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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
Beth's Weekly Moultrie Observer Column - Week 12
(This appears here courtesy of The Moultrie Observer)

Newspaper browsing has been so good for me!  I was not born here.  I am a native Floridian, born in Jacksonville over in Duval County.  Newspaper browsing has been such fun and also a way to learn the history and to learn about the interesting tidbits that – usually – only those who have been born and reared in a place know about!
   In the “we never change” department: Moultrie City Council decreed the use of mufflers on automobiles on December 3, 1914.
   The council’s crackdown went further: “And another thing.  The reckless driving must be stopped.  This warning has been given before…but this time the ‘wolf’ is really here.  So, look out!”
   Moultrie had a 21-room hotel in 1896!  Before 1896, hotel facilities in Moultrie were “entirely inadequate.”  The Central Hotel, one of the first to be started after the railroad arrival in 1893, expanded its facilities in 1896, by six rooms…giving the hotel 21 rooms in all.
   Moultrie lost its blacksmith in 1895 when W. Wurst, a prominent blacksmith in Moultrie during the early 1890s, moved his shop to Bay in the rural section.
   Automobile racing and car polo were popular in Moultrie in the early 1920s.  Automobile racing was the big attraction of the Colquitt County Fair the week of October 26, 1920.
   Among the entries were a Ford Special, Mercer, Scripps-Booth, Buick, Chevrolet, Frontenac and an Essex.  Some races were held under lights for the first time.  A “hurdling Overland” thrilled crowds with daredevil performances.
   Automobile polo was also a crowd pleaser.
   The Buick and Frontenac shared top honors in racing.  The latter was billed as having set a world’s record at the Sheepshead Bay, NY track – 140 miles an hour.
   Some 15,000 persons reportedly turned out on Friday at fair week.  Many of them were school children since schools were closed for the day.
    The first speed limit signs were erected on Moultrie streets in mid-January of 1911.  The car speed limits and these applied to other vehicles also, were 10 miles per hour in the downtown area and 15 miles per hour in the residential section.  Today (1956) the limits are 20 and 30 miles an hour.
   Quite a rush was reported in Moultrie in April of 1909 for what a jewelry merchant described as “icy-hot” bottles which would hold the temperature of liquids for “as long as 72-hours.”
   In the intervening years they have become known as thermos bottles and jugs.
   The originals were glass bottles enclosed in nickel cases, with a vacuum between.
   They were advertised as “valuable for carrying hot coffee or cold drinks on picnics or on a journey – and especially for baby’s milk.”
   The Farmer’s and Merchant’s Warehouse, with nearly 4,000 bales of cotton was destroyed by fire early in the morning of October 30, 1914.
   Meanwhile, on the same day the entire business section of Funston was swept by a blaze that left damages in excess of $20,000. Lack of equipment hindered the fire fighters.
   The Moultrie warehouse was valued at $30,000.  The loss was only partially covered by insurance.
   Georgia in 1920 had the second largest number of farms among all the states in the nation, according to census reports of the time.  Only Texas had a greater number. 
   Georgia in 1920 had 310,737 farms as against 435,737 in the Lone Star State.
   Carroll County headed the list of Georgia counties with 5,438 farms. Laurens and Burke were in second and third place.  Colquitt was not listed in the December 9, 1920 report.
   You know, you may visit The Odom Library and browse amongst the old Observers…and lots of other newspapers as well!  The Odom Library is located in the south end of the public library in Moultrie.

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