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In late August of 1959 these graduates of the Pro Re Bona Day Nursery Vacation Bible School were photographed outside the nursery in East Chattanooga. They are, front row, left to right, Sheron Nolan, Debra Lewis, Denine Taylor, Jo Williams, Mark Bennett, Beverly Gentry, Debra Gilley, Sandra Bettis, Carmen Hale and Bridgett Ballew. Second row: Keith Alley, Mark Hale, Sherry Hale, Joel Walker, Michael Taylor, Johnathan Walker, Kenneth Byrd, Gary Farrell, Stanley Segers, Danny Ware and David Goodner. Third row: Diane May, Anthony Hullender, Ricky Burris, Rebecca Gainer, Randy Bearfield, Richard May, Mike Bennett and Viva Williams. Fourth row: Janet Clingam, Elaine Stoner, Jennifer Segors and Brenda Broadrick. Back row: Walter Row, Johnny Miller, Mike Walker, Stanley Ray and Bruce Broadrick. Photo from Chattanooga News-Free Press archives.

The children in this photo, pictured outside the Pro Re Bona Day Nursery in East Chattanooga in 1959, would be in their late 60s today.

Maybe you can spot a parent, grandparent or sibling. Or, best of all, maybe you see yourself. (See a list of names in the photo caption.)

This photograph appeared in the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Friday, Aug. 28, 1959. It was taken by newspaper photographer John Goforth and is part of an archive of vintage newspaper photos at the website ChattanoogaHistory.com.

For historic context, a grocery store advertisement on the same newspaper page that day in 1959 noted that ground beef was on sale for 49 cents a pound and ice milk (a cheaper version of ice cream) could be purchased for 35 cents a half gallon. Meanwhile, a news story on the page noted that the number of marriages outpaced divorces in Hamilton County for the first half of 1959 by 29.

The photo of the children was typical of the hyperlocal news coverage of the day, with photos of school groups, church events and civic clubs represented throughout Chattanooga's newspapers, the morning Times and the afternoon News-Free Press.

A short article with the photo noted that the children had just graduated from the day nursery's two-week Vacation Bible School program and that they had "made water color paintings" in addition to their Bible studies.

The Pro Re Bona Day Nursery traces to the 1890s, according to the website of the Pro Re Bona Early Learning Center, which still exists as a subsidized day care center on Dodds Avenue. It is one of the off-site programs for the Chambliss Center for Children.

There are 24 children enrolled, whose parents pay fees on a sliding scale based on their income, a center official said. The center reopened in January after being closed for a time due to COVID-19.

Follow the "Remember When, Chattanooga" public group on Facebook.

Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com.

ChattanoogaHistory.com

Launched by history enthusiast Sam Hall in 2014, ChattanoogaHistory.com is maintained to present historical images in the highest resolution available.

If you have photo negatives, glass plate negatives, or original non-digital prints taken in the Chattanooga area, contact Sam Hall for information on how they may qualify to be digitized and preserved at no charge.

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