Battle of the “hamburgerers”

By Dwight Williamson - Contributing Columnist

Although there were no McDonald’s, Burger King’s or Hardee’s around back in 1953—the year of my birth—there was such a thing as a hamburger, and hamburger joints, as well as several drive-ins located in Logan County, all with burgers and hot dogs being a specialty that has not changed much even today.

Gone are the likes of such eateries as the Green Top, Mecca, Penny’s, Scottie’s and Patio drive-in’s, but we still relish (pardon the pun) in the knowledge that there still exists good ‘ole Morrison’s, Cliffside (near Man), Park ‘N Eat, Man Dairy Bar and, of course, Parkway. Though many of us may miss the “Mecca Burger” or the “Big Penny,” we will happily settle for a sandwich from any of the above locations, and sometimes wash it down with a milkshake following an English dog from our local Dairy Delight. Some may even remember the slaw burger that was served in downtown Logan’s Coney Island restaurant. Yes, those were the days, my friend……..

There was a time in the then city of Logan where one had many restaurant choices (Franklin’s Dairy Bar, Hall’s Drug and the Smokehouse come to mind), and some of them even served beer. Here’s a story from 1953 with the setting being one of the local “hamburger joints.” I believe a proper title for this story shall be: “The Hamburger Idiots.”

Two men, more than slightly inebriated, entered a Stratton Street restaurant in February of ’53 and ordered themselves a hamburger each. Although a total of six hamburgers would be ordered by the two guys, neither would wind up taking a single bite. And by the time the bruising and bleeding was over with, and the restaurant a wreck, the duo, who came from the community of Slagle, would end up in jail and later pay fines. The question that might have been for the Justice of the Peace at the time was, “Who threw the first hamburger?”

It was really an epic battle between the “hamburgerers”, for no sooner had the men gotten hold of the edibles than they began to fling the burgers at each other, much to the chagrin of the restaurant’s cook. According to witnesses, the men entered the restaurant innocently enough, and were well behaved until each received his order. Then, without a word being said, they simultaneously flung the hamburgers at each other; both men missing their aim as the sandwiches flew through the air, thus becoming the first true “Windy’s” (better known today as Wendy’s.)

The Banner reported that the cook came from behind his counter and entered a mild protest, and the men said they were just having a little fun with each other, and asked that another pair of burgers be served them. This was done, and when the visitors received them, they again hurled the sandwiches through the air, only this time one of the men fell off his stool trying to avoid being hit. Again the cook came out and imposed his objections to such carrying on, and again the men put up an earnest plea that they were just fooling around and demanded another set of hamburgers.

The cook reluctantly supplied another two burgers and then the duo started another barrage, each getting off his bar stool to dodge the flying debris. And then the cook became outraged and charged the two men swinging a frying pan, but was met with “vigorous resistance” and was forced back into the kitchen. It was then a man was detected using a telephone to call the police and the pair “set upon him with fists flying.” Another customer entered the fray and the newspaper account said the man was given much the same treatment as his partner, and both were eventually kicked out the door.

When the belligerents discovered that officers were on their way, the men arose in wrath and proceeded to wreck the restaurant. Then they broke into the kitchen and assaulted the cook, who defended himself with pots and pans, but received a broken nose. Two of the customers in the place who attempted to quell the disturbance were bounced out of the restaurant, with one getting a bloody nose and the other losing a couple of front teeth.

By the time two Logan police officers arrived on the scene, the so called “riot” had quietened down. Although the two men continued to insist that they had only came to town “for just a little fun,” The Banner reported, “That no one else could see the humorous side of their carryings-on.”

After being led away to the local jail, one of the intoxicated individuals was said to have promptly dropped on a bunk bed and fell asleep while his companion asked for a hamburger and then continued to argue, while he munched it hungrily. “Logan sure ain’t no place to have any fun,” said the hell raiser. “By the way, where’s my onion.”

While the title for the story is “Hamburger Idiots,” allow me to suggest a moral for the story. How about? — “Don’t take your “buns” to town, son. Don’t take your “buns” to town.”


