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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
Interview with William Howell conducted by Debbie Ransom and Paul Palmer. Also
being interviewed is Rupert G. Zeigler, May 27, 1971.
R; Mr Zeigler, can you tell us why you came to Gainesville? What were your
reasons for coming here?
Z: Well, my reason was to attend the University of Florida. I had graduated from
a high-school in Maimi in 1924. Then I worked for a year in the railroad yards
where my dad was a mechanic for the Florida East Coast Railroad. My classmate
and buddy in high-school had all ready come to the University of Florida.
In other words, he came up when he graduated in 1924 in the fall in September.
At that time, I had aspired to come to the University of Florida but I had to
work a while to make some money. Dad had some money invested in real estate
like almost everyone in Florida had then. Also, I was interested in a girl
from my high-school who was attending the woman's college in Tallahassee.
THE University of Florida has not always been co-ed. At that time there
was the Florida State College for Women in Tallahassee. We would go over
there to see our girl friends at Tallahassee which in those days was a pretty
R: How did you travel?
Z: By car, we did not have to travel horseback.
R: You did not get to go to fast?
Z: Not too often. We had a Model T Ford which we owned jointly. It just so happened
that several of the boys from our class had come to the University of FLorida.
We tried to get into a rooming house opposite where the City Hall is now.
As a matter of fact the building stood there until recently but I guess that
it is torn down now. You know where he spoke about S.T. Dell's office, he
is a lawyer. Do you know where that is? Il s on N.E. First Street in the
second block and next to it is Dr. Bowman, next to that was a rooming house.
Some of us went there and the lady said that she did not have enough rooms for
us so to go on down the street. It was called East Orange Street. In those
days the streets were named for various vegetables, flowers, and states and
so forth. THe four of us went down there and got a room. Eventually, the
landlady introduced us to one of her daughters whom I got interested in and
later married. I worked with the Coast Line Railroad here for a while
NyXXXXHXX My wife's father had been the Superintendant of the Atlantic
Coast Line and he had died the year before and I never knew him. THat is the
reason that they were renting rooms to the University students. In those days,
most of the University students lived in rooming houses like that. THbre
( were very few dormitories on campus. Then we went to live out at (
for a while which is a building recently torn down. You know the steak house
that they are building opposite the University that is where I lived for a
while. THe reason that we moved there was to be close to the campus.
We had the ROTC drill in those days and sometimes my Model T Ford did not start
so easy. So, you had to get out to what is now Yniw 'Field which is opposite
the Stadium. You had to get out there no matter how cold or how hot iiwas.
We South Florida crackers we had beeyhere so long that we were pretty well
acclimated to the hot weather but in the winters in was pretty rough. So, we
lived down there a while and when we got through with the intense cold we
went back downtown.
P: You said that traveling from here to Tallahassee when you were still dating
Z: No, the other girl. My wife was still going to school at Lakeland Southern
College. THe only woman that I have ever been married to I am still married
P: You said that it was an all day trip from here to Tallahassee?
Z: Yes, it was.
P: How long did it take you to get there?
Z: I would say about four and a half hours.
P: That is about two hours then it takes today?
P: HOw come that it took so long? I know that the Model T would run 60 miles
an hour without any trouble.
Z: No, it would not. You are thinking about the Model A. I would frun 50 and
55 was tops, and that was mostly going downhill with a tuned-up car. Unless
someone really fixed them up to run then 55 was about tops for them.
R: Were the road conditions bad?
Z: Yes, the roads were rough and a lot of them were just limerock. The road condition
was the criteria and just in your time has that road been considered better
between here and Tallahassee.You go a long way before you get on a four lane
highway over there. Highway 19 goes almost directly west.
R: What specific changes have you noticed inthe University since you attended?
Z: We could talk about that a long time. I could say that there has been a
vast change. I mentioned a while ago the ROTC drill and no one objected to
it because it was one of those things that just had to be done. WWI had not
been over too many years and there was trouble indicating that there was
probably another war coming along. So, ROTC was a must because it is a federal
subsidized land-grant college. THe kid that went through that and graduated
it meant a lot to them because they would come out with the rank of Second
Lieutenant and then they would get a commission. They had to have some
mandatory ROTC and some elective ROTC. IF they went through four years of
ROTC while in college then they could graduate from Officer's Candidate School
or go into one now.
P: While you were at the University of Florida did you take any courses in criminology?
Z: No, I was not a student at the University of Florida when I came to the
police department. I mentioned a while ago that my finances failed and I could
get a job and so I quit the University. MWe were married and living at my
mother-in-law's house because it was a cheaper place. He had an apartment
there. He put the police department in uniform. THey had just adopted the
city commission form of government in 1928. They sought a police officer to
be captain from some other place rather then having someone to come up from
the ranks here. This man said that he would go along with what the city
commission wanted.They had the same system that they have now where the
mayor-commissioner is elected from the commission and he is the boss of the
legislative body. In those days the commissioners were all trying to tell
the police chief what to do with the police department and the fire chief what
to do with the fire department. Each of these commissioners would go around
and try to tell these department heads what to do. It cause a considerable
amount of conflict. But gradually, they got the uniform off the man accountable
semi-military wise to the man who was running it the chief of police who
was accountable to the city manager who was accountable to the city commission.
SO many of the people of the University and town had this conflict of interest.
Even in those days when the University student body was around 2,700, the same
conditions existed with some slight variations as they do now. In those days,
when the student body wasted to raise disturbances they did not go and sit
in the President's office, or throw fire bombs or do all that sort of thing.
They would come downtown and gather out on the courthouse square and block
traffic and go through He stores and upset the theatres.
R: What did the police do in a situation like that?
Z: They would arrest the ring-leaders or agitators of it.
R: No questions asked?
Z: Well, they saw them do it and you did not have to read off all the regulations
or constitutional rights. THat is what it is now with fe restrictions put
on the police officers. The restriction on the officer now a days is a tErific
restraint in doing what they would normally do. Prehaps sometimes they would
go beyond the rights. Today there are so many restrictions put on the officers
by the Supreme Court Justices. You know what I am talking about. That today
as I see it, is one of the reasons why the police officers have so much more
trouble serving the law-abiding citizens rights because the minority groups
are given so much freedom. I am not just talking about races. I am talking
-about minority groups such as the SDS and the other small militant, agitator
type groups. They can get the news media out there and the television cameras
and a few of the wild reporters and get-all of this publicity that they seek.
That is one of the deterrents to the police officers in maintaining public law
P: You mentioned the news media of today. I know that the news media had greatly
changed. What kind 0i communication did they have for police officers when
you started on the force?
Z: I can tell how it was in my time and coming along there. I was offered a job
by this 6hief of Police that I was telling you about that lived there at
the house. At that time, I was running a tire shop actually an automobile
shop, dealer and repair. Not being interested in law enforcement, I never
aspired to be a cop as they call them now a days. I still call them police
officers. I just did not aspire to going along and grabbing people and putting
them in jail. So, this Chief (Estall asked me if I wanted a job in September.
