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Who are men depicted in post office mural?

POSTED: November 15, 2009 1:00 a.m.

Those who remember the old U.S. Post Office at the corner of Green and Washington streets in downtown Gainesville also might remember the mural that hung in the lobby.

It was titled "Morgan’s Raiders" and painted by Daniel Boza, commissioned by the Works Progress Administration in the President Franklin Roosevelt administration. The mural remains in the Federal Building complex, site of the old post office, although in a different location on the first floor.

Boza was a young Cleveland, Ohio, artist who won the Prix d’Rome, a prestigious scholarship that had been awarded since 1663.

Morgan’s Raiders were Confederate cavalrymen who raided Northern states in 1863 during the Civil War. The painting, 8 feet by 7 feet, depicts the soldiers in camp for the night after a day of battle. They were led by Gen. John Hunt Morgan and were to draw the attention of federal troops away from their main battlegrounds. They also struck fear into the hearts of civilians in Ohio and Indiana, especially.

The troops’ assignment originally was to engage the enemy in northern Kentucky. But Morgan led them across the border into Union troops’ strongholds. When Morgan’s Raiders tried to return to friendlier territory in the South, federal troops cut them off and captured what was left of them

Tourist trails today mark the route of the raiders into Northern states.

The mural found its way to Gainesville in 1937 through Georgia native Cecil H. Curtis, who visited Gainesville as part of his job with the federal government during the city’s recovery after the 1936 tornado.

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Gene Robinson wrote in a recent issue of the Murrayville News about color radio coming to Gainesville. He was one of the first announcers for radio station WLBA and had a band that performed at dances, at the Joyce Ann Skating Rink in Cleveland and with Apple Savage and the Apple Knockers at the Northeast Georgia Fairgrounds.

"Since in the late 1950s and early ’60s, everyone was trying to buy a color TV, we came up with the idea of why not have color radio?" Gene asked. The answer: Give every announcer a colorful name: "Ernest Brown was around, Jim Black was back, Bob White was out of sight, John Ballew was here for you, and yours truly was Gene Green on the scene."

The radio station was at the corner of Maple and West Washington streets just off the downtown square, formerly a funeral home, the original Gainesville Daily Times site, Sears’ catalog office and Singer sewing machine. Now 301 Washington St. houses a sign shop and a real estate office. The WLBA broadcast was in plain view from the storefront window, and listeners would browse by trying to rattle the announcers.

Robinson also broadcast on WWQT, one of the most powerful stations in the Southeast at the time, and later on WFOX. He also became a football play-by-play announcer for White County football games.

Now in real estate, he still plays the piano and guitar and writes songs, his latest, appropriately, "Still Picking and Grinning After All These Years."

WLBA is still on the air at 1130-AM as a Spanish language station, part of the La Favorita network.

Editor Bob Campbell wasa tribute to his profession
Bob Campbell, who died in Asheville, N.C., last week after a long illness, was an admired editor of The Times in the 1970s and early ’80s. He was the consummate journalist who had had a varied career before he came to Gainesville. He was respected by his readers and peers, including some well-known names in journalism around the Southeast.

Bob put a premium on fairness and accuracy and was a stickler in the use of the English language. He was a good teacher, and those around him learned a lot through his example and inspiration.

A gentle and humble soul, he could be tough when he had to be.

He quickly adopted this community as his home and became involved in its civic, cultural and religious life, contributing much in many ways.

Bob was a friend of the newspaper and the profession, as well as the North Georgia he loved and the people who live here. Journalism today would be a lot better off with a few more Bob Campbells around.

Johnny Vardeman is retired editor of The Times and can be reached at 2183 Pinetree Circle N.E., Gainesville, GA 30501. His column appears Sundays and on gainesvilletimes.com.



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