75 years ago - 1943
The Iris Gardens are open to the public now, H.C. Bland, their creator and owner, said today, but he added that the flowers for which the gardens have become famous probably will not be at their height until about May 22. From May 22 or 25 to June 1, they should be in full bloom.
- Pfc. Thedric M. Hodge, of the Marine Corps, is back in the United States after having been wounded in action overseas, he has written his parents. He is in California. Young Hodge volunteered for service Oct. 7, 1940, - on his 21st birthday. After having been in the Marines for a year he joined the parachute troops and received his training in Lakehurst, New Jersey. He is expected to return to his home as soon as he is able to leave a hospital on the West coast.
- Floyd Reeser and James Ham led the collection of tin cans at the city schools. Reeser, who has won previous prizes donated by A.T. Heath, president of the Carolina Coca-Cola Co., for bringing in the most cans, brought 1,303 of the valuable containers. Ham, a second-grader, brought in an even thousand.
- Sumter fans have voted unanimously for night baseball, and many who sent in their ballots to The Item office expressed eagerness for the games to start soon as possible. The Item conducted the poll to help guide officials in arranging the summer's baseball menu for the city. Games are expected to be played by the local entry in the American Legion Junior competition and the Shaw Field nine. More than 200 fans voted in the poll, and several others were brought in this morning. None, however, expressed the desire for afternoon baseball.
- Giving four sons to the service of their country may seem a pretty big sacrifice to most people, but it wasn't enough for Mr. and Mrs. A.L. Ardis. Last week the fifth, youngest and last child in that family left for Fort Jackson and was sent from there to Camp Myles Standish, Massachusettes. When Mother's Day rolled around, Mrs. Ardis had to look in all directions to her five boys. The others are: Cpl. A.L. Ardis Jr., in New York; Cpl. G. Raymond Ardis at Los Angeles; Pfc. Nolan C. Ardis at Fort Benning, Georgia, and Pvt. Norman E. Ardis at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. All of the brothers grew up in Sumter County.
- Approximately 150 dogs were inoculated by Dr. G.R. Kitchen on the opening day of a countywide tour. Yesterday morning Dr. Kitchen held office at Second Mill for the inoculation of animals against rabies and was said to have accomplished 101 of the vaccinations thee. In the afternoon he inoculated nearly 50 dogs at Cane Savannah.
- Frank A. Clarke, former Sumter attorney stationed with the Third Army Air Force at Tampa, Florida., has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel, The Item has been informed. Col. Clarke entered the service a little more than two years ago as a captain and received the rank of major at the end of 1941. He served for a while in 1941 at Shaw field but was transferred from there to Washington, D.C., and then in February of last year, to Tampa. His wife, the former Miss Margaret Bland of Mayesville, and young son, Frank Jr., are in Tampa with him.
- Eleven girls who have completed three years training as student nurses will receive the degree of R.N. in ceremonies at the Junior High school auditorium. The 1943 graduating class, whose exercises are being held as has been the custom on National Hospital Day, includes one more member than last year's class of ten. The address was delivered by Sen. Alfred Scarborough of this county. In the class were Gladys Currie, Alice Brown, Mary Ellen Brown, Wilma Gamble, Lois Heselden, Jennie Waring, Sara Windham, Mary Anne Johns, Jane Evans, Violet McIntosh and Arlene Ginn.
- "The "Hay Burner Special," a through express from the Blue Circle, at the intersection of the Manning highway and U.S. 15, to Pocalla Springs, will begin operation. Announcement of the opening of this new service to Pocalla Springs, popular swimming and recreation resort three miles from Sumter on U.S. 15, was made by Otis Hill, manager of the resort. Because of OPA restrictions on pleasure driving, Mr. Hill decided some means must be found to get the hundreds of swimmers and recreation seekers to Pocalla this summer. So he got together with Moody Mims, manager of the Sumter Riding Academy, and the result was the "Hay Burner Special," which is a large wagon pulled by two husky dray horses.
50 years ago - 1968
- "Information Please," The Sumter Daily Item's action telephone line, received more than two dozen questions in its first 24 hours of operation. Publication of the first "Information Please" will commence Wednesday. Calls from readers asked such questions as, "What is the population of Sumter?", "Does Sumter have a curfew?" and "Why was there a change in the city's attitude toward annexing Shannontown to Sumter?"
