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Looking back… Snellville during the ‘40s and ‘50s

Hey Everyone ! I left you last month with a poem that my grand-daddy wrote in 1930. I covered some of what Snellville was like during the 1930’s and now I will pick up in the 40's and move forward. 

Mandy Snell

There were still a lot of cotton fields in town and even more on the out skirts. People started to move into town and began their own farms. Whether they were small or large, they all were very productive and essential. 

Before I get ahead of myself, lets not forget the Second World War. It officially started in 1939, but the United States was not pulled in until 1941. This affected every town in the US, big or small and Snellville was not exempt. 

Many of the young men were called to service, even though their presence on the farm was greatly needed and definitely missed. My daddy was one of these men called in. He fought on the front lines in Germany and received 3 medals including the Purple Heart! 

My grandmother and aunts and uncles have all told the same story. They really did not think he was going to make it back home. So much so, one of his sisters, Bessie Snell Briscoe, decided she would name her unborn baby after him… no matter what. 

Had the baby been a boy, his name would have been Hugh. But it was a girl and so she named her HuEllen (Briscoe Connelly). My first cousin. You can ask her how she feels about that name, but at this point, I believe she is very proud of her name. I love it ! My daddy came back home in 1944, met my mother in September 1947 and they were married in March of 1948. 

Their first home was built in 1952 on Wisteria Drive (mother named the street). It sat where the Montessori School is now and our pastures were where the K-Mart & Hobby Lobby are today. 

We had the first pool in Snellville. It was completed in August 1964 and I was only 9 months old. I so often find myself closing my eyes and remembering Snellville like it was when I was growing up. I’m sure most of you who grew up here, could do the same thing. Of course I wasn’t here in the 50’s, but told by siblings and cousins, it was to them (as most) the best place on earth. 

The only sport in Snellville during the 40’s and most of the 50’s, was basketball. And they took it seriously! That enthusiasm still reigns, ask anyone who played a game or attended one! LOL.

The school was the “old rock building,” as it has become to be known. South Gwinnett was completed in 1957 and the first graduating class was in 1958. It was then that Snellville discovered FOOTBALL! 

When my oldest sister, Jan started the first grade in 1956 in the “old rock building,” they had pot-bellied stoves in the classrooms for heat. The cafeteria was down in the basement and they had an outhouse. Then, one year later when my other sister Pam started first grade, she had steam heat, inside restrooms and a brand new cafeteria. It is still in use and owned by Snellville United Methodist Church (SUMC). 

As we have pushed through the 40’s and 50’s, I encourage each of you, that if and when you pass through Snellville… close your eyes or just simply imagine and/or recreate  the things you remember the most about ‘our town.’’ A specific landmark, your old house or even a sprawling pasture. I promise it will make you feel all warm inside like it does me. 

Can’t wait until next month, and the 60’s, until then… 

Mandy Snell is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about life in Snellville and its history. We welcome you to add your history by commenting below.