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 1962. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library’s periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.
• The board of governors of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce declared its support of modernizing Imeson Airport as the alternative to building a new municipal airport.
City Airports Commissioner Louis H. Ritter said he and his fellow City Council members also were ready to do what was in the best interest of the community. He said the City was ready to move forward on improved airport facilities as soon as the Federal Aviation Agency made a firm commitment on its recommendation.
Ritter said the FAA had notified the City it would receive no more federal funds for Imeson because the facility was inadequate for jet airliners.
The cost of bringing Imeson Airport up to 1962 standards was estimated at $28 million.
Ritter, however, said a report comparing the cost of renovating Imeson versus building a new airport indicated that putting money into the existing facility might not be in the community’s best interest.
“We could build a new airport cheaper,” he said.
Ritter said no matter which alternative was chosen, for such a large financial undertaking, community unanimity would be necessary and plans were under way to establish a community advisory committee similar to the citizens group that worked on the new Civic Auditorium.
• Joseph LaRose was making sure his prized personal property would not be stolen again.
One of his sports cars vanished from his carport in the middle of the night and was never recovered. To ensure against a repeat theft, LaRose each night attached chains to the door handles and bumpers of his two new vehicles and then attached the chains to the roof supports of his carport.
“It made me so angry that someone could steal my car while I was asleep inside the house that I was determined that it would never happen again. I went out immediately and bought the chains,” he said.
LaRose said the sight of two sports cars chained to their garage like horses tied to a hitching post fascinated visitors to his home at 650 Seabrook Parkway.
“Everyone from the mailman to the maid comments on the car chains, but I don’t care. Any thief who attempts to get my cars will have a hard time doing it without waking me,” he said.
• “We’re not trying to be big, we’re trying to be good,” said Jacksonville University President Franklyn Johnson, commenting on the end of JU’s first year of accreditation as a four-year school.
“We consider ourselves a community university and want to stay that way,” Johnson said.
A trimester class schedule had been implemented so that students could graduate faster and the university’s facilities could be used year-round, he said.
JU’s first two dormitories had opened and were fully occupied. Three more were planned, but Johnson said student housing was not the institution’s main priority.
“We are aware of the need for more dormitories. Our goal for dormitory students is about 25 percent of the student enrollment with the remainder of the students coming from the community,” he said.
Johnson predicted that by 1970, JU would have about 1,500 students in dormitories and a total enrollment of more than 5,000 students.
Most collegiate sports were not offered at the university, the most notable absence being football.
“We’re not sports-minded,” said Johnson.
• The Jacksonville Children’s Museum at 1061 Riverside Ave. marked its 15th anniversary.
Part of the celebration was the debut of the new Natural Science Center, a gift from the Southside Rotary Club.
The center was an additional space for the study of birds, butterflies, moths, reptiles insect families, shells and seed dispersal. More subjects would be added, said Sylvia Marchant, curator of education at the museum.
• John King, who finished a distant second in the Sept. 11 first primary election, won the special Democrat party runoff election for nomination for Clerk of the Civil and Criminal Courts of Record.
King, a former Jacksonville City Council member, received 15,223 votes to 11,810 votes for appointed clerk Emory Price.
In the only other race in the special election, Jesse Leigh defeated the appointed incumbent, Robert Roberts, for justice of the peace in the Fourth District.
• A retired registered nurse and the operator of a medical laboratory were facing charges of performing illegal abortions.
The charges were filed by County Solicitor Edward M. Booth against William J. Stock, operator of North Florida Medical Laboratory at 1648 San Marco Blvd. and Orene L. Winkleman of 2194 Newberry Road.
Assistant County Solicitor R. Hudson Oliff said Stock was charged with performing an abortion on an 18-year-old woman Sept. 11 at Stock’s laboratory. Oliff said the woman was admitted to the U.S. Naval Hospital Sept. 19 in extremely serious condition, but recovered after treatment. Stock was paid $300 for the abortion.
Booth said Winkleman performed an abortion on a 23-year-old married woman from Orlando Sept. 22 at the Newberry Road address.
Booth said Winkleman left the house, the Orlando woman became ill and alarmed and went to a neighbor’s house for assistance. The neighbor called police, who took the woman to Duval Medical Center for treatment. According to Booth, Winkleman was to be paid $150 for the abortion.
Stock and Winkleman were arrested on the order of Criminal Court Judge A, Lloyd Layton, who set bond at $2,000 for each defendant.
• Jacksonville was one of 30 cities in the U.S. selected to receive the Postal Service’s new “same day” delivery service program on local business mail.
The service called for delivery by 3 p.m. the same day of all mail dropped by 11 a.m. in specially-marked collection boxes.
U.S. Rep. Charles E. Bennett of Jacksonville requested the service.
“This service is going to be a big help to the growing and prosperous city of Jacksonville, which has a tremendous volume of mail,” he said.
• Neptune Beach Mayor H.E. Lighty was accused by City Council member John Futch of using the City’s gasoline in his private automobile.
At a Council meeting, Futch said Lighty used 339.2 gallons of City gasoline in his car from March through July.
Lighty did not deny the charges and Council member W.G. Noe said the mayor was authorized to use City gasoline in his personal vehicle while on City business.
Following the charges and discussion, the Council voted to prohibit dispensing City gasoline into any vehicle other than those owned by the City unless such use was approved by the Council.
• Odds for finding refuge in a public fallout shelter after a nuclear attack were better in Jacksonville than anywhere else in Florida.
According to a report made public by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 33.157 percent of the 455,411 residents could be sheltered. There were 151,000 spaces available in 94 public shelters in Duval County.
Dade County, which had twice Duval’s population, had only 2,000 more spaces.
With three U.S. Navy bases, railroad hubs and the port, Duval County was considered by some to be a prime target in the event of nuclear attack.