As reported 43 years ago in The Columbia News, June 8, 1961:
City hall burns
A roaring fire, which apparently started undetected and raged unseen until a passing truck driver saw it in the early morning hours, destroyed Dearing City Hall, taking with it all the town's fire fighting equipment.
The Dearing Volunteer Fire Department is housed in the Railroad Street building. Destroyed also were the fire truck, all hoses and other firefighting equipment, even the fire siren on the top of the building.
The town's records are safe. They are kept in the city clerk's grocery store.
The loss is expected to run upward to $10,000, Dearing Mayor Harry Camp said. The origin of the blaze has not been determined.
Dr. Raymond Cook, associate professor of English at Georgia State College, has become Georgia State's first recipient of the Fulbright award for lecturing abroad.
Cook is a native of Harlem and the author of numerous articles in the fields of science and literature. He will lecture in Iran on American literature, and will be accompanied by his wife, Mary Margaret, and daughter Katrina.
At appropriate exercises June 5 at the Grovetown School, Danny Goodale was outstanding in receiving a perfect attendance pin for the seventh time at Grovetown.
Mary Whitaker, a senior at Harlem High School, received the Rotary Three C Award. The recipient of the award is selected by all members of the senior class by secret ballot, and represents the one who, in the majority's opinion, represents in his or her daily life outstanding qualities of courtesy, character and citizenship.
Seven students were singled out for honors in the Class of 1961 graduation at Evans High School. Sylvia Looper was named valedictorian, and Gale Fountain was named salutatorian. Honor graduates are Colleen McGill, Barbara Frost, Edith Jean Lewis, Buddy Marshall, Larry Kirk and Virginia Fuller.
Ten students from Harlem High School received honors at commencement exercises. Crissy Moon was named valedictorian, and Frances Clary was named salutatorian. Honor graduates are Edith Grimaude, Mary Whitaker, Phillip Kelley, Janie Fields, Nancy Beasley, Buddy Harrison, Eulon Purvis and Peggy Cox.
The University of Georgia awarded a certificate of merit to Harlem High School juniors Penelope Craig, Howard Reese and Jim Singleton. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in the first three years of high school, and encourages the student to pursue a formal program of higher education.
Marcus A. "Pete" Culpepper, a giant in the highly competitive lumber business, died at University Hospital in Augusta after suffering fatal burns earlier at his Dearing home. He was 41.
Culpepper, a veteran of World War II and a native of McDuffie County, was president of Culpepper Lumber Co. in Dearing and Thomson.
He was burned in the early morning hours of May 29 when his car caught fire while he was leaving for work at his nearby plant. Apparently, the fire which took his life was an accident. Subsequent investigations show that he probably spilled cigarette lighter fluid on his clothing, which caught fire when he flicked his lighter.
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