Regarding last week’s photo of people at the diner lunch counter, the following was provided by Beth Mitchell, a genealogy library volunteer at the Clinton County History Center whose husband worked at the Little Giant in the early 1950s:
The photo is of the “Original Little Giant — later a ‘room’ had been added for more seating capacity. This image probably predates the additional room.
“My husband, William A. (Bill) Mitchell, worked there in the evenings in the early 1950s. What I remember Bill telling me was that it was built by ‘Kroger’ Babb. He was born and raised in Clinton County and was the person who built the Little Giant when he could find no restaurant open at night in Wilmington. … Kroger went to Hollywood and became a movie producer and promoter. He was a night person and didn’t like the fact that Wilmington ‘rolled up the sidewalks’ at 5 p.m. When Kroger came home he would come into the Little Giant between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. He always ordered two eggs over easy, toast, and a rasher [thins slice] of bacon, according to Bill. He also always sat at the same stoop. Bill thought of him as a ‘carnival barker’ type but said he ‘was a good tipper’.”
These are some highlights from the News Journal on September 3, 1969:
• ‘Crashes Claim 666; Ohio Counts 30’
“(AP) — Traffic accidents across the nation during the extended Labor Day weekend took 666 lives, the largest number of traffic fatalities ever recorded for that holiday period.” Eight North Dakota teenagers were killed in a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 94. Five people were killed and 8 others injured in Arkansas in two accidents that occurred 45 seconds apart.
Also over the holiday weekend, 42 persons drowned and 24 died in boating accidents.
• ‘Cpl. Andrews Killed in Viet’
“Lance Corporal David Andrews, USMC, son of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Andrews of Center Road, was killed by a sniper in South Vietnam last week, the family has been notified. He was a 1967 graduate of Wilmington High School.”
• Services were pending for Pfc. Mark Loran Cook, 18, of Wise Road, Lynchburg, who was killed in Vietnam while serving in the U.S. Army. He was the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hook of Wilmington.
• Three Wilmington teenagers appeared in Fayette County Juvenile Court charged with spray-painting obscene words on public and private property. The three along with six others had recently been found guilty of spray-painting two water towers and a street in Wilmington. Penalties including performing city work, applying asphalt resurfacing, being ordered to repaint some properties, reimbursing the Ohio Water Co. for hundreds of dollars spent repainting, suspended driver’s licenses and more.
• Floyd Shoemaker of Sabina was pictured receiving a $1,000 check from Wilmington Kroger manager Harley Day as winner of the “Bingo Odd, Bingo Even” sales promotion.
• After two wins, Wilmington High School played a third football scrimmage, falling to Xenia, 12-6 in preparation from the Hurricanes’ opener against Hamilton Taft.
• Showing at the Murphy Theatre were Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in “The Thomas Crown Affair.”