Seventy-two years ago on Friday, June 28, 1946, at 9:45 p.m., WSB, Atlanta, aired the radio broadcast, “This is your Georgia.” The program, presented by Georgia Power Company, was centered around Metter. Dot Jones recently shared a copy of that program transcript with us:
This is your Georgia
“This is your Georgia.”
“Georgia On My Mind”
The Georgia Power Company presents ‘This Is Your Georgia,’ featuring Dean de Ovies. In revealing your Georgia, the Better Home Towns Division of the Georgia Power Company wishes to throw the spotlight on Georgia’s resources, her people, and her communities. This program comes to you in keeping with our sponsor’s slogan: ‘A Citizen Wherever We Serve.’
Dean de Ovies
I’m sorry I had to do a transcription for last Friday night, but I was back in Virginia. This time at Williamsburg, taking in Jamestown, Yorktown, Richmond and other points on side trips. Williamsburg was settled 313 years ago. Think of that!
Well, Georgians often ask me, ‘What has Virginia got that Georgia hasn’t?’ And the chief thing in the way of an answer is probably this: ‘Virginia is aware of her historic interest and scenic beauty and is playing them up for all she is worth!’ That also means that she must take care of the visitors who flock to the state; and, as far as my recent experience there goes, she is doing a very good job, indeed. In spite of shortages, I have never eaten better food although I have found equally good fare in some sections of other states. The thing of note is that Virginia has made a business out of providing for tourists’ needs and desires. It is a very big business, too, because there are plenty of people traveling who are willing to pay well for good service. And very many more are willing to pay for good service -- if it is reasonable in price.
Anyway, Williamsburg is an old, old town; but tonight I want to tell you of a comparatively new town. It is our Town of the Week!
Roll out the bright red carpet for ... Metter, Georgia!
Dean de Ovies
Only 67 years ago the site of Metter was a forest of virgin pines; yet, nestled within it was a store, a small schoolhouse and the residence of Dr. and Mrs. Dan Kennedy. In 1889, Dr. and Mrs. Kennedy wrangled a post office out of Uncle Sam for this small community, and Mrs. Kennedy named it Metter -- and where she got that name deponent sayeth not.
At that time, most of the land was owned by James Terrell Trapnell and he became interested and active in helping to build a town. Nine years later, Doctor Wallace Kennedy began a campaign for the creation of a new county and asked that Metter be named the county seat. Other citizens joined him in the move and in 1912 F.H. Sills -- at present a member of the legislature -- having filled 3 terms already, started a newspaper which he called the Metter Advertiser; and he used his paper to foster Doctor Kennedy’s agitation for a new county. Their efforts met with complete success and Candler County was established in 1914 by an act of the Georgia Legislature which was ratified as a constitutional amendment by popular vote in November of that year. The new county was created from portions of Bulloch, Emanuel and Tattnall and was named for former Governor Allen D. Candler, widely known as the “one-eyed boy from Pigeon Roost.” His portrait hangs on the wall behind the judge’s seat in the courthouse.
Oh, I forgot something about the Metter Advertiser. It was municipally owned and operated -- and controlled -- by the mayor and council of the city for two and a half years! Page Mr. Ripley! It is now published and edited by R. G. Daniell in a thoroughly independent manner, as all good newspapers are.
The growth of Metter has been rapid. When Candler County was created in 1914, Metter had a population of 800. Since then it has increased in population over 300% -- in only 32 years! That is growth!
However, my chief reason for saluting Metter is because of her civic pride and the cooperation her citizens have given in making the best of the city’s opportunities. Metter furnishes an excellent illustration of what a community can do with the Georgia Power Company’s Better Home Towns Program. Because, although this program is now recognized throughout the United States as the finest and most successful of all such attempts, it will not work by itself!
When it was presented to Metter, it was unanimously adopted and necessary committees were appointed. The mayor, Colonel L. C. Anderson, a decidedly civic-minded citizen, was chosen to head-up the BHT. His advisory committee consists of A. J. Bird, W. E. Simmons, L. P. Trapnell and W. H. Lanier. 27 sub-committees work out plans for such projects as Legislation, Employment, Home Beautification, Streets and Sidewalks, Public facilities, Recreation and so on.
