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Jax Daily Record Monday, Sep. 15, 201412:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Army Corps to finance $2M beach project after Dora

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

After Hurricane Dora destroyed or damaged much of Duval County’s seawalls, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planned to build a continuous granite block revetment along 4 miles of oceanfront.

Col. H.R. Parfitt, district engineer for the Jacksonville office, estimated the job would cost between $2 million and $2.5 million. The White House Office of Emergency Planning directed the corps to carry out the project and would fund the work.

Granite blocks and filter stone would be installed from the north city limits of Atlantic Beach to 32nd Avenue South at Jacksonville Beach. Parfitt said 32nd Avenue South was selected as the cutoff point in Jacksonville Beach because south of that point, there was a sufficient buildup of sand to protect oceanfront property.

A little more than a mile of similar sloping revetment was placed by engineers in 1963 along sections of Jacksonville and Neptune beaches. Those sections would connect with the new work to make a continuous wall, Parfitt said.

The project included replacing some of the sand lost through erosion during the storm. Also in the plan was replacement of six automobile access ramps that had been destroyed.

Parfitt said a negotiated contract would be awarded for placing 130,000 tons of granite blocks weighing up to one ton each and replacing 38,000 cubic yards of sand.

Because of the possibility of additional severe storms, the corps’ bid request would specify the work be rushed to be completed in 75 calendar days.

• Work crews were replacing more than 500 electric power poles snapped during the hurricane’s on sweep through Duval County.

“Dora was a good power pole inspector,” said Everett Flynn, superintendent of the overhead power distribution system. “She showed us where the rotten poles were.”

• Rain from the storm destroyed about 50 volumes of books, a set of encyclopedias and a shelf of bound magazines in the Main Library at 101 E. Adams St., said Director of Libraries Harry Brinton.

He said damage to the roof permitted more than 3 inches of rain to leak into the building and penetrated into the children’s room on the second floor where the books and encyclopedias were shelved.

Brinton also said the Willowbranch Library at 2875 Park St. was flooded by about 2 inches of rainwater, but there appeared to be no visible damage.

“Libraries suffered only a minimum of damage considering the storm’s ferocity,” Brinton said.

• The storm was indirectly responsible for two deaths in Duval County.

A truck driver employed by a private contractor working with the city to restore electric service suffered a fatal heart attack while driving a load of utility poles. The driver was not identified in news reports.

John Henry Botkin, 72, was dead on arrival at Baptist Memorial Hospital, the apparent victim of a heart attack suffered while clearing debris from his yard at 4521 Fulton Ave.

County Patrolman T.E. Reeves said Botkin, had survived two previous heart attacks, had complained of shortness of breath while dragging tree limbs from his yard.

Reeves said the victim collapsed unconscious on top of a pile of brush and died despite efforts by Lakewood San Jose volunteer firefighters who administered oxygen to him.

F.C. Baker, an assistant supervisor in the city Utilities Department, also had a heart attack while at work in his office. He was given artificial respiration on the scene and was treated at a hospital.

Three city employees were injured during the cleanup. Lineman R.A. Kyall suffered a broken nose when a limb fell from a tree and struck him in the face. Another lineman, J.F. Lee, sustained an eye injury when a transformer sparked as he was installing a fuse. Gerald Reed, also a lineman, broke his wrist when he fell from a utility pole at Fourth Street and Myrtle Avenue.

• Three men from Rome, N.Y., were given jail terms and fines in Jacksonville Beach Municipal Court after they pleaded guilty to taking a quantity of the city Utility Department’s copper wire blown down by Hurricane Dora.

Municipal Judge Raymond L. Simpson handed 30-day sentences and $100 fines to the defendants on charges of petty larceny.

The trio admitted taking the heavy-gauge wire, valued at about $12, from near the oceanfront and 32nd Avenue South.

They said they offered to return it when they were seen putting the wire into their car by a city line crewman.

They said the crewman told them the wire was twisted too badly to be reused when it was put into the car and that he told them not to remove it.

The crewman informed his superior of the incident and a county patrolman later arrested the men with the wire in their possession.

• The American Red Cross reported that 5,901 homes were damaged or destroyed in 33 Florida counties affected by Hurricane Dora.

Of those, 51 were destroyed, 384 received major damage and 5,466 received minor damage.

• More than 3,000 Duval County Cub, Explorer and Boy Scouts hauled out some American history to kick off their annual fall recruiting drive.

Scouts of the Shawnee District, North Florida Council, staged an all-day marathon from Mandarin to Mayport Naval Station. A 13-star U.S. flag was carried by foot, boat, canoe, bicycle, beach buggy and helicopter across the southeastern part of the county to emphasize the 1964 scouting theme “Strengthen America’s Heritage.”

Frank Beddow, Shawnee District chairman, started the marathon by presenting the flag to members of Mandarin Troop 110 at the Church of Our Saviour, which was demolished by Hurricane Dora.

At the end of the trek, a helicopter waiting along Mayport Road picked up the flag and flew it to Mayport Naval Station, where it was delivered for a ceremony at the carrier basin.

• The City Commission received bids from 16 insurance firms on a hospitalization insurance program for 4,500 city employees and officials.

Bids ranged from an apparent low of $10.19 monthly for an employee’s dependents up to $22.41 for an employee and dependents from another company.

The city was authorized under state law to provide hospitalization for employees and officials. City Finance Commissioner Dallas Thomas said a determination would be made on whether the city would pay all or part of the insurance premium once a plan was selected.

The commission also deferred, pending an itemized report, a request by Recreation Board Secretary George Robinson for $56,000 to repair the Gator Bowl in time for the Oct. 8 Georgia Tech vs. Navy football game.

In February, responding to public criticism, the commission ordered repairs to the football stadium stands and toilet facilities.

• Revived interest in long-range plans to beautify the Southside area around the proposed Treaty Oak Park was expressed by the Jacksonville City Planning Advisory Board.

Board member Henry Dew suggested the board act to formally request the Jacksonville-Duval County Planning Board prepare tentative zoning charts for the area.

All of the property surrounding the site, bounded by Miami Road, Main Street, Alvarez Street and Flagler Avenue, was zoned Industrial A.

• The concrete roof slab for the new Main Library Downtown along Ocean Street, between Adams and Forsyth streets, was poured and the concrete frame for the structure was expected to be complete by Sept. 30.

The next step was installation of precast concrete wall panels, which would take about seven weeks.

The $2,477,700 building was scheduled to be complete in July. It was financed as part of a $3.9 million municipal bond program approved by voters in 1963.

• Jacksonville University had a record fall enrollment of 2,310 students, 100 more than in 1963. Of the enrollees, 1,601 were full-time students and 709 were part-time students. The class comprised 1,445 men and 865 women.

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