- 2012 - September - 17th -

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.

• The new $5 million Civic Auditorium Downtown along the St. Johns River was dedicated with speeches and public tours.

The establishment of the auditorium by the citizens of Jacksonville through their labor, capital and inspirational work showed that the city was entering a “golden era,” said state Rep. John Mathews.

He said it was a “fine thing that all phases of the City’s economy had grown and prospered” and that there was an appreciation in the community for arts and culture.

“Jacksonville is writing a page in history today and taking a placed as an enlightened city in an enlightened civilization,” Mathews said.

He also spoke of the facility in terms of the broad implications for American society.

“The spirit of Jacksonville is an unchallengeable, indomitable and ever-growing foundation for our progress. The willingness of the citizens of Jacksonville to work toward noble goals will enable us to prove those false prophets wrong when they say our way of life will not long endure,” Mathews said.

• Tom Heaney Jr., chief warden of the Duval County Jail, was presented an award recognizing him as America’s outstanding jailer of 1962.

The award was given to Heaney by Robert Jamison, president of the National Jail Association. Heaney was in competition with wardens or chief jailers in more than 1,000 counties in the United States. It was the first time the award had been made to a county in the South.

Heaney was cited for his guard training program, prisoner rehabilitation work, his program of encouraging prisoners to donate blood to the Jacksonville Blood Bank and a visiting nurse program.

“This award bears out the confidence I have in Tom and the way he is operating the jail. It is an honor not only for him, but for the entire personnel of the jail,” said Sheriff Dale Carson.

• The City acquired the Windle Hotel at 17 E. Forsyth St. at a cost of $357,000. The City Commission agreed to purchase the hotel property, which extended from Forsyth to Adams streets, as part of the site for a new Downtown library.

There were two buildings on the 60-foot by 210-foot plot of land. The building fronting on Forsyth Street had stores on the ground floor and hotel rooms on the second and third floors.

The building fronting on Adams Street had a shoe store on the ground floor. Above it were five stories of rooms operated by the Windle Hotel.

The remainder of the site was occupied by the old City Hall. Both buildings would be demolished to make way for the library.

• A new clinic area at Hope Haven Hospital was dedicated to the memory of William MacDonald Goodman and “to the children of this area and the service we can render to them in the years to come.”

The dedicatory remarks were made by Ed R. Bentley of Lakeland, chairman of the Florida Crippled Children’s Commission.

“This is indeed a happy day for those of us who have envisioned better facilities for treatment of crippled children in this area,” he said.

The late William MacDonald Goodman was the father of W. Hardin Goodman, president of Hope Haven Hospital, who was instrumental in the building of the new clinic. Goodman spoke briefly and recalled when Hope Haven was the only general children’s hospital between Atlanta and Miami.

• Duval County Commissioner C. Ray Greene called for a financial subsidy for local students attending Jacksonville University.

He said the cost of higher education “made it prohibitive in many cases” for Duval County students to receive a college education.

Green said a formula might be worked out to award local students financial credits based on the annual $100,000 contribution the County made in tax funds to support the private university.

“I’m just trying to see that Duval County students get credit for the taxpayers’ money that’s being donated to Jacksonville University,” said Greene.

• The Duval County Civil Service Board was informed that Kathleen Hartley, former clerk of the Civil and Criminal Courts of record, would not testify regarding administrative charges against one of her former employees.

Hartley was serving a sentence of up to five years in state prison after pleading no contest to a charge she embezzled funds from her office.

Hartley’s attorney, Edward Mulcahy, produced a telegram from his client stating that she had learned of the board’s interest in hearing her being a witness but that she would not comply with their request.

The board’s attorney, John Cox, obtained an order from Circuit Judge William L. Durden that directed the sheriff to bring Hartley to Jacksonville from the state prison within one week in order that she could testify in the case of suspended Trial Clerk Clarence G. Wells.

Wells had denied to the board knowledge of any misappropriation of funds while he served under Hartley.

• The Jacksonville Beach City Council voted to protect the City’s interest in golf course property and learned that prospects for a proposed new oceanfront development had diminished.

City Attorney Stephen Stratford was authorized by the Council to take any steps necessary to protect the City’s interest in municipally-owned land that was sold to Holiday Country Club Inc. in 1960 with a 40-year mortgage.

Council member Forrest Bryant said the club was more than $46,000 delinquent in its contract payments and made the motion for Stratford to take action.

On the development issue, Mayor William Wilson read a letter from the attorney for Sam Wolfson, an officer of Adwolf Investments Inc., which had leased an oceanfront block between Pablo and North First avenues.

Wolfson and his associates had proposed constructing a large motel on the property if the City agreed to build a pier and coliseum adjacent to the property, part of a $1.2 million municipal improvement project planned for the area.

In the letter, attorney Joseph Glickstein stated that the owner of the property, W.H. Adams of Atlantic Beach, had refused to subordinate ownership of the property for financing purposes, which made it undesirable and not in the best interest of all concerned to undertake private development on the site.

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