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Title: Interview with John Bynum
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 Material Information
Title: Interview with John Bynum
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Pinkoson, Charles ( Interviewer )
Petersen, Pamela ( Transcriber )
Publisher: Matheson Historical Museum
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1995
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Bibliographic ID: MH00001733
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Alachua County Historic Trust: Matheson Museum, Inc.
Holding Location: Alachua County Historic Trust: Matheson Museum, Inc.
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Interview
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
Full Text















MATHESON HISTORICAL CENTER

ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM


INTERVIEWEE:

INTERVIEWER:

TRANSCRIBER:


John Bynum

Charles Pinkoson

Pamela Petersen


May 27, 1995









Interview with John Bynum 1
May 27, 1995


P: Mr. Bynum, would you state for the record your full name, where you were born, when you
were born, and how old you are.

B: My name is John Rudolph Bynum, Jr. I was born in Gainesville, FL, at 311 East Church
Street on April 21, 1925. I am now 70 years old.

P: Were your parents also born in Gainesville?

B: My mother was born in Gainesville in 1905. My daddy was born in Shelman, Georgia, in
1902.

P: What was your mothers family name?

B: She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. B. Livingston.

P: And Mr. Livingston, as I remember, was a commissioner of Gainesville for a long time and a
very prominent gentleman in Gainesville history. What type of business was he in?

B: While he was in Gainesville, he was in the ice business. He owned Diamond Ice Company,
along with T.B. Stringfellow. He was in that from sometime prior to 1900 to when the ice
plant burned down in 1926. Then he went into the grocery business and after that he started
building houses from a contract standpoint when he was quite old.

P: What type of business was your daddy in?

B: My daddy had a business in Gainesville which is now like Tom=s and Planter=s Peanuts. He
had a potato chip, peanut, and so forth, business until they came in and did some
sophisticated packing and he couldn't continue to do business the way he had always done it
economically. So he sold the business and the man that bought it soon went out of business.


P: In 1931, when you started off in school a few years after that, which school did you start in?

B: Well, it was a real funny thing. I didn't start school in Gainesville. I started school in High
Springs even though I didn't go there but three weeks. The reason I was in High Springs
was that after my daddy sold that peanut business he went to work for Florida West Coast
Ice Companies and they sent him up to High Springs because they had built a brand new ice
plant up there. We lived up there for about a year, or a year and a half. After I had been in
school about three weeks, we moved back to Gainesville and I started at the old East Side
School, which is now Kirby Smith School, with some of the county offices, on East
University Avenue.









Interview with John Bynum 2
May 27, 1995


P: When you started in school, you mentioned the ice business. As I recall, most houses at that
time had an ice box that you had to get ice in every day or two. Is that not right?

B: That=s right. That=s why my grandfather sold ice Ahouse to house- and also really their
main business in the ice business was icing refrigerator cars because there were no semi
trailers that had refrigerators on them or any trains. They would grow produce around Lake
Okeechobee and that area of South Florida, and they had to refrigerate it on its way to New
York. They had these periodic places where they would stop and re-ice the cars because the
ice would melt. The first place they stopped after leaving the Lake Okeechobee area was in
Gainesville. All of this was done with a company called the Fruit Grower=s Express.
Sometimes you can still see that on some box cars as you ride up and down the highway and
pass freight trains. They did this from a two-story situation. Their ice was made in the
second floor of the ice plant and they had to drop that ice into compartments down into the
refrigerator cars. They had to be up in the air. That was really the wholesale ice business.

P: In this period of time, Alachua County was a pretty good sized agricultural community, as I
recall. They did grow a lot of things and it is very interesting to hear that your granddaddy
iced some of these.

B: It was not only just cars that came from AThe Lake- as they called Lake Okeechobee. It
was also from right here in this area where they grew produce and it enabled the growers to
send it elsewhere and make more money off of it. The trains would pull the cars down to the
ice plant and they=d load them and then take them on North.

P: In mentioning early Gainesville, the University of Florida was pretty small at that time when
you were growing up. Do you remember much about the size of the University and some of
the parades they used to have? I know I have seen you in one or two of the parades in later
life. Do you remember the early parades that they used to have?

B: I remember how they would have the parades and, of course, they were nothing as elaborate
as they are now. They would have probably one parade before homecoming or on
Homecoming Weekend and then they would have what was called the Shirt Tail Parade the
night before the football games. They=d take the freshmen at the University and parade
them down the street in their pajamas. They would usually go from out somewhere west of
13th Street and march down to the Florida Theater. On those nights they would usually give
them a free movie at the theater.

