• Hopes for making Jacksonville a port of call for cruise ships improved when the 330-passenger SS Arianne arrived for the first time.
The Executive Committee of the Jacksonville Convention and Visitors Bureau discussed the port possibilities with cruise company executives during a luncheon aboard the vessel.
The fully air-conditioned, 454-foot cruise ship was tied up at the municipal docks and terminals Downtown and was set to sail for a four-day cruise to the Bahamas. Onboard were more than 250 members of the Georgia Association of Realtors and their guests. The organization was to hold its annual convention while on the cruise.
"We think this idea has a lot of merit. There are two possibilities here. One is to make use of the fact when we are inviting future conventions, that these cruises out of Jacksonville could be arranged for them as a post-convention trip.
"Our city still would be host to the conventions under this arrangement and probably would pick up some extra business when those taking the cruises return to port here," said George Tobi, executive director of the bureau.
He said the other possibility was to schedule conventions to be held onboard the ship during cruises leaving and returning to Jacksonville. That approach would to invite groups that had conducted conventions in the city in recent years and ordinarily wouldn't return for a number of years, Tobi said.
• A record 115,000 students were expected to answer the opening bell when Duval County Public Schools began the 1963-64 academic year.
Among them were 10 African-American first-graders scheduled to attend several formerly all-white elementary schools.
The children were greeted by 4,500 educational personnel in the 15th largest school system in the United States.
Duval County's first public school desegregation was the result of a federal court suit filed in 1960 by parents of a group of African-American children.
There were 123 public schools in Duval County, including four that had been added since the previous school year. A new junior high school, Joseph Stilwell, was expected to open midway through the year.
• Two days after classes began, Duval County School Board members expressed disappointment in several principals who were capitalizing on the temporary no-milk school lunch diet by selling orange drinks at as much as a 150-percent profit to the benefit of their schools.
School Superintendent Ish Brant ordered the principals to immediately stop the practice.
The principals opened their cafeterias without offering milk because the school board was not willing to accept a 2-cent increase in the price offered by dairymen for a half-pint of milk.
Hopes for a reduction in the price rested with the Florida Milk Commission, which was attempting to mediate the dispute between milk distributors and numerous county school boards that were objecting to the price increase.
The distributors were showing a solid front with a price offering of 7.2 cents per half-pint of milk. Before school began, the board decided to not sell milk at all until the dispute was resolved and gave principals a free hand to find a beverage substitute.
For example, an orange drink was sold at Ribault Senior High School for 10 cents after the principal procured it for 4 cents.
Charles W. Johnson, board chairman, said students were being charged 25 cents for a plate lunch without milk, when milk was included at that price in 1962.
Board member Raymond A. David said the whole purpose of doing without the milk was to hold down lunch prices "and I presume the principals could read in the newspapers what our reasons were, but they went ahead and defeated the purpose of it."
• The new senior high school planned to be built in South Jacksonville would bear the name of Samuel W. Wolfson, the financier and sportsman who had recently died.
Duval County School Board member Ned Searcy proposed the change of the projected school's name from Landon Senior High to Wolfson Senior High.
Before Searcy asked the board to consider naming the new school for Wolfson, he read a letter from the Wolfson Foundation.
The letter stated the foundation was prepared to donate $50,000 toward construction of the new school to be located on a tract known as "Skinner's Pasture," south of University Boulevard and between the Florida East Coast Railway track and Old. St. Augustine Road.
Searcy said it would be fitting to name the school after Wolfson, not only because of the donation, but because "he was such a good citizen of our community."
The board approved the action unanimously.
• The first phase of infrastructure improvements were about to be concluded in "Hansontown." The neighborhood was described as "the festering carbuncle of slum area on the back of Jacksonville's Downtown redevelopment."
City Sewer Department crews were installing sanitary sewers in the area bounded by Broad and Pearl streets and Orange and Third streets.
"When the project is finished, there will be sewers available to every house in Hansontown," said Assistant City Engineer James English.
The City had spent $48,700 to install the sewers and pave some streets in the area, a large part of which had no paved streets and the only sanitary facilities available were outdoor pit privies.
The property owners would be faced with connecting their homes to the sewers and installing indoor sanitary facilities at a cost of $800-$1,000 per home, a total of as much as $100,000.
• A Jacksonville Beach contractor and his wife were charged with giving false statements under oath in connection with the probe of a reported auto accident claims racket directed against Travelers Insurance Co.
The perjury counts, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, were filed by County Solicitor Edward M. Booth against George W. Jones and his wife, Louise.
Booth said the couple appeared in his office Aug. 12 and, under oath, gave false statements that their automobile was involved in an accident with a wrecker on April 16, 1962, along Atlantic Boulevard near St. Johns Bluff Road.
