Presented by the Laurens County Historical Society, Dublin, Georgia. For questions and information, please contact Scott B. Thompson, Sr. at

Saturday, October 22, 2016



      If you coached a little league team in the World Series and needed a solid backup backstop and steady hitting right fielder, you had to have Hart.  If you coached a team at Morristown, PA High School and you needed a power hitting slugger to hit home runs, a bruising running back to drag tacklers into the end zone or a shot putter to heave an iron ball further than any high schooler in Pennsylvania ever had before, then you needed Dick Hart. If you managed a minor league baseball team and you needed a big and tall first baseman, then you needed Hart.  And,  if your quarterback needed a strong steady blocker, you really wanted Dick Hart on your offensive line.

This is the story of a multi-sport high school star from Morristown, Pennsylvania, who spent the summer of 1962 in Dublin, Georgia playing baseball for the Dublin Braves.  His name is Dick Hart. And, it was his own heart which made Dick Hart work even harder to become one of the few players in the history of the NFL to become a starter with no college experience.

Dick Hart was born in 1943 and grew up in Morristown, Pennsylvania on the Delaware River.  In the summer of 1955, Dick played right field and caught for the all stars of the local little league. Just before school started back that fall, Dick and his teammates defeated a team from nearby Delaware, New Jersey to capture the Little League World Series.

Dick was born into an athletic family. His brothers Lew and Bob were stars at Morrisville High too. A large kid for his age, Dick’s six foot-two inch, 245-pound frame and dominating strength allowed  him to excel at the high school level.   Hart worked hard at weight lifting to build his body into a bone-crushing running back and a very, very good shot putter.

Dick, like his two brothers before him, won local and state championships in shot put competition.  Dick won the state title twice. His best throw of 64-feet, 3-inches was a state record and put him near the top of all high school track and field athletes in the country.  Track coaches around the nation salivated at the thought of signing the behemoth to a track scholarship.  Kansas State offered Dick a chance to keep doing what he did best.  Notre Dame wanted Dick to anchor their struggling offensive line.  Considered by many old timers as the best athlete to ever hail from his community as an All American track star and member of his state’s Track Hall of Fame, Dick went with his heart’s desire and that was baseball.  He signed a professional contract with Milwaukee Braves.

Dick’s first assignment came with the Wellsville, New York team of the Class D,  New York - Penn League under Manager Bill Steinecke.   The following season, Steinecke, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees in his youth,  was assigned to Milwaukee’s newest farm team, the Dublin Braves of the Georgia-Florida League.  In the middle of the season, Steinecke acquired Hart from the Cedar Rapids, where Hart was having a decent season.

The Dublin Braves fielded an excellent team during in 1962,  their first and only season.  Playing for the Braves that summer were  future major leaguers, Jim Driscoll, Glen Clark, Hal Haydel, and Bill Robinson, the latter of whom played and coached in the major leagues for nearly
forty years.

After an inauspicious debut in the field for the Braves, Hart, normally a catcher, ripped 3 home runs and slapped a double in his debut in Lovett Park.  Dick kept up a slugging barrage much to the delight of the Braves’ fans.  In  only  13 games,  the massive first baseman smacked seven  home runs, two doubles and one triple, while driving in   24 runs and posting an eye-popping .360 average.

Dick Hart had one of  the best of his nine minor assignments in Dublin.  Hart, playing at first base and behind the plate, belted 12 home runs, batted .301 and drove in 46 runs in 46 games, Hart posted career season highs in batting average and slugging percentage (.584.)  Hart and his teammates made local history on August 24, 1962 when they played the last minor league game in Dublin’s Lovett Park.  Hart caught the last pitch and hit the last home run at doomed stadium.   Ironically, the Dublin Braves franchise folded, despite a second place finish and setting an all time park season attendance record.

Dick Hart moved up to Boise, where he played a complete season in Class A, before  ending his career with two split seasons with Yakima and Austin in 1964 and 1965.

Burned out from the rigor of playing nearly every day and traveling in undependable buses and living in sketchy quarters, Hart began to rethink a career in football.  His NCAA eligibility having elapsed, Dick wrote Philadelphia Eagle coach Joe Kuharich, who, as a recruiter for Notre Dame, knew all to well of Dick’s heart and desire to play the game.  Coach Kuharich signed his former recruit to a contract for the 1966 season, all without the benefit of a tryout.  First playing on the defensive line of the Eagles taxi squad, Dick continued to live in the gym to become even stronger.  Hart’s hard work paid off when he was named by “Strength and Health” magazine as one of the strongest football players in the NFL.

In his first year on the offensive line, Dick battled his way to a starting spot as a guard on the Eagles starting lineup.  His outstanding play led to his being named to the NFL’s All Rookie Team - not bad for a man who had not played any college football or a single regular season game since the autumn of 1960.

