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Jax Daily Record Monday, Feb. 1, 201012:00 PM EST

50 years ago this week

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New golf course at Deerwood, no bids for post office at Neptune Beach

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. 1-7, 1960. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library’s periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.

• Plans were announced for construction of an 18-hole championship golf course to be located along the Expressway between Beach Boulevard and Phillips Highway.

Bryant B. Skinner, president of the Deerwood Club, Inc., said construction of the course was expected to begin within two weeks and the layout would likely be ready for play by late summer.

“A large membership is anticipated and plans for its selection will be announced soon,” said Skinner. He also said that greens fees, dues and the method of selecting members had not yet been determined.

Designer of the links was George W. Cobb of Greenville, S.C., a golf course architect and consultant to the Augusta National.

“The rolling land with variations in contour of approximately 30 feet lends itself to a challenging golf course layout,” said Skinner. “Approximately 30 acres in lakes nestled among rolling ridges will create interesting and beautiful golfing hazards.”

In addition to a 5,000 square foot clubhouse featuring a pro shop, lunch facilities, bar and dressing room the course would also include a complete fairway watering system to care for hybrid Bermuda grasses to be planted, Skinner added.

James McNair of Aiken, S.C., a golfer at Duke University in 1947-48 would be the club’s general manager and head pro.

• As of Feb. 1 an estimated 10,000 Duval County homeowners had failed to renew their claims for homestead exemption for 1960. County Assessor Leon E. Forbes said his office had received 60,361 renewal applications through the mail and an estimated 10,000 more had been filed in his office.

With 81,217 exemptions claimed in 1959, Forbes estimated that at least 10,000 homeowners had failed to return their renewal cards which were mailed to them Jan. 1. He pointed out that the homestead exemption law not only required that homeowners renewed their exemption claims each year but specified that failure to do so constituted a waiver of the homestead exemption privilege for the current year.

• Activities of the Sheriff’s Office were discussed by Sheriff Dale Carson in an address before the Exchange Club at the George Washington Hotel.

Progress on new programs were outlined and Carson spoke about a recent gambling raid made by his deputies.

Carson said evidence indicated the operation was earning $50,000 a month from local bettors. He also said the kind of vigilance that helped crack the local gambling ring had a much greater effect than just curbing local operations.

Carson told the group that so much of the big gamblers’ income went toward bribery of public officials that big syndicates would not and could not afford to come into an area where constant harassment cut down on the take needed for corrupting law enforcement personnel and other public officials.

• Postmaster Emmet Doak reported no bids were received for the construction of a new post office building in Neptune Beach. Doak said he knew of no reason why the department failed to get any bids on the structure.

Neptune Beach Mayor H.E. Lighty said the City was planning to turn in a bid but sufficient data could not be gathered before the Jan. 29 deadline. He also said the site for the new facility on City-owned land at Third and North streets was not approved by the City Council until a public hearing was held Jan. 18.

The Post Office Department planned to provide home delivery at Neptune Beach as soon as a new building was opened.

• The acquisition of additional St. Johns River islands to protect and augment the County’s proposed Blount Island port and industrial project was suggested by Port Authority chair Joseph B. Mallard Sr.

He warned fellow commissioners on the port authority there was danger that private interests might seek possession of the islands lying just south and west of the Blount Island tract. The land was owned by the state and was to be used as a spoil area for channel dredging. If the channel was dredged to 42 feet as proposed the islands would build up considerably, Mallard said. No immediate action was taken on the proposal.

Mallard also announced that the Seaboard Airline Railroad was moving ahead rapidly with plans to extend its tracks to the Dames Point area opposite Blount Island where the Kaiser Gypsum Company had announced it would establish a new plant.

• The County Civil Service Office reported that 34 applications had been received for posts on the County Patrol.

Chief William F. Johnson said there were four openings on the patrol. The names of successful candidates who were not hired to fill the current openings would remain on the eligibility list for two years.

After taking the Civil Service examination, successful candidates would undergo a physical examination and background investigation conducted by the Sheriff’s Office before being appointed.

• A young woman attorney apparently stabbed her two small children to death before killing herself at their Arlington home.

Lt. J.C. Patrick, chief of the Criminal Division of the Duval County Sheriff’s Office, stated there was little doubt that Alice Elaine Wineske Hardin, 32, killed the children then committed suicide with the same butcher knife in their home at 5325 Oak Forest Dr.

Hardin had practiced criminal law in Jacksonville until early 1959. In the weeks leading up to the incident, she had been under the care of a psychiatrist, officers learned.

Patrick said investigation of the deaths showed Hardin has been despondent but no notes or other evidence could be found definitely establishing a motive for the tragedy.

• A resolution asking extension of the Expressway to serve beach cities was adopted by directors of the Jacksonville Beach Chamber of Commerce.

The highway resolution asked the Expressway Authority to start acquiring right of way for a limited access highway while undeveloped land was still available. It pointed out that the growth of beach cities and Mayport Naval Station had caused increased transportation demands for both passengers and freight.

The authority was asked to take advantage of the shortest possible route between Jacksonville and the beach area in planning the proposed highway.

Action by the Chamber directors came after a similar move by the Atlantic Beach City Commission. City officials in Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach were also urged to adopt resolutions requesting the new road.

The board also voted to donate $100 to the Florida State Chamber of Commerce building fund and turned over to the executive committee the idea of sponsoring an annual fishing tournament.

• Charges against Vernon Horton Arnett, a 32-year-old painter who lived at 3122 Rosselle Street, involving the looting of a telephone booth coin box were dismissed in Municipal Court.

Judge John Santora said Arnett apparently was an innocent bystander when Patrolman F.L. Cooey drove up as a second man was breaking into the booth’s coin box.

Testimony indicated Cooey rounded a corner in his police cruiser at Karle Street and Edgewood Avenue at about 10 p.m. and saw Arnett standing outside the booth and another man hammering away inside it. When the cruiser stopped at the curb the man inside the booth fled and Cooey took Arnett into custody.

Arnett told the judge he had heard “a lot of racket” from the phone booth which was located near his home. The defendant said he went to see what it was all about.

“About the time I got to the booth the patrol car turned the corner,” Arnett testified.

Cooey said he found a large screwdriver and a mallet inside the booth. The telephone had been ripped from the wall.

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