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Al Burt

Al Burt


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Al Burt was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1927. While attending the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications he wrote for the Independent Florida Alligator.

Burt worked for the Atlanta Journal and The Jacksonville Journal before joining Miami Herald in the early 1950s as a sports writer. Burt was considered a specialist in Latin America and the Caribbean affairs and wrote extensively about Fidel Castro and Cuba.

In 1965 he was covering the civil war in the Dominican Republic. It was later reported: "According to friends and colleagues, Burt and a Herald photographer, Doug Kennedy, were in a taxi in Santo Domingo when they came upon a U.S. Marine checkpoint. The reasons are unclear, but the Marines felt threatened and fired rifles and machine guns at the taxi, severely injuring both passengers... The Marines immediately realized the mistake and rushed Burt and Kennedy to Washington D.C. for medical care and extensive convalescence. Jo Werne, who worked on the Miami Herald, said that when he eventually returned to work he was forced to walk with the aid of a cane.

Al Burt wrote three books with Bernard Diederich, a journalist who was staff foreign correspondent for the Time-Life News: Papa Doc: The Truth About Haiti Today (1969), Papa Doc: Haiti and Its Dictator (1970) and Somoza and the Legacy of U.S. Involvement in Central America (2007). Other books by Burt include Becalmed in the Mullet Latitudes (1984), Al Burt's Florida (1997), and The Tropic of Cracker (1999).

In her book, A Farewell to Justice (2005) Joan Mellen argues that Burt worked as a CIA asset and was given the code-name AMCARBON-2. On 8th September, 2005, Larry Hancock speculated on the Education Forum that Hal Hendrix was AMCARBON-1 and Don Bohning was AMCARBON-3.

In an article published on 6th August 2007, David Talbot, argued that AMCARBON was the cryptonym that the CIA used to identify friendly reporters and editors who covered Cuba. Talbot found a declassified CIA memo dated 9th April, 1964 that showed that the CIA’s covert media campaign in Miami aimed “to work out a relationship with [South Florida] news media which would insure that they did not turn the publicity spotlight on those [CIA] activities in South Florida which might come to their attention...and give [the CIA’s Miami station] an outlet into the press which could be used for surfacing certain select propaganda items.” (CIA Document)

On 6th October 2005, Don Bohning abmitted on the Education Forum in reply to Larry Hancock: "I have obtained the document about the JMWave relationship with the Miami Herald and references to AMCARBON-2, AMCARBON-3, etc., etc. As you noted, it is very confusing but it seems quite clear to me that AMCARBON-2 was probably Al Burt, my predecessor as Latin America editor at the Miami Herald. I have no idea who might have been AMCARBON-1 or Identity, 2, etc. even what they refer to. I also have obtained documents that clearly state that I was AMCARBON-3, something I was not previously aware of."

Al Burt died on 29th November, 2008.

Al Burt, a Melrose resident and distinguished Florida journalist, died Saturday in Jacksonville. He was 81.

Burt, a University of Florida graduate, worked as a journalist for 45 years and retired from the Miami Herald, where he served as a sports writer, news reporter, editor, editorial writer and columnist.

He reported from Latin America, including the Dominican Republic.

In 1965, during the civil war there, he was nearly killed in a tragic accident.

According to friends and colleagues, Burt and a Herald photographer, Doug Kennedy, were in a taxi in Santo Domingo when they came upon a U.S. Marine checkpoint.

The reasons are unclear, but the Marines felt threatened and fired rifles and machine guns at the taxi, severely injuring both passengers.

"The whole newsroom went into shock. We didn't know if they were going to live," recalled Jo Werne, 68, who was in the Miami newsroom that day working on the Herald's Latin America desk. The paper published a front-page story about the accident.

The Marines immediately realized the mistake and rushed Burt and Kennedy to Washington D.C. for medical care and extensive convalescence.

Werne recalled Burt's bravery and strong spirit when he eventually returned to work, walking with the aid of a cane.

Burt graduated from the UF College of Journalism and Communications in 1949. He wrote for the Independent Florida Alligator during his student days.

