Archive for October, 2008

Bibb’s Progressive 1920’s Mill Village

October 31, 2008


Bibb Milll, Columbus, Georgia

Bibb Milll, Columbus, Georgia

  As I drove by the site of the Bibb Mill ruins, I had to reflect on my visit to the area in 1985 when I was a student at Columbus State University. I had gone back to school to finish some unfinished business, namely getting a degree. I was being taught historic preservation by Dr. John Lupold, former chair of the History Department at Columbus State University.  I was his only student for that course. That’s right, it was one-on-one teaching. Only two people applied to take the class, and the other one withdrew. 

 Dr. Lupold said, “If  you really want to take this course, I’ll teach it. We don’t usually do this, but you can just come to my office and I’ll teach it.”  I have a sneaking suspicion that he wanted the co-anchor of the top-rated newscast in Columbus for years to learn about historic preservation and perhaps support the cause. Well, truth is, I did become more of a supporter of the cause after I took the course.

  I had spent seven years of my boyhood living in an old Victorian house on 5th Avenue in downtown Columbus. At the time, I thought it was just an old house and couldn’t wait to eventually move into a modern one.  Now I realize what a treasure it was.  Years after we moved out, it was torn down to make room for a parking lot.

California Style Bungalow, Bibb City, Columbus, Georgia

California Style Bungalow, Bibb City, Columbus, Georgia

  Part of the final exam was to drive around town and have me idenitify the different archetectual styles in Columbus. Believe it or not, we have just about all of them from the antebellum and Victorian eras.  To take me to an area for me to identify the California Bungalow style we drove up to Bibb City. Now, there are California Bungalows, larger ones, in the Wynnton and St. Elmo areas, but they didn’t have the unqiueness and historical significance of the ones in Bibb City.

Califrona Style Bungalow, Bibb City, Columbus, Georgia

Califrona Style Bungalow, Bibb City, Columbus, Georgia

  Back in the twenties the owners of Bibb Mill wanted to present a progressive face and to do that it built a mill village that went against the sterotypical shotgun-house Southern mill village. This showplace of nicer mill village homes was made up of California Bungalows, and they weren’t all just alike. 

California Style Bungalow, Bibb City, Columbus, Georgia

California Style Bungalow, Bibb City, Columbus, Georgia

 This village was constructed in the 1920’s not long after the 3rd and final incarnation of three Bibb Mills that evolved on the First Avenue site.  That mill, the one that just went up in flames, was built in 1919 and opened in 1920.

  The homes, sold long ago by Bibb, are still occupied and well maintained by their owners, and, as you can see, have a charm that only nature and time can provide.

Dr. John Lupold Lectures on Child Labor on the Same Day that Bibb Mill Burns

October 31, 2008

   In a remarkable coincidence, Dr. John Lupold delivered a lecture on child labor at the Columbus Museum on the day that saw the huge Bibb Mill destroyed by fire. The lecture had been scheduled long before the fire. 

Dr. John Lupold, retired history professor, author, historian

Dr. John Lupold, retired history professor, author, historian

  The museum is featuring the exhibit “Let Children be Children: Lewis Wickes Hine’s Crusade Against Child Labor” now through December 14th. It is an exhibit of photographs taken by Hine over a ten year period documenting the exploitation of child labor. Hine came to Columbus to show children working in the mills as part of his documentation of the subject.

  Dr. Lupold told us that child laborers in Columbus mills were mainly doffers, dinner toters and helpers. Lupold showed a lot of those pictures during his lecture, more than are on the display in the  exhibit.

  Naturally, since the Bibb Mill fire is in the news, the obvious question is did Bibb use child labor? All Columbus mills did in the early 1900’s, and that includes Bibb.  Bibb was built three times. The first mill was built in 1900 . After the 1920 version – number 3 – opened there was very little child labor. One lady said surely some 13 and 14 year old children worked there during those years. Lupold said, “That wasn’t child labor. Child labor was under 12 years old.”

  The crowd for the lecture and recpetion was the smallest I have seen for a recption celebrating the opening of an exhibition at the musem. I guess the subject of the exploitation of child labor doesn’t have a lot of appeal. And, truth is, it is not a pleasant subject.  When you see pictures of children as young as five years old working in a mill it is not a very uplifting experience. But, the pictures are extraordinary and certainly drive home the point Hine was making.

  Hine shot those pictures at the beginning of the 20th century. National laws against child labor were not enacted and signed into law until 1938 when Franklyn Delano Roosevelt was president.

  Dr. Lupold and I took a very interesting ride around the Bibb Mill area in 1985. He was showing me just how progressive Bibb Mill was in the 1920’s and what it did to announce that to the world. I’ll explain tomorrow.

Another Historic Columbus Mill up in Flames

October 30, 2008

  What does this make, three historic mills destroyed by fire? Archer. Jordan and now the giant 108-year-old Bibb. Bibb went up in flames overnight. There are some interesting stories about Bibb and its surrounding mill village. We’ll be getting into some of them here. Do you have any? Click the “comment button” if you do because we’d love to hear them. You can check out the story at 

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Is 10 Minutes too Long?

