Running back Lauren Hargrove (1930-2009), whose nickname was the Phantom, became a local celebrity in Fitzgerald for his role in the 1948 State Football championship, in which the Purple Hurricane beat Decatur. In these rare photographs, he’s being presented a new automobile by Pontiac dealer Albert McCormick. In today’s world, such a gift wouldn’t be possible, but it’s amazing what hometown pride meant in those days.
Lauren was running back for the Hurricane from 1945 until graduating in 1948. In that time he was All-State, All-Southern, and Prep All-American. He also had a distinguished career for the Georgia Bulldogs from 1950-52, and was a letterman in all three seasons.
It’s amazing to think of how many car dealerships there were in Fitzgerald, or any small town, back then.
There’s even a book about the 1948 season, called Purple and Gold Boys, by C. R. Adams.
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I wonder what the class of 48 Valedictorian from Fitzgerald got???
Neat byte of local history, Brian, and I thank you for sharing such with us. A new car to a stellar high school athlete seems to be an astronomical gift – in anyone’s era. And, after the war years, new cars – for a while – were not that easy to come by, from what I understand. Keep up the great work!
Thanks, Tom, and I agree, that was an unusual gift for any time.
I wonder if he kept that car or sold it at some point in his life ?
I bet he sold it at some point…but I don’t know.