Burt worked for United Press International, the Atlanta Journal and the Jacksonville Journal, but he is best remembered for his 40-plus years at the Herald, where he started in the 1950s as a sports writer and worked his way up to the post of Latin America editor.

In 1974, years after the near-fatal shooting, Burt and his wife, Gloria, moved from Miami to Melrose. He spent the following years roaming Florida, writing columns for the Herald about the people he met and the things he saw.

In many ways, Burt "became the voice of Florida" through those columns, said the Herald's current executive editor, Anders Gyllenhaal, who described Burt as a "magnificent writer" and, more important, a "dedicated reporter."

In 2002, UF's College of Journalism and Communications included Burt among its "alumni of distinction." He also is in the Alligator Hall of Fame.

Burt was a guest speaker in journalism classes and at Alligator banquets and was always loyal to the college and the paper, said Jean Chance, a professor emeritus.

She first met Burt in the summer of 1960, when she was a UF student interning at the Herald. They got to know each other better years later, when she was on faculty, and Chance said she was honored to interview Burt a few years ago for UF's oral history project.

Burt wrote several books, including "Florida: A Place in the Sun" (1974), "Becalmed in the Mullet Latitudes" (1984), "Al Burt's Florida" (1997), and "The Tropic of Cracker" (1999).

He also won many journalism awards, including the prestigious Ernie Pyle Award.


Actor Burt Lancaster dies

On October 20, 1994, Burt Lancaster, a former circus performer who rose to fame as a Hollywood leading man with some 70 movies to his credit, including From Here to Eternity and Atlantic City, in a career that spanned more than four decades, dies of a heart attack at the age of 80 in Century City, California.

Lancaster was born on November 2, 1913, in New York City and raised in East Harlem. After a stint at New York University, which he attended on an athletic scholarship, he quit to join the circus, where he worked as an acrobat. An injury forced Lancaster to give up the circus in 1939, and he worked a series of jobs until he was drafted into the Army in 1942. Three years later, while on leave, Lancaster’s acting career was launched after he went to visit the woman who would become his second wife at the theatrical office where she was employed and was asked by a producer’s assistant to audition for a Broadway play. He got the part, as an Army sergeant, and soon got noticed by Hollywood. In 1946, Lancaster made his silver-screen debut opposite Ava Gardner in The Killers, based on an Ernest Hemingway short story. Lancaster stars as The Swede, a former boxer who’s tangled up with the mob and waiting to be murdered by hit men.


Newport Vintage Books

Daniel Appleton began his publishing empire in 1831 with the issue of two books. His book interests date back to 1813 when he ordered books from England to open a book department in his Massachusetts dry goods store. When Daniel Appleton passed away in 1849, his four sons [William, John, George & Samuel] took over the publishing house. They used the imprint "D. Appleton & Co." from 1838 through 1933.

In 1933, after over three years of negotiations, Appleton & Co. merged with Century Co. and adopted a new imprint "Appleton-Century" on their books. This was maintained until another merger with F. S. Crofts in 1948. The entire company was sold to Prentice-Hall in the 1960s. Prentice-Hall was eventually acquired by Simon & Schuster in the 1980s.

On April 17, 1930, the New York Times announced the formation of Blue Ribbon Books of which equal shares were owned by Dodd, Mead & Co., Harcourt, Brace & Co., Harper & Brothers and Little Brown & Co. Blue Ribbon Books received from these four companies the rights of their successful non-fiction titles and also published titles from non-member houses on the usual royalty basis.

On March 5, 1937, another New York Times article announced the following:

"Robert de Graff, president of Blue Ribbon Books, Inc., which specializes in non-fiction reprints, announced yesterday the purchase of the stock and good-will of the A. L. Burt Company, a publishing organization founded in 1883. Harry P. Burt, head of the company, is retiring.

"In bringing together the lists and publishing activities of the two companies," Mr. de Graff said, "we feel that the lines of both houses will be materially strengthened, since the fiction list of the A. L. Burt Company and the non-fiction books issued under the Blue Ribbon imprint are supplementary rather than competitive."

