By: Paige Cline
In pre-war Wyoming County, in addition to the federal programs designed to help us out of the depression, many new business concerns were opening and expanding. This seemed to signal the beginning of the emergence from the awful years of the Great Depression.
Also, interest in expanding sports for recreation and entertainment was growing.
A second theatre was opened in Mullens and the Pine Theatre in Pineville became a reality. Prices were within the budgets of folks who didn’t have much left over for things other than food and clothing. People flocked to see the stars they had only heard about before.
As a treat for the kids, and to stimulate business I’m sure, the entire grade school was marched down from the building that stood where the Church of God sits now. For almost everyone, that was the very first movie that we ever saw. And it was free.
Movies then were new to all of us, including the adults. They were also very realistic so it was not uncommon to see patrons flinching behind a seat when a pistol was pointed straight at the camera.
There was one time in a Daniel Boone movie when a man, caught up in the movie and wanting to help, couldn’t help himself when the hero was about to walk into a trap. He jumped to his feet and yelled, “Look out, Dan’l, he’s behind that tree!”
We didn’t think it was funny. We were glad he was helping.
In circuit court, a judgement of $3000 was given in a lawsuit. The paper commented that this was a very large judgement. On the same day, another party was awarded $40 in damages.
As a sign of more growth, Judge Bailey and Frank Crowley built the Pine Ridge Service Station at a cost exceeding $4000. It was leased to Claude Smith and John Lambert.
A Pineville pharmacist, Dr. H.C. Blakeley, was elected to head a new baseball league. Four teams were represented; Wyco, Pineville, Alpoca and Oceana. They were hopeful of a eight-team league. In 1937, 35 teams were expected to play in the grade school tournament in Pineville in April. It was a big event that schools from all over the county looked forward to every year.
Also, there was an independent men’s basketball tournament sponsored by the Pineville Tennis Club. George Nolley, Pineville High principal, was the tournament director. Entrants included the top independent teams from all over souther West Virginia. Squads from Beckley, Bluefield, Princeton, Matoaka, Mullens and other would play. Matoaka featured
Leland Byrd. The local star had made a name for himself as an All American performer at WVU.
And then, another jailbreak attempt. This time it was foiled by sheriff Lon Byrd during a routine inspection. Bars had been sawed in two and replaced. Soap had been used to try to disguise the work.
Byrd said that a hacksaw blade had been smuggled in for the purpose. Sixteen persons were involved and most were on their way to the penitentiary in Moundsville.
Just a little excitement for us in a quiet, but growing community, when we were growin’ up.