Written by Ashley R. Williams and originally published on AccuWeather.com, WSAV.com and in Jacksonville Magazine.
GAME OVER: IN THE 1990S, JACKSONVILLE PLAYED A MAJOR ROLE IN A FAST-FOOD SCANDAL
McDonald’s meals were weaved into the lives and diets of millions of Americans in the late 1980s through the ‘90s. You yourself might be one of the people who recall the thrill of peeling Monopoly game pieces from a box of fries or soft drink in hopes of becoming an instant millionaire.
While the odds of scoring high-value prizes from the restaurant’s annual promotional game were slim from the get-go, it might come as a shock to realize — the majority of players never actually stood a chance.
For anyone seeking a spooky Savannah experience on a cool October night, the Davenport House Museum invites them to witness an eerie glimpse into the past. The museum’s month-long performance program is called “Living History: Yellow Fever in Savannah.”
Through a dramatic re-creation every Friday and Saturday night this month, the show revisits the yellow fever epidemic of 1820, when the deadly disease with no known cure ravaged the city. That year, around 700 people died from the disease, and most of them were buried in Savannah’s Colonial Park Cemetery in mass, unmarked graves.
It began with a chance spotting of a mysterious object that had washed ashore on Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas Research Reserve in Ponte Vedra Beach. An 8-year-old boy reportedly solved the mystery right away—it was an old shipwreck, delivered to Florida's shores by Mother Nature.
During World War II, at a time when people of color were breaking into military areas and roles previously denied to them, a group of African-American United States Army Air Corps servicemen became what were likely the first black meteorologists.
On Independence Day of 1858, a luxury racing yacht set sail from Charleston, South Carolina, on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. When it returned nearly five months later from West Africa to Jekyll Island, Georgia, the prestigious Wanderer carried 487 new passengers on board—each taken against his will to be sold illegally into slave trade.
Hurricane Audrey’s latest movements were fresh on the minds of families in Cameron, Louisiana, before bedtime on June 26, 1957. Broadcasters announced that the storm, which had strengthened into a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico the day before, would make landfall over the Texas and Louisiana border late the next day. “A lot of people thought it was too early to have a major hurricane, so I think forecasters might not have taken it seriously,” said Bill Murray, president and weather historian for The Weather Factory. “Of course, we didn’t have the tools [back then], either."
Weather was the factor that stood out most during the battles for Lawrence Hoffman, a Brooklyn, New York, native who was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943 and served as an artilleryman. When given the option to choose between heading to Japan or Europe for the war, Hoffman, a Jewish man, said, “I want to go to Europe. I want to fight Nazis.”
“I don’t care much for hurricanes, and as I get older, I care even less for them.” WSAV’s Director of Production, Jerry Perlman, lived through Hurricane David’s hit on Savannah 40 years ago this month.
He not only lived through it — but he and his friends partied as they rode out the Category 1 storm. “I was in my 20s back then, and other than buying up a bunch of food, a generator and making provisions like boarding up a few windows, the biggest concern was, ‘Do we have enough beer and liquor to get through it?’”