• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Copyright
 Interview






Title: Interview with Alachua City Hall (September 1, 1983)
CITATION PAGE IMAGE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00008274/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Alachua City Hall (September 1, 1983)
Alternate Title: Alachua City Hall
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: September 1, 1983
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: 12001
Alachua County (Fla.) -- Description and travel
Alachua County (Fla.) -- History
Alachua County (Fla.) -- Social conditions.
 Notes
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00008274
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Alachua Portrait' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: AP 2

Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
    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
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
Full Text
COPYRIGHT NOTICE

This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Florida.

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limits the amount of materials that may be
used.

For all other permissions and requests, contacat the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.


AB: [Allan Burs, PhD., Moderator/Humanities consultant] Tim Check is one
person who is vitally interested in this community. He has been involved
with developing a community needs assessment, and in working with the
community in other capacities. For this reason, I have asked him to help
me out by introducing the forum participants in the capacity of Panel
Moderator.
TC: [Tim Check, Panel Moderator/Safety Officer, City of Gainesville] Welcome
to tonight's program. I probably would have a difficult time trying to
point out Sugar Hill on the map because I have no idea where it is. So,
if anybody in the audience knows where it is, come right up.
I am real pleased to be here tonight because I am a former high school
history teacher. I only taught one year, but I am vitally interested in
history. History really makes a community interesting and tonight,
hopefully, we are going to be able to share a lot of historical stories
out of the past. Of course, most importantly, we will try to relate these
historical stories right up to the present day.
What I am trying to do right now is introduce all of the members of the
panel. After the members of the panel are introduced we will start out
with one of the panel members giving a little historical sketch on what it
was like for he or she to work in this community twenty, forty, fifty,
maybe even sixty years ago. The first gentleman is Pete Turner, a
contractor. Next is Mr. Miller, who runs the woodworking shop just down
the street. Mr. John Neal is not here tonight, but rest assured he spent
fifty plus years running his shoe store right down on Main Street. And,
of course, everybody in the community recognizes Miss McFadden, a longtime
farmer. Dr. Collante, of course, practices right down the street. Mr.
Duke is the former City Manager of the City of Alachua. Ms. Sapp, now Ms.
Madge Nipper, is an officer at the First Sun Federal Savings and Loan.
Mr. Rickle has a hardware store here in Alachua, Interlachen, and one in
Newberry. Mr. Lundy worked for former Florida Senator Shands [William A.
Shands, Florida Senate, 32nd. District, 1941-1959] and at the Sunland
Training Center. Finally, Mr. David Bush is the owner of Bush Dry Goods
Store here in town.
Why do we not start with Miss McFadden? Could you just stay right there
and relate to us some of the history of the town from your perspective?
What was it like when you first started here as a schoolteacher and
farmer?
MM: [Mary Lou McFadden, panelist, schoolteacher, farmer] I was born out on the
farm of J.D. McFadden. His whole name was James Decoo McFadden. He came
to Florida from Kentucky when he was fifteen and bought an old house.
While he lived in this house, he tried to learn how to farm in Florida.
He picked out a man that was making a good living and he tried to follow
that person until he was grown; by then he had made enough to buy a little
land for himself. This land was a hundred-acre farm. This was about
1892, I believe that is our beginning. He married Effie Means of Columbia
County, a Presbyterian lady. They built a house for themselves and moved
into it in 1897. They lived in this new house until it burnt down in
1946. At that point, they moved back into the original old house, where my
brother-in-law, sister, and father lived. They saved as much of our
things that we loved and wanted to keep as they could [from the fire].
1


