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 1963. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library's periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.
• A record number of entries from a single school helped ensure the 8th annual Northeast Florida Science Fair would be the largest such event ever held in Jacksonville.
Terry Parker High School's 39 entrants accounted for the largest group of aspiring scientists who were preparing exhibits for the fair at the Maxwell C. Snyder National Guard Armory.
Doris Browning, who was in charge of registration, said 277 projects were entered in the 1963 science fair, 30 more than in any previous year.
Zoology led the categories with 70 exhibits, followed by 56 physics exhibits and 40 health and medicine entries. The category with the fewest entries, three, was mathematics and computers.
While Parker led all schools in number of students entered, its feeder school, Arlington Junior High School, with 15 entries, led all junior high schools in Duval County.
Robert E. Lee High School, Parker's predecessor when it came to largest number of entries, fielded 22 exhibits for the 1963 competition.
Nathan Bedford Forrest High School had the distinction of being the only school among the 24 participating to have a student who was a former contestant in the National Science Fair: Tommy Tyler, who in 1962 as a sophomore took fourth place in the national contest with his biology exhibit.
The two competitors whose entries were judged most outstanding would be eligible to enter the National Science Fair, scheduled in May in Albuquerque, N.M. The next 21 top exhibitors would be entered April in the Florida State Science fair at Tampa.
• Circuit Judge Charles R. Scott signed an order distributing to claimants a total of $16,408 in performance bond money forfeited by a former clerk of the Civil and Criminal Courts of Record.
The suit, filed by the state Attorney General's Office, was filed to expedite distribution of the funds to claimants. Total claims amounted to more than $115,000.
The largest single claim was $64,779 listed by Duval County, which received $7,758 under Scott's order. The claim included unremitted fees, funds and other income.
Nothing was allotted on the $16,208 claim by State Comptroller Ray Greene on jury payroll allowances made on other county offices.
The IRS claimed $4,625, which it said was withheld from wages of employees as tax, but which was not actually remitted to the government. Scott allotted the IRS $3,480 on its claim.
The bonds, to ensure faithful performance of duty, were forfeited by an insurance company which posted them after a former clerk, Kathleen Hartley, was convicted of embezzling funds of the clerk's office.
• County Engineer John Crosby announced Bowden Road between Parental Home and Tiger Hole roads would be closed for two weeks.
He said the purpose of the closing was to permit reconstruction of a timber bridge over Big Pottsburg Creek.
• Jacksonville lost an organization, but Baptist Memorial Hospital gained a microscope.
When the Women's Auxiliary of the National Postal Transport Association disbanded, its members voted to use the balance in their treasury to purchase equipment for the hospital.
Mrs. R.A. Jones, the organization's final president, turned over a check for $777, which paid for a microscope for the hospital's laboratory.
• Speaking to the Meninak Club, Dr. Richard Nelson, Northeast Florida Heart Association president, said humans, at some time in the future, probably would be able to have their hearts replaced by mechanical devices or receive a transplant from another person.
He said it was "going to be an amazing thing to watch developments in the heart fields" in the years ahead.
"Heart disease is the greatest cause of death. One reason for this is that some of the illnesses people used to die of now can be cured because of the great progress in medicine, particularly in the last 20 years," Nelson said.
• The City Council's Laws and Finance committees signed off on the purchase of a parcel of land in East Jacksonville near the Expressway for eventual development into a City park.
The land, valued at $6,105, was located along the west side of Florida Avenue (now A. Philip Randolph Boulevard) between Union Street and the Expressway. Council member Clyde Cannon said several other adjacent parcels already had been purchased for the park.
• Hundreds of children and adults were expected to participate in the City's annual Kite Festival at the Gator Bowl.
Ribbons were awarded in categories including altitude, steadiest kite, strongest puller, best decorated, largest and most unusual.