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Look Back In Yalobusha History

Fire Destroys Grand Theatre In July 1953

Through The Years From The Herald  

• 5 years ago, July 10, 2008 – Yalobusha County recorded a modest two percent growth in assessed value, according to Tax Collector/Assessor Linda Shuffield.
Emergency responders in Yalobusha County were busy over the July 4 holiday period starting with a crash on I-55 that left one man seriously injured and a fire in Oakland that destroyed a house on Pecan Street.
An angler from Grenada County watched as members of the Panola County Dive Team and the Yalobusha Sheriff’s Department pulled his pickup truck from Enid Lake at McCurdy Point.
Kimberly Morgan, Miss Mississippi for 2007, was to be a featured performer at the Watermelon Music Festival.
The Garden Club of Water Valley elected new officers including Betty Baker Thomas, president; April Kilpatrick, vice-president; Donna Toole, secretary; Sandy Beyer, treasurer; Gloria Brown, Parliamentarian; Cheryl Pass, historian/public relations; and Cathy Ward, sunshine committee.
Firefighters were pictured battling a car fire on South Street and a brush fire in the Oak Hill Cemetery.
Stan Crow was inducted into the North Mississippi Hall of Fame during the Northeast Band Clinic.
A retirement ceremony was scheduled for longtime nurse Julia York Fernandez.
The 2008 11-year-old all star team from Water Valley took the 5th Annual Dizzy Dean Championship and also placed third in the state. Members included Cody Greer, Taylor Smith, Brandon Bounds, Shannon Sparks, Sherrod Rucker, L. J. Hawkins, Dee McNeal, Delane Harris, Dillon Zinn, Devin Kilpatrick and coaches Tim Kilpatrick, Stan Parks and Carlos Smith.
• 10 years ago, July 10, 2003 – The Chamber of Commerce held a patriotic parade on July 4 from the Post Office to the Pavilion in Railroad Park.
The Tri-Lake Fair Association was preparing for a July 19 political rally at City Park.
Three very young little cuties, Shade Epes, Bailey Wilkinson and Tyler Epes, modeled the new Watermelon Carnival t-shirts from the Junior Auxiliary.
Byron Surrette received the Robert L. King endowed scholarship at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
Maury Sherman was named July Employee of the Month at BorgWarner.
Former Oakland resident Linda Ross Aldy was named executive director of the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education.
• 20 years ago, July 8, 1993 – New mayor Larry Hart was pictured being sworn in by the Hon. John S. Throop. Aldermen pictured were Lawrence Hale, Lowell Edwards, Fred White, Charles L. Harris and Sherry Johnson. Others involved in the ceremony included Municipal Judge Trent Howell, City Attorney John Crow, City Prosecuting Attorney J. K. Ward, City Clerk Doris B. Cox and Police Chief Mike King.
John Ingram had the first cotton bloom of the season.
Rev. and Mrs. Guy Reedy celebrated their 50th anniversary.
Chad Moore of the Water Valley FFA chapter was awarded the State FFA Degree at the 60th annual Mississippi FFA Convention. Members of the local chapter serving as junior delegates were Michelle Glick, Angie Hoff, Leigh Ann Black and Laci Brasher. They were pictured with advisor Larry Carr.
• 30 years ago, July 14, 1983 – Bond issues amounting to $75,000 for beat one, $105,000 for beat two, and $75,000 for beat four were challenged by a group of voters. A petition with more than 600 names was presented to supervisors asking that the bond issues be brought to a vote.
Honored at the annual Watermelon Tea were Patricia Keith, 1983 Mississippi Watermelon Queen; Trina Riley, Water Valley Watermelon Queen; and Ginger White, Miss Hospitality.
The board of aldermen issued a privilege license for a pool room to be operated on Martin Street.
A retirement party at the Post Office honored William A. Nolen and Raymond Pullen.
Headed for the State Police Academy were Officers John Eddie Rogers and Charles Jenkins.
Percy Haywood Jr. attended the Teachers’ Environmental Conser-vation Workshop at Ole Miss.
• 40 years ago, July 12, 1973 – Robert Taliaferro brought in the first cotton bloom for the season.
Mott’s Inc. was fined $300 by the Mississippi Air and Water Pollution Control Commission for violation of the state’s water pollution laws.