So that is where we lived for quite some time. But going back, when I was
ten years old, Papa planted cotton. In those days, everybody helped pick
cotton except Mama and the girls. But I liked to follow Papa in the
field. I picked a hundred pounds of cotton once, and Papa gave me a one
dollar bill. I kept that one dollar bill for one solid year. I wanted
something and Papa said, "Mary Lou, you got money, buy it." I do not
remember what I bought, but I did spend it.
Then I went to grade school at the Dell Schoolhouse, but it was called
Spring Hill then. After grade school, my sister Vernon McFadden Hill, and
I came to Alachua to attend high school in the old school building that
was right up there on the hill. We came here in a horse and buggy.
Clarence Means, a cousin of mine, gave us a chance to go to high school by
giving us a place to stay and board, in exchange for us taking care of his
daughters. I finished high school in 1919. While I was in high school,
Papa was forced to get out of the cotton business. In 1917, the boll
weevil came. That year Papa sold $8,000 worth of cotton. The next year,
1918, the boll weevil completely took over and Papa sold only $500 worth
of cotton. That was when he quit cotton.
I had been given a twenty-dollar bill when I was born, with Papa's idea
that compound interest would make it grow. This was the money I used to
go to Tallahassee in the fall of 1919 to attend college. I thought
Tallahassee was one of the most beautiful places in the world, but I was
homesick by the third day. When I went home for Christmas, I did not want
to go back, but I did. Shortly thereafter, I got so homesick that I left
Tallahassee to go back home, and that was the end of college for me.
In 1921, there was a lady who was teaching where I had gone to school.
Soon I started teaching right there in my little home school, even though
the country could not always pass everybody all they ought to. But I
am just so proud of some of those children. One little boy I started off,
Noyle Holbrook, has reached the top of his profession. I am just as proud
of him as I would be of my own little boy. It does you good to know that
you had a part in helping somebody.
Then I went to Newberry and taught at somebody else's school. By that
time, you had to have a certificate, so I started taking examinations.
Once I made one hundred percent on an algebra test, for which I was
very proud of myself, but I got a fifty-five on a spelling test! I ended
up getting a third-grade certificate, and the money I made at that time
was fifty-five dollars per month. That was what I was paid! I taught at
Bland for one year. Then I started teaching at High Springs, but only for
one month, because the boys and girls were so bad that I could not take
it. So Papa said, "Mary Lou, you get paid only fifty-five dollars per
month, and your board alone is thirty dollars, so you might as well be
home with me. I could pay you that much for ordinary labor." I thought
about that, but I did not take him up on it just yet.
I stayed in teaching, and next taught at Forest Grove. From there, I
taught in LaCrosse for four years, teaching beginners, which was the job I
loved better than any other in the teaching line. Then I taught an
"opportunity room" in Alachua. The opportunity room took care of children
who did not quite make it last year, late beginners, and children that did
not get started with the rest of them. I taught for two years in Alachua.
2


The most I ever made teaching in Alachua was seventy-five dollars per
month. I left school for a year or two and stayed home, painting the
house inside and out, and doing general work. Then, in 1932, they needed
a teacher over at Fort White. They said they needed a temporary teacher
until the regular teacher came back. It was for the fifth grade, and I
had only a primary certificate. But they let me teach anyway, and do you
know, I taught fifth grade there for four years on a primary certificate!
They paid me eighty-five dollars per month, and that is the most I ever
got.
AB: Miss McFadden, in all these different teaching jobs, and considering the
job where you picked cotton, which was more fun, picking cotton or
teaching?
MM: Well, we did not plant cotton after 1918 because it was just wasting our
money.
AB: How did teaching change over the years? Did the kids get easier to teach?
I know it sounds like the money got better.
MM: I had an uncle that had tuberculosis and died at thirty; this was one of
the reasons I quit teaching. I figured that since you use your voice so
much in teaching, I was afraid that I might take something of that sort.
Also, I knew that one day I would have to run the farm, or somebody would,
so that was another reason I got out of teaching and came home in 1933.
Then I began to run "interference" for Papa. That is what I call it. I
picked cucumbers with a strap across my back until I was so tired that I
would lay right down on the ground and rest. Then, along about 1935, Papa
planted a tobacco bed. But he hated tobacco because when he was a boy in
Kentucky they had to pull worms off the leaf because they did not have
chemicals to spray for that sort of thing. So he sold his crop to Mr.
Marvin Summers. Of course, when he moved here he got into cotton, but the
boll weevil ended that. But then in 1928, Papa was getting so poor that
he went back into tobacco. I did not do too much at that time because I
was still teaching school, but after 1932, I became quite familiar with
the growing of tobacco. I did not really crop or haul tobacco, but we did
raise if from 1928 on. In fact, my sister and I rented out our allotment
because we felt there was no other way of making money.
TC: Miss McFadden, what kind of changes have you seen in the past twenty
years?
MM: Well, the first tobacco we planted was hung in log barns and was fired
with wood. I have sat up half the night and worked all day to keep that
tobacco barn fired up. In 1942 the gas and oil burners came along and
Papa installed them. Then he said, "Mary Lou, they are your babies." So
I learned to control the heat, and that is important because the heat has
to be kept at an even level. In 1968 they came out with an even better
barn, but you still had to work hard. You really earned your money when
you sold tobacco.
When we went to put it up on the sticks, a leaf of tobacco was handled
thirteen times before it was sold. But it takes too much time and too
much labor to do that. Now we do not handle the leaves at all except to
put them in the tray, and then when they get done, we pack them down on
3