I told him that I did not think that I would be interested. He told me to think
it over because the budget was going into effect on October the first and if
I wnated a job then he would give me a job. A couple of weeks later he asked
me if I had decided whether or not that I wanted to be a policeman. I told
him that I did not think that I wanted to be a policeman. He told me that I
ought to try it a while. I told him that I would try it and see if I could
be a policeman for a while and by the first of January if you have not all
ready fired me then I think that I will quit because I do not think that
I would make a good policeman. That was all that he wanted was for me to
try. He asked me why I has held out so long. HI I told .him that I was
not big and burly and not a fighter. He said that he did not want a police-
man to go around and fight people just to catch them if they violate the
law and arrest them and put them in jail. If you have to fight them to put
them in jail well then that is all right but do not start out by just
fighting them. So, I started with that idea and I stayed with it.
R: That picture that you have there is it taken in front of the Police Department?
Z: In front of the old city hall, the police department was in the basement of
the old city hall. This particular picture was taken on March 22, 1948. THis
is on the steps of the old city hall. THe building was just torn down a few
P: How long agwas it torn down.
Z: Not over three or four years ago.
H: Well, it was caty-cornered across from Wilson's.
Z: The steps here coming up from the street in the front' of the city hall. Around
to the side there was a side entrance going down into the basement. There was
a side entrance there where you could go upstairs or downstairs. Well, down
the basement and to the right was the police department. We just had three
rooms down there. Down the hall a little ways there was a court room.
H: That is where we stayed until 1953.
R: When did they build the new one?
H: In 1953. I moved one week-end. I was on vacation and I moved the whole police
S- department myself over the week-end.
P: How large was the force at that time when it was in the city hall?
H: Well, when I came here in 1938, I made the twelfth man including the Chief.
There was ten I guess when you came was there not?
Z: Eleven. In those days to add one man to the police department was quite a
thing. Because you did not do that every year.
H: It took them three months to hire me. THe Chief started trying to get me
and it took him three months to get me.
Z: I started in October, 1929. They would have to get an appropriation passed
by the county commissioners before there was enough budget appropriated
to hire one more man.
H: The big reason that they did not want him to hire me was because I was not
a local product. I was not born and raised in Gainesville.
Z: He came from far away down in Ocala.
H: I was from far away 40 miles. It took the Chief a couple of months to convince
them. He told them to find him a local man with experience and I will hire
him. He said that why should he take a greenhorh when he could get a man
with experience that was born in the next county. Like he explained to them
~ this was a University town and this city belongs to the state. He said
that it made no difference about me being local. They finally agreed.
He asked me the last of November if I wanted a job. I told him that I did.
I was working some with the sheriff down there in Ocala and I had been on the
highway patrol. So then he started trying to get me and he finally called
me the first of February to ask me if I wanted to come to work.
P: You mentioned the budget. Is the police department still operated on such a
H: Not as much so as way back then. As the years went by, it became easier
to get a little bit more appropriations in.
P: Do you know why that was besides the fact of the population growing?
H: I think that is one thing. Also, we more or less educated the public to
where they were willing to back us up. The city-fathers learned that the
public was behind us. Of course, in other words, back in the old days, they
would just take a man and give him a badge and a gun and call him a police
R: Did you get any education.
H: NO education, no training, nothing.
Z: They would say to go out and enforce the law and a man was so glad to get a
job that he did not ask how to enforce the laws and what were the laws. We
had to do our own self training. It was usually a matter of reading books
and asking veteran officers who we had faith in. Some of the veteran officers
you would get the wrong kind of answers out of. Let me tell you a little about
this. These men here now you see that is Captain Howell and I was on the
force a right long time before I became Chief. I first became Chief in 1947.
The need that existed I want you to kind of assimilate this idea. We had
known about it before our time of coming along. THere was a nedd for there
to be a detective division, and a uniform patrol. I created those two
divisions and I put Captain Howell in charge of the Patrol Division.
THis is Bob Engle who is now retired and this is Captain Beech who is still
with the department. THis was the only female employee of the department,
R: One secretary for the whole department.
Z: SHe was a swell lady and a very capable lady.
P: If a man came into town and caused trouble could you call other police
departments around and find out where he came from?
H: This department instituted a system a card system of arrests. In 1929, it
was copied after the FBI. That was what we used unless we knew where a man
came from and then we would contact his home. Usually if we wanted his record
we went to Washington for it.
Z: This one here is Lt. Smith and he is still on the force. THis is Sgt. Carroll
and he is still on the force. This man you see him every now and then down
at the Bank. HE has just retired recently.
H: That is the parking lot at the Florida Bank.
Z: You know, the little office right across from the Florida Bank next to Gilberg's
store. This man is still on the force, THese men are gone. This one here
is Mr. Louie Wainwright and he is the Director of State prisons. We hired him
e- and he"Stayed with us for a while and he left.
H: I talked for thirty days to try to get him to take that job.
Z: This manhere is Robert Johnson. THis man here is still on the force and at
night he is the man in charge of parking at Santa Fe Junior College. THis
one here you would not recognize because he has stoutened up a lot as all of
us have. This is Clyde Dunn and he is still on the force. This one is Aubrey
Zetmeyer and he is a detective and he came here in 1947.
End of Side 1-Tape I
Tape 1-Side 2
Z: I served a while during the Korean emergency but that is the only governmental
service that I had. HeAand a whole lot of others had military leave and went
into the various branches of the military services during the war. I went
into the FBI for a couple of years during the Korean deal. It was called the
Zhr42bew'b b Mcw
Korean emergency. I had leave of absence from te police department.A While P6/ f i/A4,
I was gone for three months up theretMr. Howell ran the department. He and W .
I have been kicking the gun around ever since4and have been close even after
we retired. I know that your tape picked it up a few minutes ago that was
Mr. Howell's wife and sister talking about my wife. Normally, she would be
over here but she is ailing. There is a point that might give you an inkling
about how the town has grown, besides all of the physical things that you can
see by looking at all of the maps. This is an Elks lodge picture that I
took off of the wall at nmy house. It might help you though. THis was
taken in the building down there across from the bank that we were talking
about where the retired policeman is the parking lot attendant. This bunch
of people that you see in here are all initiatives. Camp Blanding had a
training organization over there estimated to about 60,000 population which
is about what Gainesville is now except that it is a suburban population.
So, that was a pretty good size town. He-ias with us for a pretty good while.
Then he went into the Navy and was out on the high seas. This camp over there
was named for Lt. General Blanding. This picture was taken August 6, 1941.
