The Bank of Water Valley downtown branch, which had survived many turbulent times since it was first occupied in 1891, fell May 17, 1984, wrote Jim Shearer. It was the victim of the combined forces of tornado, flood and progress.
The old building was torn down as part of a renovation plan for a new, more modern downtown branch.
The eagle was removed before a wrecking ball knocked down the silver peek. Banker Fred Kendrick told the Herald that while plans were not final, the old eagle would be incorporated into the new building.
Workers attempted to collapse the structure using a metal cable, but it took three tries before “the soul of the building seemed to vacate, finally realizing there was no hope left. One brick fell and then a few more. Suddenly the familiar facade bearing the single word ‘BANK,’ crumbled to the asphalt in a twisted heap.”
“The old bank is gone, but it sure put up quite a fight,” Shearer wrote.
• 5 years ago, May 21, 2009 – The Canadian National Railroad announced that it was selling the Grenada District to Grenada Railway, LLC. The new owner was required to “make reasonable efforts to sustain and increase traffic” as a sale condition and not abandon the track for at least two years from the sale date.
The latest reduction in force at BorgWarner would affect 50-plus hourly and salaried employees as was set to be completed by the end of May.
The Class of 2009 would graduate 79, the largest class in years. Valedictorian was Adrian Tallant and Salutatorian was Amber Burney.
Census workers were canvassing the area attempting to verify addresses as they began another expensive attempt to count America’s population.
Rev. Dan Dickerson, paster of O’Tuckolofa Baptist Church, was pictured with a certificate recognizing his loss of 100 pounds since beginning Weight Watchers.
Two people were killed on I-55 about half a mile south of Tillatoba in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 17, when their vehicle ran into the back of an 18-wheeler. Both victims were from Arkansas.
• 10 years ago, May 20, 2004 – Heading up the Class of 2004 were Valedictorian Wesley McCain and Salutatorian Brooke LeBlanc.
Ludie McGonagill Appleton, 87, affectionately known as Miss Ludie to generations of Water Vallians passed away May 15. In a fitting tribute, Herald columnist Charles Cooper quoted Miss Ludie on teaching him to sing as saying, “I believe the Lord has forgiven me by now.”
BorgWarner honored their employees who had recently served their country including Chris Schroyer, Cecil Torrance, Shantunia Jennings, Arnethia Crossgrove, Christopher Sherman and Timothy Bland.
Lafayette County native Doug Robbins was hired as new head baseball coach at WVHS.
Teachers Doloris Black Woodard and Delice Reese retired from WVHS with a total of 63 years of service.
Water Valley native Nycole Campbell-Lewis was the new Chief of Staff for the Mississippi Division of Medicaid.
Air Force Major Marc E. Jefferson, formerly of Water Valley, was reassigned as Assistant Professor of Aerospace Studies at California State University in San Bernadino.
• 20 years ago, May 19, 1994 – Tina Hill, Water Valley’s Miss Hospitality, threw out the first pitch for the 1994 Magnolia Youth League season.
WVHS was set to graduate 91 students at the high school gym. Valedictorian was Stacey Avant and Salutatorian was Sholunda Rucker. Honor students were Heather Horan, Jordan White, Melanie Goodwin, Crystal Turner, Benji Link, Jeremy Warren, Stacy VanCanneyt, Brian Baggett, Mark Nicholas, Tommy Lewis, Wendy Lockwood, Brian Schmitz and Pam Allen.
Among the athletic awards at the WVHS Spring Sports Banquet were “Baseball MVP,” Jacob Edwards and Brad Gray. Football awards went to Eric Allen, Nathan Allen, Brian Schmitz, Ben Eakes, Tywanna Pritchard, Ken Mix, Marcus Johnson, Jordan White, Derrick Surrette, Buster Woodard, Keith Turner, Charles Sims and Tommy Lewis.
• 30 years ago, May 24, 1984 – Chelle Wilson won the title, Mississippi National Teen Talent, and took second in the overall pageant held at Gulf Coast Junior College.
Bruce television station Channel 7 President Davy Doss presented a check for $1,752 to Mayor Hamric Henry and City Comptroller Paul Roberson to aid tornado victims. The money was raised during a three-hour telethon sponsored by the station.
Rick Parsons was named a director of the prestigious Delta Council at their 49th meeting in Cleveland.
Cindy Fernandez was selected to attend the 1984 session of the Mississippi Governor’s School at Mississippi University for Women.
