And Now You Know: Orange in the Spring of 1959

Published 1:57 pm Sunday, March 17, 2019

Mike Louviere

By Mike Louviere

Orange in the spring of 1959 was a busy place. There were a couple of civic events and a couple of school happenings, along with sales at the local stores.

There was also a terrified squirrel.


Orange mayor C.H. (Herb) Meeks announced that Lee S. Vickers of Gladewater had been hired as city manager. Vickers had been city manager at Gladewater for the past three years. Before that time, he had worked as managership trainee for the City of Dallas for four and a half years.

His starting salary at Orange was $12,000 with the use of a city-owned vehicle and all out of town expenses paid while on municipal business.

Mrs. John W. Crawley who had served as city secretary at West Orange resigned following a dispute with West Orange Mayor Jack Dardeau.

She had served through the partial terms of mayors W. O. (Tex) Pearson, Ellis Carter, and Elwood Pierce.

Mrs. Crawley declined to make comments about her sudden resignation or give her version of the dispute with mayor Dardeau.

A booklet was available at Orange National Bank, First National Bank, and Orange Savings and Loan Association. The booklet explained the constitutional rights of persons receiving traffic tickets. The booklet was distributed by the Orange County Bar Association in cooperation with the State Bar of Texas.

It stated that a person had a right to a defense by a lawyer.

“You may not be required to testify against yourself and you have a right to a trial by jury. You have the same constitutional rights as if you were charged with murder”, the booklet stated.

Lutcher B. Simmons, secretary of the county bar association said, “the state bar association is calling your attention to your rights in traffic court which is the only contact many citizens have with judicial procedure.”

Upgrades to the galley at the Orange Naval Station included new stainless steel cooking equipment. The upgrade was to the new one-story brick and reinforced concrete building located behind the new two-story barracks building.

Base Commander Captain R.L. Nolan reported that the $220,000 upgrade made the galley one of the most modern found at any U.S. Navy facility.

All the faculty and custodial staff at Cove School were offered contracts for the 1959-60 school year. Hardy Hairston, superintendent of Cove Independent School system, also announced the purchase of a salad mixer and new oven for the cafeteria at the cost of $500.

Lawrence T. Lewis, Orange banker, and real estate agent had been elected as chairman of the Orange County School Board. The announcement was made by Orange County School Superintendent J.B. Petty.

Trans Texas Airlines advertised in the Orange Leader that they were offering two flights daily, morning and evening non-stop to Dallas. The flights took only 87 minutes. TTA also had four daily flights non-stop to Houston on their new Super Starliners that only took 32 minutes.

The flights were from the Jefferson County airport.

The Goodyear Store on Green Avenue was offering a $100 trade-in on four tires that were “re-cappable” with the purchase of four new tires.

First Financial Bank. Here yesterday, here today, here tomorrow

Mad Man Marks Seat Cover Center, located at 207 W. Green Avenue, could sell you a set of tailor-made seat covers “while you wait.” In “only two hours” they could be cut sewn and fitted before your eyes.

The covers were available in clear plastic, leatherette, and Naugahyde.

Before the days of the “big box stores” local grocery stores sold a wide variety of products.

Henke and Pillot, a division of the Kroger Company, had a two-page ad in the Orange Leader advertising everything from avocados to frozen turkeys to beach buckets, ice cooler chests, and folding wooden camp stools.

Weingarten’s had a manager’s sale on groceries along with western jeans and a 24 inch three horsepower power lawn mower.

The most unusual happening occurred when an ancient-model stick controlled automobile spooked a horse and rider at the corner of Fifth and Division Streets. A nearby squirrel was also “spooked”.

The squirrel dashed across the street and frantically clawed at a glass door attempting to find a safe haven.

“And now you know.”