Blue Ribbon Books, which has offices at 386 Fourth Avenue, was founded in 1930 by four publishing companies and purchased by Mr. de Graff in 1933."

In June 1939, Blue Ribbon Books started the popular paperback imprint, Pocket Books.

By eliminating excessive margins and by the use of special lightweight but opaque paper Mr. de Graff has been able to bring these books down to pocket size (4 1/4 inches by 6 1/2 inches) without sacrificing legibility. Each book is printed from type at least as large as that used in the original edition. The carrying weight has been further cut down by doing away with bulky cloth and board binding and substituting semi-stiff paper binding coated with Dura-gloss, which is moisture proof and does not easily become soiled. The books will sell at 25 cents per copy and will be on sale not only in book stores but also in drug and cigar stores and on newsstands. [ New York Times , June 18, 1939 ]


You've only scratched the surface of Burt family history.

Between 1943 and 2004, in the United States, Burt life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1949, and highest in 2004. The average life expectancy for Burt in 1943 was 52, and 77 in 2004.

An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your Burt ancestors lived in harsh conditions. A short lifespan might also indicate health problems that were once prevalent in your family. The SSDI is a searchable database of more than 70 million names. You can find birthdates, death dates, addresses and more.


Burt’s Home Library

Burt published numerous reprint series including many gift and juvenile series from 1883 until the company was sold in 1937. A few, such as the Cornell Series, Burt’s Home Library and Burt’s Pocket Edition of Standard Classics included titles by standard authors, copyright-free and often seemingly printed with older plates (thus the type is often uneven and broken in places) purchased from other publishers.

The copy of Burt’s Home Library below is from 1903 according to the jacket (the jacket spine lists additional titles for 1903 the front jacket flap lists additional titles for 1902). The jacket is similar to one on a 1904 book from Burt’s Cornell Series, with an eye-straining list of titles in the series covering the entire jacket – including the latest list of new titles (from 1903) on the jacket spine. This is actually a good idea, considering the jacket spine is all a typical book buyer would see when browsing bookstore shelves. The jackets are common to the series and vary only in the printing of the book’s title and author on the jacket spine. The front top of the jacket includes a blurb about the series (above) and illustration of a representative tome. Price is $1.00.

The list of titles continues on the rear of the jacket and back flap.

This 1903 book is solidly bound in wine colored cloth with gold typography. The series name is included on the book spine.

The book does not incorporate a half-title page. An illustration, the only in the book, faces the title page, separated by a bound-in page of tissue.

There is no copyright indication nor date in the book itself.

The rear of the book includes a blurb for the series, as well as a six-page listing of titles in the series.

By the late 1920s, the jackets are redesigned.

Of the two jackets I have seen from this era of the series, I believe the white jacket is the earlier one. It includes a rather elaborate logo for the series but is otherwise commonly designed for the series.

An advertisement for the series is included on the rear of the jacket.

The bindings are cloth, maroon with gold stamping. The name of the series is included on the spine, but nowhere else in the book.

The series titles are printed on the back of the dust jacket (which can be enlarged here by clicking). 450 titles are listed at $1.25 per book.

While there are no dates to distinguish the chronology of the previous and next jacket, I believe the jacket below was used later. Probably published in the Depression, the jackets are redesigned to be more attractive and the price dropped to $1. This price drop happened with other series (such as the Borzoi Pocket Books) during the depression.

Both jacket flaps and the back of the jacket are used for series advertisement. A gentleman with his suit and tie and a stogie provide for an image of the ideal Burt’s Home Library reader.

The catalog loses about 50 or so titles. This was not unusual during the Depression when poorly selling titles were left to go out of print.

Burt and its imprints were sold to Reynal & Hitchcock (publisher of Blue Ribbon Books) in 1937. In 1939, Doubleday acquired Reynal & Hitchcock, along with the Blue Ribbon Books and Burt imprints. Doubleday would issue the New Home Library from 1943-1947. Few of the Burt’s Home Library titles were issued in this revamped series, however. Instead, it was a series of newer fiction and non-fiction reprints.