Bonnie Newman was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
James Daniels and Luther Folson were honored for their service as Volunteers for Welfare Clients.
• 40 years ago, May 23, 1974 – Richard Flowers was named Outstanding Jaycee for the State of Mississippi 1973-1974 at the state convention in Jackson. Binnie Turnage was presented an honorary life membership and the title “Mississippi Jaycee Governor.”
Bill Martindale was pictured with two cabbages, together weighing 25 pounds.
New officers for the Town and Country Garden Club were Mrs. Jim Winburn, president; Mrs. Wilbur Todd, vice-president; Mrs. Binnie Turnage, treasurer; and Mrs. Dennis McMinn, corresponding secretary.
Five generations gathered on Mother’s Day in honor of Mrs. R. L. Ward including her grandson, John L. McMinn; her daughter, Mrs. Clyde McMinn; Mrs. Grace Ann Harris, her great-granddaughter; and Faye Christian Harris, great-great-granddaughter.
• 50 years ago, May 21, 1964 – Honor grads from the Class of 1964 included Ruth Ann Dickey, Elsie Davis, Claudine Rogers, Kay Tyler, Eleanor Nelson, Jeannie Barron, Nancy Spears, Tommy White, Rod Childress, Rosa Ruth Burns, Janice Dickey, Ronny Scarbrough, Yvonne Shields and Peggy Arrrington.
Joy Person and Carol Bell were winners in the State Junior College Tennis Tournament.
Bruce Gurner received a certificate of appreciation for his work in the Chicksa District of the Boy Scouts.
Competing in the brass ensemble competition at state band contest were Janice Dollahite, John White, Barry Caulfield, Mary Alice Caulfield, Jim Mitchell, Jimmy Goodwin, Johnny Rogers and Bill Gurner.
Breck Brown, former WVHS track star, set a new Mississippi Junior College 440-dash record at the state track meeting in Raymond. He ran a blazing 49.4 second dash.
Four Explorer Scouts from Water Valley and their leader, Howard Holloway, visited the Redstone Missile Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Scouts Mike Hedges, John Hunsicker, Billy Humphreys and Barron Caulfield saw the different missiles in use before spending the night at the Tennessee Valley Boy Scout Camp in Florence, Alabama.
• 60 years ago, May 20, 1954 – Mayor O. T. Hamner was challenging Water Valley’s citizens to help find ways to build more houses in the city for newcomers. Currently many new people had to rent in order to find a place to live.
The mayor also posted a notice to black top streets including Wagner, Markette, Whitley, Martin, Thornton, Calhoun and possibly others.
Pvt. Ed Shearer III of Fort Jackson, S. C., was home on leave before heading for duty in Colorado.
Bruce Cox, young son of Mr. and Mrs. J. T. Cox, suffered a broken arm in a ten-foot fall from the back porch of his home.
• 70 years ago, May 18, 1944 – Technical Sergeant Charles M. Few, 27, was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while serving as a flight engineer over Nazi Europe. The same medal went to Technical Sergeant Sam Purvis, 26, while serving as a ball turret gunner.
Norma Katherine Milstead joined the WAVES and was headed for training in the Bronx, New York.
C. C. Vaughn was fined $300 and given a sentence of 30 days in jail by City Police Judge Walter Hunter. The sentence was the aftermath of the arrest of Vaughn when officers made a search of his premises and found a quantity of whiskey, rum, and home brew.
Nationwide, churches announced plans to open their doors as soon as it is learned that the invasion of Europe has begun. Rev. E. H. Cunningham, pastor of First Methodist Church of Water Valley, has made the suggestion that people not wait for the invasion to start. “Begin now to pray for the success of the invasion and for Divine protection of our men.”
• 80 years ago, May 25, 1934 – The 42 members of the Water Valley Harmonica Band were making the rounds to promote the Watermelon Carnival.
They were featured in the Greenwood Centennial Parade in May of 1934 and the gaily-dressed locals impressed the crowd. “Attired in green caps, red trousers and dashing black sashes, they attracted great interest,” wrote a reporter from the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
“Their harmonicas each was fitted with an amplifier the shape of a slice of watermelon and open at the rind end.”
The band was organized by Earl Fly and was under the direction of Mr. Will Henry.
Among the members were Billy Champion, Elmer Stone, Ovie Dorsett, Milton Schmidt, Henry Everett, Ed McCullar, J. C. Burns, Rip Knight, Bill Williams, Herman Champion, Johnie Gore, Morris Hayles, Thomas Gore and Joe Elliott.