December 7, 1941 was when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and that started
our part in World War II. This is just a few months before that. Every-
body knew that the war was impending. We had big scrap drives on the porch
of this old building that used to be where that lot is now. THe citizens
would go out and to old saw mills and old broken down machinery around
farms and junk piles of automobiles, aluminum and iron. These were very
valuable things to the Japanese people. THe people were getting it up to
sell it or donate it to the people thatad big junk yards. One of them is the
Grossmans who still live here. THey had a great big junk-yard down here and
they made a pile of money selling this metal to the Japanese people who we
thought were going to be on our side. We did not know that they were going
to keep it and shoot it back at us. Later on that same stuff was shot back
at out soldiers. The Elks were very patriotic and we still are. THis is very
pertinent because people were getting involved around here. THis Dr. Dell here
is a former state Senator and a former Doctor, Radiologis. He is the father
of the present Radiologist at Bronson.
H: He was also on the City Commission. He served about three or four terms.
He and Mr. Jim Buckner use to be the head of the Eli WHitney Cigar COmpany
longer then any two men that I can remember.
P: I guess that the Eli Whitney Cigar Company had been in this town a long time.
H: It is rightwhere it was when I first came here.
Z: It openddChere soon after I came here. THis man right here is the man for whom
Camp Blanding was named, Lt. General A. H. Blanding. THat man was his brother
Colonel Blanding. He was our dignitary. THese lodges initiate people into
membership. So, I will get to the names of some of the people. THese people
that had been initiated. Left to right front row; W.B. Watson, he is presently
a lawyer here. W.H. Roberton, he was with the police department for many years
before he left and went with the State Securities Commission in Tallahassee.
He has an office here on 17th Street. Dr. P.A. Snow and J.P. Black4(The tape
at this point is very difficult to understand.)
H: Well, I came here in 1938 as I said a while ago. Northeasyt8th Avenue was not
even paved then. It was a dirt street. THere was a pig farm on the North side.
All around the square was brick. THese old iron bricks was what they were.
P: Is that like Southeast 1st isma?
H: Yes, It was like that. IT was all around the square and for several blocks
on either side out University Avenue.
R: We were told that the streets were exceptionally wide then down around the
H: Well, around the square they were the same that they are today. East University
had a big island in the middle of it. We fought for years to either get it
out or to get it narrow because you did not have enough room on either side.
We had to fight the Garden Club for a number of years to get rid of that. THey
planted flowers in it.
P: That would have been a pretty section of town.
H: It was beautiful. Also, NOrth East 1st Street was beautiful with the island
in it. Like he was talking about the radio, we had one-way radio. In other
words, they could talk to us in the car but we could not talk back to them.
We could not call for help or anything like that. You had one man in the
P: Not two like it is today?
H: No. One man rode in the car and on the midnight shift they usedla Sargeant and
one man. THere was the Sargeant and the one man with him and one man walked
the uptown beat and one man on the desk. There was four men on the midnight
shift. On the evening shift and the day shift there was maybe five or six if
we lucky. When I first came here they were not working eight hours and I told
them that I would not work a 12 hour shift. They were in the process of making
it a eight hour shift.
Z: This was only after years of working a twelve hour shift.
H: I told the Chief that I would not work a twelve hour shift. He said that they
had had that changed and it had been approved but they would still work seven
PL When did you come to work?
H: February, 1938. THis radio that we had at that time would only reach about
25 miles if everything was perfect. Sometimes you could not catch it in some
parts of town. There would be dead spots that you could not hear.
P: Well, it is like that now.
H: Well, not too much with the radios that they have now. You would hardly ever
find a dead spot
Z: If I may inject a point, Bill, about the radio. We got our first radio that
he has been telling you about, the one-way radio in 1935. Some university
students in radio engineering for a while had to operate it. A man on the
force working at the University and he is now with the Electronics Research
in the Seagle Building. He was a class mate of mine at Miami Edison. He and
some other guys, he was the ramrod of it, rolled wire and made coils. They
radio and it was a sort of home-made radio which was our first set. I was doing
desk calls at night then and I was the first police officer that applied for
a radio operator's license. In the old radio log you would have to write every-
thing down by hand, the calls and things like that. Later on several of
the officers took the training course necessary to qualify. In those days,
S--contrary to what it is now with no reflection on truck drivers and cab
drivers, now almost anybody can be a radio operator without any complications.
As I mentioned a while ago, the public was aware of a impending disaster in
that a war might come over here, which it did in a big way. The German-
American Fund was having demonstrations at Time Square and places like Madison
Square Garden and the submarines were operating off of the coast of Florida
and a whole lot of other places. You would not think that we were a seaport
town here, would you? We were hardly classified a seaport town. But, the sub-
marines would sink tankers that would get off of the high seas and get in close
to the coastline and they would litter the ocean front over there and pollute
the beaches with oil from the tankers that the German tankers would blow up.
We had drills here and had black-out of the town because light even from a
great distance can outline someplace. We had to take a stiff examination
and have our finger-prints recorded to get a radio telephone operator's third
class permit. We had to be posted up there on the wall of the police station
all of the time because the federal inspector would come around to see if all
of those people were there. THey did not want some American people to be
spying for the Germans.
P: With you being of German origin did it make it a little .more difficult?
Z: No, I was born and raised in Florida. My grandfather's on both sides had
fought in the first World War in the Army. One was buried down here near his
home over here close to Starke. No, I was speaking about the fact that there
were a lot of people. There were a lot of immigrants of recent years. The
nations have practised that for years. They send people in that are faithful
to the Fatherland say Germany or some other country and they are sleepers
so to speak. The actual ramrods of the spy operation come in later and contact
them and get information from them. It may not be military specifications but
something that would affect national security. The main thing was that there
were a lot of radio operators who were sending messages to the submarines off
of the coast. They would get the information from inland and send it down
state and some other guy would radio it out there.
H: See too, we had a lot of ham operators that were listeners.
Z: Yes, and often times they would listen in and we got in on the German spy system.
Most of the time we knew as much what was happening as they did.
H: To get back to here and a little bit about the downtown area. When I came here,
the one fire station was down towards where the old post office is. It was
down on the corner just up from here.
R: Was that the only fire station?
H: Yes. Next to where Baird's Hardware is and part of the Baird Hardware building
where the janitorial service is now was a Piggly-Wiggly grocery store. We had
three grocery stores up town. We had Dell's grocery which was locally owned and
operated where Bennetfs Drug Store is now. Then on that corner across from
where EXaXAffiXX X Fagan's is now that was the A & P grocery. When I first
came here, they were where Pagan's Bootery is but then they moved.
R: At this time they did not have shopping centers like they have now?
H: No, a shopping center was not heard of.
R: So, everything is separate?
R: What about department stores?
H: Practically all of your business was downtown. Wilson's was a big department
store then. It was the biggest department store. Then they had a man with
a clothing store by the name of Burnett and then Mr. Stock was in business
then. On the south side square a man had a large store, I ean not think
of his name now.