Metter soon took on a polished and furbished appearance as homes were painted, streets cleaned, vacant lots put in order and lawns improved. And as one citizen said, ‘Metter is too young to have any ‘history.’ We are making history; and if the town has no ancient ancestry, we are making things easier for posterity.’ And so they are, those thoroughly cooperative citizens of Metter. Let me give you listeners an example: A couple of weeks ago, a mass meeting was called for one afternoon at five o’clock to form a Candler County Development Corporation to erect buildings, warehouses, residences, a hotel and other projects to attract outside industry. Practically all other businesses came to a standstill in order that all interested persons might attend. Not one dissenting voice was raised at this meeting. And here is another instance: When a bond issue was put before the voters at a time when street improvements and the extension of water and sewerage lines were needed, there were only two dissenting votes on the street improvement proposals and only one on the water and sewerage extension lines. That is cooperation!
Applications have been made to the Federal Works Agency for supplementary aid for these projects. The water extension application has been approved and the other two are pending and will probably be granted. By the way, that cooperative spirit was shown 7 years ago when it was proposed to build a high school at a cost of $75,000. Colonel Anderson was chairman of the board at the time, and with Metter’s citizens to back him, there was little trouble in making the dream become a reality. About 550 students attend and they have the facilities of a fine canning plant as part of their vocational training. There is a modern lunchroom where hot meals are served to students. Superintendent J.C. Olliff has been largely responsible for the excellent and improved educational standards of the school, which has a notable list of honor students each year. The bank in Metter was so impressed by the fine work of the school that it recently awarded a scholarship to a young man who was selected by the high school faculty.
P. V. Stripling is president of this bank; Mrs. Nita Bell Bland, vice-president and Perry L. Rountree, the cashier, is also a vice-president. The assets are published as one and a half million dollars.
Metter and Candler County are predominantly agricultural, with tobacco rapidly supplanting cotton and now the largest industry. And just as happens elsewhere when people get over the superstition that cotton is the only money crop, the farmers are diversifying and are growing small grains in increasing abundance. Livestock is also becoming an important agricultural industry. Each week in Metter a livestock sale is held and the weekly gross has now reached an average of $25,000.
There are 4 warehouses to handle tobacco and the newest was recently completed at a cost of $75,000. You see, Metter is the oldest tobacco market east of the Altamaha river and it is the center of southeast Georgia’s tobacco belt.
The city continues to grow. Right now, more than 16 business and service establishments are under construction and more are planned. Returned veterans are largely responsible for this ‘building spree’ and they are certainly giving a shove in pushing Metter forward. Dessie Johnson, for instance, a Pacific veteran, has gone in with his father to build an undertaking business with a mortuary chapel and everything. Burton Franklin Jr., an ex-GI, will open an automobile parts business, with other ex-servicemen participating. Howard Bland, an ex-GI, Fate DeLoach and Harold Trapnell of the Farm Construction Company of Metter have built over 20 ponds and have reclaimed 500 acres of land for farm purposes. But I must pass on from veteran activities.
There is a hospital, The Kennedy Memorial, privately operated by Dr. Kennedy with 25 beds. There are 5 churches to care for the spiritual needs of the people and there is a theatre for recreation.
The new bus station is costing about $14,000 because it is to be modern and complete. It has to be because roads leading into town are good, the streets of the city clean and well maintained and all this presents an attraction and an invitation to stop awhile. So good rest rooms, a lunch room and other conveniences for travelers are necessary.
The present mayor is Colonel L. C. Anderson and the councilmen are: B. G. Bowen Jr., P. W. Wright Sr., H. T. Warren, G. C. Snell and Ed Fuller. Cooperating with them in every good civic purpose are the Kiwanis Club with Albert Clifton as president; Candler County Chamber of Commerce with C. W. Baggett as president; the American Legion and Women’s Auxiliary of the Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. And there is an active Metter Garden Club which is busy with further beautification of the town and private gardens.
Next year ... but that’s another story. Here is our friend, Roy McMillan.
Goodnight, Dean de Ovies.
Dean de Ovies
‘This Is Your Georgia’ is brought to you by the Georgia Power Company as part of their Better Home Towns Program, and in keeping with their slogan: ‘A Citizen Wherever We Serve.’ Dean de Ovies is featured each week. A copy of tonight’s presentation may be obtained by simply addressing your request to ‘This Is Your Georgia,’ in care of WSB, Atlanta. And here’s a cordial invitation to be with us again next Friday evening at 9:45. Until then ... good night.