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Beth's Weekly Moultrie Observer Column - Week 63
(This appears here courtesy of The Moultrie Observer)

   Going back just a few years in Moultrie history is fun and interesting.

   Did you know that Moultrie’s Mack Tharpe Stadium was only dedicated forty-nine years ago?

   It was dedicated on Friday night, September 24, 1954.  It was named after a World War II Naval hero and former Moultrie High School football star and was built for $100,000.

   Attending the dediation were Tharpe’s 10-year-old daughter, Mary and Bobby Dodd, head coach and athletic director at Georgia Tech.  George Griffin, dean of students at Georgia Tech also attended.

   Former Moultrian, Joe Westbrook, recalled during the ceremony that he was the first man Tharpe recommended for a football scholarship at Tech.  Westbrook played on Tech’s famous Rose Bowl team of 1923.

   Captain P.G. Stokes, USN, professor of Naval Science at Tech, read a letter from Rear Admiral J> L. Pratt, USN retired, in which Pratt told of Tharpe’s heroic action on board the U&SS Bismark Sea.  Tharpe lost his life serving on the Bismark Sea.

   Earlier in the afternoon, the US Navy Band from Jacksonville, Florida played a concert on the courthouse square while Navy planes roared overhead in a t-formation honoring their lost comrade.

   The dedication was held during the halftime of a football game between the “B” teams of Florida State and Georgia Tech.  The junior Yellow Jackets won the fame 19-7.

   The Moultrie Packers played their first game in the new stadium on September 10, 1954, against Jordan.  Moultrie won the game 20-6.

   The stadium was built after a bond issue worth $125,000 was approved by an 8-1 vote on February 9, 1954.  The referendum was also to provide for certain school improvements. 

   Residents of Moultrie approved the stadium by a 779-93 vote and were in favor improving the schools by a margin of 807-96.  The school bond money was used at the Winona S. Cox Elementary school, the William Bryant High School vocational building and cafeteria and at Moultrie Junior High School. 

   Pineland’s  first varsity baseball team had a successful season in 1976.

   The Pineland Eagles finished second in the sub-region 1-S South race with Brookwood of Thomasville taking the title.  Pineland lost a doubleheader to the Warriors on April 22 which ended any hopes of winning the sub-region.

   Pineland scored victories over Tiftarea, Westwood, Georgia Christian School, Westbrook and two forfeits from Valwood.

   The Eagles ended the sub-region schedule at 8-2 and 9-5 overall.

   Members of the team included Tim Hendrick, Ronnie Perry, Mark Mobley, Lynn Brown, Wally Kennedy, Bryan Clark, Joe McQueen, Jim Saunders, Bolen Holman, Bobby Cox, William Taylor, Steve Brown and Carl Williamson.

   Hendrick hit two grand slams during the season while Kennedy, Lynn Brown and Cox also hit home runs!

   Construction was started on the lower half of the Doerun-Moultrie road on December 18, 1940.

   Moultrie started its “modernization” in the 1890s and in 1915 added a special touch when the first uniform sidewalks for the main business district were established.

   Moultrie city council specified that concrete would be used and width would be from the front of the building to the curbing.  Cost of the improvements was placed between $3,500 and $4,000. 

   The sidewalks included much of the downtown area, but excluded the courthouse square!

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