house and the Hill’s; Leila’s Beauty Shop was later built on this site. It is now a gun shop.
I remember the election of Lorena Pace Pruitt as Mayor. She was said to be the first woman Mayor in Georgia. Her husband was Joe Pruitt. They lived on Atlanta Street across the street from what is now the First American Bank parking lot. The Smyrna First Methodist Church was located on this site for many years before the bank.
The Bell Bomber Plant, now Lockheed, was the big news in Smyrna and Cobb County during the early 1940′s. Jimmy Carmichael, who later ran for governor of Georgia was General Manager of the plant. Many Smyrna residents worked at the plant that built B-29 bombers for the Army Air Corps.
Riding the streetcar to Marietta to go to the double features at the Strand and Cobb Theatres on Saturday. You could see a western featuring Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassady, or some other cowboy star, a second movie and a serial for 9 cents if you were under 12. For purposes of admission, I never got over 12.
Summertime was always special for me. It was baseball season and my daddy managed the Smyrna Men’s Amateur Baseball Team. Some of his early players included Ralph Cobb, Scott Edwards, Jr., Sonny Davenport, Woodrow Lutz, O. L. Pinson, Tom Tucker, Robert Bacon, J. C. Austin and Harry Mitchell. In the early years the Smyrna team played their home games on a field behind Fuller Daniel’s house on South Atlanta Road, just across the street from where Campbell High is located. After World War 2, they used the new Larry Bell Park.
Going to and from Sunday School and church at Smyrna First Baptist where the Reverend E. B. Awtry was Pastor and A. H. Carson was Sunday School Director. The Rev. Charles Drake became Pastor after the retirement of Rev. Awtry. Watching W. Archie Tedder work in his Pinecrest Pottery next to his house on Fleming Street.
My first visit to see the Atlanta Crackers play at Ponce de Leon Park.
The streetcars operated by Georgia Power Company provided dependable transportation to Marietta and downtown Atlanta. Operators such as Luther Hames, Sr., Paul Howard and Mr. Peck were always courteous and helpful. Each stop along the route from Marietta to Atlanta had a shelter and a name.
The Belmont stop was located across the street from where Belmont Hills is now located; Pinecrest was at Hawthorne and Atlanta Streets; the Love stop was at the intersection of Atlanta and Love Streets. Other stops included Gilmore, Oakdale, Craven Wood, Springhill, and Bolton going south. Traveling north from Smyrna to Marietta we had Miles, Pat Melt, Mid wa y, Fair Oaks and others.
Playing baseball at Smyrna High School. My team-mates included Buddy Scoggins, J. O. Da vis, Lamar Dickson, Mickey and Philip Walker, Johnny Cobb and Hoyt Dorris.
A major street paving program in the late 1940′s most of the city streets were paved and each property owner paid for the paving in front of his property.
My first paper route in 1944: Bill Socggins and I delivered the Atlanta Constitution on the east side of Smyrna. My route was along Spring, Matthews, Smyrna – Roswell, and back to Sam Reed’s Sinclair Service station at Spring and Atlanta Streets. My customers included Mr. and Mrs. Groce, Mrs. Ruby Carmichael, Mr. J. O. Hargis, the Petty’s next to Spring Street ‘Church, Mr. and Mrs. McAdams (Pat Barnett’s parents – Pat is a member of the and Historical Society), Phagan Durham, Will Bowles, Ralph Lewis, Mr. Bland, Mr. and Mrs. Rutledge , the Chastain’s, the Bill Ransom’s, Joe Poss, Mrs. Curtis Anderson, the Spradley’s, Lee and Agnes Quarles, Earl and Mary Moon (Edna Scoggins parents), Sonny and May Davenport, The Ellis family, Dr. Collins and Mrs. J. C. Lowe. Bill delivered the papers in Davenport Town because he had a bicycle and could outrun the dogs.
Working at G. B.’s Place with G. B. Williams and Leonard “Critter” Crider.
Working after school and on Saturdays in the late 1940′s at the Rogers Store on Atlanta Street next to Smyrna Drug. Harry Lovingood was the manager and Bill Scoggins was assistant manager.
