• Benjamin Rogers, vice president and dean of administration at Jacksonville University, was named acting president of the school.
Guy Botts, chairman of the board of trustees, said Franklyn A. Johnson, who had resigned as president in July, would step down immediately and be succeeded by Rogers.
Johnson was leaving to become president of Los Angeles State College. At the time he tendered his resignation, he agreed to remain in the post until his successor was named.
Botts said the process of hiring a new president for the university was taking longer than anticipated and the school could not expect Johnson to remain for such a length of time. He said also that Rogers had informed the board he had no interest in being named president on a permanent basis.
The appointment as acting president was the second for Rogers. He served from February-August 1962 when Johnson visited Europe to research a book on British defense.
• Two would-be engineers, ages 8 and 9, tried to help speed up construction at the new Duncan U. Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach. They managed to start the motor on a crane, but before the two boys could put the machinery into operation, they caught the attention of law enforcement.
Deputy Marshal Steve Powell noticed the activity, sped to the scene and shut down the crane.
"Somebody might have been killed if they had had time to pull the lever to the crane's boom," he said.
The youngsters said they learned how to start the crane by watching the construction operator all week. They were given strong reprimands and turned over to their parents.
• Edward Ball, chairman of Florida East Coast Railway, said the FEC had rescinded its work-rule changes for operating employees in conformance with an 11th-hour railroad arbitration law signed by President John F. Kennedy.
"If I read the legislation correctly, I do not think the FEC will come under it," said FEC President William B. Thompson Jr. just hours after the law was signed.
The next day, however, he agreed the FEC would conform to the law in obedience to the ruling.
Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz and Francis O'Neill, chairman of the National Mediation Board, had sent to Ball telegrams directing him to rescind the FEC's new operating work-rule schedule. Ball said he immediately wired Wirtz and O'Neill that the FEC would comply with their request.
The FEC had been an original party to proposed work-rule changes made in 1959 by all major railroads. The FEC pulled out of the group negotiations July 2, 1963, and implemented its own work-rule changes for operating employees
The FEC's engineers, conductors, trainmen and other operating employees had refused to work since January due to a strike of 11 non-operating unions and formally declared a strike of their own July 2 when the FEC put its new work rules into effect.
• The City Advertising Committee executed a $30,000 contract with the Florida World's Fair Authority for a City of Jacksonville exhibit at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair.
Funds for the exhibit space would be appropriated from the City advertising budget.
The committee, comprising representatives from the Jacksonville Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Jacksonville Junior Chamber of Commerce, were the sponsors of the exhibit.
The contract called for a 400-square-foot area in the Florida exhibit building which was under construction in New York City. The fair was to open in April 1964.
City Commissioner Louis Ritter said what Jacksonville's exhibit would look like had not been determined, but the purpose of the exhibit was to "promote the city to several million World's Fair visitors."
Approval of the expenditure of City funds was made at a meeting in Mayor Haydon Burns' office. In attendance were Ritter, who represented the commission on the advertising committee; City Council President Clyde "Red" Cannon, representing the Council; W.L. Stensgaard, executive vice president of the Florida World's Fair Authority; E.A. Soucy, fair authority general manager; and Burns.
• Duval County School Board member Martinez Baker was puzzled over a letter he received in response to his protest to the president of the United States regarding the Supreme Court ban on Bible reading in public schools.
Martinez wrote in his letter:
"I humbly beg of you in all sincerity to lead the Congress to take all the necessary steps to provide a constitutional amendment permitting and encouraging daily prayer and Bible reading in our public schools, acknowledging our dependence upon and our allegiance to the Almighty God."
Martinez received this response:
"Dear Mr. Baker,
"The Attorney General has asked me to reply to your letter of June 25, 1963 and to thank you for expressing your views on the Supreme Court's decision on Bible reading and prayer in the public schools and also for your views on the proposed amendment to the First Amendment which would permit these practices in the public schools."
The once-sentence letter was signed, "Sincerely, Norbert A. Schlei, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel."
"What does that mean?" Baker said.
• Twenty counseling firms and 60 adult advisers were being chosen to assist in the Junior Achievement program in its first year of operation in Jacksonville.
R. Millard Oliphant, chairman of the Junior Achievement Committee, said eight of the 20 firms had so far made "definite commitments" to the new program.
Each firm would be a "guiding light" for the anticipated 20 Junior Achievement companies that would be operated by 400 high-school students, he said.
• Robert Jacobs, president and treasurer of the S.S. Jacobs Co., announced the sale and leaseback of three multimillion-dollar Downtown buildings.
They were the 20-story Universal-Marion Building, the six-story Ivey's department store building and the eight-story Jacobs Building.
The purchaser was New York City-based Kratter Corp., a national real estate development company.
Jacobs did not divulge the exact terms of the agreement, but said the sale was for "several million dollars above the value of the existing mortgages."
The Ivey's and Universal-Marion buildings were part of a Downtown complex started by Jacobs in June 1961.
The other building in the complex, the Park Central South Building, which housed Purcells department store and a multistory parking garage, was not involved in the sale. A fourth building intended to be a clinic and offices for physicians, was never started.
Jacobs said the leaseback agreement would not change the Jacobs Co. continuing to operate the buildings and the sale of the three buildings in a package was the largest single real-estate sale in Jacksonville history.
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 1963. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library's periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.