P: Where was Gainesville High School when you went there?

B: It was down where the 720 Building is now. I guess it=s the 700 block of West University
Avenue. We had two high schools at that time because I didn't go to Gainesville High
School until 1937. They started P.K. Yonge School in 1935, and, of course, it was a much









Interview with John Bynum 3
May 27, 1995


smaller school. As it is today, it was operated by the University and its enrollment is limited.
I went to Gainesville High School the whole time and graduated from Gainesville High
School in 1943 at the height of the War, I guess you could say.

P: Did they have social fraternities and things like that when you went to GHS?

B: They had four of them -- two girls= sororities and two boys= fraternities. The girls=
sororities were Delta Gamma Delta and Lambda Sigma Sigma, which was called ALSS-.
The boys= fraternities were Delta Phi Chi and Aran Akbar.

P: And you belonged to one of these organizations?

B: I belonged to the Aran Akbar. They were eventually outlawed by the legislature. In fact, I
think it was about the time of my senior year or right after that they banned so-called secret
organizations. Professor Buchholz wouldn't let us participate in anything at Gainesville
High School connected with a fraternity or sorority. The legislature just banned them
altogether, the so-called ASecret Societies-, so that ended those. I think they tried to hang on
for two or three years after that, but it didn't work.

P: After you finished Gainesville High School, you matriculated and started at the University of
Florida. What year was that, and about how many students were going to the University at
that time?

B: I started at the University in 1946. That was when the ABig Push- went on, I guess you
would say, because the War was over. We=d had roughly 3,500 to 4,000 students out at the
University and they were all boys. Then all the boys started coming back from the Service
and I think the first year after the War they had approximately 12,000. The enrollment went
up probably about 75% and they had so many people they really couldn't take care of them,
but they did a pretty good job overall.

P: Were you away from Gainesville for a while after you finished high school, before you
started at the University?

B: No, I was here. I was drafted into the Army, but they turned me down. I had a spot on one
lung and so they turned me down, and I didn't go into the Service. So I came back to
Gainesville and stayed here and started at the University.

P: Who was the coach of the football team at the time, and who was the president of the
University when you started out there?









Interview with John Bynum 4
May 27, 1995


B: John J. Tigert was the President of the University and they had just gotten a new football
coach in 1946. That was Raymond ABear- Wolf. He had been a successful coach in some
branch of the Service and he=d also coached, I think, in North Carolina. His record at the
University of Florida didn't turn out very well. When he came, the first thirteen games they
played they lost and then they finally beat North Carolina State in their fourteenth game and
then it got a little better, but he did not stay very long. I think he stayed three or four years
and then was replaced by Bob Woodruff.

P: After you left the University, I understand you went into the gasoline business. Would you
tell us a little bit about that.

B: While I was still at the University, I worked for Bobby Hamilton, who had the City Service
Gasoline distributorship. I worked for him on a part-time basis for about two or three years,
I guess. Then he decided he wanted to go back into the Marine Corps, so he offered to sell
me his distributorship and I bought it. I kept it for three or four years and then I sold it.

P: During this time that you were running the gasoline business, is this when you met Sunny,
your wife? When did you all get married?

B: I met Sunny my last couple of years in the gasoline business. She came to Gainesville and
was teaching school over at old Kirby Smith. That was when I met her and started going
with her, and we got married after about a year and a half. We got married on Friday the
13th, in June of 1952.

P: And you have two children?

B: I have two children. I have a daughter, Susan, who was born in September 1953, and a son,
Bruce, born in March 1958. I have two grandchildren, who are Susan=s children. My son is
not married. At this time my grandson, Brian, is thirteen, and my granddaughter, Julie, is
nine.

P: After you left the gasoline business, I understand you went into the automobile business. I
imagine there has been a great deal of change in cars in Gainesville since you first started
that business. Would you mind telling us a little bit about the automobile business?