the sheet. The boys say the tobacco they bought on Tuesday was the best
they bought all year. On poundage, we were short because we did not have
the space to put all of it in the barn at the right time. So, with
everything else, I am forgetting to talk about my cows and pigs.
AB: Ms. McFadden, we can come back to the cows and hogs in a little bit.
Right now, we want to give some of the other folks a chance to talk.
MM: The cows and hogs will help you live if you have a chance to milk your own
cows like my sister and I still do. Right now, one of my cows is getting
so heavy with calf that we do not get much milk, but we still milk her,
and we get about a quart a day. That helps us live, and it is a good
living.
TC: Okay, let us all give a big hand for Ms. McFadden. Now, Mr. Lundy, can
you tell us about your life here over the past years?
AL: [Alex Lundy, panelist/professional cook, retired] I guess I will have to
stand. I love to stand where you can see me. I want to give honor to Ms.
Cauthen for this great program that she is sponsoring, and to all the
people that are involved. Now, since so much has been said, I am just
going to say a few words. I am not going to introduce myself because I
think everybody in the building knows Alex Lundy, and I think I know every
face in here.
Now, to my talking about making a living in Alachua, well, back then it
was not what it is now. Fifty years ago it was a pretty hard thing making
a living in Alachua. It really was hard, but you did get paid for what
you did, whatever it was. I think I did some of everything in the book
coming up through my young years. I farmed, cut pulp wood, and sawed
logs. There is Mr. Duke, a good friend of mine, and I sawed logs for him
way back when. It was pretty tough. I worked in the field until I was
pretty well up in years, I would say a teenager. Then I said to myself,
well, this is not going to work for me, and I am going to have to do
something better. So I finished high school. I graduated from A. L.
Mebane High. Then I went into the army. I spent three years and nine
months in the jungles of India. I came home after the war and I said to
myself, I should go to school to better my condition. It was good, real
good, back then because my father had a business here in Alachua sixty
years ago. He sold beef and steak for fifteen cents a pound! That is
right, fifteen cents a pound! He and Mr. Welch, that is him sitting over
there, they were great friends.
FW: [Fiermon Welch, speaker in the audience, retired school principal] Yes,
those were the days! Your daddy and my daddy were great friends!
AL: Anyway, I went to school and received an A.A. in cooking, so I got this
job cooking. I cooked for one family in Gainesville for twenty years,
Bill Shands. I think most of you here know Mr. Bill Shands. I also
cooked about ten years for the past three presidents of the university,
then I retired from cooking. Then I went to Sunland and I worked there
for several years, then I retired completely. I am retired now, and I am
on top of the hill so to speak. You know, when you get to the top of the
hill and you start drawing social security, so you start going back down
the hill. I am telling seventy to get out of the way so I can get by. I
4


am approaching my seventieth birthday.
So I am not doing much of anything right now except sitting around and
helping the elderly people. I am not going to stop until the day is done.
But I want to tell you something about Alachua. Everytime I go over that
overpass out there I see this sign on the right that says, "Hurry back to
Alachua, the good life community." Well, I love it here and it is true.
I go to Gainesville and other places and I hurry back to Alachua so I can
see what is going on. And through that, I am very proud of Alachua. Now,
I want to tell you, it is not a story. I want to tell you something to
make us think. I am going to tell you and then I am going to sit down
because they have a lot of the panel that would like to have something to
say. I am going to classify us with some fowl of the air. When I speak
of these, then I am going to sit down. I guess we will have a little fun,
but that is what we are here for, to talk and have fun. First, I am going
to say a few words about the crow, which the farmers really hate.
Take the crow. He will be flying around up there looking around. Now you
throw some food out there, and he will sit up in a tree, and look around
some more. Then he will fly directly down there and get himself some of
that food. Do you know why he does that? Do you know why the crow does
that? Because he is a thief! He never did anything with his living,
always stole his living! That is a thief. And you know some people are
like that today. That is why we have police officers, so when anybody do
wrong, a thief or something do something, they grab you and put you in
jail. That is a crow, he never owned anything. Everything he ever
possessed he stole.
Then there is the buzzard. We do not have too much to say about the
buzzard because everything he ever came into possession of was already
dead! That is right. He never had nothing that he could just go out and
pick up that was alive. Everything that a buzzard ever came into contact
with was already dead. And you know, that is bad! That is the way some
people are.
Then there is the mockingbird. The mockingbird knows every whistle and
every song that the other birds sing, yet he does not have one, he cannot
sing his own song. And so that is bad. That is the way a lot of people
are. They know everybody else's business but their own. There are
twenty-four hours in a day that I was raised up to listen to. If I take
the time off and tend to my business twelve hours, the day is gone! So
that makes us know that if we tend to our business and let the other
fellow tend to his business and leave him alone, we will have a good place
in Alachua to live.
There are plenty of things that since I was a boy came along to make
Alachua a good place to live and work, because we have all kinds of
things. Back when I was a boy we had about three stores in Alachua. Mr.
Foster Eddy and H. M. Harris, I think, were about the only grocery stores
in town. We had one shoe store, Mr. J. S. Day Waters, he was the shoe
man. Since that time we have had a lot of things we could look forward to
as to making a living in Alachua. And I think we should look forward even
to that.
Then there is the woodpecker. He is a wonderful bird, he really is. You
5