Playing baseball on the Smyrna sand lot team coached by Jimmy Pierce, Sr.
Playing basketball on the Smyrna High School: My team mates included Philip Walker, Hoyt Dorris, Jimmy Guthrie, Richard Durham, Johnny Cobb, Wilson McEntyre, Lamar Akins, Mickey Walker, Ed Medlin, and John Leonard.
Smyrna edged past the 2000 mark in population according to the 1950 census. I believe it was 2050.
The Smyrna High girls basketball team winning the Cobb County tournament. Team members included Jean and Joan Bennett, Jean Socggins Zimmerman, Doris Bailey Fowler, Gwen Duffie, and Bobbie Dean Martin.
The last graduating class from Smyrna High in 1951. Mr. Jasper Griffin was Principal and Mrs. Hosch was Senior homeroom teacher and taught English. Other faculty members included Miss Eunice Padgett, Mr. Robert Alford who later became Principal at Campbell High, Mr. C. D. Strickland who also served as basketball coach, Mrs. G. C. Green, Miss Martha Segars, who taught Home Economics and later married John Chastain.
The opening of Campbell High School with Mr. Jasper Griffin as Principal. Mr. Griffin la te r served as Superintendent of Cobb County Schools. Griffin Middle School is named in his honor. The opening of Campbell High represented a merger of Smyrna and Fitz Hugh Lee High Schools. Dixie Howell became the first head football coach at Campbell. Gerald Gillespie was an assistant coach and later became head coach and then served many years as Principal of King Springs Elementary. Joe Latanzi was the head baseball coach and later Assistant Principal.
Playing baseball for my dad on the Smyrna Amateur Baseball team: Team members included Tom Tucker, Ralph Cobb, Clyde and Aubrey Herren, Pat Edwards, Buddy Jones, Tommy Oglesby, Ho me r Brooks, Dan Theodocian, Henry Hair, Jobo Foster and Sam Hensley.
Hoot Gibson’s election as Mayor.
The re-opening of the former Bell Bomber Plant by Lockheed Aircraft.
Dr. W. C. Mitchell serving as Chairman of the Cobb County School Board.
The opening of Belmont Hills Shopping Center was a major event. It was widely promoted as the largest shopping center in the southeast. The Grand opening was attended by city, county and state officials and featured an appearance by the well-known movie star, Anita Ekberg. Tenants included an A & P. Dunaway Drugs, W. T. Grant 5 & 10, and the Belmont Hills Theatre.
Looking forward to the weekly edition of the Smyrna Herald published by Bill Miles to get the latest news on controversies in city government and other local news.
The beginning of official Little League Baseball in Smyrna: My dad was one of the original managers. He managed the Wayne’s team which was sponsored by Hubert Colquitt who owned Wayne’s Variety Store. Miles Willis served as manager of the Red Dot Food Store team sponsored by J. D. Daniel who owned the store located in downtown Smyrna. There were two other teams, one of which was sponsored by the Smyrna na American Legion. If my memory is correct, the fourth team was sponsored by Dickson Shopping Center. Games were played at Brinkley Park which had been improved and lights installed.
Jimmy Quarles election as Mayor. My dad was elected Councilman from the 3rd Ward and was named Chairman of the Parks Committee. Several parks were built over the next several years including Ward. which was named in honor of Bill Ward, the developer of Belmont Hills who donated the land, Jonquil Park, Church Street Park, and the Teen Canteen which is now the Smyrna Senior Citizens Center and Lake Park.
Smyrna First Baptist Church embarked on a church bond campaign to build a new sanctuary. Rev. York Chambless was Pastor at the time.
Smyrna’s strong growth which began in the late 40′s continued unabated in the 1950′s. Ma n y new homes, new schools such as Brown Elementary, Belmont Hills, Hawthorne and Argyle.
The campaign spearheaded by the Smyrna Lion’s Club to build the Campbell High Football stadium.
The city elections which were held on Saturday in a very festive atmosphere.
The opening of the new Colonial Food Store on Bank Street. This store replaced the old Ro g e rs Store on Atlanta Street. The building is now owned by the City of Smyrna and used for the Municipal Traffic Court.
