The Year of 1939

The winter of 1938-1939 was one of the mildest on record in Liberty County. In early February azaleas started bloom­ing two months early all over the county. Three weeks went by without low temperatures or frost. It was perfect weather for a horse show presented by the Liberty Independent Troop at the National Guard Armory in Hinesville on George Wash­ington’s birthday.


Tourist traffic on U.S. Highway 17 through Liberty Coun­ty was so heavy at times during the winter of 1938-39 that it was sometimes impossible to cross the highway. Baseball was 100 years old in 1939. Top popular songs of the year were “Two Sleepy People,” “September Song,” and “God Bless America.”


Many Liberty County property owners were unable to pay their taxes during the ninth year of the economic depres­sion. Seldom a week went by that property was not sold by the county sheriff in front of the Liberty County Court­house to satisfy state, county, school, and local taxes.


One of the most important social events of the year in Liberty County in 1939 was the President’s Birthday Ball, held in the National Guard Armory at Hinesville. It was a part of the National Infantile Paralysis Campaign, and was held in conjunction with the birthday of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the most famous polio victim in America. The event was sponsored by a Liberty County committee under the aegis of Andrew A. Smith of Savannah, Georgia, the district trustee. An orchestra played music for dancing. There was a small charge for admission. The ladies wore evening dresses and the men wore coats and ties.


The law establishing the Coastal Highway District was amended on March 20, 1939, to provide for widening and reconstruction of U.S. Highway 17 in some areas. So many accidents occurred at a spot between Richmond Hill and Savannah that it came to be called “Dead Man’s Curve.” There was also a need to widen the highway between Midway Church and its cemetery. That meant the church building would have to be moved.