In an earlier post (6/16/08), I mentioned a scrapbook compiled by the Bradley B. & P. W. Club in the late 1950’s, which was once in the Bradley Public Library. Since the closing of that library several years ago, I have often wondered what happened to it. Well, Richard Estes has found it. It is an absolute treasure trove of information about and photographs of Bradley in the late 1950’s. Many, many future posts on this site will be devoted to that information and those photographs.
The B. & P. W. Club, assisted by some other local organizations, entered Bradley in a statewide “Community Accomplishment Contest” for at least two years, and perhaps more. The Contest was divided by population range and Bradley was entered in the division of cities with populations up to 1,000.
Inside the front cover of the scrapbook is a certificate which was apparently won in the first year Bradley was in the contest. It says:
“AWARD OF CIVIC MERIT
For Outstanding Achievement in the Initiation and Improvement of Community Facilities in
The 1956 Community Accomplishment Contest
The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce
The Arkansas Industrial Development Commission
The Arkansas Power & Light Company,
The City of Bradley is hereby awarded
In its population group.
The sponsors are honored in making this presentation.
[signed with illegible signature], President, The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.”
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A newspaper clipping announces:
“BRADLEY ONE OF TEN FINALIST [sic] IN IMPROVEMENT CONTEST
The town of Bradley was notified Sunday that they were one of the ten finalists in the 0–1,000 group of the Seventh Annual Community Accomplishment Contest.
The ten finalists are besides Bradley; Cave City, Danville, Gillett, Hampton, Marion, Mount Ida, Prairie Grove, Salem and Sparkman.
The judges started touring the state Monday to visit the towns and inspect first hand the improvements that had been made and Monday about nineteen citizens of Bradley met at Cochran’s Store in Bradley to talk to the three judges, B. S. Hundley of Star City, Charles Leighton of DeQueen and Glenn Zimmerman of North Little Rock.”
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A magazine clipping contains what is apparently meant to be a summary of the improvements made in the Bradley area over the past year:
“Bradley is a small town located in the southern portion of Arkansas having a population of 678 people and has a fire insurance rating of Class 9.
During the past year they paved 23 blocks of town streets. They have fire fighting equipment consisting of two trucks and their fire department is headed by a chief and 18 men, all of whom are volunteers. Five of the 18 men are qualified to teach first aid and the town also provides outside fire service.
The American Legion sponsored a Little League Baseball organization which took care of 66 boys during the summer of 1956. The local citizens working together collected $2,000 for this program. A new Legion hut has been constructed in Bradley and they have outstanding scout troops.
One new milk plant was installed with ten new bins. A new cotton warehouse was constructed covering 16,000 square feet. The Ground Observation Corp.was created and 55 people have completed the course. The local PTA concentrated most of its efforts on the health program for the community. They made a health record for every child in school and also gave a trophy for the most outstanding student. Two girls were sent to Girls’ State.”
The “Ground Observation Corp.” referred to in the preceding paragraph was part of what was then called “Civil Defense,” and which we now call, generically, “Homeland Security.”
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The scrapbook also contains an account, apparently retyped from some newspaper, which indicates the result of that particular year’s contest:
“DISTRICT SUPERVISOR IS GUEST OF ROTARY CLUB
On Nov. 21 [1957, apparently], Mr. Bill Fountain, one of the District Supervisor [sic] for the Eighth Annual Achievement Contest, sponsored by the Ark. Power & Light Co., Arkansas Economic Council and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce was the guest meeting [sic] of the Bradley Rotary Club.
Mr. Fountain, who is from Ark. Power & Light Co., of Little Rock, complimented the town of Bradley very highly on its achievement in the contest last year. Bradley ranked in the top ten and [sic] said that the judges were especially impressed with the Little League program, the Civil Defense program and the cooperation of the entire community in the cleanup program.
He also brought out the fact that, while the town is not, as you might put it, strategically situated, yet it is very PROGRESSIVE AND DESERVED COMMENDATION FOR IT. [upper case letters are in the original article]
Bradley is again registered in the Eighth Annual Contest, with which [sic] ends [sic] December, and is sponsored by the Bradley Business & Professional Women’s club.”
Another article describing what was apparently the same meeting states that it took place at Smith’s Cafe, which was located where Coker Hardware is now.
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Much more of the B. & P. W. scrapbook still to come….