Bond issue to finance Civic Auditorium, paper mill to be built on Northside
Have you ever wondered what life was like in Jacksonville half a century ago? It may have been 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 the week of Feb. 29-March 7, 1960. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library’s periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.
• It was announced that a $2.5 million certificate issue to complete the financing of the new municipal auditorium would be offered for sale at noon on March 29.
The certificates would be issued in $1,000-dollar denominations and would be delivered to successful purchaser by April 19. The certificates would be offered to the bidder submitting the lowest net interest rate. The City Council ordinance that authorized the certificate issue did not specify a minimum interest rate for the securities but specified it could not exceed the legal rate of 6 percent.
• The Jacksonville Beach City Council received two offers for its new golf course, one to buy the layout for $150,000 and the other to lease it.
The offer to purchase came from H. Gradsky of 507 St. Johns Apartments and the offer to lease was tendered by W.D. Dickinson of Jacksonville Beach who said he was acting chairman of the San Pablo Country Club.
Gradsky made his offer contingent on the back nine holes being completed and seeded and that irrigation and a paved highway from Beach Boulevard to the course be installed.
“If my offer is accepted,” he wrote, “I will guarantee continuous operation as a golf course and will construct a swimming pool, a clubhouse containing a dining room, lounge, locker rooms for men and for women and other facilities necessary to ensure a first-class operation.”
Dickinson said his group also would build a clubhouse if they were able to lease the links. The San Pablo Country Club had been formed in the mid-1950s and sold memberships in a effort to finance construction of a golf course and clubhouse. The group became inactive when plans were announced for the municipal golf course.
• It was reported that the United States Gypsum Company would soon begin construction of a “multi-million-dollar paper plant.”
The site was a 19-acre plot adjacent to the company’s existing gypsum manufacturing plant on Evergreen Avenue. The property was purchased from the Auchter Company for $375,000.
The mill would be designed to manufacture a full line of chipboard papers to be used exclusively for the company’s gypsum product including Sheetrock gypsum, Rocklath plaster base, wallboard and USG gypsum sheathing.
A spokesman for U.S. Gypsum said when the plant was complete the company’s interests in Jacksonville would represent its largest holdings in the Southeast.
• State Attorney William Hallowes and six incumbent judges of the Fourth Judicial Circuit had no opponents for re-election when qualifying closed for state posts.
Hallowes, who would be entering his seventh term as state attorney for Duval, Clay and Nassau counties, had been unopposed for since the 1936 campaign when he first sought the office.
The unopposed circuit judges, who would begin serving six-year terms in January, were Charles A. Luckie, Edwin L. Jones, William A. Stanly, Albert W. Graessle Jr., William H. Maness and John M. McNatt.
Veteran jurists Bayard Shields and A.D. McNeill, each of whom had served 25 years on the circuit bench, did not seek reelection.
Juvenile Court Judge Marion W. Gooding and attorney Zach Douglas were contending for the Group 7 post being vacated by Shields. Civil Court of Record Judge Roger J. Waybright and attorney John Paul Howard were seeking the Group 8 seat which was held by McNeill.
• More than $2,500 was stolen from a locked automobile on San Juan Avenue.
Tom Relaford of 6319 Blanding Blvd., told Sheriff’s Deputies Grady Grady Henderson and Doug Vanderbilt a canvas bag containing $2,534 was taken from the front seat of his car about 11 a.m. while the vehicle was parked in front of a fish market at 4734 San Juan Ave.
Relaford, who operated two tavern and package stores, said he stopped at the market on the way back to his store after withdrawing the money from a bank. He said he was out of the car about five minutes and one of the car’s vent windows was broken.
• Raynell Wood of 5001 Philips Hwy. went to her neighbor’s house to borrow a cup of coffee and was bitten by a pet monkey.
Wood told county patrolmen she was bitten twice on the left hand when she went to the residence of Art Moller to borrow the coffee for breakfast. She was treated at Baptist Hospital and released.
• The Jacksonville Beach Advisory Planning Board told the City Council an authority would have to be created to carry out a redevelopment program planned for the downtown and oceanfront areas.
A report on the progress of the planning was made by board chair W.L. Tribble at an informal meeting of the two municipal bodies. He said the plan extended from the oceanfront to Third Street and from the north city limits to South 16th Avenue. Tribble also said the planning report when complete would include recommendations for cultural and recreation facilities, improved traffic, parking and shopping conditions and solving the beach erosion problem.
The board had already determined that Jacksonville Beach lacked suitable convention parking, the streets were inadequate, the city hall and library were too small and there was a shortage of “first class” hotels, motels and restaurants.
Taxable income had not kept pace because of the lack of improvements, said Tribble.
• Robert E. Tutten, a former vice president and cashier of the Hastings Exchange Bank, received two concurrent five-year prison sentences after pleading guilty to indictments charging him with embezzlements from the bank.
Clyde Marcs Barnes, who was a customer at the bank and entered a guilty plea to aiding and abetting Tutten in the embezzlement, was sentenced to two years in prison.
One indictment charged Tutten with taking $113,269 from the accounts of the Hastings Potato Growers Association and the H.E. Wolfe Construction Company. Falsified statements were sent to the depositors to conceal the crime.
The indictment charging Tutten and Barnes jointly in other embezzlements from the bank alleged Tutten cashed checks for Barnes then charged them to accounts of other depositors.
A third defendant in the embezzlement, Mildred Bailey Housman, a former clerk in the bank, had pleaded innocent to a charge that she was an accessory in the case and had knowledge of Tutten’s acts. She was scheduled for trial on April 11.