Saturday, August 23, 2014

Youngest Eagle Scout in Bridgeport 1951

Bridgeport Leader December 13, 1951 Due to the lowering of the age limit and time requirements between ranks, Troop 51 has the youngest scout ever to receive this award within the Council.  The minimum age limit to become a Boy Scout is eleven years, and the total elapsed time requirement between ranks from Tenderfoot to Eagle is now one year; making it now possible to obtain this rank on one's twelfth birthday, which is what Malcolm accomplished.  The Scout's 12th birthday was on Nov 28, and the presentation was made at a Court of Honor held at the Lanterman Park Pavilion on Dec 3.  In the above photo Malcolm Ameter is welcomed by his father Lawrence Ameter, Scoutmaster of Troop 51.  The group is now composed of 12 active registered Scouts of Eagle rank. Other member are Richard Herrin, Jim L. Harper, Bill Preston, Larry Ameter, John Fahnestock, Jerry Miller, Harold Roush, Paul Welton, Don E. Wheeler, Dale Roush and Jerald Waggoner.  Dale Roush, Don E. Wheeler and Malcolm Ameter are Boy Scouts while the other members belong to the Explorer crew within the Troop.

The Historical Society's picnic at Lanterman Park tomorrow, Sunday Aug 24 at 4:00 pm may not be as prestigious, but it promises good food and good fun.  So be a good scout and come!  

OK History Detectives.....these are students of Billett School.  The top photo was taken in 1960 and the bottom one has no date.  Jane Keyser is the teacher and the students are in  grades 1-4.  Can you help us?  (Don't worry..all you graduates of other parts of the county...I have lots of pictures that need names!)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fred and Minnie Alcorn a World War II Love Story

As told to the Vincennes Sun Commercial April 24, 1996

Lawrenceville Residents Fred and Minnie Alcorn: A Love Story During WWII

Afraid he would be drafted, Fred Alcorn joined the service as an enlisted man. After Officers Candidate School, his first assignment was Charleston, South Carolina and that's where he met Minnie.

Born in Virginia and raised in Augusta, Georgia the former Minnie Allerton received a degree as registered nurse before enlisting in the Army Nurse Corps. Her first assignment was Stark General Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina.

The night they met, Minnie had been out with an enlisted man, but developed a headache. Knowing that she really didn't care to ever go out with her date again, she begged off early and took the bus home. The bus was full – standing room only- and she ended up sitting next to a drunk Marine.

Fred had been out that night, too and just happened to be taking the same bus home. After noticing the drunk Marine sitting next to the pretty girl, Fred gallantly watched over her the rest of the trip.

When the drunk Marine moved out, the infantry moved in. Fred sat down and asked for her phone number but since he had no paper or pencil to write with, he borrowed her pencil and wrote the number on a package he was carrying. A couple of weeks later he called.

After this first meeting in August 1942 and having their first date in mid-September, 1942  the  couple were married just a few months later,  on November 22, 1942. But they didn't exactly live‘happily ever after’ for the rest of the war. 

Fred was shipped back to desert training in California in January 1943 before being shipped on to Boston. A member of the courier service that carried secret documents, he spent the next three years all over the world, never knowing just what he was carrying.

Minnie continued to serve her country overseas also, often passing within  range of her husband but seldom able to actually see him.

The Alcorn's finally settled down after their discharges in 1945 and 46 and began their life together.

Don't forget the picnic at Bridgeport Lanterman Park  Sunday August 24 4:00  Bring a covered Dish! There will be NO meeting  on August 25!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Loeb Returns Home 1935

Sept 26, 1935 Mrs Morris Loeb will arrive home this week from Czechoslovakia where she has spent the summer visiting relatives.  Mrs. Loeb returned on the Normandie. 
Picnic along the River Early 1900's    Lawrence County

Don't be two sandwiches short of a picnic..Join us at the Bridgeport Park Pavillion Sunday afternoon 4:00 pm....Bring a covered dish...Utensils, drinks, and paper plates will be provided.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bridgeport Methodist Episcopal Church

The history of the Bridgeport Methodist  Episcopal church began in October 1861 under the leadership of J.C. Pierce. There were seven charter members including J. C. Pierce, Mr. and Mrs. Newstetter, Dr. and Mrs. Martin, Mrs. Nora Duncan and another of which there is no record. For about nine months this small group met for services in homes in various places until the first church building was completed in the summer of 1862.

The first church building was a modest, one – room, frame structure built mostly by volunteer labor. This original building was located two blocks west and one block south of the present site. This structure served the small but growing congregation well for 36 years having been remodeled, improved and repaired to meet the growing needs of the congregation in 1882.

In 1898 the church was relocated and rebuilt on the present site of Third and Main streets. This new building was a handsome improvement in the community, and reflected progress and faith in the future by the congregation. It had a seating capacity of around 400. It consisted of an auditorium 31' x 52' and had one large classroom 24 x 32'. The height of the tower with 72 foot, and the cost of the building was $3700.

