Sunday, November 30, 2008

More old photos

Some additional photos of life in the 50s around Baldwyn.

Photos courtesy of:

Top - Ellis Christian
Center - Jim Greene
Bottom - 1957 BHS yearbook

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Saturday Nights in Baldwyn, Mississippi

Crowds walked shoulder
to shoulder going nowhere
Crossed the street to McElroy’s Grocery
Ambled up the sidewalk
for two city blocks
Passed Tom’s Drugstore
Passed the Golden Rule Five and Dime
Crossed the street at the Lyric Theater
Headed back toward the grocery store
Passed Kirk’s Hardware
Passed the pool hall
Crossed the street to McElroy’s Grocery . . .
It was an endless journey
for hundreds of us
every Saturday night in Baldwyn.

The lucky ones picked up a date
and surrounded by envious eyes,
“Just to talk, you know,”
escaped into an unlocked car,
owner unknown and not caring.

Old people no longer needing
to flirt and stroll
sat in cars along the curb
watching the parade,
Their shopping done,
Their hamburger and coke
at Al’s CafĂ© finished,
Their muffled conversations
drifted out to the passers-by.

The aroma of popcorn
from the Ritz Theater
mingled with the smell
of animals from Bishop’s Feed Store and mule barn.
Laughter from little boys
bouncing on cotton bales,
Shouts of friendship drifted
above Main Street
every Saturday night in Baldwyn.

By Jo Carolyn Anderson Beebe
October, 2008

Top - Milton Copeland
Bottom - Marie Evans collection

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More old 50s photos....

Thanks to readers who have sent some old photos they dug up!

Guess you know most everyone in the pics.....


Photos courtesy of Betty Massengill via Cynthia Mink.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Summertime Rafting Fun

By Dr. Henry Outlaw

This is Dave Heflin and kids rafting down the Nantahala river in North Carolina. During his long tenure at Delta State he took thousands of students whitewater canoeing, kayaking and rafting in North Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Maine, Wyoming, and Montana.

His son Land is a world class whitewater river runner and was featured on the Discovery Channel a couple of years back.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Frankstown, and Franks' Store

These are a couple of photos of the intersection of highways MS-30 and US-45 at Frankstown. They are dated, and approximately 15 or so years apart. As you can see, US-45 wasn't paved at the time of the older photo (neither was 30).

Most of the buildings are still there! Also pictured is the gin, which still remains, but is not used as such.

We discussed in an earlier post how US 45 once came through the center of the town of Baldwyn (Second Street) and moved farther West in the mid-30s to what is now 4th Street, and eventually was four-laned and moved even farther West.

Photos courtesy of Jim Miller

Friday, November 7, 2008

The BHS Fire in 1991

-click on photos to enlarge-

Many of us were gone from Baldwyn and have never known much about this fire at BHS.

We lost our old high school building to a very spectacular fire on October 21, 1991. It burned completely despite efforts of the Baldwyn fire fighters and several from the surrounding communities. The debris smoldered for days after.

The person who intentionally set the fire was apprehended and if he is still in prison, I wish who might know to advise us by a comment. Also would like to know why he did it. I see that he was 18 and a sophomore, and evidently in trouble over other matters. Wonder if he was behind due to academics and if that was the reason? The name Calomese is prevalent with Baldwyn education; Dunbar Calomese was the principal of the school on Cemetery Road in the 40s-50s.

I included a photo of Mrs. Ella Herring (Phyllis' Mom) and how she and others were very saddened by the loss of the school building. Incidentally, this was the second time it was lost to fire, and was torn up badly in the 1942 storm.

Also, the old gymnasium was lost to a storm and torn down in early 2000 (hope that is right). So, there is nothing left there as we remember it in our days of attendance, not even a football field. The drainage ditch under the field was sealed to prevent access when a child was either trapped in the entrance or was hiding out there. He was found safe, however.

My apologies on the poor quality of the photos and arsonist column. Did the best I could with what I had.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Another Very Lucky '42 Tornado Survivor

-click to enlarge-

By Tom Shellnut

These are photos of the 1942 tornado. The top one is probably of my grandmother's house with two walls standing.

The interesting feature of this photo is in the lower left hand corner -- an imposing structure which I believe is the old school house which was on the square where the "new" Caldwell clinic/hospital was built in the 50's. The camera is pointed toward the southeast toward the old school.

My recollection of that day:

My Mother, my Grandmother, my brother and I were in the house that March afternoon. Mrs. James Nanney was paying a visit, and when the proverbial freight train sound came up, they all went into the dining room with me, a 17 month old, in tow. The storm came through from the southwest, lifted the house up some feet off the ground. The house exploded and rained everything back down on us. It later became apparent that the dining room floor was the only one the remained intact. God was watching out for us. The dining room floor is probably the floor you see in the picture.

Daddy was uptown at the store and came running down along with the other men of the town to see about us and get us out of the wreckage. Some began to dig into the debris, and when they uncovered one of us down to the waist, they started pulling to get us out. Daddy, with a cool head, stopped them and said to slow down and get more lumber away from us before pulling and injuring us.

The Caldwell clinic was there about a block away to the east of the First Baptist Church. We were taken there for a look-see. Mother was hysterical as I appeared covered in blood. She was sure I was a goner. Dr. R. B. after looking closely at me said, "all this child needs is soap and water." The red bricks of the chimney of the house which had been built in 1875 had disintegrated, and the red brick dust combined with my tears made me look like I was bleeding to death.

The James Mack Jones family took us in for a while until we bought the brick house at the corner of Water and South Second. Coincidentally, Dr. R.B. built that house the same year Dr. Mike Caldwell was born, in the early 20's. (Actually 1921, Tom. Source: info from the Baldwyn library.- Carl)

Most of us who can remember that awful day have a story to tell, I'll bet. I know Herb Spivey does, he was very lucky to come out of a debris-filled basement, also.

I remember that my Dad, Mom and I were coming home on West Main and got to the point where we had to seek shelter immediately. Dad pulled the car into the old Jett Ford driveway and next to the embankment at Mrs. Orr's home, under the still-standing-today pecan trees. Not a great place, but it turned out well. The trees bent and popped, but only lost a few limbs. We were there only a few minutes, but were safe and thankful. Mom shielded me (age 3) and I didn't see the tornado at all, but remember the noise it made even today. I heard that it picked up Tommy Ford's horse and put it down safely, still running... that was very close to where we were. - Carl Houston

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Little Crosley that Could

(Could hold a large bunch of kids inside it)!

This is a really deteriorated photo of another "famous" car that was a familiar sight in Baldwyn. Billy Wayne Houston was it's owner for several years. It was seen everywhere there was any activity that was fun - Blue Mars swimming hole, "dragging" main street, Chris' Cafe, etc.

Pictured is (I believe) Herb, Charles, Ellis, Grover, Billy Wayne, Dean and some others. Is that Sue Downs in the open window? Really hard to tell due to the poor quality.

There were several times that this many kids and more would fit themselves into the tiny car. Many Sunday afternoons we would play hide-and-seek with our cars. The skinny Crosley could go places others couldn't and Billy Wayne could be "found" and beat the seeker back to the home starting point very easily. The only player that could go where he couldn't was Roy Glenn Copeland on his motorcycle.

John M. Duke related some time ago that occasionally Billy Wayne thought that the school playground needed plowing up, and he would do it with the Crosley - around and around, spinning in circles and removing all the grass he could until Mr. Baker appeared on the office steps and waved to let him know he should stop it.

One Halloween night it looked like a battleship going through town with roman cannons being shot from all the open windows.

Any other stories you can recall about this car?