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Store Wars: 1941

Store Wars: 1941

May 1941. "Soldiers from Fort Benning in a country store near Phenix City, Alabama." Medium format negative by Jack Delano. View full size.

 

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Hello Columbus

For the relatively short time in the early 1950s when I was stationed at Fort Benning, Phenix City was off-limits. Columbus, Ga., was bad enough for me.

War Eagle!

I would just love to have that Auburn pennant! Of course, Auburn wouldn't be officially Auburn University for another 15 years. Back then we were still Alabama Polytechnic Institute.

Very long time lurker, first time poster. Thank you for all that you do, Dave (and tterrace)!

"House" with a neon sign

When we drove through Phenix City in the mid '50s, I heard the rumor that one of the places offering "entertainment" was outfitted with a neon sign so it could be easily found by those wishing to pay for female company. Never saw the place myself, but after the cleanup of gambling and prostitution, there were several female hitchhikers that we saw along the highways out of town.

Everything you've heard is true

I lived in Phenix City and worked for The Columbus Ledger across the river in Georgia in the early '70s. The Ledger won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Phenix City cleanup, from the assassination of state attorney-general-elect Albert Patterson to the destruction of tons of slot machines, the closing of prostitution dens, and gambling halls. I became obsessed with the story, read all the Pulitzer application folders, and discussed it for hours with the old newspaper hands who covered it for The Ledger. Interesting that Ma Beachey, the most notorious madam in town played herself in the film. By the time I lived there, PC was a small, quiet Southern town more concerned with Auburn football than vice and corruption. By the way, the two men who everyone knew were behind it all, including the man who everyone said killed Patterson, were still living there, untouched and unindicted when I left there in 1975.

Go Alabama!

I just had to be the contrarian.

Five Balls For Five Cents

It's a survivor. Or rather, there's at last one "Contact" pinball game still around. Backlight animation for the plane and the carrier. Don't tilt. No refunds.

The rest of the story

"The Phenix City Story," filmed on location there in 1955:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048488/

Saints in Sin City

I've read stories where Phenix City (not Las Vegas) was the sleaziest, most corrupt and violent city in the United States during the 40's and 50's, and a lot of it came from providing the Fort Benning soldiers booze, gambling, prostitution, etc. Let's hope these guys didn't fall into that black hole.

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