- 2012 - September - 3rd -

by Max Marbut, Staff Writer

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 1962. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library’s periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.

• Florida Attorney General Richard Ervin ruled that barriers erected by the U.S. Navy and Duval County seaside cities to prevent free access along the beaches were illegal. He said it was the duty of the state trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund to take action to have the barriers removed.

The legal opinion, rendered to the IIF board, was the latest development in a fight by Duval County Small Claims Court Judge W. Shannon Linning to open areas of the beaches that were barricaded.

“Any attempt on the part of the City of Jacksonville Beach or the U.S. Navy to install barriers which prevent a free and unobstructed movement of pedestrian as well as vehicular traffic along the beach would constitute a trespass and it is the duty of the (IIF) trustees to institute whatever proceedings are required to remove such barriers,” Ervin said in his opinion.

Linning had gone before the County Commission charging that 75 percent of the beaches were closed to public access. He contended that under a 1925 state law, the beach in Duval County constituted a public highway subject to the paramount right of the public to use it for bathing and recreation.

Several years earlier, the commission and other local officials had prevented mining operations along the beach by citing the 1925 legislation which designated the beach as a highway.

Ervin’s opinion would not end the matter.

Capt. Richard Kibbe, Mayport Naval Station commanding officer, said the barricades in front of the government property had been placed there for security reasons.

Jacksonville Beach Mayor William Wilson said the City was empowered through its charter to restrict vehicular access to portions of the beach for safety reasons.

• After boarding a train bound for the Miss America Pageant, Miss Florida, Gloria Brody from Jacksonville, reportedly went to sleep at about 10 p.m. on the way to Atlantic City, N.J.

Brody’s Atlantic Coast Line Champion compartment companion for the 12-hour trip and chaperone for the pageant, Beatrice Owens of Jacksonville, said the contestant slept soundly all night long.

“Isn’t youth wonderful? Any girl who can sleep on the way to something like the Miss America contest has a quality many of us can envy,” said Owens.

Before becoming Miss Florida, Brody had won 12 local contests, beginning with Miss Blaze in 1959.

“I think, ‘Oh, I have to win because of all the people who have faith in me.’ And then, when I do win, I am overwhelmed. I always think of the people who thought I would make it, I’m glad I won for them,” Brody said.

Miss Ohio, 20-year-old Jacquelyn Jean Mayer, was crowned Miss America at the conclusion of the pageant.

Brody was not among the finalists in the competition.

• Jacksonville Tourist & Convention Bureau General Manager George Tobi was searching for residents who spoke at least one foreign language. His goal was to develop a list of interpreters who could assist foreign tourists, military personnel and immigrants.

“We get people in our office from time to time who can’t speak a word of English. We sometimes can’t even recognize the language they are speaking, and when we can’t communicate with them, we can’t help them,” Tobi said.

The interpreters would speak to visitors on the telephone and would probably be needed only for a few minutes at a time, he said.

The Business and Professional Woman’s Club had offered to assist with the project and volunteered aid for foreign tourists.

“Several people we’ve talked to said they would house these people for the night, but we’re not worried about such arrangements. We just want to have a file of linguists who will take a few moments to talk on the telephone and thereby help us give aid to a confused visitor,” Tobi said.

• No traffic fatalities were recorded in Duval County over the Labor Day weekend.

For the 78-hour period that began at 6 p.m. Friday before the holiday and ended at midnight Monday, 99 traffic accidents were reported in the city and the county.

In the 99 accidents, 33 persons were injured, but none seriously. Of the total number of mishaps, 41 occurred outside the city limits in Duval County and 58 in Jacksonville.

• Gail Braddock, 15, defeated 10 other contestants to win the women’s marathon ocean swim at Jacksonville Beach.

Patty Fryer, 16, and Lynn Tieslau, 15, came in second and third, respectively. Braddock finished the 1-mile race through calm surf in 34 minutes, 13.8 seconds. She was a junior at Duncan U. Fletcher High School and swam with the Ponte Vedra Beach Swim Club Team.

“It was hard work, but it also was a lot of fun. The swimming conditions were ideal,” said Braddock.

Mary Boswell, 30, of Ponte Vedra Beach was a veteran of the swim, having participated in the inaugural event in 1955. Her 1962 time – 44:41.4 – was better than her first try, in which she finished third in a little more than an hour, she said.

Sue Hillstone, 36, mother of four children, was the oldest swimmer in the race and finished last in 55:23.4.

• Floyd Falany, who was about to teach a course via Educational Television to 5,000 public high school seniors, said there was no intention of instilling hate in the minds of children.

The course in Americanism vs. communism, which was mandated by the Legislature, would examine objectively the flaws and fallacies of the Communist way of life, he said.

Falany quoted from a pamphlet drafted by the State Department of Education as a guideline for organizing the courses throughout the state:

“The legitimate hatred of evil must not be allowed to crowd out a positive reliance on the basic soundness of our country and its citizenry.

“If this happens, one will have accorded communism the greatest achievement to which it could aspire – the power to dictate our thinking,” the pamphlet stated.

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