Expansion of Dickson Shopping Center to include several businesses in addition to Dickson’s Food Store. The opening of Sam’s Cleaners operated by Mr. Pitts (Jimmy’s father) in the former Rogers Store building.
The opening of Anchor Oil, owned by Joe Wine, in the triangle between Atlanta. Street and Memorial Place. It later became a Supertest Oil Station and Anchor moved to South Cobb and Concord at the site now occupied by Hess Oil.
The chartering of the Smyrna Jaycees in 1959 with more than 90 charter members and many new community projects. Tommy Oglesby was the first President.
The opening of Davis Department Store operated by Mr. and Mrs. Harold Davis in the old Red Dot Store at the corner of Atlanta and Spring Streets.
The Cobb House Restaurant operated by Sam Theodocian near the intersection of South Cobb and Jones-Shaw Road.
The Johnson Shoe Shop on Atlanta Street.
The Corner Grill at the corner of West Spring and Atlanta Streets operated by Mr. and Mrs. Claude Hann.
The Smyrna Taxi operated by Robert Day on Atlanta Street. Ben Worley, Jack Diemer and Red Gunter were some of the men who drove cabs.
The J. Y. Wooton Realty Company on Atlanta Street.
The law offices of Bassett and Cochran on Atlanta Street. This was a partnership of Earl Bassett and Al Cochran, now Cochran, Camp and Snipes.
Raymond Mulkey’s law office on Atlanta Street.
The Presley Insurance Agency owned by James Presley located at the corner of Atlanta and Powder Springs Streets. The agency was managed by Tommy Oglesby.
The opening of Atherton Drug Store on Atlanta Street.
The city hall and jail at the intersection of Bank and Atlanta Streets.
Former Police Chiefs such as Mr. Gann, who patrolled in a pickup truck, J. C. Hardy and Broughton May.
Former City Council members such as Bill Sanders, Jake Ables, Mac McCurdy, Bob Austin, Bill Keck, Homer Kuhl, Cy Chapman, Dusty Rhodes, Gene Johnson, Sr., Jack Brooks, Carl Dodd , George Kreeger, Sr., Harold Smith, and Vern Bolton. Kreeger, Ables, and Smith later served as Mayor. Les Charles who served many years as City Clerk.
I am sure there are many significant events that occurred during the 40′s and 50′s that I have not mentioned, but hopefully this limited review will bring back memories to some of you and perhaps be of historical interest to others.
by Charles “Pete” Wood
EDITOR’S NOTE: At the Society meeting on November 22,1989, “Pete” Wood, a native of Smyrna recalled many of the experiences of his childhood, teenage years, and early adult life as they related to his remembrances of Smyrna, Georgia. His vivid recollections were extremely interesting and informative. In this and future issues of Lives and Times we will print all his comments. We hope you will be able to see through Pete’s eyes, Smyrna as it existed in the late 1930′s, ’40′s, and ’50′s. We appreciate and thank Pete for sharing this with us.
I’ll start with the 1930s because I don’t remember much before I was five.
The burning of the black school in Davenport Town; the Ku Klux Klan parading down Atlanta Street; Mr. George Miller’s cheerful whistle as he walked his newspaper route; Watching the WPA workers paving the sidewalk on Powder Springs Street; buying BB Bat suckers and Cracker Jacks from Mr. Gutheries little store on Powder Springs Street; Listening to the boxing match on radio with my daddy when Joe Louis won the Heavyweight Championship; The big snow storm of 1939; Our neighbors on Grady Street – Sam and Ora Turman, Bud and Estelle Fortner, the Jim Bell family, the Hubert Deckers and the Hesters; the Irby Hughes , Hufstutlers, Gann’s, Gutheries, Clayton and Fraser families on Powder Spring Street; riding to Sunday School at Smyrna First Baptist Church with Mrs. E. T. Bradley who lived at the corner of Fleming and Grady Streets; Mr. Carl Terrell, the Smyrna City Clerk, who lived next door to my grandmother Mrs. Mamie Tucker on Roswell Street; riding the streetcar to Marietta with my mother to buy clothes and shoes at Saul’s Department store; the only paved streets I remember were Atlanta, Spring to the 4 lane, and Roswell Streets.