October 29, 2008

  I got some much needed comic relief at Rotary today. Dave Hubbard, “America’s Fitness Coach,” told members of the Roatry Club of Columbus, Georgia, that 75 percent of Americans are way over weight and that it is costing $200 billion a year in health care. That wasn’t the funny part.

  Among his zingers was a  Yogi Berra quote that I enjoyed: “Prediction is hard, especially if it’s the future.”  

  Okay, back the the serious part.  He says exercising ten minutes every day is better than longer times a few days a week. It’s how you do it that matters. Aerobics are fine, but alone they won’t do the job.  Muscle resistant exercises are needed. Converting fat to muscle is the answer. Dieting is not nearly as important as building muscles. If what you eat goes to muscle instead of fat, you are better off.  I wouldn’t stop those aerobics, though, because they are good for the heart, and they do burn calories.

  You can learn more by going to this website.

  Dave and his wife live in Marietta, Georgia.

Escaping Fox News in the Doctor’s Office

October 28, 2008

  When I arrived at my new dermatoligist’s office this morning, I couldn’t beleive the number of cars in the parking lot. I knew there was only one doctor in the building. I thought, oh no, he’s one of those doctors that schedules everybody to come it at the same time and then treats you in the order of your arrival. That, from past experience, can run into more than an hour’s wait.

  When I signed in, I asked the receptionist if that was his procedure. She said that it wasn’t, but that he was running behind. There have been very few times when I went for an office visit that my doctor wasn’t “running behind.”

  So, I found a seat in the crowded waiting room and scanned the room for magazines.  It’s always fun to see if one doctor has magazines that are older than another one. I’ve found some that were more than a year old. But, it didn’t matter. There weren’t any. That meant my only choice to kill time was to watch Fox News. It’s interesting that doctors all seem to want their patients to watch Fox News, especially since it can drive up ones blood pressure. 

  The TV sound was so low I could hardly understand  what anyone was saying.  I reflect that’s really not so bad because Fox’s obvious bias can hack me off.

 No magazines. Fox News. What I am going to do?  Well, it turned out that I didn’t need to worry because a nice lady came over to say hello. I figured it was another person who remembered me from all those years I anchored TV newscasts, but it wasn’t. It was the lovely wife of Rev. Jimmy Cook.  They came over and sat with me and we had a great visit. 

  Jimmy, who was pastor of the Morningside Baptist Church, and I have something in common.  He started out his young life on radio just a few years before I did the same thing. He stopped a long time before I, deciding in 1954 that he had rather be a preacher instead. I remembered him as Country Boy on WGBA Radio.  He talked in a wild, over-the-top hick accent on that show and played country music. He built quite a following.

  He started out as manager of the station in 1949. I started in radio in 1948 at WDAK as a 17-year-old announcer. I was still in high school.  WGBA was then owned by the Page Corporation, owner of the Columbus-Ledger Enquirer at the time. At first it was an FM station. That was when hardly anybody had FM radios. Everyone was still listenting to AM stations then.  After a while, he switched from manager to air personality and said, “That worked better for me.”

  Well, Jimmy and Mrs. Cook and I started having a grand old time strolling down memory lane as we discussed the radio era. A couple of other old geezers who recognized Jimmy and me, and who were evesdropping on the conversation, decided they couldn’t restrain themselves any more and joined in. They, too, had their memories of the “good old days.”

  So what sarted out to be a boring doctor’s office wait turned into just the opposite. We all had a great time and even though my wait to get in to see my doctor was about an hour, I didn’t mind at all because it was a fun hour.

  However, you can’t always depend on running into great people like Rev. Jimmy and Mrs. Cook. So maybe doctors should keep some of those ancient magazines availble for those of us who had rather read a year-old copy of Time, Newsweek, or U.S. News and World Report than watch Fox News.

Early Voting Takes Patience

October 27, 2008


  I asked one man as he was leaving how long it took him to vote.

  “I got here at 12:15 this afternoon.”

  “It took you more than four hours to vote?”

  “Right. They should have had a hundred people – well, a lot more people – up there signing in people instead of the few they had.”

  But, he wanted to vote badly enough to wait that long. That’s encouraging.

Voting at Columbus Public Library

Voting at Columbus Public Library

  Hundreds of people were still standing in line at 5 p.m. closing time, but they were not waiting in vain as voting continued after 5.  

  I heard Columbus Elections Supervisor Nancy Boren telling a WRBL-TV reporter that she expects 30-thousand people to vote early this year, which is about 10-thousand more that voted early in the 2004 presidential election.

    I have been around a pretty long time and I have never seen anything like this before at election time. Maybe it’s because there is so much at stake.

Voting line at Columbus Public Library

Voting line at Columbus Public Library

Vote Early

October 26, 2008

  I am very concerned about problems at the polls in this general election. There is little doubt that we are going to see the largest voter turnout in the history of this country, which is going to put enormous pressure on the voting systems.