A claim was filed by the couple against Travelers and they received more than $4,000 compensation for the alleged damage to their car and personal injury.
Booth said his investigation determined no collision occurred and there were no injuries.
Jones was one of nine men previously charged by Booth with conspiracy and grand larceny of large sums of money from the insurance company in what Booth called a "$100,000 auto accident claims racket."
• A two-week registration period opened for adult education classes offered in Duval County public schools.
Classes were offered in basic education, high school equivalency, business subjects, foreign languages, arts, music, industrial arts and driver education.
• Auditions for roles in the musical "Gypsy" were scheduled by the Little Theatre of Jacksonville at the playhouse at 2032 San Marco Blvd.
According to George Ballis, executive director of the theater, the casting committee was seeking four boys and two girls, age 10-12; eight young men and six young women; as well as men and women of varying ages.
"Gypsy," the second production of the season for the Little Theatre, was scheduled to open Nov. 15 for a one-week engagement.
• Mrs. William G. Lockwood achieved a "first" for the Junior League of Jacksonville when she became the first daughter of a former league president to assume the organization's top leadership role.
When her mother, Mrs. Fred H. Kent, was president in 1938-39, 110 members were active in community service. The Well Baby Clinic was their main project.
During her 1963-64 term in office, Lockwood was executive officer for more than 220 active members of the Junior League. The members worked as volunteers at more than 25 agencies with the Homemaker Service operating as a unit of the Family Consultation Service, an extension program at the Children's Museum and a youth concert series as three of their main projects.
Lockwood, a mother of three, attended Bryn Mawr College, majoring in political science. She served as an area representative for the college and worked as a part-time bookkeeper for her father's movie-theater chain.
She also was active at St. Johns Presbyterian Church where she taught Sunday school and was a member of the YWCA.
"Some people think of the Junior League mainly as a social club and, of course, members do enjoy their work, but the league is primarily a service organization designed to make better citizens of the members through service," said Lockwood.
"My main interests in life are, naturally, my family and trying to make the community a better place in which to live. You can see how this second interest goes hand in hand with the league," she said.
• Benjamin F. Rogers, assuming his duties as acting president, said Jacksonville University was no longer on the threshold – it had arrived.
"We can and will grow, larger and better, but educators no longer think of Jacksonville University as a pea-patch college. Jacksonville University already has become a respected institution in the South," he said.
Rogers had already told the school's board of trustees he had no interest in being appointed JU's permanent president, but did offer some advice for whoever was eventually named the head of the university.
He said the new president should not concentrate primarily on raising funds, instead working to strengthen the faculty and the research programs.
"Then the funds will come," Rogers said.
• Burglars took $700, including 281 silver dollars, from an Arlington home after breaking in and ransacking it.
County Patrolman R.F. Gardner said Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Rentfrow of 7511 Wycombe Drive had taken their children to a movie and discovered the theft when they returned home.
The money was taken from a metal strong box, which had been forced open, Gardner said.
• A teenager was shot by his brother who was sitting in their Moncrief Road home pulling the trigger of a supposedly unloaded handgun.
Franklin Jones, 15, was treated at Duval Medical Center for a gunshot wound to the right arm.
County Patrolman E.R. Lay said Jones was in a room with his brothers Lawrence, 18, and Oscar, 17, when the shooting occurred.
Lay said Lawrence Jones was sitting in a chair snapping the trigger on a .38-caliber pistol when the weapon accidentally fired, lodging a bullet in his younger brother's arm just below the elbow.
• The Duval County Board of Public Instruction awarded a $484,400 contract to Fred C. Gardner Construction Co. for additions and improvements at Duncan U. Fletcher High School in Jacksonville Beach.
The company was to modify the school building to serve as a junior high school when the new Fletcher High opened in Neptune Beach.
In other action involving the public schools' five-year improvement program, the board authorized a $79,000 expenditure for new music suites at 30 secondary schools.
The equipment included 3,300 student music stands and 109 director music stands, 2,720 tablet-arm chairs and 5,775 folding chairs.
The board deferred action on appropriating $55,000 for 26 upright pianos and 60 electric tuning instruments.
• The 36-foot Jacksonville Beach Sea Scout boat was beached near St. Augustine and then towed back to its home port by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Scoutmaster John Ball and 10 Scouts were on an overnight cruise along the Intracoastal Waterway when they had to beach the boat on an island near St. Augustine. They were taken off the island by conservation officers who were alerted by a passing fisherman.
The Coast Guard towed the boat to the Beach Marina near the McCormick Bridge along Beach Boulevard, where it was moored by the Sea Scout unit.
Ball said the former U.S. Navy vessel would be checked over to determine if the engine, which blew a piston, could be repaired.
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.