B: I=d been in the gasoline business for about nine years and frankly was just tired of it, and I
did not go into the car business to stay in the car business. I went into it just from a change
standpoint. I went down and talked to Mr. Pat Keeter about it and I went to work for him. I
was very frank with him and told him that I possibly wasn't going to stay with him because I
told him my situation, and he said, AWell, you just come on and do whatever you want to
do.- So I went and I didn't leave until about thirty years later. I stayed there with the Ford
people for thirty years. The whole business changed just like every business had done. The









Interview with John Bynum 5
May 27, 1995


way the business was run when I got into it was kind of from a small-town, agricultural
standpoint. Agriculture and automobiles I know might not have much in common, but we
had such a large agricultural economy here in the neighboring towns like Archer and
Newberry and Trenton, that there were a lot of people who lived out there and did farming.
We really worked out in those areas to a great extent because now everything comes to the
dealership. You don't go out and look for anything or try to get any business or solve
peoples problems or anything like that. It all has to come into the dealership. I saw the
cars, as well, change from a mechanical standpoint. It=s quite different than it was when I
got into it forty years ago. I=ve been retired for a little over ten years now and worked in it
for a little over thirty.

P: When you first went into the car business, I imagine they had V-8's?

B: Let=s put it this way: they had big cars. People like cars, and the bigger they were, the
better. Mechanically, they had very simple engines if you want to call it that. If you go to a
car museum and open up the hood of a 1955 Ford, there=s this engine sitting down in there
with probably four or five cubic feet on each side of it where there=s nothing. Whereas now
the engine compartment on all these cars, regardless of how big they are, is completely full.
In fact, you wonder how anyone working below the very top level can get his hand down in
there to do anything. Of course, all of this is from the EPA situation. It=s the Environmental
Protection Agency that has made the car industry put all of this filtering equipment or
whatever on the automobiles to keep down the emissions and then, too, everything is
computerized on cars these days.

P: This is a wonderful thing, but it has certainly economically changed the price of
automobiles. Would you mention for the record what a new Ford cost when you first went to
work and what they cost when you retired?

B: I remember the price of one car that we had in 1955. It was a 1955 Ford station wagon, four
doors, with automatic transmission and radio and heater, and I think that was basically all of
the equipment that it had. It was $2,525.00. We did not have a lot of equipment on cars
back then, particularly on Fords, Chevrolets, and Plymouths. We didn't even have air
conditioning on cars. If you see a 1946, >47, >48, or >49 Cadillac or Lincoln, they don't
have air conditioning. Power steering was really on just the higher priced cars. You could
get it on a Ford, but there were very few with it and that $2,525 car, if you bought it today,
would probably be at least ten times that much. It would be at least $25,000.00.

P: I remember before 1940, in the 30's, that you could buy a car for around $800.00, $900,00,
or $1,000.00. Certainly, as you say, there has been a great change. Of course, they've
improved the operation and the comfort level of automobiles, but unfortunately there has
been a high price for it all.









Interview with John Bynum 6
May 27, 1995



B: For the thirty years that I was in the car business, the price of the cars did rise and our
general rule of thumb was that every year that they came out with a new car, the cost would
increase 5%. If you look back, that was the actual average that they went up for thirty years,
5% per year. Then I think around 1987 or 1988, along in there, they really started to
skyrocket. When I got out of the car business in 1985, actually the tail end of 1984, we sold
a fully equipped car -- and when I say fully equipped, it had everything, from electric door
locks to electric windows, air conditioning, rear window defroster, all of those kinds of
things -- you could buy one for roughly about $7,000 to $8,000. Now, that same car would
cost you around $25,000 to $30,000.00.

P: I know you enjoyed your time in the automobile business, but I hear that you and Sunny
have also taken some wonderful vacations before you retired and after you retired. Would
you mind telling us which one you liked best and maybe a little bit about one of those
vacations.

B: That=s kind of hard to do because we liked a lot of them. We liked practically all of them.
We drove wherever we went. We didn't fly because we saw everything from Gainesville to
wherever we went that was in between. I guess one of our most scenic and most enjoyed
trips was in May 1991, when we drove to Alaska. We were gone 59 nights and we spent
those nights in motels and bed and breakfasts because as you get into Canada and on up into
Alaska, you don't find the hotel situation like it is in the United States. We made that trip
with no problems and we drove a little over 16,000 miles and went roughly 1,700 or 1,800
miles by ferry down the inland passage from Haines, Alaska, to Bellingham, Washington,
which you really just have to go see to really know what it looks like. Nobody could
describe it to you. That was our most memorable trip.

P: Your wife retired about the same time that you did. I hear she was one of our excellent
teachers for a good while here in Gainesville.

B: She retired about six or eight months before I did and she had taught about twenty years all
told. She taught the first year we were married and then she quit for seventeen years while
the children were growing up, and then she went back to teaching. She had taught for
roughly four or five years before she quit the first time and then she went back for fourteen
or fifteen more. I think she enjoyed teaching. You=d have to talk to her about that, but she
enjoyed her work.