- Brookland-Cayce had lost six basketball games in a row, but for a while the Bearcats, playing in their own gym, looked as if they were going to snap that string. But the visiting Gamecocks awoke in the second half as Jimmy Trembley and Frank Chandler began pulling down rebounds. Capt. Al Towery found his old touch and Ricky Shivers and Dwayne Windham flashed some aggressive defensive play.
- The Parks and Recreation Department's 19th annual citywide Table Tennis Tournament will be held for children 17 years old and under at the Parks and Recreation Department. Senior men and women 18 years old and over will play at the USO. Winners in the District Tournament will go to Columbia to play in the State Recreation Tournament.
- Approximately two-thirds of the University Shop, from the back, was destroyed by fire, and the rest of the building and its contents were damaged by the heat, smoke and water. ... Owners Charles P. Osteen, Mrs. J.W. Brown and Halsell E. Roberts have not yet been able to estimate the cost of damage to the store and its contents. George D. Shore and Steven D. Shore, who own the building, have not given any estimates as to property loss.
- Mike Gallery's two free throws with five seconds left wiped out a great fourth quarter effort by Sumter and gave Florence's Yellow Jackets their sixth-straight basketball victory over the Gamecocks, 51-48, with 35 seconds to go in the contest. Sumter has not defeated Florence in basketball since January 1965 when the Birds took a narrow, 52-49 decision.
- City Council unanimously approved a motion to extend city water lines to Pine Acres Subdivision to relieve unsanitary water conditions in that area. The motion was made by Councilman James D. Harrelson and seconded by Councilman Mazursky after council's discussion of the proposed extension with City Manager Wade Kolb, who described water conditions at Pine Acres as "very poor" and recommended the extension.
25 years ago - 1992
The Sumter City-County Planning Commission gave its seal of approval to rezoning more than 1,000 acres near Jefferson Road for industry. The tract, owned by Stanley Brading, Gil Bradham and Robert Jenkins, abuts a 157-acre tract that Sumter County Council rezoned for industry after a three-year battle between industry proponents and Jefferson Road area residents
- Mark Roach knew that he faced a difficult situation when he took over as head coach of the Sumter High girls tennis team this season. The first-year coach found himself with a young, inexperienced squad playing in, possibly, the most talent-laden region in the state. "We only have one senior on the team this year and that pretty much tells the story," Roach said. "Irmo is the No. 1 team in the state right now, Richland Northeast and Spring Valley are in the top 10. All of them are in our region.
- Just as the youthful shepherd David stopped the behemoth Goliath in his tracks, Sumter County can stop the expansion of a hazardous-waste landfill, councilmen said. In a special council meeting filled with biblical references and pleas for help from higher powers, council unanimously passed a resolution condemning the recent agreement between the state Department of Health and Environmental Control and GSX Services of South Carolina Inc. That allows the Sumter County hazardous-waste landfill to double in size and remain open for another 20 years.
- Five Sumter High School seniors have been named Commended Students in the 1993 National Merit Scholarship Program. Commended students have shown exceptional academic promise by placing among the top five percent of more than one million merit scholarship program entrants, although they will not continue in the 1993 competition for merit scholarships. The Commended Students are: Robert Brown, Sheryl Howard, Brian Martin, Michael Mims and Matthew D. Monroe.
- As Bill Horne sets his sights on unseating 5th District U.S. Rep. John Spratt, the Sumter realtor has his work cut out to win in his home county, according to an Item poll. Only 18 percent said they'd vote for Horne, a Republican. But 40 percent of the respondents said they didn't know who they would vote for in the race, leaving plenty of voters on the fence who could fall into either camp.
- Although it may not be reflected in their won-loss record, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons are improving as a football team, according to starting quarterback Keith West. West, who led Sumter High to a 4A state championship in 1987, has been Wake Forest's starting quarterback for the past two seasons.
- Hope and enthusiasm filled the being of Derrick Witherspoon as he readied himself for Clemson's 1992 football season. After struggling through an injury-plagued 1991 in which he saw his playing time at tailback diminish, the former Sumter High School standout had a new work ethic and outlook in fall practice. It was noticed by his coaches and offered hope of increased playing time. Four games into the season, most of Witherspoon's hope is gone. "They're not using me in the offense very much at all," Witherspoon said. "I'm still working hard every day, but I don't get too many snaps in practice anymore."
Reach Item Archivist Sammy Way at email@example.com or (803) 774-1294.