We moved to Bank Street in the spring of 1940. I started school at Smyrna Elementary in September. My first grade teacher was Miss Fannie B. McClure who is now retired and living in Acworth. Mr. U. S. Worley was the Principal. My classmates included Lamar Tedder, Richard Durham, Rebecca McLean, Lamar Akins, Mary Motter, Mildred Clayton and Hugh Dunn. The school cafeteria was in the basement of the old two-storey elementary school building. School lunches were 10 cents. Trustees of Smyrna School I remember were Martin Ruff , Sr., Roy Fulton and Elder Bramblett.
Mayes Hamby served as Mayor in the 1940′s.
Smyrna was fortunate to have two medical doctors that maintained office hours and made house calls. Dr. W. C. Mitchell’s office was located upstairs over Collins Pharmacy. Dr. Herbert Fowler had his primary practice in Marietta, but maintained office hours in Smyrna two days per week. His Smyrna office was located in the rear of the Smyrna Drug Store operated by Dr. Landers. The only hospital in the county was located in Marietta. I do not recall any dentists in Smyrna at that time. We used Dr. Loy Carpenter, whose office was located on the Marietta square over Atherton Drug and Fletcher Jewelry Co. The Smyrna business district faced on Atlanta Street and stretched from Love Street to Powder Springs St. We had an abundance of grocery stores. Black and Webb operated by Harry Black and Sam Webb was located at the intersection of Atlanta and Spring Streets. In addition to the owners, other employees of the store included Harold Black, who usually delivered our groceries, Clarence “Shorty” Black, Mrs. Webb and Mrs. Black. Rogers store was located across the street from Black and Webb in a building now occupied by T. V. Analysts. This store was flanked by Smyrna Drug on the corner and Roy Fowler’s beauty Shop on the other side. The Harbin family also operated a grocery store. A Mr. Tribble operated a feed and see store just across the railroad on Spring St. Walker Akins
operated another grocery store at the corner of Bank and Atlanta Streets. This building was later the location of the St. Jude’s Thrift Store. The Southern family operated a
store where the Mitchell Building was later constructed. This building is now the home of Blind and Low Vision Services of North Georgia.
We also had an ample supply of gasoline stations. D. C. Osborne operated a Pure Oil Station and garage on part of the land now occupied by First American Bank. Paul Clayton operated a Gulf station in the building that was later an office of Kennesaw Finance. Sam Reed operated a Sinclair Station at the corner of Spring and Atlanta Streets just in front of G. B.’s Place. This station was later operated by Bob Austin and then C. J. and Jerry Fouts. For a number of years prior to being demolished in 1988, it was operated by Ralph Grady as Smyrna Radiator and Garage.
Mr. Baugh operated a hardware store adjacent to the Sinclair Station. This store was later operated by Pitner Doris and then George Howard. Earl Cobb also operated a service
station on Atlanta Street where Paul Lee’s business is now located.
One o f Smyrna’s most active business establishments was G. B.’s Place, operated by G. B . Williams. During the 1940′s and 50′s, this was a favorite place for many Smyrna residents, both young and old. I n the 40′s the menu included hamburgers and hot dogs with chili, 5 cents each; a bowl of chili was fifteen cents. For those who wanted something different, there was a fried egg sandwich for 15 cent, moon pies for a nickel or a milkshake for 15 cents. For those who really wanted to splurge, you could have ham and eggs with toast and coffee for about 35 cents or G. B. would prepare any kind of soup or oyster stew from his stock of canned goods.There was always a wide selection of beverages for a nickel — coffee, coke, RC Cola, Nehi Orange, NuGrape or Cherry Soda, etc.
During World War Two, troop trains frequently passed through Smyrna. Sometimes these trains would wait on a side track for another train to pass. G. B. would accommodate the soldiers by having his employees go from car to car selling ice creams cups, candy, snack cakes, soft drinks and anything else available.
