Jane Russell Lived in Columbus
Ed Howard was researching Jane Russell the movie star who in 1943 moved to Columbus, Georgia while her husband Bob Waterfield the football player was going to OCS (Officer’s Candidate School) at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Hello Sandra, I am Ed Howard, a resident of Columbus who is researching the Jane Russell / Columbus Connection. Ms. Russell.
Before jumping ahead of myself let me tell you why Ed Howard wrote.
I had written in one of my stories on “GLORY DAYS” where Ms. Russell had rented an apartment around the corner from our house on Fifth Street off of lower Broad. Ed thought Ann C. Brown of Tampa, Fla. had written about Ms. Russell and wanted her email address. I wrote him back and told him I was the one who wrote about Ms. Russell. My sisters, one who was a teenager, the other one who was almost in her teens, used to take me as a small child to visit with Ms. Russell when she was sitting on her front porch while living at 445 Lower Broad.
From what my sisters told me thru the years Ms. Russell was beautiful, kind talking and interested in talking to them and sharing what she could about her life. Little did Ms. Russell know that the girls had been told not to bother her. Somewhere along the way Juanita and Norma (my sisters) had heard the stories that she was a movie star and here she was in their home town not a half of a block away. They just couldn’t pass up meeting Ms. Russell and telling everyone at Church and School.
The sweetest memory that was told to me by my sisters was how kind Ms. Russell was to me, a little girl. I was about four years old and mama had left my two sisters to baby sit me while she attended PTA at the Seventh Street School. It was in the afternoon and I was tired and I wanted my mama. While the girls and Ms. Russell were talking she looked at me and held her arms out and I went and crawled up in her lap and she rocked me to sleep while I was crying. The rest of the story was told to me by Juanita and Norma. I do not remember. Even though the girls were punished for bothering Ms. Russell they still talked about that afternoon for many years.
Ms. Russell went on to make many more movies and became famous during the 1940s and 1950s and years to come. A lot of the younger generations remember her as the 18 hour Bra girl. But I’ll always remember her as the lady my sisters told me about on a hot summer’s day that took me in her arms and rocked me to sleep while missing my mama.
Story goes, that Ms. Russell moved into 445 Lower Broad. A precious little pink house with white trimmings and a back porch that made into a room that was as pretty as the front part of the house. The house is now owned by Dr. Othel Hand. It is my understanding that the home is the office of Dr. Hand and when he is in town he goes by there. The little pink house sits in the middle of two older houses. One is now a business office and the other is a place where you can stay and spend the night. The homes on that part of Lower Broad back up to the River.
Not only my sisters had their eyes on Ms. Russell, but also a fourteen year old boy who rode by the house hoping to catch a glimpse of the beautiful movie star and probably hoping to meet the well-known football star Bob Waterfield.
This little boy, John Jeffries, went to Seventh Street School with my sisters. John was born and lived in the house that used to be at 428 Broad. When John was fourteen years old he was working as a Car Hop at Choppy’s Drive-Inn Restaurant on the corner of First Avenue and Fourth Street. John had already known about Ms. Russell living across the street at 445 Broad and he passed the house many times in the hopes of seeing Ms. Russell outside. In spite of all of John’s hopes he never did. John said he had forgotten the name of the lady that owned the house but, he said he could never forget the address. John wrote, he had always regretted his misfortune of not being able to talk to Ms. Russell in person. She was a beautiful woman. John told Ed that he had found the house at 445 Broad.
Ed, wrote also to Ann C. Brown. I gave him her email address hoping she could think of something or maybe she could have sent her Uncle John’s email address to him. She did…
Edward, I called Uncle John in Miami and he said the house Ms. Russell lived in was the second house from the corner of 5th Street, on the West side, going south. He couldn’t remember the name of the lady who owned the home, but he said Jane and her husband were boarders there while he was stationed at Fort Benning. I would trust what my uncle says. Mom wasn’t there the whole time, as Dad was in the Army himself and he was stationed in Iowa. Mom and I were with him. I was born in Columbus in 1944 and was a baby when we joined Dad there. This would have been across and down a little from my grandparent’s home.Ms.
This was the time when Ron Rollins kicked in, remembering his dad Bob Rollins had talked about a beautiful woman who lived off-Broadway at the same time he and Mrs. Rollins would visit a friend of hers also living off-Broadway. Both of the women were nurses and were in training together. Since Ms. Russell had been reported to have lived in another place before she left Columbus, we are going to research the house Ron is talking about. Stories go it was a duplex and she rented two bedrooms and a bath. Some where near that house was a large field. If anyone can remember, down on lower-Broad there was a place where a Bar called the Cave. Now that the Cave has been torn down there is now a large open place that might have looked like a field behind the house Ron was talking about. Since Jane Russell lived here in 1943 and Ron wasn’t born until 1947 he is going by what his parents Selma and Bob Rollins told him.
Thank you for letting me share my memories with you all.
Now read Part 2 “Ms. Russell’s connections with Columbus, Georgia 1943”
Anne C. Brown
Sandra W. Doolittle