The History of Will-Burt

Our history spans more than a century and weaves its way through several locations and a variety of products for various industries. Yet the underlying and unchanging theme of that story can be summed up in a single word: Excellence. Excellence achieved through individual ingenuity and resourcefulness gave the company its initial thrust and makes Will-Burt the extraordinary company it is today.

The brothers who etched the early history of the enterprise, J.W. and B.G. Cope, were ingenious and resourceful out of necessity. The general repair shop they opened in 1894 near the village of East Greenville, Ohio, was equipped with a hodgepodge of tools and machinery discarded by other shops. Nevertheless, the Copes’ willingness to take on any job and work all hours to get it done right proceeded, not so much from financial need as from an inborn urge to rise to any challenge.

Accordingly, when the patent rights to the Cyclone Drilling Machine became available in 1895, the brothers purchased them and began making tools and machinery for the water well drilling industry.

The move to a larger facility in Orrville, Ohio, in 1901, brought the Copes a new partner, William A. Tschantz, and brought the company to new levels of productivity, its drills now in demand in many foreign countries. With the death of J.W. Cope in 1915, the surviving partners sold the Cyclone Drilling Company and used the proceeds to launch a new venture, an experimental design shop which derived its title – The Will-Burt Company – from the first syllables of its founders’ given names: William Tschantz and Burton Cope. The Will-Burt Company was incorporated in 1918. When Mr. Tschantz decided to pursue his own business interest some years later, Mr. Cope retained the Will-Burt name and turned the experimental shop into a machinery rebuilding and repair operation.

The decades that followed saw continuous growth of our capabilities and its reputation. The company manufactured combustion controls for the Hagan Company of Pittsburgh, coal stokers for the Automatic Coal Burner Company of Seattle, and its own line of innovatively designed stokers. World War II drew the company into subcontract work for which it won the “E Award” on component parts for military equipment. It was this “jobbing” contribution to the war effort that opened the door for Will-Burt to an ever-broadening stream of OEM projects.

Overall expansion was sharply accelerated in the 1960s as we embarked on a series of acquisitions. The company purchased the Heating Division of the Illinois Iron and Bolt Company the Iron Fireman Stoker Division of Space Conditioning, Inc. the Anchor Stoker Division of Stratton and Terstegge Company the tool and die operations of Del Industries and Thomas Mold & Die Company.

Today, more than 300 people contribute a vast range of talents and technical skills to The Will-Burt Company. They employ computer-aided design as well as some of the most sophisticated manufacturing equipment available. Yet the spirit of the company’s founders is still very much in evidence. Their willingness to tackle any job is apparent today in the company’s integrated operations: its ability to handle all phases of the manufacturing process – from tool and die development, machining and fabrication through installation of electronics and instrumentation to design and delivery of telescoping mast and lighting products fully assembled. The founders’ individual ingenuity and resourcefulness are clearly evident in the fact that The Will-Burt Company is 100% owned by its employees.

Thus, the Will-Burt story continues. Highly skilled people personally motivated to provide superior products, equipment reflecting the most advanced technology, and stringent quality control inherent in broad, in-house capabilities are all elements of that story. The underlying theme, as always, is Excellence.


How the Ice Cream Truck Made Summer Cool

Delicious, but too messy to handle,” was how Ruth Burt described the new ice cream treat her father, Harry Burt, concocted in 1920—a brick of vanilla ice cream encased in chocolate. So her brother, Harry Jr., offered a suggestion: Why not give it a handle? The idea was hardly revolutionary in the world of sweets, of course. Harry Burt Sr. himself, a confectioner based in Youngstown, Ohio, had previously developed what he called the Jolly Boy, a hard-candy lollipop on a wooden stick. But ice cream on a stick was so novel that the process of making it earned Burt two U.S. patents, thus launching his invention, the Good Humor bar, into an epic battle against the previously developed I Scream bar, a.k.a. the Eskimo Pie, a worthy rival to this day.