Charles “Chicken” Hudson and his wife, Jeanette, purchased the grocery department of Peoples Wholesale Company. The business would operate as Hudson’s Bestway.
Steve Moore was pictured on the front page with his dog, Little Joe Keennedy, that won the Derby Class at the Alcorn County Fox Hunt. (The spelling is correct – Keennedy)
• 50 years ago, July 11, 1963 – Editor Edward B. Shearer reported in his “Shearings” column that the North Mississippi Herald had a new subscriber, the civil rights division of the U.S. Justice Department. The Herald had the honor of being one of only two newspapers in Mississippi on their reading list. Shearer speculated in might have to do with his support of J. P. Coleman for governor, but the other paper supported Sullivan. So, he wasn’t sure. It might have had something to do with the “Occupied Mississippi” ad run by Blu-Bucks during the recent unpleasantness at Ole Miss.
Whatever the reason, the feds could read about Mr. and Mrs. Paul Parker having The Garden Club of Water Valley Yard of the Month for July.
And, the announcement by city electrician Andrew Berry that the current was to be turned off Sunday morning from 1 a.m. until 4:30 a.m. so TVA could do some maintenance work.
They could also note that attending Girl Scout Camp on Grenada Lake were Jane Henry, Jennifer Cofer, Ruth Throop and Margie Dell Mayo.
• 60 years ago, July 16, 1953 – The Grand Theatre was destroyed by an early morning fire of undetermined origin. The theatre was owned by Leon Roundtree of Holly Springs and managed by J. D. Hall Jr. The blaze, which was reported just past midnight, threatened the entire block of buildings. Local officials called for help and Oxford responded. The Pastry Shop just south of the theatre was damaged by falling debris. The theatre had just installed the past week a new Magna screen. Plans to rebuild were indefinite, but Roundtree told the Herald that he planned to reopen and use the old Valley Theatre located between Wagner and Panola Street.
Herman White introduced a new irrigation process to Yalobusha County, a centrifugal uplift pump pulled from the power take-off of a tractor. The pump picked up water from a nearby creek and pumped it into a ditch at a right angle to the field rows. It was the first system of its type in Mississippi, according to White.
The Jaycees reported that plans for the first Tri-Lake Fair were making good progress. The event was scheduled for Sept. 1-5.
Ed Shearer III wrote in his “Brain Storms” column that if he was in the burglary business, he would leave town. “Sho would hate to tangle with ole Jim Allen,” he wrote. “He’s almost bigger than I am.” The very young and very tall Jim Allen was working as a night marshal with J. E. McGonagill.
• 70 years ago, July 8, 1943 – New city officers began their duties including Mayor O. T. Hamner and aldermen Taylor Howard, Tom H. Myers, W. W. (Bill) Robinson, Lawrence J. Berry and Claude H. Woods. City employees named included Forest Barber, marshal; Lawrence Cox, city clerk and police judge; Andrew Berry, electric line foreman; Miss Bertha Roark, bookkeeper; E. L. House, street foreman; B. H. Clark, fire truck driver; Julian Boxx, night fire truck driver; R. E. (Bob) Ward, cemetery sexton; S. L. Gray, park keeper; C. F. Carter, city plumber; J. E. McGonagill and James S. Allen, night marshals; R. B. Tarzi, fire chief; K. R. Cofer, city attorney; and Mrs. Lawrence Cox, extra office help.
Ruby Mays was still burning up the tennis circuit winning the Mississippi Open junior tennis crown at Jackson.
The Grand Theatre installed a new 17 by 25 foot screen to replace their old 10 by 14 screen. It is the first of its kind in Mississippi and rivals the new screen in the Malco at Memphis.
Two Water Valley girls were honored at Girls State at Belhaven College in Jackson. Elsie White was elected Senator and Mary Ona Wilhoit was appointed Representative. The girls were chosen out of the junior class at WVHS for their outstanding leadership qualities, character and scholastic standing.
Young columnist Ed Shearer III noted that Water Valley was sort of famous in other parts of the country. People around the US remembered us at the “Watermelon Capitol of the World” for our melons and the carnival of past years. “And we could do it again,” he added.

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