Have you ever wondered what life was like in Jacksonville half a century ago? It was a different era of history, culture and politics but there are often parallels between the kind of stories that made headlines then and today. As interesting as the differences may be, so are the similarities. These are some of the top stories from this week in 1967. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library’s periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.
Lobbying pays off with Busch plant
Two days after the company optioned a 200-acre site in North Jacksonville, Anheuser-Busch Inc. announced it would begin construction of a $40 million brewery there within three months.
The brewery would have an annual shipping capacity of 1.5 million barrels of beer, employ 300 workers, and have an estimated annual payroll of $3 million when it begins operation in about two years, said Judson Freeman, local counsel for the St. Louis-based brewer.
The site was chosen for its proximity to the main line of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, he said.
Gov. Claude Kirk, who flew to Jacksonville from Tallahassee for the announcement, said he had done his best to entertain August A. Busch Jr. when the beer tycoon was in Tampa visiting the company’s brewery there in March. Busch also attended the Governor’s Baseball Banquet.
Kirk said that wasn’t the extent of his lobbying effort on behalf of Jacksonville.
“As you know, I was in New York last week, where I was being entertained by bankers in a very exclusive club. August A. Busch III was there, and I enjoyed a Budweiser with him, rather than the expensive wines which were offered,” Kirk said.
“Now, I’m torn between orange juice and Budweiser,” he added.
Specialization is coming, lawyers hear at luncheon
Specialization likely was on the horizon for the legal profession, members of The Jacksonville Bar Association learned.
Al Cone of West Palm Beach, president of the American Trial Lawyers Association, discussed his prediction at the JBA’s monthly luncheon meeting at the Roosevelt Hotel.
He said the Bar would soon be faced with the problem of recognizing specialties in practice.
“We must develop some specialty recognition and specialty requirements. That’s why the medical profession has surpassed us in their earnings and their service to their patients,” said Cone.
In defining the function of attorneys in America, Cone said, “We are to society what oil is to a machine. We function at the points of friction and conflict.”
Planning begins for new prison farm
Planning for a new Duval County prison farm was begun by the county commission.
It was noted that for a couple of years, commissioners had discussed getting a new facility to replace the existing stockade at Commonwealth Avenue and Superior Street.
The matter was brought to a head by receipt of a letter from Louie Wainwright, director of the state Division of Corrections, who said the old stockade had “outlived its usefulness.”
He said while inspection reports stated the facility was well-managed and maintained, it had for several years been “deteriorating greatly” and only minimum maintenance and improvements had been provided.
County Engineer John Crosby estimated the cost of a new facility at about $750,000, but also said he suspected a new prison farm would have to be racially integrated, and if so, that would cut the cost by about one-third.
Candidate tax returns in the news
Mayor Lou Ritter made public his personal income tax returns from 1953 through 1965 and invited other city officials who planned to run for re-election to do likewise.
Ritter said he intended to operate his campaign in the spirit of the state election law, which required candidates to list who contributed to their campaigns and how the money was spent.
“I’m not trying to put anyone on the spot,” Ritter said. “It is my feeling that whenever there is a question about income of public officials that everyone seeking public office — those presently in office to those who aren’t — should show their income.”
Ritter’s tax returns showed income of $19,608 in 1965, a combination of his salaries as mayor and as a county commissioner and from Falcon Sales, an oil distributorship he owned with his wife. His 1953 tax return showed $6,273 in declared income.
When asked by a reporter how much money Ritter had in his pocket, the mayor reached in his pocket, counted, and replied “$7 and some odd cents.”
Judge rules against Duval school board
Holding that Florida’s compulsory school attendance law was unconstitutional, Circuit Judge Roger Waybright dismissed a suit seeking to ban boycotts of Duval County public schools by African-Americans.
His 14-page order also threw out the Duval County School Board’s demand for damages, which could have gone as high as $259,000 for claimed loss of state funds resulting from racial boycotts in 1964 and 1966 protesting the slow pace of school desegregation in Jacksonville.
Waybright said it was “blatantly obvious” that a 1959 amendment to the compulsory attendance law made the statute unconstitutional in its application to both black and white students.
“It denies equal protection of the laws to any child of school age,” he said.
Defendants in the suit were the NAACP and four prominent African-Americans: Wendell P. Holmes, Rutledge Pearson, Charles Daly and R.L. Jones.
After Waybright signed the order, school board attorney Elliot Adams said he didn’t know whether the ruling would be appealed, as that would be a policy matter for the board to decide.
JU schedules arts program in Europe
Jacksonville University was offering two college credits for a study tour of Europe.
The five-week excursion, sponsored by the American International Academy, was organized by Steven Lotz, JU instructor of art history, drawing and graphics
The group would leave from New York City July 10 and return Aug. 14.
Following three weeks of resident study in Vienna, Austria, the group would spend three weeks traveling through Europe, including stops in Germany and Italy.
Cost of the trip was $745, including all expenses and travel from New York and back.