Logan Magistrate Court has rapidly become the “Temple of Gloom” as the recent sudden death of former Magistrate Steve Gray’s wife, Debbie (Bowen) Gray, left us grieving for Steve and the Bowen family…..though Steve did not serve for a very extended period of time, he was here long enough for me to see that he and his wife had a special relationship…..Debbie was by Steve’s side throughout his medical ordeal last year, and her effervescent smile will be missed by all…..last year in the Magistrate Court Dungeon, injuries to myself, Magistrate Codispoti, clerk’s Kathy Guy and Deanna Briggs, mixed in with the on and off diabetes problems of my own assistant, Lisa Ellison, and Steve’s medical condition, have plagued the court, as we all were glad to get 2016 behind us…, however, the death last week of a friend, Alvin “Chipper” Porter, and then Debbie’s untimely demise, makes us worry about what could be next…..still, there is good news to report in the form of a written reincarnation… seems my old softball buddy, Bob Seakelly, isn’t deceased after all…..though a friend told me he was dead, I wondered how I could have missed that obituary…..turns out, the reason no one has seen him around is because he moved to Teays Valley…..few know this, but at one time Bob and I served together on the Board of Directors of what was the Logan County Boxing Association, and Bob was even a trainer… is unfortunate that sometimes the only good thing about going to a funeral home for visitation is that one often gets to see friends, some of whom you haven’t talked to in a while…..such was the case Tuesday when I enjoyed speaking with my 1971 classmate, Mark Hatcher… retired as a Logan County school teacher, Mark is one of the best basketball players ever to attend Logan High School… speaking of former players, Hatcher had some complimentary things to say about former Logan cagers, but especially Jack Calandros, David Eisel and Fred Blackmon, who was killed in an automobile accident before he could complete his high school career… honor roll student, Hatcher and I agreed that Blackmon would have become a college star had he lived…..another friend and softball buddy, former Williamson High School assistant basketball coach Hank Bowen, now retired, shared memories of our softball playing days with former teammate Ballard Smith, who also was at the funeral home to pay respects to the Gray and Bowen families…..yet another former coach and official in attendance Tuesday was Clarence Elkins…..the jovial Clarence said he spent many good times at the former airport location near Chapmanville where the Burger King now stands, although he also remembers the private airport that was near Godby Branch…..on another subject, one of the more intriguing names that might be of local interest is that of a left-handed 32-year-old major league pitcher, who recently signed a contract with the world champion Cleveland Indians…..the fellow’s name is Boone Logan…..can’t help but wonder where his parents came up with that name, or if maybe he has a brother called Mingo, or a sister named Wyoming?…..QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Adolescence is when you think you will live forever. Middle age is when you wonder how you’ve lasted so long.”—unknown author….. last week, I mentioned a number of former Chapmanville High School basketball players who were members of Tigers teams in the late 1950’s…..well, according to my friend Jerry Freeman of Big Creek, one name I should have mentioned was that of Ralph May…..Jerry says the former Chapmanville star was the last Marshall University football player who started offensively and defensively for The Herd in the early ‘60’s, and he was the quarterback for Marshall…..this is just my opinion, but I believe that all income taxes on social security should be ceased…..speaking of change, how about delegate Rupie Phillips’ switch from Democrat to Independent?… you know what the real difference between Democrat, Republican and Independent is in Logan County?…..well, there’s 11 letters in Independent, 10 in the word Republican and just 8 in Democrat…..FINAL NOTE: Couldn’t help but to get the curious thinking last week by asking readers to ponder as to who might be the most powerful person politically in Logan County. Donald McCloud, an avid newspaper reader and former Logan basketball player, declared Circuit Judge Eric O’Briant to be that person, while other answers ranged from Rick or Brian Abraham, to Danny Godby, Earl Ray Tomblin, Mike Ferrell, to even my fellow crony, Leonard Codispoti. The truth is I don’t know, nor do I even care about this subject. However, one must consider a guy who hands out the financial advice for the towns of Logan, Man and Mitchell Heights, and the multi-million dollar non-profit organization of PRIDE of Logan County. In addition, he controls some people’s fate on the basketball court as an official. By now, you should know that I’m speaking of local accountant Jeff Valet, who, by the way, does a good job in all of the above listed aspects. Since one definition for “politician” is —“one who is skilled or experienced in the science or administration of government,” I felt Jeff was a good “curve-ball” to throw at people to see just who really reads this stuff.

By Dwight Williamson

Contributing Columnist

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