P: Was that located in that building in the middle.
H: WHere that fabric shop is now.
R: How long ago was thepvwa still covered with water?
H: Well, I know that before I came here. When I came here you still had to go
around the i.' to come into Gainesville.
R: Where did you go around?
H: It is known as the Wacakulla RIver south of Wauberg. It took off around west
and it came around to the WIlliston road and up to what was known as the ROcky
R: I understood that they had ferries.
H: That was back in the twenties. Then they shortened it some to where it went
around the edges of the praie about where 1-75 is and then came back in.
Z: Bill, I can give a pointer here. What he is talking about in time is correct
but I want to give you a point about the thing that you asked. Prior to
my time to when I came here, they had this seven year cycle when the pe
went dry. There was a big sinkhole, the Alachua sinkhole, down at the south
end and it is not as active as it used to be. ALs6, they have dammed it up
and put canals in here. In recent years there is a whole, vast amount of
it that is cattle ranches. They tell me that in World War I they had very
little ability to build auxilary air fields. They did have airplanes then.
They landed planes out there periodically. Planes that were going down-
state and there were times when that would get drier then it is now. The
natural springs would go to this Alachua Sink and the rest of the time it
would go up,. Prior to that the area out there that is now a golf club.
As you come across the prarie on the old read, highway 441, that was a very
important link there because they had a dream to build a causeway across
this p."aIe that would not flood in high water. When I was up here visiting
Tim Waldron, my high-school class mate, we would go out there and see this
vast area out there that you could look across and throw rocks at the water
hyacinths. That thing was not completed and you could only go part of the
way out. They did not have all of the highway paved to distant places.
To go over here to Cedar Key was not much more different then it is now.
H: It took them several years to build across the 'psiwe because the draining
system was muck. It was the same thing ith the road that goes from Island
Grove to Citron. They had the same trouble there. I know when that was
because I was going with my wife at the time. She lived in Island Grove and
I lived in Hampton. They had just completed this one and were working on
that one, for the second time. The paving would just sink. It was in the
early thirties before they got this one to where it was really a road bed.
What they had to do was go down on each side of it and dig a ditch about
20 feet wide and 30 feet deep to take care of all of that drainage. That
is all just about filled up now.
P: Yes sir, but there is still some evidence of it now.
H: Yes, there is still some evidence of it now. But as I say, it was not drained
until about 1934 or 1935 when the Camps bought it. The Camp's ranch md they
want it for cattle and they fiKed a drain into Orange Lake and down around there.
R: What kind of hospitals did they have then? THe only thing that I remember
is the old wing on Alachua General.
H: That was the hospital.
R: That was it?
H: Yes, it is a clinic now really. IT was the Alachua General Hospital then.
Z: My wife worked over there during World War II as a auxilary of the Civil
Defense. Many of the ladies that worked over there in the hospital took
a special training course for aides because the Rigistered Nurses were
gobbled up by the United States government into the Army and Navy and places
where they just had to have them in great quantities. The radio station WREF
was built in 1928 and I think that Alachua General Hospital was built about
the same time some where along about then. Prior to that there were several
little hospitals around town. One of them was in a picture in the Gainesville
Sun the other day. It was opposite the back side of Kirby-Smith school which
is a grade school on East University Avenue. It is up the avenue from the
new Post Office. There were five of these hospitals. Over a period of years
maybe two or three doctors would go together and maybe a R.N. would marry some
man with some money and he would set up a hospital and then the doctors would
patronize these hospitals on a private basis. They did not have enough tax
base to tax the people to build a hospital for a long time. In other words,
that condition existed until some time in the 1920s.
H: This Dr. Dell that we spoke of was head of what is now known as the Sunnyland
Training Center. There were only abbut fouri-buildings that were out there
P: Did they still have it like it is set up now where the residents of Sunnyland
were there and they never left? Did you ever see those residents around town?
H: Way back there then they did not have any of them living out there on the
place. I think that Dr. Dell was the first man that built some buildings
out there to house the employees.
P: Well, the employees and the mates?
H: Yes, the inmates were living out there but I thought that you were talking
about the employees. The inmates were all children.
P: Well, some of them were. I was wondering if they all stayed out there.
Z: Some of those people out there in those days and I do not know what they have
done now. No matter if they were 20 years old they had to be given attention
just as if they were little. They might be as old as I am or as old as you are
but they were still known as babies. There were others that could be trusted
to do a certain amount of janitorial duties but they had to be constantly
supervised.Some of those boys and girls are father shrewd during the time
that they are okay and it is just once in a while that they go abrupt. I can
tell you an amusing little incident. Some of these inmates were very bright
but all of them had something wrong.
H: Back then it was common for us to be looking for some of them that had walked
off. NOw a days they have more proper supervision so it is seldom that one
of them ever gets out. Back then we were always looking for them.
Z: Tell thembout the time that you came upon one that had a machete or big
End of Tape l-Side 2
Tape 2-SIde 1
H: At one time, we had two policemen to go out and someone had reported this
big knife that he had. THey called in and said to send someone out there.
THe only trouble with a person like that is that you wonder how you are going
to do something with them. It goes through your mind that how are you going
to do this without hurting them. YOu know that they do not mind hurting you
and you have got to figure out how you are going to be able to cope with them
yourself without hurting them. YOu know that if you do hurt them that the
whole town is going to be down on you regardless of whether you were trying
to save your life or not. I guess that I must have followed him a mile
up the railroad track constantly talking to him. He finally let me go over
and take the knife away from'him. I think that what he was afraid of was that
I was going to put him in jail.
R: You did this by yourself?
H: Yes, I led the other officers back away from him because he seemed to respond
to me a little bit more. I had to convince him that I was not going to put
him in jail. Once that I convinced him that I was not going to put him in
jail then he was all right.
Z: Bill, as I recall about this, you convinced him that you were the individual
that he had to deal with. He was afraid of the group and he had paniced the
H: Of course, I did not have on a police uniform and theydid.
P: That might have helped quite a bit. I know that whenever a police officer
stops me I panic but if he is a plain clothes officer'the it is not so bad.
Z: Listen son, do not think badly of yourself because we are the same way. When
I am out on the ,highway and they have a license check I wonder if I have
done over five miles over the limit and if that spy in the sky has got that
trooper on me. I get that little quiver. I have got to tell you about this
field out here called Stengal Field. There used to be a man on the police
force back in those ancient days called Carl Stengal. He took up flying
later and trained a lot of people to fly in the civilian air force that
would do flying along the coastal area to look out for submarines because
they did not have radar in those days. He had been a stunt rider in the
circus. He had done all kinds of things like that. I wanted to tell you
about the man so that you could understand the reaction that people had to
the man in uniform. Carl Stengal was a Dutchman and he was from Chippiwah
Falls, Wisconsin. He married a local girl down here. Finally, in the
course of the years, he saved up enough money to go up home on a vacation
to see his folks. Wisconsin is still a long way but in those days/riving
your own car he did not have to ride his motorcycle up there. He had been
a motorcycle officer for a long timnand he was daring. He would stand
on his head and ride with one foot on the handle bars and all that sort of
thing. He had been making good time and he had a Crysler which was pretty
fast. In his effort to get up there, he exceeded the speed limit every now
and then and his wife would reprimand him. Finally, on this particular
day he was coasting down a hill and through a town and he got stopped. He
pulled over to the side and theA6fficer in the other car pulled up behind him.