“Making the team without any college experience, that was a big thrill for me,” said Hart. “I made the All-Rookie team, but I would say my greatest thrill was beating the Dallas Cowboys my first year in ’67. That’s when they had (defensive stars) Bob Lilly, and Jethro Pugh, and Lee Roy
Jordan, Chuck Howley and George Andrie. They were always a powerhouse back then, so that was an awfully big thrill for me, ” Hart told Jim Gehman of the

A knee injury in pre-season forced Hart out of the starting line up in 1971.  Although he worked his heart out to return to the starting line up, the Eagles traded Dick to the Buffalo Bills for the 1972 season.  A second knee injury in the fourth game of the season, forced Dick to leave the NFL and return to his family ice-cream business, Sweet Hart’s Ice Cream and Yogurt.

When the World Football League was established, Dick once again put on his pads and jersey one last time, this time for the Charlotte Stars in 1974.  After a thirty plus year career in the ice cream business Hart retired to be closer to his family.

Throughout Dick Hart’s twenty something year athletic career he never moped when the odds were against him.  Dick Hart kept his hope and broke through seemingly slammed shut doors to realize his dreams to become a hero on the athletic fields.  Those dreams came true through hard work and unceasing determination.  Born with a super, large, athletic body, in the end all Dick Hart really needed was heart.  And he had it.   

Friday, October 21, 2016


This landmark corner building was named for its builder river boat captain, Robert C. Henry.  Captain Henry was also the namesake of the church he helped to found, Henry Memorial Church, originally located two blocks to the northwest on Jefferson Street on the current site of Jefferson Street Baptist Church.  The corner of the first floor housed Henry's bank, the Dublin Banking Company.  Dublin's first Piggly Wiggly store was located on the far left front of the first floor.  The upstairs offices were used for a variety of purposes for a telephone exchange, fraternal organization lodges, and the first office of Curry Realtors in 1902.  Pierce & Orr was a popular grocery store in the building in the 1930s and 1940s.  It was replaced by Belk Matthews in the early 1950s.  Today, the building is vacant and is need of a loving and respectful tenant. 



   The "P" behind Brian Mimbs’ name on the Georgia Bulldogs roster stood for punter. It could stand for "perserverer." For the last five football seasons, Brian, a former All-State kicker from Dublin High School, has triumphed over tragedies, disproved his doubters and conquered his competitors. Never losing sight of his goal instilled in him by his parents, this unpretentious and unselfish young man has quietly become one of the greatest punters in the history of Georgia Bulldog football.

   Brian Mimbs, the baby boy of Gary and JoAnn Mimbs, of Dublin, was born on May 19, 1986. Some considered his older brothers, Lee and Payton, to be better athletes. But, Brian discounts the notion that he and his brothers competed to see who was the best. "We all played at different skill positions in football and baseball and we never tried to outdo the other," Mimbs said. Old time Dublin sports fans saw and still see something special in Brian. They will tell you that he was a very good athlete, very strong for his size, and as determined to succeed as much as anyone on the field, whether on the diamond or the gridiron.

   In point of fact, Brian was a better than average baseball player at Dublin. In batting more than .400 in his career, Brian helped to lead his team to the AAA Championship series in 2003. In his junior year at Dublin High, Brian’s automatic extra points and long field goals helped the Irish to play in the championship game against Screven County. Brian points to the school’s and his coach Roger Holmes’ first game in the Georgia Dome as a career highlight. It was during that game when a veteran security guard remarked to me, "Where did you get that kicker?" When I responded that he was one of our native kids, the guard responded, "He kicks better than some of the NFL kickers I see here."

   One highlight of Brian’s place kicking career came in a preseason game against the East Laurens Falcons. After his teammate called for a fair catch, Brian placed the football on a tee a yard on the south side of the mid-field stripe. The 2002 AAA All State kicker took the requisite number of steps back, stepped forward and booted the pigskin between the uprights for a 61-yard free kick field goal, the longest in Dublin history and one of the longest in state history, but one which will never appear in the record books.

   Middle Tennessee State offered Brian a scholarship to play both football and baseball. He turned it down. His father Gary urged Brian to play with the best and he thought the Bulldogs were the bestTeam he could play for. "He inspired me to go to Georgia to follow and live out my dream," Brian remembered, "and, I am grateful that I did."

 Mimbs was given preferred walk on status with the team as a red-shirt freshman. For most of the next two years, Brian worked hard to earn a spot as the team’s place kicker. When the Dog’s holder went down with an injury, Brian, who had worked all fall as a backup, stepped up and went into the Auburn game to hold for Andy Bailey. From that moment on, Brian, who first wore the number 26 jersey, would be the team’s holder. He never muffed a single snap. It wasn’t until the final regular season game of his sophomore year in 2006 when he got the opportunity to kick off for the first time. But Brian had an empty feeling inside. His father died on the first day of summer. "When I went on the field for the first few times, I thought of my dad and how much he meant to me and how it was he that encouraged me to come to Georgia and kick," Brian recalled. Mimbs kicked off twice against Georgia Tech that season for a respectable average of sixty yards per kick off. Actually, he had a third kick. It was in the Chick-fi-la Peach Bowl. With his team trailing Virginia Tech by the score of 21-6 early in the third quarter, Georgia coach Mark Richt sent Brian in to kick off after a field goal. Brian made his last career kickoff his best. He booted the ball at an angle into the artificial turf, sprinted toward it and cradled it like he was protecting a new born infant. Brian’s recovery of his own kick, a football rarity, ignited the Bulldogs, who went on score 18 more points and overcome the Hokies, 31-24.