P: I=m sure she found quite a bit of difference in teaching when she returned after seventeen
years. That would be an interesting story to hear at some later date. What other things have
you noticed at the University since you retired? Have you noticed much change out there?
B: I=m not around the University very much. Of course, I think the big thing now is how the
athletic program has turned around and, of course, the medical center has expanded and









Interview with John Bynum 7
May 27, 1995


expanded. In 1955, it was just one little building. I say little building. You can't even tell
which one it was now unless someone shows it to you, because it has been added on so and
they are apparently doing so many, many things out there. We have a veterinary school now.
We have a dentistry school, and it=s grown just like everything else. It=s up to roughly
35,000 students and I think they're going to get about 5,000 more. It=s expanded in every
way.

P: Do you and Sunny have another vacation planned in the near future?

B: Not right now. We didn't go anywhere this spring. This is the first spring we haven't been
anywhere since we retired. We=ll probably go back to New England in the fall. We usually
stay in Maine the majority of the time even though we just kind of wander around the whole
area of the New England states.

P: If you could, would you tell us about some of the interesting businesses that you have run
into during your time in Gainesville?

B: I was looking at a list here of some of the things that we had when I grew up in Gainesville
when I was a boy, and then when I got on up to high school age I was still a boy, but I was
older. Gainesville was awfully small back then and you have no way of knowing when you
see GRU now how it was back in the 1930's. All of the departments concerning the city
were so small. We had two trucks that were with the electric department and the repair
situation where the linemen worked, and we probably didn't have more than six or eight
linemen who worked on the telephone poles. The water situation was that we got all our
water from out at Bouleware Springs, out by Evergreen Cemetery. I don't know how many
people were employed by what is now GRU, but I=d say probably 125 or 130 in the 1930's
would have been more than they really had.

Drug stores in Gainesville have changed an awful lot. A lot of drug stores had soda
fountains. Wise=s down on West University Avenue still has one, but they used to deliver
drugs to your house. Most of the people in Gainesville had charge accounts with drug stores.
We didn't have but about five or six drug stores: Vidal=s, Bodiford=s, McCollum=s, and
later on Canova=s that started about the latter part of the 1930's.

They had new and used furniture stores at that time. Cox Furniture Company, which at that
time was Gainesville Furniture Company, and Seagle Furniture Company, which was owned
by John F. Seagle, for whom the Seagle Building was named. They were the two biggest
stores in Gainesville. They sold strictly new furniture, but we did have some stores that sold
just used furniture.









Interview with John Bynum 8
May 27, 1995


Another thing was saw mills. We had four or five saw mills and they cut lumber that was
used throughout the whole county. I don't think we have a saw mill in Gainesville now.

Another interesting thing is that we now have three funeral homes and in the 1930's we had
two. I guess that's one business that has not really increased number wise.

Here=s an interesting thing about barbershops. When my grandfather came to Gainesville,
in his early time in Gainesville, all of the barbers were black. They didn't have any white
barbers in Gainesville. If you wanted a haircut, the barbers were black. The barbershops
were segregated. Also, we didn't have any white postmen in Gainesville when I was
growing up. All of the postmen were black. We had a fair amount of beauty shops,
mentioning the barbershop situation.

We didn't have too many variety type stores, like Maas Brothers or Burdines. We had
Wilson=s up on the corner of old East Main Street and University Avenue, and they sold the
better type of merchandise. We had a lot of what you would call dry goods stores that sold
all kinds of clothing and shoes. We had several of those.

Our hospital, which was built around 1928, was right where Alachua General is now. It was
a big stucco building, big for us then. It was two stories.

We had fruit and vegetable stands. People would set up just like they do now to sell produce
and they=d have a little stand they built out of lumber. They would usually have some kind
of screen door they would close at night.

Gas stations were different from now. You more or less looked to the person who ran the
gas station to take care of your car all over. If it needed a tire fixed, they fixed it. If you
needed the oil changed, they did it. If you needed repairs from a minor standpoint, they
would do those. Nobody put gas in their car back then. The man at the gas station did it. Of
course, if you needed some major repairs, we had independent garages and regular car
dealerships.

