HAHIRA -- Old newspapers, a spinning wheel and hundreds of photographs adorned the Hahira Community Center Sunday at a reception in honor of the city's 110th anniversary, hosted by the Hahira Historical Society.
The city of Hahira received its charter on Oct. 2, 1891, with Briggs Lawson sworn in as the first mayor. At the turn of the century, with the railroad running through the center of town, the city earned its reputation as a thriving hub for agriculture.
Richard Parham, president of the Historical Society, said the items on display all came from private citizens who allowed the group to use them for the event. "Soon, we hope to have a permanent museum at the Red Caboose on Main St. for many of these items so people can learn about Hahira's history."
Among the items on display was a Smith Hospital bill dating from August 1946. The bill was for a 3-day hospital stay from Dr. E. J. Smith and Dr. J. R. Smith for Patricia Coppage and the total was $53.50, an unbelievably low amount these days, said Parham.
Leland Clanton, a lifelong Hahira resident and former city manager, said back in the days before television, people visited the city every Saturday night. "It used to be you couldn't find a parking spot downtown. People would come to the city, park their cars and either sit and visit or walk around talking to their neighbors, catching up on the news."
Clanton said in the 1940s and 1950s, there were seven grocery stores on Main Street, where there are only two now, and people would come to town to shop on Saturday nights. "We had a theater in town then and people would go to see the movie and then come do their grocery shopping. I worked at one of the stores, and we'd stay open past midnight so they could get their groceries."
In the 1960s, Clanton said the activity downtown fell off as people stayed home more to watch television and began shopping at larger stores and malls.
On Sunday, the community center was crowded with people looking at the numerous photos depicting trains stopping at the old city depot, the original schools in the area, and Main St. over the years displayed among copies of the Hahira Gold Leaf newspaper from the 1950s and 1960s, war ration books, and original paintings of the community.
The 20th Anniversary Quilt for the Honey Bee Festival was also on display along with numerous photos and memorabilia from past festivals.
The city's anniversary celebration "happily coincided" with the beginning of Hahira's Honey Bee Festival on Monday, according to Bonnie Tindall, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.
The festival begins this morning with a Kick Off Breakfast and American Honey Queen Reception at the Community Center from 7 to 9 p.m., with events throughout the week, culminating in an old fashioned, hometown parade Saturday at 2 p.m.
To contact reporter Kay Harris, please call 244-3400, ext. 280.
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