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VINTAGE ALBANY-A History Timeline Part Two

By   /   June 26, 2012  /   Comments

Actors Walter Brennan and Brandon De Wilde on the set of Goodbye My Lady taken in 1956. The film was made in the Albany area and was about a boy and his Basenji dog named Lady.

NOTE: Much of the material for the following timeline came from History and Reminiscences of Dougherty County Georgia, compiled by the Thronateeska Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), as well as old newspaper accounts from various newspapers of the day and from the website Albany High Times.


1836- The pine forest near the Flint River was cleared and the first two houses, a store and a shed were built in Albany. The houses were made of logs; the store was located at number one Broad Street with the cotton shed placed directly across the street.

1837- Albany celebrates their first ever Fourth of July.  A reading of the Declaration of Independence was held in the first home ever built in Albany located at number 2 Broad Street. The crowd then enjoyed a BBQ dinner and danced until the early hours of the morning. A chalk line was then drawn the length of the room and the men slept on one side of the room, the women on the other.

1842- In June, the disease smallpox is found in Albany. Seven families leave town in fear of a coming epidemic. In August, Albany founder, Nelson Tift and two other men were baptized by Reverend Jonathan Davis. The baptism took place in the Flint River. Also in August the weather became so cold that people were wearing winter clothing and had to keep fireplaces lit.

Late 1860’s- The exact date for this event was not given. A pond that was once located near the corner of Broad and Jackson, completely emptied of water overnight. The bottom had literally dropped out of the pond and all the water had vanished leaving behind an unsightly muddy hole. Albany’s city council arranged to have workers haul in wagonloads of dirt for several days to fill it in. The day after completely filling in and cleaning up the area, the clay that had been used to plug the hole also vanished, once again leaving behind a muddy hole. It turned out the pond had been over a large natural lime cavern. The area was then filled in with masonry and other materials and was then used as part of a city sewer system.

1899- Another outbreak of smallpox hits near South Georgia. To reduce the risk to Albanians, no one is allowed to travel to or from Richland, Alapaha Douglas, Ocilla or Americus and Albany. People are forced to get vaccinations against the illness.

1951- Hilsman Lake empties of water overnight. The lake had had previous problems with leaking in the past and had been filled in many times. The city had spent somewhere around $14,000 to make the lake.  The event happened at 5 a.m., several boys were swimming in the lake at the time it started to empty and had to swim for their lives. Hilsman Lake is now called Hilsman Park or as most Albanians know it, the Limesink.

1956- Albany hosts the world premiere of the second Hollywood film filmed here. The movie, Goodbye My Lady, starred Walter Brennan, Barndon De Wilde, Phil Harris and a young Sidney Poiter. Barbeques, parties and a parade preceded the premiere.



Betty Rehberg is the historian for the Albany Journal and maintains a group on Facebook called Vintage Albany Georgia.


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