Later in the 1940′s, we had another food establishment in Smyrna. I t was called the Chat N’ Nibble operated by Butch Alexander. Butch featured hamburgers and hot dogs served on toasted buns. There were also tables and chairs and a jukebox. Chat N’ Nibble was located on Atlanta Street next to Collins Pharmacy.
The Gurnsey Jug located on Atlanta Road near Brawner Hospital was another favorite place. They had great ice cream, milkshakes, other dairy products and food. However, since many Smyrna residents did not own automobiles, it was inconvenient for many people. This establishment was owned by the Crowe family who owned Creatwood Dairy.
Sunnyside Inn, located across from where Campbell High School is now, also had good food, but it was regarded as a beer joint by many Smyrna residents and was off-limits children and young people. I t was owned by the A. T. Parks family.
Further south on Atlanta Road at Paces Ferry, Edgar Anderson operated the Stonewall Restaurant and Tourist Court. Aunt Fanny’s Cabin was also a popular dining spot for residents and visitors, as it is today.
The barber shop operated by Ralph Argo and Roy McLarty was a favorite gathering place f o r men to get a haircut, shave or shower and to discuss local politics.
For those who liked to shoot pool, Jimmy Pierce, Sr.’s pool room on Atlanta Street was the place. This building later housed the Atherton Drug Store. Of course, Smyrna was not without telephone service, thanks t o Mamie Daniel and her operators who worked the switchboard located in the little brick building next door to the barber shop on Atlanta Street. Jeanie Hill Poss, May Bizzel Davis and a number of other young ladies of that day worked at the telephone exchange.
This building was later used by Harold Smith and other political candidates as a campaign headquarters.
When kids were fortunate enough to have a little spending money, they could visit Marlow’s Five and Dime Store for toys, marbles, dolls, big little books, comic books and a variety of other merchandise.
The ladies could get their hair fixed at Roy Fowler’s Beauty Salon or at Mrs. Cano’s on Atlanta Street. The men also had a choice for their haircuts – could visit Argo and McLarty or a shop operated by Mr. McIntosh.
For those who were fortunate enough to have automobiles, we had several garages that could repair them. I n addition to D. C. Osborne, Wes Pass and the Glover family operated garages.
Our insurance and real estate needs were met by Bill Stewart who operated a business f o r this purpose on Atlanta Street. Later on, J. Y. Wooten opened a similar business.
The Don Ree and Stonewall Liquor Stores also occupied buildings on Atlanta Street before the sale of alcoholic beverages was outlawed.. The Don Ree was owned by B. F. Reed and the Stonewall by Edgar Anderson. B o t h men operated several stores i n Cobb County.
In the 1940′s many Smyrna residents did not own refrigerators, but used ice boxes to cool and preserve food. The Southland Ice Company operated a plant on Roswell Street just across the railroad tracks. Alton Langley, Sr., managed this plant for a number of years.
Smyrna also had a railroad depot and Railway Express Office managed by Mr. John Tatum f o r many years. The depot was located just across the street from G. B’s place on Spring Street.
Many Smyrna residents relied on coal for heating their homes. Their needs were served by Mr. Pollock and the Konigsmark’s who operated coal yards.
Smyrna residents were able to select from a wide range of furniture at the Gene Rice Furniture store on Atlanta Street. Smyrna also had a corn mill operated by Mr. Stamper. It was located in a building on West Spring in the back of where the Smyrna Police Department is now located. There was a blacksmith shop on West Spring at the present location of the Smyrna Fire Department main station.
The old Masonic Hall was also located on West Spring Street. This building was used for many community activities including public school classes at one time. The current Masonic Hall is now located on that site.
Smyrna did not have a move theatre until around 1946, when Leonard Branscombe opened the Jonquil Theatre on Sunset Avenue.Wit and Jeanine Carson managed the theatre for a number of years.
The Bank of Smyrna opened on Atlanta Street around 1946.Mr. Patterson was the cashier and chief operating officer of the bank when it first opened. He was the father o f Dr. Bill Patterson, a well-known surgeon in Cobb County. Smyrna was without a local bank for a number of years. The directors included Dr. W. C. Mitchell, Dr. Landers and Jake Nash. Harry Holliday later became President of the bank.