EDITOR’S NOTE: “Looking Back 50 Years” is a column that appears monthly in the Wharton Journal-Spectator and East Bernard Express. The following article takes information from county newspapers as it was reported in 1969.
A Wharton business changes hands. Robert C. Lanier Interests [then mayor of Houston] purchased controlling shares in Security Bank & Trust. RCLI recently purchased several Harris County banks and savings & loan associations. This group is headed by Dean L. Fenton and David D. Cryan; replacing D. A. Franzen, Sr. of Winnie, principal seller.
Drummers Inn [now Travelers Inn] has been sold by J. W. Dailey to Floyd and Opal McCoy of St Louis, Mo. The McCoys look forward to moving to Wharton and will update motel, pool, landscape, and private bar [sale of alcohol by single servings unlawful except in membership clubs; membership can be purchased in many restaurants’ back room]. They invite locals to stop by and visit them for tour of improved facility.
Transportation to circumvent City of Wharton addressed for Hwy. 59. A five-million plus contract creates by-pass north and west of Wharton to reroute Hwy. 59. New 8-mile route begins at San Bernard River bridge, division of Wharton and Fort Bend counties, to just below exit to Rancho Grande Road, southwest of Wharton. Double overpass to cross old Hwy. 59 near Peach Creek and one over FM 102, two new bridges over Colorado River, two new bridges over Peach Creek (one N-S traffic, one S-N traffic). Recent survey estimates Hwy. 59 will carry over 21,000 cars daily by 1985 [no one could foresee current traffic]; by-pass will keep traffic from traveling through town of Wharton creating multiple traffic jams. [by-passes killed a lot of little towns during this period of highway construction.]
Wharton’s City Council adopted program to improve traffic flow for Hwy. 60 through and around Wharton. East bound traffic will travel one route and west bound another route. [one-way travel via Richmond Road for Burleson (W-E) and Milam (E-W) streets] Council members met with County Commissioners to solicit participation between city and county for project. [leading excitement for years was watching cars traveling the wrong direction]
Crime Report: 125 Hot checks led convictions in Wharton County during 1968 – but 1967 having 334 hot check convictions, remains highest for single year and made by only 10 offenses/offenders. 1968 DWI convictions low of 68. Six Corpus Christi boys, two under the age of 17, arrested with possession of marijuana near Pierce by Patrolman Mike McLaughlin and Deputy Doug Holland. Bond of $2,500 placed for each boy; all still residing in our local county jail. [today can buy it openly in numerous states]
Buddy Attaway installed as new president of Wharton Lions Club at meeting held in Petersen’s Restaurant. 1968, club purchased $1,244 eye glasses for school children, sent one child to Lions Crippled Children’s Camp, sponsored Babe Ruth baseball team, provided scholarship to WCJC, purchased trophies for WHS girls’ basketball tournament, under writers for admission to school plays, sponsored a Boy Scout troop for 40th consecutive year – Whew! Total $3,566.73 contributed by this awesome organization. Go Lions!
Newgulf Giants, 25-0 record for 2 years with two no-hitter games pitched by Ricky Matula [who goes on to play pro ball], won second consecutive Babe Ruth League championship, beating Colts and the Pirates. Members: Matula, Vincent Huerta, Robert Rivera, Greg Krenek, Ted Miska, Steve Krenek, Bruce Kacal, Mike Hubenak, David Krenek, Billy Waddy, Roy Murray, Lee Billington, Dan Folmar, David Simpson; managers Raymond Miska and Frank Krenek.
WCJC will begin new dental hygiene program in September with room for 25 students selected by residual test all students must take to be considered eligible for program. Graduates can expect to make $500 per month starting salary and eventually make $1,200-$1,800 per month.
Torres Supermarket (former M.A.B. grocery) Ad: watermelons 39 cents each; jumbo Bounty paper towel 4 for $1; Robin Hood flour 5 lbs. 29 cents; instant Lipton Tea 4 oz. jar 39 cents; Bush Bavarian beer in glass or can containers 6 for 89 cents; Hunt’s fruit cocktail 4 cans $1. Borden’s ice cream ½ gallon 79 cents; green seedless grapes 49 cents lb.; Chiquita bananas 9 cents lb.; 5 lbs. Imperial sugar free with $5 purchase. [read and weep]