A look at Augusta's past
70 YEARS AGO
A huge fire coming from the Socony-Vacuum refinery lit up the sky and shook buildings around the refinery. The flare came when an oil drum broke at the Houdry unit. Three men working on the unit at the time were burned. Albert Hill and Perry Henman were sustained burns and taken to Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital. Paul Harness, the third man, did not go to the hospital.
Word had been received that a second Augusta man was missing in action on the aircraft carrier Liscombe Bay. Earl Punke and Bob Martin were both reported missing on the same ship.
City Hall was being painted and re-decorated.
60 YEARS AGO
Munroe Cox had just finished building the Village Shopping Center at Ohio and Broadway, across the street from his former grocery store, the Ohio St. Market. The new Village Market would be at the west wing and the Village Style Shop in the south wing. The center had not been leased yet.
The Augusta Theatre was boasting a new giant curved screen. The first movie on the new screen was “Little Boy Lost” with Bing Crosby.
The state reported that from May through September, Santa Fe Lake led all 22 state parks in attendance. It was known then officially as Butler County State Park.
50 YEARS AGO
Dana Pennington received a new Western Auto bicycle as a prize for his winning drawing in the “Ugliest Bug” contest sponsored by Real-Kill and Safeway stores.
Calvert’s Department Store reported the theft of three coats with mink collars. Burglars gained entry by cutting a hole in the floor of the vacant room above the store and the ceiling of the store.
The Augusta City Council banned parking on 7th St. through the city.
The Council decided that the city itself would manage and operate Santa Fe Lake. For five years prior, the facilities were operated by a family with a lease agreement with the city. The lake had been given to the city by Santa Fe Railroad approximately seven years before.
40 YEARS AGO
Augusta’s Holiday Bowl had been selected as the site for the State BPAA tournament later in the month.
A number of school children and citizens were painting and decorating downtown windows for the holidays.
In light of the nation’s energy crisis, City Manager John Mercer continued recommendations for saving energy; turning off all outside business signs and highlights, reduction of night meetings held by organizations, and consideration of reducing business hours.
30 YEARS AGO
Crossing gates were to be installed at the Santa Fe crossing on Thunder Rd., three miles southwest of Augusta.
The third armed robbery within two weeks in Augusta occurred when a man wearing a ski mask holding a revolver robbed the Taco Tico on 7th.
An ice storm hit and city crews were busy cutting branches from power lines.
The City had new computer-generated utility bills, which included more information for customers.
20 YEARS AGO
Augusta’s Dairy Queen, owned by the Rountrees, was saluted by International DQ, Inc. for earning a DQ System Award.
Jon Reed, a fifth grader, won the Geography Bee at Robinson Elementary.
The Augusta Air Museum, 1304 Money, was preparing to movie to a larger facility on the grounds of the old Mobil refinery. The 16,500 square foot machine shop was built in 1951 by Mobil Oil.
10 YEARS AGO
Butler County Commissioner Bill Shriver of Augusta, announced that he would not seek re-election for another term.
The flu bug had hit Augusta High School students and teachers hard. A large number of absences were being reported.
Butler County Sheriff Stan Cox resigned to go on active duty with his Army Reserve unit. Undersheriff Craig Murphy would be taking care of the day-to-day operations of the department until Cox’s successor was named by the Central Committee of the Butler County Republican Party.