Book Cover

Friday, December 30, 2011

Heart of Wonder

Lingering questions can lurk in the heart, un-answered. We've often found touching stories of teenage friends or even sweethearts left behind by the Winecoff fire.

Now, sixty-five years on, Charles Valentine writes to remember his high school sweetheart, his Bainbridge, Ga. classmates and the search that ended sadly.

During her sixteen years Winecoff fire victim Maxine Willis touched many hearts.

"Maxine Willis was - had been - my girl friend in High School in Bainbridge, GA. I graduated in 1946. I was a freshman at North Georgia College when I heard about the Winecoff Hotel fire. I hitch hiked to Atlanta and searched the morgues until I found her. It was heart breaking.

I knew all the boys and girls and had been a student of Miss Davis. I returned to Bainbridge with (Maxine's father) Mr. Willis and (her sister) Sarah Willis. It was a bad, sad time. I remained in Bainbridge until after Maxine's funeral.
Fire victims Ruth Powell and Sue Broome

"Ruth Powell was Maxine's best friend and I had dated Sue Broome a few times while I was still a senior in Bainbridge High School." --Charles Valentine, October 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Family Research

Mr. Goodwin,

I've just learned of a distant relative's surviving this fire, which I knew nothing of. His name was Langdon Thrash. A photo of him in the hospital in Atlanta went out on the Associated Press wire and was subsequently published in several newspapers.

Survivor Langdon Thrash and nurse Gloria Horton were pictured on December 9, 1946 in the Atlanta Constitution and other newspapers.

Thrash said he survived by putting his head out the window and shutting the window so he could not remove it. He was found unconscious--I never knew this story growing up but you can bet it will become a part of my own family records. Langdon died in 1970 in San Antonio according to Texas records.

I look forward to reading your book.

Best regards,
Debra Osborn Spindle
Oklahoma City

Dr. Spindle,

Langdon C. Thrash's room was on the alley side of the building. It's a miracle he survived!

Good luck with your family research. I hope you come across someone who knew Mr. Thrash. Please let me know if you should learn what became of him and how the fire affected him later in life.

Thanks for writing,
Allen Goodwin