He asked im for his driver's license and so forth. He just set there and
answered him yes, sir and no sir, and like that. He could not do a thing
except to slam up and say yes, sir and no, sir. He was scared to death and
he had been a motorcycle officer all of these years.
H: The old original air field in this town was called Jarvis Field and it was where
the St. Patrick's school is out on 16th Street. It was all of that area out
P: Did they have an airport out there?
H: Where some of those houses and those great big oaks are going out 16th
Avenue until you get to where 7th Street is, that was Lover's Lane.
All under those oaks was Loverls Lane.
Z: We use to go out in the police car about 1:00 in the morning to see how many
we could find parked out there.
R: What would you do to them?
H: We would not do anything to them except aggravate and kid some of them.
WewDuld make them think that we were going to do something and shine the
spotlight on them.
R: There was nothing legally that you could do to them.
H: Back in those days you did not have to have a law for everything. So, if we
had some complaints then the Chief would just say to run them out. Then we
would run them out.
Z: We could get them for trespassing.
H: That was back when we were the law. In other words, they did not question
Z: The people did not challenge an officer in those days and that was what I was
getting at a while ago. What he just said was when crime was so small, and it
4- was infrequent. We did have vicious crimes such as murder and robbery
but they were so infrequent. Most everybody was law-abiding citizens. We
were literally getting bored with patrolling the streets. Once in a while
you would have a fight to go to and maybe that was during the night and the
rest of the time you just got bored. What he said was more of a novelty to
break the monotony.
R: I can understand why they do it now because a lot of places are plain just
P: Let me ask you a question. What would you do on a date for fun?
Would you go out to a bowling alley or to a movie or what?
H: They did not have a bowling alley in this town until about 1948.
P: What would you do then?
H: You would take in one of the picture shows and then go out and park or maybe
go get a soda and then go out and park. THere is no difference then it is
today. OF course, now if you got into a group you know where they had the
most fun? That was a hayride. 20 or 30 people would get a horse and wagon and
that was even after we had cars. THey would get a team of horses and 20 or
30 of them would get on that wagon and have the biggest time that you ever
saw. THey would just ride all over. Everybody would ride along and sing.
We would have candy-pulling and peanut-boilings, and dances.
P: Did you have festivels like the Watermelon Festivel at Newberrey?
H: They have had the Watermelon Festivel for many, many years.
Z: Have you heard of box suppers?
R: Is this a picnic-type of thing?
H: No, a girl would make up a box for supper for two. THey would tie them all
up with ribbons and you would bid on them. THe fun of it was for the men
not to know who fixed what. So, the is were ten to one that you would
not buy the box that your date had brought. You would buy some other's.
Z: The odds were against it.
R: Did you sit with the girl too?
H: Yes if you bought her box then you had to eat supper with her and that is where
the fun came in.
P: Did you just sit there and try to figure out what box belonged to your date?
H: If you were smart then you could figure out when you had the right box. YOu
would always let it slip and then four or five of the other boys would know
that you knew what box to bid on. I guarantee that if you bought it it would
cost you because everybody would bid against you. THey would try to keep you
from getting it.
P: How much would a box like that sell for?
H: Normally, they would bring $2.50 to $3.50.
R: That was a lot of money.
H: Yes, it was. In a case like I was just telling you about we might make an old
boy pay ten or twelve dollars for that box. Then sometimes he would turn the
tables on one of us and knock it off to us and we would have to pay for it.
Z: It was an intriguing thing. It was a mystery.
H: Everybody would chip in and pay for it but the one that made the bid had to
eat supper with her anyway.
P: Where were these box suppers held?
H: At the school house.
P: Where was that at?
H: I never went to one here. In your small town there was not but one school.
That was the first grade through the twelfth.
Z: Kirby-Smith was one of the places and my wife went to school there. Santa Fe
Junior College the downtown campus was Buchol&D high-school and it was later
named GainesvillHigh School. Mr. Buchol) was the principal for many years.
Santa Fe Junior College was declared unsafe for high school students to inhabite
it so they condemned it and then they turned it over to the junior college.
H: It was not fit for the high-school but the junior college has been using
it for four years. No, what I advocated and it would have made a perfect
one. That was to get rid of the courthouse on the square down there which
they had a chance back in the 1950's to sell the courthouse square o the
center their or $750,000. There were three or four New York businessmen
who had bid that for it. THey offered to put in writing that they would
excavate it andkit would all be parking. The street level would be an
arcade where you could walk through any side of the square with small shops.
The first floor would be a big departmat store, then the next floor up would
be offices and it would have been one of the finest things that would have ever
happened. THe merchants around the square killed it. They are the ones that
killed the deal. They were afraid of competition. IF you have not got any
competition they you have not got any business. You have got to have a
variety if order to make business. Do you know that at one time about twenty
years ago Ocala was a much better shopping town then Gainesville? Many
people from Gainesville went to Ocala to shop. Because they had more and
better stores. What I advocated with some others was to take the high-
school renovate it for a courthouse and for $100,000 they would have had
an ideal courthouse with plenty of room and plenty of parking and everything.
Instead of that they poured millions of dollars into a courthouse back down
on the square.
P: Furthermore in five years it will not fit the needs of the city.
H: No, they will not have enough room to build on to it. It is all ready now
busting at the seams. They are renting other buildings now for certain
Z: This thing that we were talking about a while ago something has run through
my mind. That is the limitations of the city. These things do run through
my mind because, I am not a historian by nature but I am interested. Every-
thing was not just built in a day like Rome was not built in a day. Gainesville
had been growing by leaps and bounds. BUt a few of us we are not real brilliant
but we are smart enough to realize that you need to plan ahead. We all do that.
The city-fathers chose to send me to the National FBI Academy in Washington.
A lot of people do not realize that when I say that that it is not just the
FBI instructors there though they have some on there. Most of them of that
group of people are brought in there as very progressive law enforcement people.
They are very smart men such as men in charge of traffic-planning in cities.
