MDJ Time Capsule: The Week of Oct. 24th
by Damon Poirier
October 23, 2013 03:35 PM | 1378 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print

This week’s Time Capsule looks at the death of Maj. Hiram Butler, Marietta Schools’ payroll, Kennesaw State College losing accreditation and theft of parts from the Big Chicken.

100 years ago …

In Friday, Oct. 24, 1913 edition of the Marietta Journal and Courier, the front page reported the death of Maj. Hiram A. Butler, 81, of Kennesaw, who had been employed by the Western and Atlantic Railroad for nearly 60 years. Maj. Butler started his career as a water boy for the Noonday Fill near Marietta and later served as Roadmaster for nearly 50 years. When Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman approached Kennesaw, Maj. Butler and Martin H. Dooly were reported as having made up the last train composed of rolling stock. The pair had hoped to save the contents from Federal destruction by running the train to South Georgia, but Stoneman’s Raiders destroyed the property at Griswoldville on the Central Road.

50 years ago …

Six people were reported injured, one critically, in the Friday, Oct. 18, 1963 Marietta Daily Journal as a fire swept through a frame house in Mableton. The family was asleep at the time of the fire. The homeowner, who awoke to discover the flames, pulled his grandchildren, son and a dog from the building before collapsing. His wife escaped the blaze by jumping out of their bedroom window. All three of the man’s grandchildren along with his son were taken to Kennestone Hospital with burns. A fireman with the responding South Cobb Fire Department also received an eye injury while fighting the fire.

In the Sunday, Oct. 20, 1963 paper, it was reported that Marietta Schools Superintendent Henry Kemp said the Board of Education did not have the money to meet its October payroll and called for a special session of the Marietta City Council to deal with the crisis. Later in the week, on Thursday, Oct. 24, it was reported that the Council voted in emergency session to borrow $50,000 for appropriation to the Board of Education. The action, taken at the request of Marietta Mayor Sam Welsch, temporarily eased a critical financial problem brought on by the failure of Congress to renew legislation authorizing federal aid to impacted areas.

In the Tuesday, Oct. 22, 1963 paper, it was reported that plans were being developed and construction was scheduled to begin on a luxury theatre in the new Cobb County Center. The theatre, operated by the Georgia Theatre Company, was to have a seating capacity for approximately 1,000 with rocking chair seats featuring upholstered arm rests that would be installed on a staggered floor plan. The Cobb Center Theatre was the fourth indoor-type motion picture house in operation in the county and was expected to be the largest.

Also that day, it was reported that Dr. W.C. Mitchell, chairman of the Cobb Board of Education, watched as construction crews broke ground on a new elementary school in Smyrna. The school, which was being erected at the end of Ward Street behind the Belmont Hills Shopping Center, was to house 1,200 students and would have 38 classrooms.

20 years ago …

Kennesaw State College’s (KSC) teacher education program was reported in the Tuesday, Oct. 19, 1993 paper as having lost its national accreditation following a two-year review that found overcrowded classrooms, too few faculty members and curriculum problems. The more than 2,300 students enrolled in teacher education courses at KSC were expected to be eligible to receive state teacher certificates by passing an exam upon completion of their courses of study. The Georgia Professional Standards Commission had given the college permission to continue to operate its teacher education programs through June 30, 1995, which was enough time for the college to reapply for national accreditation.

In the Wednesday, Oct. 20, 1993 paper, it was reported that Kentucky Fried Chicken was willing to forgive “fowl” play in the disappearance of some sections of the Big Chicken after thieves allegedly stole parts from the site. Ten days earlier, a construction crew working on the demolition of the Big Chicken reported that someone had stolen the black eyes and part of the yellow break from the metal bird. After hearing a radio report of the theft, a passerby who took the eyes as a souvenir from the 54-foot Marietta landmark contacted Marietta Police to return them. The bird’s bulky upper beak, which weighed more than 500 pounds, was reported as being found on Thursday, Oct. 21. A female caller reported to police that the beak had been dumped at the Rhodes Furniture store at U.S. 41 and Gresham Road. Demolition of the Big Chicken began after storm damage to the structure revealed that decades of bird droppings inside had corroded the landmark’s metal skeleton.

Damon Poirier is the Newsroom Administrator for the Marietta Daily Journal.

If you are interested in learning more about the stories that were presented in this week’s column, you can search the newspaper’s digitized microfilm archives online. NewsBank, which hosts the archives for the Marietta Daily Journal, charges a fee for retrieved articles and has various price packages available. If you have any trouble with your username, password or payment options, please contact NewsBank at


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