Don't forget the picnic at Bridgeport Lanterman Park  Sunday August 24 4:00  Bring a covered Dish!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Miller's TV 1954

We thought we would give you some statistics to share when  you  start talking about  the good ole days  with your children and grandchildren ......and they love to hear them, of course.......
What Things Cost in 1954:
Car: $1,950
Gasoline: 29 cents/gal
House: $17,500
Bread: 17 cents/loaf
Milk: 92 cents/gal
Postage Stamp: 3 cents
Stock Market: 404
Average Annual Salary: $4,700
Minimum Wage: 75 cents per hour

RCA introduced the first color TV in 1954. It sold for $1000. In comparison a 1954 Chevrolet Bel-Air automobile was $1095.  Less than 5000 of these color TV's were sold that first year.

In Lawrenceville, Miller's east of the post office was selling black and white TV's. 
 We would be interested in your memories of seeing your first color broadcast or buying your first color TV, if you want to share.   

Monday, August 18, 2014

Nichols Funeral Home Fire 1961

Bridgeport Leader May 4, 1961 Fire Destroys Funeral Home
The Nichols Funeral Home, at 1522 State Street, Lawrenceville was destroyed in a spectacular fire Monday. The alarm came at 9:50 AM. Lawrenceville Fire Chief Dan Bolden said that apparently a gas fireplace in the living quarters in the upper part of the house, on the West side, exploded causing the blaze.

US Rte 50 goes past the house, and the highway was blocked, with traffic routed around 15th to 19th St. for some three hours.

The big frame funeral home which formerly was the Nichols home, burned for about 2 1/2 hours.  The entire upper part of the house was destroyed, and the lower part was heavily damaged by fire, smoke and water.
The funeral home is operated by Willis Nichols, who was assisted by his nephew, Dale Nichols.

No estimate of the loss was available, either from Fire Chief Bolden or others. It was stated, however, that the loss was covered by insurance.

The Lawrenceville Fire Department handled the fire itself, without calling and departments from neighboring cities.

Same Fire Different Newspaper, Slightly different facts?  Lawrence County News May 4 1961

Nichols Funeral Home located at 1522 State Street was deemed a total loss, following a fire that started about 10:30 Monday morning in the upper story of the building.

The fire thought to have originated at the rear of an electric refrigerator in the living quarters, had gained some headway before it was noticed. Both Mr. and Mrs. Willis Nichols were away from the home at the time and the nephew, Dale Nichols, who is associated with his uncle, was outside the building.

The fire burned out the entire upper portion of the home and carried down into the lower story, ruining furniture and equipment. Only the clothing being used by the three escaped the flame, smoke and water. Much of the furniture was antique and had been accumulated during a number of years. The kitchen had recently been rebuilt, and much expense had been entailed in putting the building into condition for a funeral home and living quarters.

Other funeral home owners in the community have offered their facilities to Nichols for use during his reconstruction. He will use the Emmons Funeral Home in Lawrenceville and the Hammer Funeral Home in Bridgeport. Arrangements were made Tuesday morning for Mr. and Mrs. Nichols and  Dale to move into the Kinder home at 1810 State Street, formally occupied by the late Mr. and Mrs. Webb Kinder. The regular telephone number will be used at the Kinder residence and business can be carried on from that point.

Mr. and Mrs. Nichols purchased the mortuary business of Charles W. Zipprodt in 1950, and immediately bought the large home on State Street from Mrs. P.B. McCullough. Since acquiring the place, many thousands of dollars have been expended, and now Nichols estimates his loss at an excess of 60,000 some of which is covered by insurance. The damage to the building will be removed immediately and plans are already being drawn for the erection of a modern funeral home.

The removal of the building will take one of the old landmarks from the city. The house was for many years the residence of James K. Dickerson, one of the prominent men of southern Illinois, and following his death was acquired by Perry B. McCullough, well-known Lawrenceville merchant and politician. The original building is about 75 years old and has been rebuilt and remodeled several times.

Don't forget the picnic at Bridgeport Lanterman Park  Sunday August 24 4:00  Bring a covered Dish!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fall Programs

Look closely at this you see how E. White has managed to peel back the  layers of time on the north side of the square?  The building on the left is the way the street looked in the 1900's, and the building on the right is during the 1980's.

Back the Fall by Overwhelming Demand--More Black History Tours! The Curry Brothers and Company will present guided bus tours in October.  More information will follow as soon as details are confirmed.

Also something new for the Ladies of Lawrence... Lunch and Learn -- A series of events on the first Wednesday of each month starting in October that will feature a short program on a short interesting historic topic with a catered lunch to follow. From the looks of the programs being developed, this looks like it will be as much fun as the Vintage wedding show.  As more details are released, watch here for details.

Don't forget the picnic at Bridgeport Lanterman Park  Sunday August 24 4:00  Bring a covered Dish!

And something for the history detectives....can you date this photo below using the clues as to when the businesses existed?  We don't know the answer so we need your help. ...maybe with the cars.  We thought it was in the 50's but the businesses seemed to be there later.   We used phone books and newspapers to help us with the business dates but obviously more research is needed...Anyone want to hang out at the library looking at microfilm?  Check out the North side of Business section on