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 1965. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library’s periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.
A proclamation recognizing the 99th anniversary of the founding of Edward Waters College was signed by Mayor Lou Ritter.
The college was launching a fundraising campaign to build a $250,000 gymnasium and auditorium in connection with the anniversary.
In the document, Ritter said Edward Waters College stood “as a beacon light for 99 years, serving Jacksonville, Duval County and Florida and has been dedicated to the perpetuation of Christian fortitude and a high standard of citizenry.”
“Edward Waters College exists to aid in the recognition of the worth and interdependence of all people and further to assist them in discovering their interests and aptitudes in developing professional and vocational competence in specific skills,” the proclamation said.
• Bert Weaver, a 33-year-old golfer who never before had won a professional tournament, carded an even-par 72 in the cold and windy final round to win the Greater Jacksonville Open at Selva Marina Country Club. He took home the winner’s share of $8,500 in the $57,500 tournament.
Weaver’s 3-under-par 285 total gave him the title by one stroke over four second-place finishers. Tied at 286 were Bob Charles, Bruce Devlin, Dave Marr and Jack Nicklaus.
Dan Sikes, the Jacksonville attorney who held the third-round lead with a five-under 211, finished with a 76 in the final round. He tied with Sam Snead for third place.
Julius Boros, Billy Casper, Tony Lema, Cary Middlecoff, Arnold Palmer and Ken Venturi also were in the field.
• The city learned that if you let the river come up to your door, you lose your lawn — not only to the river, but also to the state.
The revelation came when the city applied for a permit to build a bulkhead in Stockton Park in Ortega.
As result of an active hurricane season in 1964, about 20 feet of land along the 300-foot shoreline in the park was underwater after the river washed out the shore front and moved into the park.
According to Park Commissioner Dallas Thomas, when the city decided to install a new bulkhead in the park, a request for a permit was sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The request was denied with an explanation that since the land was submerged, the city didn’t own it any longer and would have to get the trustees of the State Internal Improvement Fund to give it back to the city.
“This is ridiculous,” Thomas said. “We owned the park land and the last couple of hurricanes washed parts of it out. Now we have to go to Tallahassee and get back the property we owned for many, many years.”
• The Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teacher’s organization, moved to end all color barriers in both the professional teaching group and voting rights.
The association, holding its annual convention in Jacksonville, authorized its board of directors to proceed toward a merger with the predominantly African-American Florida State Teachers Association.
Dade County School Superintendent Joe Hall, who presided over the 4,000 delegates gathered in the Coliseum for the first general assembly, urged approval of the recommendation.
• Jacksonville University was named recipient of the 1965 Rotary Foundation grant to help purchase books for the school’s Swisher Library.
Tinsley Rucker, chairman of the Rotary Club of Jacksonville’s Projects and Screening Committee, said the grant would be about $12,000. The funds would come from proceeds of the 13th Annual Rotary Charity Ball, scheduled April 23 at the George Washington Hotel.
Rucker said seven organizations applied for the grant. The committee selected JU to provide the school with a “permanent, identifiable collection of books.”
• Two Jacksonville police officers drew 14-month suspensions following a City Commission hearing on charges stemming from a criminal case against them that had been dropped by the state attorney.
Patrolmen James Branch and James Luman were suspended without pay on April 8, 1964, when they were arrested on charges of accepting unauthorized compensation.
Each was charged with two counts: Accepting a $90 bribe on March 17, 1964, from Sam Blumenthal, manager of the H&S Billiard Parlor at 218 W. Forsyth St., for not arresting him and a group of men in the parlor after closing hours; and for observing the after-hours operation of the pool hall and alleged gambling therein and then leaving without making an arrest while the gambling continued.
The officers denied accepting money from Blumenthal in their testimony. They said while they suspected what was going on in the pool hall at 3 a.m., there was insufficient evidence to make an arrest when they entered the business.
The action of the commission meant Branch and Luman could go back to work in June, but would lose about $6,200 in pay from the date of their suspension.
In another administrative hearing, Police Capt. Gerald Duggan, convicted of accepting a bribe in another case and sentenced to three years in prison, was granted a continuance of his case before the commission.
On the motion of Duggan’s attorney, Albert Datz, the commissioners agreed that since Duggan had an appeal pending on his conviction in the criminal case, a final disposition of the court case had not occurred.
• Charter members of the Beaches Rotary Club were honored at the club’s 19th anniversary meeting in the Atlantic Beach Hotel.
Six of the 15 men who formed the club in 1946 were introduced and a biography of each of the founders was presented by Ed Smith, also a founder.
The others present were James Rupert, G.A. Cotton, W.D. Dickinson, Floyd Hostetter and E.H. Roberts.
Fred Woolverton of the Rotary Club of Jacksonville, sponsor of the Beaches club, was master of ceremonies.
• A coroner’s jury ruled the shooting death of Price Cribbs, 20, in a Kings Road tavern was justifiable homicide.
The ruling before Justice of the Peace Gordon Poppell brought the release of Robert Russell, 44, manager of Darley’s Grill and Restaurant at 2480 Old Kings Road. He was being held on a murder charge.
Testimony at the hearing showed Cribbs was attacking Russell when the tavern manager pulled a .45 caliber handgun from behind the bar and fired once, fatally wounding Cribbs.
Cribbs’ brother, Emory, 17, was bound over to Criminal Court in another hearing before Poppell on an assault to murder charge.
Witnesses testified the younger Cribbs had knocked another bar patron to the floor and was about to strike him with a bar stool when his brother was killed.
• The Board of County Commissioners approved a $10,000 appropriation to defray the cost of dividing voting precincts in Duval County.
The recommendation to finance the changes came from Supervisor of Registration Robert Mallard, chairman of a committee appointed to study and suggest improvements in election practices.
He said breaking up a number of the more populous voting precincts was a matter of public convenience, would bring polling places closer to voters and make for shorter waiting lines on major election days.
“In many instances, the polling places in years past have been undesirable. In many areas, the schools are good places to hold elections. It seems it would be educational for the children in school to see their parents voting,” Mallard said.
In 1965, there were 148 precincts in Duval County. The committee suggested adding 62 new precincts: 38 in unincorporated areas and 24 inside the city limits of Jacksonville.