Sometimes it is an engineer and sometimes it is a traffic officer like Captain
Howell and he would have more practical knowledge thEx in what needed to be
done about traffic then the man who had a lot of book-learning and a great
deal of philosophy and ideaolqgy woven in from what he had read from books
and what he had been taught by his instructors. He had a college degree but
he did not know how the theory worked in practise. We had some very smart
men up there in this. One of the things that I got in a pretty extensive
part of the course was three months I lived in Washington and some time
down at Quantico. This was that Gainesville was going to grow. Many smart
people including Lloyds of London said that it would multiply in size and
so forth. One of our courses up there said to plan for the future and it
was logical# that if it was going to grow then it was necessary to have some
plans to keep it from deteriorating. So many cities in our nation have
deteriorated add some buildings have been there for two or three generations.
So, I came back with the idea and gave it to them in writing. We were taught
there by these men that if a city wanted to do something about the traffic
congestion. If the amount of automobiles were going to increase and even in
small towns they do, we had the same thing here that the merchants wanted
parking around the front of the stores. So, we had the parking problem there
and had all kinds or restrictions on it and finally put in the meters after
making the cars with chalk. We knew that there needed to be something done.
So, I proposed this in writing and I turned it in to them showing the city-
fathers that they needed to buy some land and someold buildings away from
the square within a certain radius. THere was a well established thing that
they had done in surveys that people will habitually walk one block from
their car to the store that they want to go to willingly, and two blocks
reluctantly, and three blocks rarely, four blocks they would just drive around
and around until they were lucky enoughtto get one closer to the store that
they wanted to go to. People are just that way.
H: There were right-of-ways that I showed to the city-fathers to try to get them
to buy twenty years ago. They would not hear of it and now they are needing
those same right-of-ways and it is going to cost them about ten times as much.
SOme of it they have all ready paid six or seven times over what they could
have gotten it for at the time that we talked about it. Like parking lots
like that big parking lot in back of Hoss Powards'well they bought a half
block. I told them then that they could buy the next building,an old two-
story building for $12,000 and why not go ahead and get it too and make the
lot an entire block. Tow years later they paid $25,000 for it. THe
original big parking lot that use to be known as the Teabow School.
E XXXXXEMxW XXXsaTFX HKffiXNRKEXXXYWy^
P: Why do they not change the whole system and have a bypass from I think it is
8th and 6th and the other streets south and east of the city downtown on
the city so that they can just have a way to bypass large areas and have
large parking lots so that you can just walk around downtown.
H: They have g6t a dream that they have had for five or six years for the downtonw
area. That is to make a wide and more of less a kind of a square street about
three blocks out from the square all the way around. I do not think that it
will ever happen.
P: I do not think so either.
H: THey have got the downtown area where there is nothing to it now. TO me the
only salvation to the downtown area of Gainesville today is apartment buildings
and stores where elderly people can live in the apartment buildings reasonable.
Not necessarily a government deal like is on 8th Avenue but maybe private
because you can not expect the government to do everything. They could build
private apartment buildings that could rent cheap enough for elderly people
who can not drive a car or anything. THen if they had a kind of a complex
downtown and it would not have to be a shopping center as such but right
there around the square. Everything drug store, clothing store, groceryy store
too, a big grocery store where the people that live in these things could
walk not over three blocks and do their shopping for most anything that they
needed. Then use some of the other property for office buildings and that is
"4-the only salvation that I can see for the downtownirea.
Z: I tried to get them to pave those grass spots that they have in the streets
down there,, and make adequate traveling space for people and buy some of
those old buildings. Those old wooden frame buildings that they could have
bought for a very cheap price in those days. Also, borrow the money and
and put in long term interest for bonds which they have done for other
projects. I said that if they did not do that the whole tax structure of
the city was going to fail downtown there because so any people would go
out to cheaper land areas for shopping centers. This is what happened and
they still do. THey did not make any effort to save the downtown area
until it was too late.
H: Just to go back and reminiscence about how the town has changed. When I came
here, North Main Street ended at Eight Avenue. Of course, it was only paved
a little bit on each side of MaintStreet and the rest of it was dirt. All
north of there was dogfennels and a trail that went up there. Our dog pound
was where the University Chevrolet place is now.
Z:Now where the shopping center is was a big mud-hole
H: It was nothing but a great big mud pack.
Z: That is where a lot of out fleeing delinquents would go out there.
H: Our wooden axle the railroad came down Main Street.
P: How much of an affect did that railroad have on the town?
Z: Well, originally it was the thing.
P: We have all ready found that out.
H: People traveled by it. They use to have the old T & J that ran from Tampa to
Jacksonville. The old T & J ran from Tampa to;Jacksonville and passed us.
Everybody rode it. The Seaboard has never had anything but a freight office
here. You never caught passenger trains on the Seaboard. The Coastline use
to come right down Main Street. Quite a number of years after I came down
here, they finally got it moved out to where it is now. THe depot was where
<- the First National Bank is now. Around where the Florida National Bank
is now was the First PResbyterian Church. Across the street from that was
that two story building that the Elks used.
R: The Masonic Building on Main Street is very old is it not?
H: Yes, that has been there since before I came here. It looked just as old
as it does now when I first came here. I believe that it was built in the
1890s. I believe that I saw a date on it one time. I believe that when they
sand-blasted\u that the date was removed but I remember seeing a date of
P: In the city of Gainesville every day there is probably several million dollars
handled around town and we have got several banks in the town. I know that
the monitary system is richer now then it was back then. How many banks did
you have in town?
H: When I came here there was two.
Z: The Phiffer Bank which became the Florida National Bank was a privately owned
bank by the Phiffer brothers way back then.
H: THe only chain bank was the First National.
Z: Dr. Graham and L.B. Graham are descendants of the men who were on the Board
of Directors and had a lot of stock in the bank. THe First National Bank
and the Phiffer's State Bank as it was called were decent things. THere
had been another one where Woolworth's store is now but it went broke.
It was the Dutton Bank.
H: Of course, back then this Ellis Gus was quite a character. He was as hot as
Hades. The big saying was and I jppened to experience and I know, every-
body use to say that when you went to borrow money from Gus and you sa-i pA-
to him that you wanted to borrow a hundred dollars. THen he would turn his
other ear and say, "What did you say?" If you said more, he would say, "I
heard you the first time." Well, that happened to me. When I was getting
ready to go into the Navy in December of 1942, I had been in the Navy in
the 1920s and I knew that they were going to get me. I had the chance to
go in with a good rating so I decided to go on back into the Navy before
they got me. I owed about a hundred dollars around here. So, I went in and
I told Uncle Gus. I went in and set down. He said, "How much do you need,
son?" I said, "About a hundred dollars." He turned the other ear and he
said, "What did you say?" I said, "I think that I could do it with three
hundred dollars." THe old man laughed and he said, "I heard you the first
time." He asked me why I wanted to borrow the money. He said, "You know
that you are going into service and you do not have to pay your bills
until you come out." I said, "Yes, I know that but I want to pay them."
He said, "Well, I guess that is as good of a reason as any to have." He
said, "Sign here."