As far as recreation, we had two places in Gainesville for swimming. That was Glen
Springs, which is located out where the Elks Club is now behind Gaineswood
Condominiums, and we had Magnesia Springs, which is about 13 miles east of Gainesville.
If you wanted to go swimming, that was where you went. Of course, sometimes people
would go swimming down at Frasier=s Pond, which was really the first swimming facility
that the University of Florida had. It=s located over at approximately 9th Avenue and 22nd
Street, right back in that area. Now there are nice homes built around it, but back in the 30's
it was in the woods. In fact, I=ve ridden my bicycle out there with some other boys and gone
swimming in the late 30's or early 40's.









Interview with John Bynum 9
May 27, 1995


We had dairies in Gainesville -- probably five or six. I guess the biggest one was University
City Dairy, and there was Whitehurst Dairy, Mansfield Dairy, Perry=s Dairy, and Taylor=s.
They would deliver your milk to you house-to-house. You=d put the empty bottles out on
the back steps the night before, because you had to turn in the bottles and we didn't have all
this disposable stuff then. They would come by early in the morning, like 3:00, 4:00, or
5:00, and leave whatever you wanted. You could leave a note in the milk bottle if you
wanted something else that they sold, and they would leave that for you.

As I remember, in the 30's they had two bicycle shops in Gainesville. We had Doran=s
Bicycle Shop and he had been in business for many, many years. In fact, he was quite an old
fellow in the 1930's. J.D. Rice came to Gainesville in the 1930's and built a bicycle shop.
They would sell bicycles to boys and they could get a paper route and then they'd pay for
the bicycle, maybe $1.00 a week. That was really beneficial to a lot of boys who wouldn't
otherwise have been able to have a bicycle. They could deliver The Gainesville Sun, The
Times Union, or The Gainesville Evening News. We had two papers back then, and the
Evening News was in the afternoon, and we got The Gainesville Sun in the morning. A lot
of people took the Jacksonville Times Union and the Jacksonville Journal. We didn't have
any Tampa Tribune people here in Gainesville because that was kind of out of our area of the
state at that time.

We had one airport, which was old Jarvis Field, in the early 1930's. It was located out where
Carol Estates is now, an area from N.E. 13th Avenue on over to 23rd Avenue and bounded by
N.E. 5th Street in the 1300 block and bordered on the east side by 10th Street, which at that
time was Evans Street. Carl Stengel, who was a motorcycle policeman here and a
Gainesville aviation pioneer, had one airplane out there. He had learned to fly and gave
flying lessons. He lost his airplane though, because two boys crashed the airplane. Robert
Brasington was flying it and the passenger was J.R. Fowler, Jr. They were both sons of car
dealers. They crashed over on what is now the 600 block ofN.E. 7th Street and it killed both
of them.

We had probably three or four shoe repair places. I guess one of the most prominent ones
was run by Charlie Duval, who was a black man. The Duval family had been in Gainesville
for a very long time. They were right down behind the Phifer Bank by the southeast corner
of the Courthouse. Then we had one over on West University Avenue by the Primrose Grill,
that was run by a Greek fellow named Nick. I don't know his last name. People repaired a
lot of shoes back then from an overhaul standpoint, putting on new heels or half soles.
People kind of stretched it out back in those days rather than buying new stuff.

We had newsstands. There were two or three that sold magazines, newspapers, and
periodicals of all kinds. One of them was right down in the end of the 100 block on North
Main Street. It was called New York News and Fruit Company. The reason for the name
was that at one time they sold fruit in there. It was run by a Greek fellow named Charlie









Interview with John Bynum 10
May 27, 1995


Critic. Then we had a place that eventually became Mike=s Newsstand. The name of it was
Tony and Mike=s. It was started over in the 200 block of West University Avenue, across
the street from where the Ford place used to be. It was right near where Wise=s Drug Store
is now. This was owned by another Greek fellow, Mike Bliziotes. Then we had another
newsstand start right down close to the old Woolworth=s Dime Store.

We had two dime stores in Gainesville then. We had Woolworth=s and McCrory=s. They
were both located on the courthouse square.

We had two plants in Gainesville that bottled soft drinks. We had the Coca-Cola plant,
down on old South Virginia Avenue, which is S.E. 2nd Street down around 4th Avenue. It
was across the street from where Louie=s Lunch is now, the hamburger place. Then we had
a Nehi Bottling Company. They bottled Afruit-flavored drinks- like orange, grape, and
strawberry. Then in about the middle 1930's they started making RC Cola and as I
remember that place, it was over on S.W. 6th Street.

We had a train station down there, too. It was the old T&J Railroad Station, which was a
strictly Florida railroad line that ran from Tampa to Jacksonville. That was why it was called
the T&J. They had a building down there that was used as their train station.

