And Now You Know: There was a play, a circus, new Lions Club and a dozen grocery stores in Orange in Nov. 1950

Published 12:24 am Saturday, November 13, 2021

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Mike Louviere
And Now You Know

The Orange Leader edition Thursday, November 9, 1950, was a paper full of news about local events for the next week. It was a busy time for Orange.

The Orange Kiwanis Club announced that they would bring the Barker Bros. Circus to the Jaycee rodeo arena on Highway 90 November 13 and 14.

The writer of the “Around Town” column for the Leader questioned the wisdom of bringing the circus to Orange. He remarked, “Don’t you know that Orange has grown leery of circuses and carnivals.” A Kiwanis member replied, “Yes I know it, but this circus has been recommended highly to us. The circus has been working with Kiwanis clubs all over the nation and the other clubs have been satisfied with this circus.”

The circus was held as scheduled and was a success, some parents remarked that they were glad they could take their children to a circus like one they saw when they were children.

Before there was the Orange Community Players, there was a theater group called the “Town Theater.”

There were two articles on the front page about the upcoming performance of “George Washington Slept Here” to be presented on November10 in the Anderson School auditorium. The first article was about Mrs. Sam Hattman, better known as “Jeff”, in the starring role.

“Mrs. Hattman is a teacher in Bridge City schools. A former speech teacher the pretty young Town Theater member plays her role to the perfect satisfaction of all who have witnessed rehearsals.”

“Jeff stayed in local theater, becoming a charter member of OCP in 1951, and staying active as an actor, director, and any other position she was needed in until her death in 2012. In her honor, the new theater under construction for OCP has been named the “Jeff Hattman Theater for The Preforming Arts.”

A second article about the play stated that Harvey Prince, “a versatile musician,” would provide “musical interludes” between acts of the play. “He will play popular selections of today and yesterday,” said Mrs. J.J. Poland, Town Theater president.

The newly formed West Orange Lions Club was to be the fourth Lions Club in Orange County when its charter was presented November 9, according to its president Hugh Myers.

The charter was to be presented by District 2S1 Governor Edwin Guinn of Rusk. The president was to be named in the Lutcher Stark High School auditorium in a joint meeting of the Orange and West Orange Lions Clubs.

For nightly entertainment, the four theaters in Orange were open and airconditioned. The Strand was showing “Breakthrough”, along with a cartoon and newsreel. The Bengal had “The Man on the Eiffel Tower” for the main feature along with a cartoon, newsreel, and a serial. A block east of the Strand on Front Street, the Royal had a double feature, “Woman of the Town”, and “State Penitentiary.” Just out of town, the MacArthur Drive In Theater advertised that “rain or clear” their features would be shown. There was a double feature, “The Last Bandit” and “The Kid From Cincinnati”, and “Always, a color cartoon.”

At that time. you did not have to leave your neighborhood, or at least not go far from it to buy groceries. Orange had 12 “large” grocery stores and several smaller stores in neighborhoods from Brownwood to the Cove.

Blanda’s Grocery was located at Cypress and First Streets. ABC Food Store had two locations, one on Park Avenue and one on Western Avenue in West Orange. Cooper’s was located on 10th Street and Link Avenue. No location was given for Piggly Wiggly, the Navy Food Store was at 2007 North Sixth Street, Vincent Food Store was on the corner of Border and Polk Streets. The Wingate Brothers had two meat markets, one at 1503 Link and the other at 1112 DuPont Drive. Sabine Town Food Store was on Second and Park. Lucia Brothers Finer Foods was the first coming into Orange from Louisiana, it was located at 39 East Green Avenue “at the Sabine River Bridge”. Save Way Food Store was at 712 First Street. Weingarten’s Food Store was at the corner of Second Street and Turret Road.

All of these stores have gone out of business, only a few of the buildings remain. The ABC Store in West Orange may be the last of the buildings still in use as a grocery store. It is now “Danny’s”, still sells grocery and fresh cut meat, but there have been some changes.

“And now you know.”