  We know from the debacle in Florida in the 2000 presidential election that there is a good chance that some people will not have their votes counted. This is serious business in a democratic republic like ours.

  Beyond corruption by some voting officials, there are the problems of human error, voting machine failure, voting machines that leave no independent paper trail (we have those in Georgia) and the normal problems that accompany elections. All of this will be magnified by the record voter turnout.

  Early voting is not going to solve all of these problems, but it is probably the best chance to ease them. I voted weeks ago at the Columbus Government Center. It took me about tens minutes.  A friend of mine told me it took him and his wife an hour and a half to vote there last week. He said the line not only went out into the parking garage but all the way to the end of the walkway in the garage.

  Just think what it is going to be like between Monday October 27th thru Friday, October 31st. That will probably be nothing compared to what it will be on Tuesday, November 4th, election day. Fortunately there will be four polling palces open for early voting.  Here’s the list from the Columbus Consolidated Government website:

         (No Reason Required for this Early Voting)

October 27-31 at Four Locations:

  • Elections Office, Government Center, 100 Tenth Street:     8:30am – 4:30pm
  • Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road:       9:30am – 5:00pm
  • Frank D. Chester Recreation Center, 1441 Benning Drive:   10:00am – 6:00pm
  • Cunningham Center@Columbus State University, 3100 Gentian Blvd.:    8:30am – 4:30pm

Redoubt Doubts Correctness of Richard Hyatt’s Comment on Taking the Law into Your Own Hands

October 24, 2008

  Once again I have decided to post a comment sent in by Redoubt. As I said last time, not everyone who reads a post reads the comments that follow.

  I decided that Redoubt’s comment really focuses the issue that a lot of people are thinking about in the Frank Lumpkin III chase and shooting incident: is it wise to take the law into your own hands?  

  He is commenting on my post about the Richard Hyatt’s Columbus article on the chase and shooting incident.


  That article certainly offers a lot more detail than what you’ll find in any other individual story, but I am forced to disagree with his closing remarks, “In the end, he put his life on the line for the price of a possession that isn’t worth a person’s life.”

  After a while, people simply have enough. Enough of the robberies, enough of the home invasions, enough of the crime.

  In the end, I can’t bring myself to pass judgement on Mr. Lumpkin for doing what any of us should be willing to do when protecting our life, liberty and right to happiness… not to mention just being able to live without fear.

  Isn’t high time we stopped blaming the victims of crime for its consequences?


  To be honest, I am not sure what I would have done had  I been in Frank Lumpkin’s shoes. I never was much of a hero. But I have surprised myself from time to time so I won’t say I wouldn’t have done something. The question, though, is should I have?

  I would certianly want to do something, and  he tried what I know I would have done, call 911. I would probably have also looked for the stolen vehicle and would carttainly have called 911 again if I found it. I probably would not have tried to take back the vehicle on my own, especially since I don’t carry a handgun in my car. My NRA friends would propbably tell me that was my first mistake. Maybe they are right. Maybe I should get one. Maybe I will.

  Is an SUV worth a life? No is the easy anwser. You can probably get another SUV. However, we don’t expect our police officers to go for the easy anwser. We can reason that they are the pros trained to do such things, and that’s true, but they are still risking their lives for our property.

  Now, if your (or a loved one’s) life is threatened, that’s a different matter. The obvious anwser there is that you do whatever it takes to protect yourself or your loved one. Even then, though, maintaining one’s cool is paramount; however, I realize that is easier said than done. I remember Earnest Hemingway’s definition of courage: “grace under pressure.”

Hyatt Illustrates That Blog Journalism Can Be First Rate

October 23, 2008

   Richard Hyatt’s article on Frank Lumpkin III’s actions in tracking down his stolen vehicle and allegedly shooting the driver is an example of the excellent reporting that can be found on some blogs.  You can check out the article by going to this link.

  Blog reporting has gotten a bad name because some bloggers just don’t pratice responsible journalism. They don’t really check to make sure their facts are correct, for one thing. But, fortunately, seasoned pros like Richard are blogging now.

MCSD Board Approves Applying for Charter School Status

October 21, 2008

  It appears that Muscogee County School District Board Chair James Walker changed his mind about wanting a delay in considering application for Charter School status for the district. The vote, according to a report on WTVM, to make the application was 7 to 2 tonight, and he wasn’t one of the two. 

  He had told me this afternoon that thought more time was needed to consider the issue, and that, with a new superintendent coming on board, he thought it might be a good idea to wait for that to happen to get his or her input on the matter.

  Dr. John Phillips, whose interim term ends at the end of November, was definitely for the application, saying not only does it give more flexibility to the system but would mean $15 million in more state funds over the next five years.

  As I reported earlier, Dr. Phillips told me he would consider staying on past November 30th if a new superintendent hasn’t been chosen by then, if he could do it with jeopardizing his state retirement.  Board Chair Walker told me that should a new superintendent not be in place at that time, he would think it a good idea for Dr. Phillips to continue until a replacement is found.