We had several florists in Gainesville at that time. Cicen=s had a florist place out on the
Hawthorne Road and McKinstry=s had a place down in this area that I was talking about in
the 100 or 200 block of S.W. 6th Street.

We had hotels on North Main Street. That was because the train ran down Main Street and
people could get off the train and spend the night at the hotel and transact whatever business
they wanted to transact in Gainesville. Some of those that I remember along there, probably
prior to WWII, were the Central Hotel and the Commercial Hotel. The Central Hotel, I
think, was originally called the Brown=s House. Then on up the street a little bit we had
some places you could stay like the Wisteria Inn, which was next to the old Masonic Temple
up there.

We had two laundries in Gainesville. We had the N.W. Laundry, which was the new way
laundry and we had the Gainesville Laundry. The Thomas family, old Major Thomas=s
family, owned the Gainesville Laundry, and the Cone family owned the N.W. Laundry.
They did the bulk of the laundry business. Of course, my mother has told me that there was
a Chinese laundry in Gainesville when she was a girl around 1910, along in there.

We had two ice plants. The ice plant down on Depot Street was the Florida West Coast Ice
Company, which was the company that my grandfather and T.B. Stringfellow sold out to
when they sold their ice plant after it burned in 1926. Then we had an ice plant up on 6th









Interview with John Bynum 11
May 27, 1995


Street, which was old Grove Street back then. That ice plant was owned and operated by
Mr. George.

We had two depots. Right where the First Union Bank is now we had the Atlantic Coastline
Depot, and then down on Depot Street, if you go down Main Street, turn left, and go down
about two blocks, was the Seaboard Depot. The Seaboard Depot didn't carry any
passengers into Gainesville. All they brought into Gainesville was freight. You would have
to go to Waldo and catch the Seaboard train if you wanted to ride on it as a passenger,
whereas the Atlanta Coastline came right into town. In fact, it stopped in the middle of
town, about one block from the courthouse.

We also had a place here in Gainesville that made syrup. It was called Dad=s Quality Syrup.
If you went over on 8th Avenue in approximately the 500 block on the south side of the
street, the building there now is Walker=s Furniture. He made Dad=s Quality Syrup and it
was sold, you might say, locally in this county and maybe one or two counties surrounding
this county. That went on for a good while. I think he was in business ten or twelve years
prior to WWII.

As we know ambulance service now, there was no ambulance service back then. Funeral
homes provided the ambulance service, and I don't think you got much so-called
Professional, sophisticated care- when they came to pick you up, because really they
didn't know much to do for you. They just put you on a stretcher and took you to the
hospital, which was worth an awful lot, but it really has changed.

P: This certainly has been interesting listening to you tell about the early businesses in
Gainesville. I hear there is another organization called the Gainesville Has-Beens, which
consists of ex-members of the old GHS school. Could you tell us in closing down our
interview a little bit about this organization.

B: This organization started roughly three and a half or four years ago. The person responsible
for it is a fellow about my age, Dell Willis. He got the idea to start this. I think he read
about an organization like this in Ocala, which had been going on for several years and was
successful. He decided that it would be nice to have a breakfast one morning a month for
those who went to the old Gainesville High School, and I mean Aold= Gainesville High
School -- the Gainesville High School on University Avenue or prior to that when it was at
Kirby Smith -- because Gainesville High School was built in 1923, the one I=m talking
about at 720 University Avenue. They would have a meeting the second Tuesday in each
month at a restaurant and have breakfast. It was really established as a kind of loose
organization. There would be no committees and no one really in charge and they would just
meet and maybe if somebody brought somebody that was interesting as a speaker, that was
fine, but no speeches, no political carrying on and all of those kinds of things, and it has
worked out very well. About a year after it started, they realized that we should include the









Interview with John Bynum 12
May 27, 1995


fellows who went to P.K. Yonge, so they were included. Now it=s really the Gainesville
High School/P.K. Yonge Has-Been Group.
Helen Farnsworth organized a girls organization. They meet at the same time but at a
different place. I really don't know much about them except that it has been successful. I
don't think they have as many people come to their breakfasts as the boys do. The boys run
somewhere around 50 to 60 the first Tuesday in each month. It has been a real good thing.
It=s enjoyed, I think, by everyone who goes.

P: I certainly do thank you for giving this interview for the Matheson Historical Society. It has
been interesting hearing about early Gainesville.




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