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It happened, but not recently: April 1, 1971

It happened, but not recently: April 1, 1971

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IHBNR: April 1, 1971 (old W.A. Sherman building)

The possible pending arrival of a “major manufacturer” provided substantial front-page drama for the Town of Orange and an equal amount of good copy for the Review. In the April 1, 1971, issue, the paper reports a crew of local citizens will be at the American Legion Hall to accept registrants for a labor survey for the industrial prospect. The mystery company has 90 manufacturing facilities, prompting many of the community’s “leading citizens” to assist with the voluntary labor survey, sponsored by the Orange County Chamber of Commerce. In other news, the Orange County Board of Supervisors “clipped $53,523 from the proposed 1971-72 budget to balance it at $3,599,327. The reduction in expenditures allows county treasurer Eugene Bartley approximately a $60,000 working surplus for the coming year. The paper noted that recent budgets also had been constructed to yield slight surpluses, but the county’s support of the construction of the Orange County Nursing Home and Germanna Community College ended up putting the county in debt instead. The board left the real estate tax levy at $4.45 per $100 of assessed value. A graphic on the front page shows a $3.50 tax rate in 1968, when the county budget was only $2.1 million. The Piedmont Research Station on Route 15 near the southern edge of town reported 3.13 inches of rain in March and seven inches of snow as March was coming to a close. Temperatures were steadily in the 50s earlier in the week, peaking at 65 on Monday. Following recent census results, a group of four county residents have been trying to draw five magisterial districts with an evenly divided population. With 13,792 citizens, equal distribution would equate to 2,760.5 people in each voting district. That raises particular questions about the Town of Orange and its 2,768 citizens and whether it will constitute its own district. Early suggestions are Route 20 east and Route 15 south will be geographic dividing lines of the centralized Orange district. Meanwhile, since Town of Orange officials decided to renovate and reseed Porterfield Park this spring, the Orange County Sports Booster Club began working feverishly to construct a baseball field behind Orange County High School in time for the start of the spring season. The field is being sited below the school’s newly constructed tennis courts. Last week’s issue noted the last showing of “Gone With the Wind” before it was taken out of circulation and this week’s Review captured the film’s enduring popularity with a line outside the Madison Theatre on Main Street. Principal James Brinson took seventh-graders from Orange Intermediate School to the matinee performance of the classic film. Pictured here is the “death of a building,” the former W.A. Sherman location on Chapman Street behind the National Bank of Orange (most recently Virginia National Bank). The building dated to 1919 and was built by Butler Jackson, a well-known Black contractor. The building, said to be the first all-cinderblock building in Orange, later became a Chevrolet dealership before being purchased by Green Publishers who later sold it to the bank. The bank plans to convert this site and an adjacent property facing Main Street to the east into an L-shaped parking area.

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