2018-02-21 / Editorials

Stories of home

All That’s Fit to Print
Brenda Wall

A repeat and a reminder. Sometimes we need history to repeat itself...

Sometimes, we lose sight of the importance of history. Sometimes we even forget our history, the lessons we’ve learned along the way. So, every now and then, I want to share a story or two about our neck of the woods. Some may be important or some may be funny, but they are stories of home.

In 1911, a group of Blakely women formed the Searchlight Club. The group chose the name not for the definition for searchlight as an apparatus for projecting a powerful beam of light. The women chose it because searchlight also meant a beam of light projected by it.

One of the first undertakings was to see to a bond measure passing to fund sewers and a new school for Blakely. The school and sewer project was important for a growing community, for progress, for health, for the economy.

In April, after the election, the editors for Early County News wrote “the Searchlight Club is enjoying a widespread feeling of genuine felicity over the result of the bond election.”

Of approximately 250 registered voters, 197 went to the polls, in a large part because the women got them there. In those days, remember, women could not vote.

June, 1911, found the Searchlight Club continued their efforts to clean up Blakely by staging a clean up day June 28. People took notice.

In August, the ECN reported the “courthouse yard a thing of beauty since the Searchlight Club set it to flowers.”

During the year they also worked to establish rest rooms in town, rooms where women from the county could rest during a full day’s visit in town.

On Nov. 10, 1911, the group changed the name of their group to the Woman’s Club and announced that during the winter months, the group would meet in members’ homes due to lack of heat in the courthouse.

The club reporter wrote in the published minutes of that meeting that “The present unsightly appearance of the court house lawn is an eye sore to the Woman’s Club, if not to the men, and Friday afternoon, Nov. 24 has been designated clean up day.”

“And we add, parenthetically, that empty whiskey bottles are not ornamental; the sight of one, with all the suggestions of horror, heartache and woe, is as objectionable to women as what it contained is delightful to men, and we publicly request that men not parade them so openly. Of course, everybody knows who does the drinking, for like murder, it will out, and if the youth of Blakely can not have examples of sobriety, in all reason, give them one of neatness.”

Have a good week.

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