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Burt’s contribution to the culture was bigger than a sliver of wood. When he became the first ice cream vendor to move from pushcarts to motorized trucks, giving his salesmen the freedom to roam the streets, his firm greatly expanded his business (and those of his many imitators) and would change how countless Americans eat—and how they experience summer.

By the end of the 1920s, Good Humor settled on its signature vehicle: a gleaming white pickup truck outfitted with a refrigeration unit. Burt’s mobile freezers offered a sanitary alternative to the street ice cream sold from pushcarts, a number of which had been the source of food poisoning and were known to peddle fare of dubious quality. An 1878 article in the ConfectionersJournal complained that street ice cream was “apt to be adulterated with ingredients which sacrifice health to cheapness.” To assuage consumer concerns, Good Humor had its drivers (all men, until 1967) dress in crisp, white uniforms reminiscent of those worn by hospital orderlies. And of course the men were taught to tip their caps to the ladies.

A 1938 truck that once rolled through the Boston area dispensing “Good Humors”—the company’s name for its various frozen treats. (National Museum of American History)

In 1932, some 14 million Good Humor bars were sold in New York and Chicago alone, and even during the Great Depression, a Good Humor driver working on commission could clear a whopping $100 a week—over $1,800 in today’s money. Drivers became a welcome, personable neighborhood presence. A Good Humor truck had no door on the passenger side, so the driver could pull up to a curb, hop onto the sidewalk with a smile and quickly distribute iced treats from the freezer unit in the back. Thanks to Burt’s canny idea to equip the trucks with bells, children were guaranteed to hear them coming. Consumers gave the bells a (ringing) endorsement, and summer days could now be organized around the arrival of the Good Humor man. Joan S. Lewis, a New York journalist, would recall in a 1979 essay how “new friends were made while purchasing that delicious ice cream,” while “sleepovers, birthday parties and picnics were often planned right at the truck’s wheels.”

Good Humor expanded in the postwar years, and by the 1950s the company had some 2,000 trucks operating across the country, with the majority of their customers under 12 years old. Acquired by conglomerate Unilever in 1961, the company began to see increasing competition from Mister Softee and other rivals. Significantly, Mister Softee sold its products from step vans, which allow the driver to walk right back into the freezer area and dispense items directly from a side window. It didn't take a brainstorm to see that was an innovation, and Good Humor stopped ordering pickup trucks and transitioned to step vans.

But it wasn’t all sweetness and light in the mobile frozen goodies business. In 1975, New York City authorities charged the company with 244 counts of falsifying records to hide evidence of excessive coliform bacteria in its products. According to the indictment, 10 percent of Good Humor’s ice cream sold between 1972 and 1975 was tainted, and products from the company’s Queens production facilities were “not securely protected from dirt, dust, insects and parts thereof, and from all injurious contamination.” The company was fined $85,000 and forced to modernize its plants and improve quality control. By the end of the decade, Good Humor had gotten out of the mobile ice cream business altogether, turning to grocery store distribution.

Yet some drivers continued to make their rounds under the Good Humor banner on their own, to the delight of generations of children. In White Plains, New York, Joseph Villardi, to cite one diehard, bought his truck from Good Humor in 1976 and kept the same route he’d had since the early 1950s. By the time he died in 2012, he had become such a beloved fixture that the town declared August 6, 2012, “Good Humor Joe Day.”

In introducing America to the ice cream truck and its mobile refrigeration unit, Harry Burt Sr. helped launch a revolution that we are still enjoying. Indeed, our mobile food options have never been more plentiful than they are today: Food trucks now offer everything from kimchi tacos to fancy French fries to high-end Spam cuisine. In doing so, they carry on Burt’s legacy of combining several American obsessions—mobility, novelty, instant gratification, convenience—to change the taste of summer.

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This article is a selection from the July/August issue of Smithsonian magazine


100 уears of Good Humor

Almost 100 years ago, Good Humor® started a delicious revolution with the first ice cream on a stick and then the original ice cream truck. Millions of tips of the Good Humor Man's hat later, we're still bringing tasty frozen treats to hands and homes across America.

