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

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

1913: THE PINNACLE YEAR

For the better part of a quarter of a century, the City of Dublin and the County of Laurens grew and grew.  Moreover, the Emerald City grew so fast that her boosters proclaimed, "Dublin, Georgia - The only city in Georgia which is "doublin' all the time."  But, as they say, "all good things must come to an end.  The beginning of that end came in the years which followed when the boll weevil, a world war, and a world wide influenza epidemic would bring to an untimely end the meteoric growth of a once stagnant, lawless village into one of Georgia's premier cities.

Emma Perry, a country schoolmaster, gathered a  large set of facts which showed that Dublin's  population rose by 572% from 1890 to 1910, while the county's populace increased by 36 percent in the first decade of the century alone.  The number of African Americans increased during the decade to nearly match the number of white residents.   Negro ownership of property increased by 76% in the first decade.  The county's 4,923 farms encompassed 45% of the county's 810 square miles. 

One sign of Dublin's status was the large number of state wide conventions and meetings which were held in the city in the early years of the second decade of the 20th Century.  Some forty members of the Georgia Hotel Association gathered in Dublin's premier hotel, "The New Dublin," on the day after New Year's Day for their annual convention.

Dublin's first Boy Scout troop began its first full year of existence under the leadership of Scoutmaster George B. Fout and scouts Sibley White, Dupree Bishop and Leon Burch.  The troop would be honored with their selection to represent the State of Georgia at the first inaugural parade for President Woodrow Wilson, Georgia's first President.

The murder trial of A.L. Lynn for killing his wife's uncle in cold blood was one of the  most celebrated in the early years of the century.  

The most notable achievement of the year was the erection of the six-story First National Bank, which opened for business in the early part of the year.  The remaining five floors were completed and occupied just before Christmas. 

Dublin's first theater re-opened in March as the Crystal Palace Theater under the management of Mrs. E.C. Hightower in the building occupied in 2013 by Deano's Restaurant.  One of the city's first department store chains, Churchwell's, opened right across the street as well. 

The Royal Arcanum of Georgia, a prestigious Masonic organization, was  held in Dublin on the Ides of April. 

The Dublin Band went to the Chattanooga Reunion of the United Confederate Veterans, this being the third reunion the band has performed for, the other two being Little Rock, Arkansas, and Macon, Georgia.

J.B. Burch built the eponymously named three- story Burch Building next door to the newly constructed Post Office and within site of the First National, making Madison Street, the city's third commercial corridor.

The annual Chautaugua Festival, headed by  V.L. Stanley, T.W. Hooks,  N.G. Bartlet, Peter S. Twitty, Jr. and Frank Lawson, returned in June 1913 on a smaller scale in the newly remodeled 700-seat school auditorium.  Dr. Frederick Cook, an early polar explorer, returned to tell of his exciting adventures at both ends of the Earth. 

The Dublin Printing Company and the Dublin Courier Dispatch merged in August.  The company's new name was The Courier Herald Publishing Company, which began a semi weekly paper known as the Dublin Courier Herald.  On November 3, it became a daily paper, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.   

In a concerted, all out attack on illiteracy,  Laurens County moved from 135th to 93rd place in the state  in 5 years.  In 1913,  6% of the white population, 17.7% of the black population, and 12.3% of the total population were illiterate, a 4.2 decrease in five years.

The Royal Order of the Moose, Lodge No. 1409 was organized by  Installing Officer, W.F. Colley, Past Dictator, E.B. Claxton; Dictator, Smyth Burch; Vice Dictator, Peter S. Twitty; Prelate, G.C. Murray; Secretary, F. Stephens; Treasurer, Cleveland Pope; Sergeant of Arms, H.F. Robinson; Inner Guard, W.H. Turner; Outer Guard, J.J. Clark; Trustees - T.W. Hooks, T.A. Curry, and J.W. Donaldson in the autumn of 1913. 

The 1200- seat Bertha Theatre opened on October 7 with a New York style play by Al Wilson's Company.  The opening was a highly social affair in an auditorium with 1200 seats. Peter S. Twitty made the welcoming speech.  The theatre was named for the wife of Stephen J. Lord, Bertha Brantley Lord.  

The Harriett Holsey Industrial School for African Americans reopened in the fall at its Ohio Street location.

The highlight of the entertainment year was the 12th Congress District fall fair.  The event, which brought as many as 20,000 people to town on a single day, featured Eugene Heth who flew a Wright Bi-Plane.  Other events included:  The Merry Makers Comedy Co., Collier's Old Plantation Show, McFalls Dog and Monkey Circus, Harry Kojan's Theatrical Girls of Coney Island,  Kit Carson's Wild West Show,  a street parade, speeches by Gov. John M. Slaton, Con. Dudley M. Hughes, and State School Commissioner, M.L. Brittain, Old Time Singers and Fiddlers Convention,  Ginners Day,  Farmers and Livestock Day and many agricultural exhibitions.

The year ended on a high economic note.  All six of the county's banks were growing rapidly and nearly out of debt.  Once again, Laurens County led the state in the production of cotton, running her  streak to three consecutive years.

As I end my 17th year of writing Pieces of Our Past, I want to take a moment to thank  each and every one of you who have enjoyed my columns over the last 884 weeks.  I sincerely hope that I have offended no one and that I have made you remember with fondness, laugh a little and yes, even cry.   If so, then my job as a writer is complete.  

As we enter yet another year, I remind all of you that the most history in the world is the history we don't know, the undiscovered stories of the past, or more importantly, the history of the future.  

History is all around you, every day and every where.  It is up to all of us to insure that the history of our future is all up to us.  May we all live in peace, joy and love and respect for one another for all of the days of our lives.

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