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 1966. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library’s periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.
After learning the New York Stock Exchange might move if a proposed New York City tax increase went into effect, Mayor Lou Ritter made an offer.
He sent a telegram to stock exchange President Keith Funston in which he promoted Jacksonville as the logical place to relocate the exchange.
“Jacksonville, Florida would like to offer our city as the site for your new home or as an alternate site for emergency operations,” Ritter wrote.
He referred to Jacksonville as the “gateway to Florida’s invested billions” and the insurance center of the Southeast.
Ritter also referenced the city’s temperate climate, superior communications, healthy race relations and the $28 million international airport under construction.
• Thomas McGehee, chairman of the board of governors of the Greater Jacksonville Area Community Foundation, reported that at the end of the 1965 fiscal year, the foundation had $71,076 in capital funds, with $56,035 held in trust.
He said the agency received gifts of about $50,000 in the fiscal year and distributed $14,000 in grants.
The organization now is The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.
As a comparison, in 2015, the foundation reported $313 million in total assets and distributed $37 million in grants.
The organization offers permanent protection for gifts or bequests, regardless of size, made by people or corporations for the charitable, educational or cultural needs of the community.
• A man was killed when shot five times, kicked and pistol-whipped at his Brooker Road home.
Police arrested the victim’s wife and stepson and charged them with murder.
Arthur Walker, 36, did not die until after he was taken to a hospital despite having bullet wounds in his chest, neck, shoulder and the back of his head.
Police said Walker had been in and out of his home at 1755 Brooker Road all night Saturday.
When he entered the home at about 1 a.m. Sunday, he turned on all the lights and woke up his wife, Isabelle, and demanded she bring him his pistol.
Isabelle Walker told detectives she handed him the firearm and he began threatening her and his stepson, 19-year-old Carl Walker.
At that point, she reached under her pillow and retrieved a .22-caliber pistol of her own.
She fired a warning shot into the ceiling, but that made her husband more violent, she said.
Isabelle Walker said she shot at him as her husband continued to approach her, but did not know how many shots she fired.
At that point, the stepson took the pistol from his mother and Arthur Walker began to approach him.
Carl Walker fell backward into a piece of furniture and kicked his stepfather, knocking him to the floor. Officers said the stepson fired two more shots into his stepfather.
Despite multiple gunshot wounds, the victim still tried to get up, so the stepson began beating him in the head with the pistol. Arthur Walker got to his feet and, trailing blood, staggered to the back of the house.
Detectives said a relative arrived soon after the altercation and took Arthur Walker to the hospital, where he died.
• Twenty was the lucky number for Burt Pringle.
He had made 19 attempts to submit a winning design for several commemorative U.S. postage stamps until succeeding on try No. 20.
“I’m real happy about it. I wasn’t about ready to give up,” Pringle said.
His winning design was for a stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of a treaty protecting migratory birds in the U.S. and Canada.
The red, white and blue design depicted a bird flying north and another flying south over the U.S.-Canadian border.
Jacksonville Postmaster James Workman described the stamp as “one of the most beautiful the post office has received in a long time.”
• The Downtown Council of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce went on record in support of locating the new Florida Junior College at Jacksonville on a campus in Springfield.
The 170-acre site was bounded by State, Laura, Eighth and Boulevard streets.
Previously, the council’s directors approved its Downtown Task Force studying the feasibility of the proposal and making public its findings.
The directors said they endorsed the site fully aware that federal urban renewal funds would be necessary to implement the project.
Task force Chair Warren Hendry Jr. said he and several committee members consulted with officials of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Atlanta.
He said HUD’s legal department studied Jacksonville’s charter and determined legislation would be required to enable the city to participate in urban renewal projects.
The Springfield site was assessed at $8 million, with $2 million tax-exempt.
Two possible plans for a federal-local partnership to acquire the property were available, Hendry said.
Federal funds to cover two-thirds of the cost would be matched by local funds of one-third in one plan. The federal funds would cover the cost of purchasing the land, clearing it and planning.
The second plan would be 75 percent federal participation and 25 percent local funds. In that arrangement, local money would cover the cost of planning.
Before any local-federal partnership could be initiated, a program for code compliance, neighborhood analysis, financing and a plan for the housing of displaced residents would have to be approved by the city and by HUD, Hendry said.
• Jacksonville University did not anticipate any decline in enrollment because of the new junior college, said JU President Robert Spiro.
He made the comment to clarify the university’s policy toward admitting junior college graduates.
Spiro said JU’s longstanding policy was to admit students on an individual basis and added the school would welcome qualified applicants who had completed all or part of the junior college’s academic program.
“Students requesting transfer to Jacksonville University will be expected to present at least a C average earned in a university parallel program at the junior college, supported by an acceptable high school record in a college preparatory program, acceptable scores on standard tests and favorable personal recommendations,” Spiro said.
Because of expected enrollment increases, JU would become more selective and with 2,700 students, the university was operating near its peak capacity, he said.
• The Board of Library Trustees approved a location for a new public library branch in Murray Hill.
The proposed site near the southwest corner of Edgewood Avenue and Kerle Street would be recommended to City Council and the City Commission for acquisition.
George Simons Jr., site committee chair, said a firm price of $53,000 was made for the property.
Trustees also approved selection of the architectural firm of Hardwick and Lee to design the branch.
In other business, Trustee President Cecil Bailey appointed a committee to study the possibility of permitting art exhibitions in the Haydon Burns Library.
Another group was appointed to discuss with city and county officials whether the Jacksonville Public Library should offer its services to residents of adjoining counties.