Z: I have got a point to clear on this business about finance. I told you a little
bit about my background and why I went to policing. I do not mean to get too
involved with this. THe city of Gainesville was just like any other city they
rlyJL/ A"- Ja( / 30
were having financial difficluties. Like I said it certainly took a long
time to get another policeman added to the foree and now they have got
a hundred and something. In those days, there was eleven on the force at
this particular time. Sometimes they would be cut down from what they had
the previous years. One timeathey would cut off three and the next year just
hire one so that they would still be in the hole two people. So, my badge and
I still have it Number 8 kis l patrolman's badge. I was never a detective.
He and I use to do detective work alternately although we were both in
uniform) O =- J u-i^ Lo Lux. UA-h L"Ac -n
H: Well, all of the fingerprint system and the filing you did on your own time.
P: What were your hours?
H: You worked your eight hours. Then if you knew how to do thatJr liked it which
I was fool enough to try to learn something about. Then you would go down
there and work three or four hours on your off-duty time. THis was to keep
the files up, and identifying fingerprints and such.
Z: I mentioned Badge Number 8. It has all ready been mentioned about Eight
Avenue and the railroad track continued on out but the street ended.
THe name of Eight Avenue was Boundary Street. It was the boundary of the
city limits, at one time prior to my coming here. At the time when I came
here te city limits had been extended north. At that time going out the
Newberry Road and you know where President Q'Connall's home is? Just down
that road a little ways t4o-gees on b angleAdowr campus was the Newberry
Road. It has been changed in recent years. Just about four or five blocks
passed his house was the end of the city limits there. THe road continued on
out to Newberry but the city limits ended there. Going down to Ocala down
Thirteenth Street and just the other side of the under pass of the railroad tL
there was the boundary there. Going down University Avenue East just past the
forks of the road where the right fork continues on out to Hawthorne. DO you
know where'I am talking about?
P: Yes, sir.
Z: I am trying to get you to realize that is the way that the city limits were
in the days when I came on the force and they existed the same way when he
came on several years later. This boom had busted and the financial structure
of this city as well as the financial structure of other cities all over the
country had gone from a recession down to a depression. THings got pretty
tough. A lot of people that had automobiles were not even able to buy gas
for them. They would take the motor out and set it up in a barn somewhere
and hitch their horse to the car. They called them Hoover buggies after
President Hoover. The city-fathers went along with their conception of what
was to be done and what was being done elsewhere. The salary was $150.00
a month when I started. After I had worked a year, it got cut to $140.00
H: Then it was cut to $125.00 a month.
Z: Did we not have script when you came?
H: No, you did no have script when I came but your pay had dropped to $125.00.
Z: We had script before he came.
H: The beginner was only paid a $110.00 but they payed me $125.00 because I
was an experienced officer. I drew top pay.
Z: Did we not have script before you came?
H: Yes, you had it in the early 1930s. But a lot of places used script. I know
that I was on the Highway Patrol from 1936 to 1937. When the HIghway Patrol
was disbanded at Sebring where I had been stationed, the people wanted me to
come back down there and nun for Sheriff. THe boy that was Sheriff was not
going to run again. They were paying off in script and I asked haw I was
going to feed my family on script.
R: Would you explain what script was?
H: THey give you this paper a promissory note was what it amounted to, in place
of money. THey when they got some money they would take up a little bit of
that script. If a grocery store really that the city was going to be
solid again then they would take that script. A lot of places would not.
YOu would have to find places that would. You had to find a place to spend
it. I never had to take any script. I know a lot of places that had it.
Plaft City had it for several years.
Z: I had to take it. It was take it or else.
H: I do not believe that Ocala ever operated on script. I know that Gainesville
Z: Another thing is that the idea of it was designed to keep money in circulation
in the home towns and that was the philosophy of the thing. Therefore, you would
have to redeem it at places that honored the reputation of your town.
H: That is local merchants that could afford to. You could buy stuff from him
and he would take it if he could afford it. SOme of th+erchants could
afford it and some of them could not.
Z: Shawn-Keeter Motor COmpany was one of the businesses they had been stingy and
solvent throughout the whole thing. THey took it and places like that.
H: I just thought of another thing. When I came here, we had one police car.
It was old as the devil. If it broke down then you would go and get your
own automobile to police with the rest of the shift. THe city would buy
you five gallons of gas. They had an old 1934 Plymouth and I think that it
had around 150,00 mile on it when I came here. It had turned over twice
and had 200,000 on it when I was driving it uptown one night and all of a
sudden I heard the worse noise that I had ever heard. I looked back and the old
motor race and the motor just raced and did not do anything and I looked
back to see what this clanging was and the drive shaft was laying in the
middle of the street. I had to get a couple of cab drivers to push me over
to the curb and walk home and get my car.
R: What did you do then without air conditioning, did you just tolerate it?
H: Yes, but it did not seem so bad because we did not know anything about
air conditioning. You know that luxuries are what ruin you because you get
use to it. You get use to it and that is what ruins you. I can remember
when if we had a Can then you were uptown. When they had electricity and
you could afford a fan and use a little bit extra electricity then you were
R: When you were children you just had ice-boxes you did not have a refrigerator?
H: Yes, that is right. THen when you got to where you could afford an attic
fan in your house you were really uptown then. THat would blow the cold
air through the windows and draw the hot air out of the attic. Incidentally,
if I lived where there were trees I would just as soon have a big attic fan
as I would an air conditioner. If I had a hall wide enough for a 48" attic
4- fan in this house I would not need an air conditioner. I built a house in
1947 ithe next block from where he lives now. It was a nice big house then.
It is worth $25,000 and I do not imagine that you could buy it for that
today. It cost me $8,000 to have it built.
Z: Did you not move in there in the Spring of 1947?
H: I did not start to build it until the spring of 1947. I moved in there in
the summer. I bought a 42" attic fan and put in my center hall which was
pretty square and that house was just as cool as it could be. I lived in it
a year and frankly doubled my money because I sold it for $15,000. Actually,
when I got through land and everything IXXXKX, F IKXXKyXXX buying the lot
and building thehouse and all it cost me $9,200. I sold it then for $15,000.
Later the person that bought it from me lived in it less then a year and sold
it for $16,000. THe man thatbought it years ago refused $20,000 forit.
I do not know what he finally sold it for.
Z: I lived in the 1500 block of Seventh Avenue. He was at the 1700 block.
Therefore, being so close to campus and so close to Finnely School it
has always been very attractive property.
H: When I built that house, in the front yard of this house, I planted an oak tree
about as big around as my thumb. It was about that high. Today it is about
that big around and must be forty feet high or more. THat was in 1947.
P: Did you have to pay real estate taxes back then?
H: Yes, for as long as I can remember there has been real estate taxes.
P: Do you remember how much they were?