Our delicious history started in 1920 in Youngstown, Ohio, when confectioner Harry Burt created a chocolate coating compatible with ice cream. His daughter was the first to try it. Her verdict? It tasted great, but was too messy to eat.

Burt’s son suggested freezing the sticks used for their Jolly Boy Suckers (Burt’s earlier invention) into the ice cream to make a handle and things took off from there.

The Good Humor name came from the belief that a person’s "humor", or temperament, was related to the humor of the palate (a.k.a., your "sense of taste"). And we still believe in great-tasting, quality products.

Soon after the Good Humor bar was created, Burt outfitted a fleet of twelve street vending trucks with freezers and bells from which to sell his creation. The first set of bells came from his son’s bobsled. Good Humor bars have since been sold out of everything from tricycles to push carts to trucks.

After waiting three years for a patent, Burt took a trip to Washington, D.C., in 1923 with a five-gallon pail of Good Humor bars for the patent officials to sample. It worked – his patent was granted.

A Good Humor plant opened in Chicago in 1929. The mob demanded $5,000 in protection money (that would be almost $70,000 today), which was refused, so they destroyed part of the Chicago fleet.

A Good Humor plant opened in Chicago in 1929. The mob demanded $5,000 in protection money (that would be almost $70,000 today), which was refused, so they destroyed part of the Chicago fleet.

In the early days, Good Humor men were required to tip their hats to ladies and salute gentlemen. It took three days of training and orientation to become a Good Humor Man.

Jack Carson starred in the feature motion picture, The Good Humor Man.

There were over 85 Good Humor ice cream products.

Good Humor sold its fleet of vehicles in 1976 to focus on selling in grocery stores. Some of the trucks were purchased by ice cream distributors and others were sold to individuals. The trucks sold for $1,000 - $3,000 each.

"The Classics" – Candy Crunch, Chocolate Eclair, Strawberry Shortcake, Toasted Almond – were re-launched in 1992.

Robert Gant became the new Good Humor Man in 1996.

Almost a century after the Good Humor Truck revolutionized the delivery of treats to people of all ages, we launched the first-ever commercially viable solar-powered freezers in New York City.


Al Burt - History

Harry Burt, the Youngstown confectionery who strived to make the most delicious candy and ice cream, created the treat, patented the process of production and the machinery for its making, and created the unusual system for its distribution.

History of the Burt Confectionery & Creation of

the “Good Humor” Bar

In downtown Youngstown between 1893 and 1922, Harry B. Burt (1875-1926) worked as a confectioner who produced candy, then added ice cream, soda fountain and grill to his store, expanding his business to include a bakery and restaurant, finally adding twelve refrigerator trucks to distribute Good Humor bars to Mahoning Valley and Youngstown city neighborhoods. All these successes he accomplished during the decades of Youngstown’s greatest social, commercial and industrial expansion.

Burt came to Youngstown in 1893 when he was eighteen. He opened a penny candy store on South Hazel Street in a tiny, wood frame building, two long blocks from Market Street and one block south of Federal Street, the two main streets of the city. A Youngstown Vindicator editorial eulogizing Burt recalled that this first candy store had no floor covering, faded paper on the walls, almost no furnishings, but “it was so clean—an exception for a confectionery in those days—and everything he sold was so delicious.” Burt’s business grew enough that he could afford to move one block east, in 1895, closer to the center of commerce, where he occupied a corner store facing both Phelps and West Boardman Streets. Here his best customers where the children who attended Front Street Elementary School, one block to the south. At this time, his confectionery still produced mainly penny candies. In 1897, the business moved two blocks north to 27 North Phelps Street where the confectionery occupied a new building facing the street. The candy workroom was in the old wood-frame post office building that had been moved back from the street to accommodate the new candy sales room. This confectionery was the first to produce “old fashioned chocolate cream drops”. In 1898, the business added a “soda fountain”, the first such restaurant in Youngstown. In March of 1902, Burt moved his confectionery one door north, to 29 North Phelps, were its new restaurant was called the “Arbor Garden at Burt’s”, a name that continued in each new Burt confectionery. In 1906, the restaurant was remodeled with “a Mexican onyx soda fountain with German silver trim,” noted in an August Youngstown Vindicator article.

