Memoried Glances: 1966 — West Point Dam predicted to precede ‘population explosion’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 16, 2016

Memoried Glances

Julia Dyar

Contributing columnist

Aprils past, 50 years ago.

From the LaGrange Daily News, 1966.

Front Page News

Major Growth Forecast Here — “The entire LaGrange and Troup County area will undergo a population explosion in the next decade as a result of the $72 million West Point Dam Project.”

W.A. (Bill) Crawford, chairman of the Troup County Commission, made this prediction Saturday during groundbreaking ceremonies for the West Point Dam.

Numerous dignitaries and several hundred area residents turned out for the ceremony on State Line Road Saturday. A planted dynamite blast by a special demolition squad from Fort Benning marked the official start of construction.

Speaking under an armada of jets flying over the groundbreaking site, Crawford and other governmental officials forecast a bright future for this area with the advent of the giant dam and backwater.

Tourists Will Spend $8 Million Per Year — Discussing the recreational aspects of the West Point Dam, Lt. Col. William L. Barnes told Rotarians Wednesday that it is anticipated that 800,000 people will visit the project during the first year after filling of the reservoir.

He said an average of $9.75 per day will be spent by visitors on the site. This will mean an income of nearly $8 million annually that will be pumped into the local economy.

Col. Barnes said that 16 miles of Highway I-85 will parallel the West Point Dam Project, in itself bringing additional tourists to the area. He added that 39 recreational areas have been spotted around the shore line, some for public use, some public access.

The work on the recreational areas will be shared by the federal government, the state and counties. Six areas will be near LaGrange. Public marinas, lodges, restaurants, camping and beach areas are included in the planning.

The power generated by the dam will accommodate customers in and around West Point, Lanett, LaGrange, Franklin and Thomaston. In addition, the operation will create a net increase of approximately 36 million kilowatt hours of energy annually at all other plants downstream. Power benefits will accrue at the rate of some $2 million annually.

Completion is scheduled for 1972.

Mansour’s Announces $1 Million Expansion, Remodeling Program — Mansour’s Inc. today announced a $1 million expansion and remodeling program for its downtown LaGrange store.

The gigantic project calls for complete remodeling and renovation of the main floor, remodeling of the downstairs store and the addition of Mansour’s Annex.

All work is scheduled to be completed in September.

Local VFW Dedicates Room — The Grady K. Embrey Room of the VFW here was dedicated Friday night in memory of a young LaGrange soldier who died in Vietnam last year.

Embrey’s father is a retired master sergeant with more than 20 years of service in the Army.

LaGrange College Votes Integration — LaGrange College will file a nondiscrimination pledge with the federal government as required by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Trustees of the Methodist-supported institution, by a majority vote, today agreed that the college will abide by the compliance regulations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

The action was announced by Board Chairman T. Scott Avery of West Point following the trustees annual meeting on the LC campus.

LaGrange Jaycees Honored — LaGrange Jaycees captured the three top leadership awards in Region Eight for the second consecutive year on Wednesday night, and then took the region presidency.

Tully Dawson, current president of the local Jaycees, was elected 1966-67 president of the region, which stretches from Columbus to Griffin. He also will serve as a member of the Georgia Jaycees’ executive board, and was named the “outstanding Local President” over the 11 other club presidents in Region Eight.

John Stewart Jr. and Solon Boggus Jr., LaGrange Spark-Plug and SPOKE winners respectively, were both victorious in region competition.

Mountville Resident Participated In Virginia Trail Event — Cathy Boddie, a resident of Mountville and sophomore at LaGrange College, rode the blue ribbon winner Irish Glory in a recent Virginia Trail endurance event. She completed a 50-mile endurance competition at the famous Homestead Stables in Virginia.

Among the notables present was Mrs. Arthur Godfrey, Cathy’s riding partner, who also won first place in the endurance trails.

Both Cathy and Mrs. Godfrey rode the rare Connemara horses in the 50-mile endurance run. This unusual breed is raised about 12 miles south of LaGrange on Ga. 219 at Rose Hill Farm.

The Troup County Bridle Club will sponsor an endurance event on May 15, the first in the state.

Julia Dyar, a retired journalist, is active in the Troup County Historical Society.