   Brian never faltered, even after the death of his paternal grandmother and his maternal grandfather. He remembered the lessons his parents taught him. Mimbs turned to and found comfort from his heavenly father to carry him through his trials. He credits his fellow specialists with his growth as a punter, coping with the shanks and bringing him back down to Earth when he needed it. "Coach Hagler at Dublin taught me everything I knew about kicking, but I didn’t have him here to help me, so a lot of it was trial and error," Brian remarked. Dublin Head Coach Roger Holmes recognized his field goal kicker’s potential as collegiate punter and gave him his first chance at punting. In his senior year at Dublin, Brian posted an outstanding average of 39 yards per punt.

   After thousands and thousands of summer practice punts, Brian was only promised that he had the first punt of the season. He was challenged in 2007 by Drew Butler, son of the legendary Georgia place kicker Kevin Butler. Brian welcomed the competition and went on the prove that his coach’s choice was the right one. In his first season, Brian ranked third in the SEC with an average of 42.4 yards, one of the ten highest marks in Bulldog history. Coach Richt asked Brian to make several kicks for the team by calling for angle kicks toward the sidelines. "It hurt his average, but he was a team guy about it," the Bulldog coach said.

 Brian’s most popular "You Tube" moment came in the 2008 Sugar Bowl against Hawaii. "They came into the game high and saying they were going to upset us," Brian remembered. Some people believed that if they won, it wouldn’t be an upset. Near the end of game, the Bulldogs were enjoying a big lead. Brian, who says he rarely, if ever, wears his emotions on his sleeves, grew frustrated at the way the smaller kickers and punters were being hit while not actively trying to make a tackle. After a long punt, Mimbs, on behalf of small kickers everywhere, shoved a massive Hawaiian to the ground, a noble gesture which drew him a personal foul penalty. When asked by Coach Richt if it was worth the punishment drills, Mimbs responded in the affirmative.

   During his career at Georgia, Brian counts as his most memorable moments as the punts he made from his own end zone. As a matter of fact, his first punt ever came out 42 yards from the Dog’s end zone. In his first game, he punted five times for a 42.4 average without a single one returned. Brian thrives on pressure. "It happened four times this year," he recalled. And, on all four attempts, Brian boomed the ball high and long to bail out his team and give his defense good field position. One of those punts, a 77-yarder against South Carolina, ranks as the 6th longest in UGA history and the longest since 1973.

   After his final game in 2008, Brian looked at his season stats and found himself in 2nd place in the conference. Then he looked at his career average. "I try not to get caught up in stats. They put too much pressure on me, and I need to go out and do what I am capable of doing for the betterment of the team." Brian divided his total yards by the number of punts and was amazed to see that his career average was 43.1 yards, second by only 3.6 inches behind Chip Andrews. His season mark of 44.0 yards was the 4th best in Georgia history. His 54 yard game against Tennessee and 52.2 yards per punt against South Carolina rank respectively as the 2nd and 3rd best average yardage in a game by a Bulldog punter ever. In a story for his grandchildren, Brian posted a career rushing average of 8 yards per carry, albeit his sole rush came after Mimb’s inexplicably missed the balled as it dropped to the ground during the team’s victory over Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl. Mimbs reverted back to his first baseman days, scooped it up and ran straight ahead, some six yards short
of a first down.

   Perhaps Brian Mimbs most notable and unheralded accomplishment at Georgia came not on the grass of Sanford Stadium, but in the class rooms. In 2007, Brian was named to ESPN’s All District Academic Team. In 2008, he was a semifinalist for the Draddy Trophy given for the nation’s most outstanding student athlete. From his freshman season through his senior season, Brian Mimbs was named to the All SEC Academic team, making him only the fifth player in the 117-year history of Georgia football named to the prestigious team for four consecutive years.

     Brian’s old coach, George Hagler, still stays in contact with his former pupil. "Of all Brian has done, I am most proud of this accomplishment," Hagler said.. Who knows what the future holds for Brian Mimbs? So far, Brian has always put his best foot forward and got out of his life exactly what he put in, just like his momma and daddy always told him he would.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


This was the premier department store in Dublin from 1908 to 1914.  The third floor was used by the Georgia National Guard in the years leading up to World War II.  The building burned in the early 1970s.  It was occupied by McConnell's Department Store for many years. Located at the northwest corner of South Jefferson Street and West Madison Street.