H: THey were very little. MOstly, when I was a boy we were on a farm. I can
remember when I was just a small boy and we had a 350 acre farm. We had a
tao story house on it and it had about ten rooms and all the rooms were just
about as square as these two rooms are long. Everyone of them had a fire-
place inIt I think that the taxes with all of t cattle. You paid
a personal property tax on your stock. I heard my daddy say that he paid
about fifty dollars. That included about ten or twelve dollars personal
property tax. That was your stock and your furniture and your house and
all of those kind of things. Taxes have always been less on farms.
Z: Your question was referring to city residential property or just property
P: Just property in general.
Z: I can use for an example a piece of property just down the road. WHat he
was giving you was his home county Marion County. THis town here as I recall
has always been pretty conservative about their taxation. WHat hit you is the
evualation when it is appraised and is assessed by the tax assessor.
For a long time we had this city and county tax system. Just recently within
your time, about seven years ago they went to full evaluation.
H: Therlis no way in the world that they can put a full evaluationpn your
property because people would say here buy it.
Z: What I am getting at, Bill, is the unified tax for city and county.
H: That is just consolidation of the city and council. It is still earmarked
so much city and so much county.
Z: For a long time this system of two taxations was called city and county
tax. Some of it would go to Tallahassee but essentially it was county
H: I can give you a good example to answer your question. This house that I
built over there and cost me $8,000 in 1947 was just as nice a house
and big a house as this house is except that I had one hath and that was
the only difference that I could say. My city and county taxes were about
$124.00 on it.
P: How much are they here?
H: They are $500.00 a year. In fact, a little better then $500.00.
P: When did you say that you built your house?
H: In 1947. I paid a full year's taxes on it one time and I am pretty sure that
I can remember that they were $124.66 for state, county and city. Of
course, at that time the assessed value of that house was less then what it
cost me to build it. I think that they assessed at about $7,000. You see,
they assessed at 50% then. Of course, my assessment out here is over $20,000.
THe taxes have not gone up as much as the value of the house has gone up.
When I moved to this house they wanted $24,500 for it. I kept figuring with
them and they had a local loan and they had to get a lot of money down in
order to not have to take a second mortgage themselves. I finally bought it
for $21,700. It is worth about $33,000. I paid a lot less for this house
then you 7paye., for yours.
R. Not a whole lot.
H: What did you pay for yours?
R: I am not sure.
H: I knew that they wanted $26,000. THat is what they were asking for it but
I do not think that is what you paid for it. They wanted $26,000 for it.
R: We could sell it for a lot more then that because we have put a lot into it.
H: I had just signed the papers but we had not moved into the house. A man
came by and was looking at the house and he said that this was the only
house in the neighborhood that they liked. He asked if it was for sale.
I told him no that I had just bought it. THe woman just took on how she
liked it. THey went out to the car and the man came back in and asked me if
I would mind telling him how much I paid for the house. I told him $24,000.
He told me that he would give me a thousand dollars profit if I would sell it
to him. That was because his wife wanted it. NOrmally, the house would not
have brought that.
Z: As we came along, we did not have all of the luxuries that we have now. We
are enjoying luxuries that only the so-called richer people had a few years
ago. I do not mean back in the Civil War times or ancient days. I am talking
about how it was just a short time ago. THe matter of the one bathroom
H: Nobody had more then one bathroom back in those days.
Z: I was going to say it this way. I do not think that a person now-a-days could
sell a house at all of any valuation without two bathrooms. Whether it was
just a man and his wife or a man and his two kids.
H: Two baths would mean another two thousand dollars to the value of the house.
Z: There were six of us kids in the family and in my wife's family there were
five of them. I have known of families where there were six or eight kids.
I do not say that they did not get along all right but there was not but one
H: I raised three boys and rented a room a lot of the times to a University
student. Of course, usually it was someone who was kin to me. We all
got along fine. We did not have any trouble. NOw, two people can not even
get along with one bath.
Z: That was what I was about to say. Out daughter has three kids. WE only had
one child and she lives in St. Petersburg now. When she and her husband and
children come up here is is a clamor on the week-end with that one bathroom
in our house. Every now and then my wife and I get very perturbed if one of
us gets in the bathroom first. I am talking about routine. We all get
accustomed to having more then we need to get along with. There are many
families with a lot of kids and now-a-days they ahve just about got to
have a bathroom for each child.
H:. When I came here I make only $125.00 a month and that was all that I was
making with the Highway Patrol. -I paid $27.00 for rent and about $20.00
for food. People,you knoy,years later when things got better they would
say that they wished things would go back to being like they use to be.
They say that there isnot a difference from what it is now then what it was
then. But I say that there is a difference. I said that when I came to this
town, I had to scrape to get enough money to buy a package of cigarettes. I
never had money in my pocket. Now, I can carry around money in my pocket.
I would like to go back a few years. I think that it has gotten absurd in the
past six or eight years. I think that it has gone all out f porportion.
Z: The young people are going to suffer because so many people today have got
so much that they are sick with the idea of wanting more. It is just as bad
as if they were starving. It is not a new idea because Shakespeare said it
a long time ago.
H: Even after the war in 1948 arid 1949, you could go to the grocery store and
buy a great big T-Bone steak for a quarter. Then about two o'clock in the
S morning we would go into this restuarant and they would cook that steak
and make us a great big combination salad and give us coffee, rolls and
butter for $.50.
P: We are about to run out of tape here and we have comprised about two hours
of an extremely good interview. I would like if it is possible for each of
you to make a general statement of some sort.
H: I have enjoyed it and thank' you. I have enjoyed reminiscencing although
I am not really what you would call an old-timer. I have really enjoyedit.
P: Someone else may interview you who has a better knowledge of Gainesville
and could get more information from you.
H: If they would do a little bit of research where they could ask questions.
THen we could do better a lot of times. I could talk a while ago and then
while he is talking I would think of something else. I tell you that if there
is something that you want to know, Jess Davis is a historian and he is known
as historian. HE was the Postmaster here. I would imagine that he would
know a lot of stuff. There is probably a lot of his stuff in the library.
THey would not have to read it but just skim over it and pick out the things
that they might want to ask about.
Z: My summerization is this that we have served the people of Gainesville.
We have grown up in this part of the life of Gainesville as part of the
service of the people, residents and transient. A person must want to be
willing to do something good.
H: If somebody had told me when I first came here that I would stay as long
as I have, I would have told them that they were crazy. I am glad that I
stayed and not only did I make a pension here but I also made a pension
with the Navy while I was making the pension here.
P: We are at the end of our tape. I would personally like to thank both of you
because I really did not know this much about Gainesville. My home is
Jacksonville and my folks have been in service for twenty years and we have
traveled a lot. I like to learn something about the town that I live in.
H: Of course, you know that this town is getting too big for me now and I want
to move out of it.
End of Tape 2-Side 2