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JIM: Sixty-five years ago this day: front page news, 2 Sep 1953

It was the year of school consolidation, of a five-day-a-week kindergarten, of 27 year old Coy Downeys professional degree, of Columbia Baptist Church expansion, of big reward for arrest of arsonist(s) responsible for three fires in four years at Sandusky Mill, of Crawford Loy's dominance in Kroger district contests, of Morris Epperson & Louis Merkley's combined 63 years with Ford Motor Co., and it was the year the "Progressive Ticket" ran as a slate to take over leadership of the City of Columbia government - and it was the year a big time wrestling event came to Columbia.
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Several items of interest graced to front page of the News 65 years ago today, September 2, 1953.

The county schools -- Adair County High, Columbia Grade Center, Breeding Grade Center, and Knifley Grade Center -- were set open on September 7th. The new high school building, although not completed, was far enough along to have 12 usable classrooms, and, stated the paper, "All high school students in the county will attend the new school." The Breeding and Knifley centers were new, "an innovation in Adair County Education, and students will be transported there." (The five new buses ordered had not arrived, but unnamed alternate means had been secured to transport students who were not within walking distance.)

Kindergarten classes offered five days a week
Mrs. Ralph Walker intended to offer a kindergarten class five days a weeks for four- and five-year-olds "in a small building on the grounds of her home on Burkesville Street, which she has attractively redecorated for the purpose."

Coy Downey had just graduated from Reppert School in Decatur, IN
Coy Downey, then 27 years of age, had just returned from Decatur, Indiana, his diploma with still-drying ink from the Reppert School of Auctioneering in hand. Said the News, "Mr. Downey's many friends will be glad to know that he has taken up this occupation. With his natural talents and the training received at this school, we predict a bright future for him as an auctioneer."

Columbia Baptist was expanding

Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Marshall had sold their residence behind Columbia Baptist to the church, the latter planning to use the house for additional Sunday School space. And too, work had just church building itself with the construction of a 53 x 18 second floor in the back to "house a department and furnish four classrooms and an assembly room." Mr. Clyde Young was the contractor in charge.

$1,000 reward offered for arrest of arsonist(s) responsible for mill fires
Columbia businessmen and other concerned citizens had pooled resources to offer a reward of one thousand dollars for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for three fires over a four year period at the Henry Sandusky Mill. The article noted that the conflagrations had "caused tremendous losses to the owner and crippled an important local industry."

Meanwhile, Crawford Loy, manager at Kroger, continued his winning ways, no doubt to the chagrin of other managers in the Louisville district. For the fourth time that year, his store won in a competition with others in the district, and this time he claimed a 21" Westinghouse television set. His earlier prizes were a GE freezer, a Westinghouse roaster oven, and fifty dollars cash.

Bob Collins and Progressive Ticket ran for Mayor, City Council
Bob Collins of Collins Buick fame sought the office of Mayor of Columbia on the Progressive ticket. At the time, he was president of the Columbia C of C and "one of Columbia's successful young businessmen." Also on the Progressive ticket and in the running for City Council were J.D. Harper, Dr. R.P. Hill, Alfred Flowers, Harry Wilson, Ed "Bus" Williams, and Bill McClendon.

Morris Epperson, Louis Merkley marked over three decades with Ford Motor Co.
And finally, a top-of-the column article reported that co-owner Morris Epperson had just completed his 30th year with Adair Sales Company, having started employment with the firm on September 1, 1923. His partner, Louis Merkley, had a total of 33 years with Ford, having worked for Ford in Campbellsville for several years before purchasing a share in Adair Sales and moving to Columbia in 1934.

This story was posted on 2018-09-02 12:11:53
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Big Time Wrestling came to Columbia 65 years ago

2018-09-02 - Columbia, KY - Photo from the collection of JIM.
This image appeared on page 4 of the September 2, 1953 Adair County News. A related article, page 10, stated that young Miss Jeanetta Collins had left Columbia about a year earlier to begin training for wrestling, "the world's fastest growing sport." By this time, Miss Collins, then 21, had been on the pro circuit for a few months and had made her television debut just a month earlier in Alabama in a two-fall loss to a seven-year veteran of rope and ring. In a 2012 CM article, Mike Watson noted that Miss Collins, who also wrestled under the names "Bambi Bali" and "Kentucky Wildcat," was a 1956 contender in the Women's World Wrestling Championship, losing in the second round to the eventual winner of the series. The Columbia matches were promoted by Joe Marshall of Bowling Green. - JIM

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