In 1920 or 1921, Burt developed a smooth chocolate coating that was compatible with ice cream. His children helping, he experimented with coating a cut portion of ice cream with the new chocolate. His daughter Ruth said the ice cream bar was “messy.” The solution, suggested by son Harry, was to add a wooden stick, as if the product was a lollypop candy. Burt called the new ice cream product “a new clean convenient way to eat ice cream.” The name for the new chocolate-coated ice cream bar, “Good Humor”, alluded to the nineteenth century belief that a person’s humor or temperament was related to a person’s sense of taste, or the “humor” of the palate (icecreamusa.com/good_humor/history).

About the same time as the invention of the “Good Humor” ice cream bar, Burt wanted to again expand his downtown business. The large demand for Burt’s high quality goods called for a bigger manufacturing site for his ice cream products, candies and bakery goods. In October 1921, Harry Burt acquired a building at the west end of the city’s commercial area, 325-327 West Federal Street from the James family real estate holdings for $200,000 (Vindicator, 10.20.21). Within a week, The Vindicator reported that Burt had contracted with Heller Brothers Company, Youngstown’s largest commercial construction firm. They already had begun renovating the entire building, replacing the front and rear facades, reinforcing the foundation, altering the first and second floors. Burt invested $50,000 in the renovation (Vindicator 10.27.21)

Before opening the new three-story store and factory, on January 30, 1922, Harry Burt applied for a patent for the machinery to produce the “Good Humor” sucker and for the production process. He received the patent October 9, 1923 (MVHS archives, patent documents).

When the Burt’s West Federal Street store opened on April 3,1922, The Vindicator dedicated two front-page photos and most of an inside page to “A great addition to W. Federal Street’s new shopping district” (Vindicator, 4.3.22).

Burt purchased twelve refrigerator trucks for neighborhood distribution of his new ice cream bars (photo 16). A Burt family bobsled bell called children to the Good Humor delivery trucks where customers could buy Good Humor bars from the truck driver who wore a white uniform. Descriptions often mention the Good Humor Truck drivers as “chauffeurs.”

Between 1922 and 1926, the availability and popularity of the Good Humor ice cream bar grew through production at the factory in the new building and through the fleet of refrigerator trucks. Burt utilized two of the flavors of ice cream in the “Good Humor suckers” that he sold in his ice cream parlor, vanilla and chocolate. All Burt ice cream, including Good Humor bars, had a high cream content, 25% butter fat (souvenir booklet). Later newspaper descriptions specifically note that the chocolate coating contained no wax (Vindicator, 4.27.28). According to Jefferson Moak, “At a time when standardization was unknown, Burt wanted a standardized product with the same ingredients” that would retain the same favor in every sales market. Burt’s marketing plan was to license manufacturers for all new markets (Moak). To protect the quality, Burt filed lawsuits with his chief competitors, the producers of popsicles. Much of Moak’s details of the business history of frozen suckers came from testimony for these lawsuits.


After Harry Burt died in 1926, his wife Cora took the company public, selling franchises for $100 (icecreamusa.com). In 1928, Cora sold the business and patents to Good Humor Corporation of America. The new owner planned to advertise widely and nationally market the “Good Humor Sucker” (Vindicator, 4.27.28).


Al Burt - History

When the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, they needed a land route between New Orleans and Washington. In 1805, the U.S. Government got the Creek Nation to give permission for a "horse path" through the Creek Nation. This "horse path" followed two well known Indian trails, the "Chiaha Alibamo Trail" (near present day, Montgomery, Alabama) and the famous "Old Wolf Trail" that led to Pensacola. Burnt Corn is situated on the "Old Wolf Trail." and was known for many natural springs making the area a good stopping place for travers and settlers.

The Old Horse Path developed into the "Federal Road". The Federal Road is attributed to the growth and development of Monroe and Conecuh counties. The Federal Road passed directly through the heart of Burnt Corn, it is main street for Burnt Corn. In 1805, the United States Congress established a post road from Georgia to New Orleans. In 1818, the Post Roads Act was in full effect establishing Post Roads from Fort Mitchell, by Fort Bainbridge, Fort Jackson, Burnt Corn Springs, Fort Claiborne, and the Town of Jackson to St Stephens. The post riders followed the Chiaha Alibamo and Old Wolf Path trails and passed through Burnt Corn Creek. As the road improved and more white settlers were looking for land and encroached in Creek Territories helped contributed to the Creek Indian Wars. Burnt Corn play an important part in the Creek Wars. It is said that the "Battle of Burnt Corn" was the beginning of the Creek Wars. This battle was considered a victory for the Creek Indians which was also known as "Red Sticks."

It is also believed that other famous people in history passed through Burnt Corn.
Andrew Jackson moved his troops through Burnt Corn in 1814 to aid against the British. Troops was moved through Burnt Corn during the Mexican War en route to New Orleans to board ships to Mexico.
Confederate Troops followed this road through Burnt Corn on the way to the battlefields of Virginia. It is reported the Francis Scott Key traveled the Federal Road through Burnt Corn in a government wagon while on his mission to Alabama. William Bertram, the naturalist, traveled the road collecting specimens. Lorenza Dow, the Methodist circuit rider, supposedly visited Burn Corn on his way to St Stephan in 1804. Aaron Burr passed through Burnt Corn in 1807, while under arrest for treason. James Stuart records his journey in a journal which states that his coach turned over eight times coming from Georgia.

Long before the defeat of the Creek Nation, Burnt Corn had become the site of earliest settlement in Monroe County. Native American and White settlers were living in hormany and intermarring along the crossroads of the Great Pensacola Trading Path (Old Wolf Path) and the Federal Road which is main street Burnt Corn as it sits even today.

Coker's Tavern, owned and operated by Nathan Coker shows up on early Alabama maps of the vinicity of Burnt Corn. Also, Garrett Longmire shows up as well as having a tavern in north Burnt Corn. The Creek Nation and the U.S. Government agreement of 1805 to establish a "horse path" also give the U. S. Governmnet the right to establish ". houses of entertainment at suitable places for the accommodation of travelers. " These tavern owners acquired patents from the government to lands along the Federal Roads in 1819 for such purposes.

After the Creek Wars in 1814, and the Treaty of Fort Jackson, Native Americans begin losing their land. More settlers moved in the area of Burnt Corn and in 1815, Governor Holmes of the Mississipp Territory created Monroe County (which embraced two thirds of the State of Alabama). In a desperate attempt to save their land the Indians formed raiding parties and attacked lone settlers. As a result, Colonel Richard Warren constucted a fort he called "Fort Warren" (sometimes referred to as Fort Burnt Corn) approxmately 6 miles north of Burnt Corn near Pine Orchard.

After 1816, Burnt Corn saw a rapid growth and development, thousand of arces of land were sold to settlers from South Corolina, Virginia, and Georgia. James Grace, reputably the first "white settler" come to Burnt Corn in 1816. Captain Hayes purchased a thousand arces of land around Burnt Corn. Dr. John Watkins moved into Burnt Corn during the same time period. Dr. Watkins was the only doctor in the area from Montgomery to New Orleans. Other families such as Jeremiah Austill and his wife Martha moved into the area. John Green started the first school in Burnt Corn called the "Students Retreat" in 1820. Postal Service began in 1817. The first public road was build and cut from what now known as Beatrice through Burnt Corn to Belleville. The Bepthany Baptist Church was organized officially in 1821 and constructed their first building. Major Walker opened a store in Burnt Corn in 1822.

Along with these new people into the territory, came African American Slaves . They tilled the land and planted and harvested the crops, took care of children, cooked, sewed, built homes and barns. Today descendents still live in Burnt Corn, bearing the names of Coker, Grace, Rankins, Lett, Watson, and Salter.

North of the stores in Burnt Corn was Mr. Robinson's blacksmith shop with a gristmill across the street.


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