can ride along through the woods and you can see a woodpecker go about
finding old dead trees, a pine tree, an oak tree, and he will start
pecking at it. He might peck that tree for two to three days or two to
three weeks, but I guarantee you, when he gets through pecking he has
himself a home for his family. I think that is something good for us to
take note of. The woodpecker will work until he gets himself a home, and
I think that right here we can all enjoy ourselves in Alachua and make
this place a good place to live.
FW: I started butchering in Alachua. I guess I just took after my father. I
guess there are not that many butchers in Alachua now, especially among
the black people. I butchered for years here in Alachua. I bought and
paid for a home selling beef heads and cow tails for fifteen cents a
piece. I made an honest living at it. Now we have a whole better way of
making a living than we did in the past.
AB: Today we have to know how to do a lot of different things.
FW: Right.
AB: Thank you very much Mr. Welch. I would like Mr. Duke to say a few words.
He was mentioned earlier in reference to the lumber mill. When we look at
Alachua we see that there are a lot different ways of making a living. We
have agriculture, farms, lumber businesses, industry, and commerce. I
would like Mr. Duke to tell us something about the early days in the
lumber mill here, and about other changes that he has seen in town.
GD: [George Duke, panelist/retired city manager and sawmill owner] Thank you.
I was raised in the lumber industry. My father came to Alachua in 1922
and I came here in January of 1924. That was a long time ago. I stayed
in the lumber business until 1958. I was elected to the city commission
in 1934, and I served continuously for twenty-five years. Then the city
manager died, it was 1959, and they gave me the job, which I kept until
1974.
Now during that time, I do not know what year it was, I served on the
local school board. I asked my wife and daughter coming over here tonight
when that was, but they did not know either. I asked them, "Can you
remember the year that Mr. Cates came to Alachua?" He was one of our
principals at the school, and they said they thought it was about 1940. I
do not know whether that is right or not. I do know that I was on the
school board when Mr. Cates was selected, and I think 1944 is pretty
close. I do not know what else I can tell these people. Alachua has been
good to me.
Alex was telling about working for me. Somebody else, Miss McFadden, I
think, mentioned hard times. I worked men in common labor in 1929, ten
hours a day, for seventy-five cents a day. I paid them off in the
commissary. So you talk about hard times, well, we sure had them. It is
better now. We have some good industries that are no longer here now.
But you can still get a good job if you want to work. I have two
grandsons that live with me and they have jobs, but they had a hard time
finding them. So it is just a question of whether you want to get out
there and work for a man.
6


AB: Mr. Duke, could you tell us about that lumber mill, though? I do not
think a lot of people realize what kind of work was involved, what a day
at the lumber mill was like, what kind of people worked for you, and the
sort of jobs that were accomplished there?
GD: Well, there are all kinds of jobs around a lumber plant. I had a sawmill
and a planer mill. At times I worked about 125 men, and as Alex said, we
had to start in the woods. We had to harvest trees all over town on log
trucks.
AB: Did you harvest mainly cypress trees?
GD: No, it was all pine. A little bit of cypress, but not much Good cypress
has to come from the Gulf Coast or a river like the Suwannee, a river that
empties pretty close to the coast so the cypress trees can have some
contact with salt water. The closer the cypress is to the coast, the
better it is. Red cypress is the best, but we mainly harvested pine.
AB: What was the lumber for? Was it responsible for these houses in town here
or was it used locally?
GD: Most of it was retailed out in Gainesville. I sold to lumber yards, and
some retail. I had outlets in Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, and
Gainesville, and I employed just local people.
AB: Now were these people you hired, these 125 fellows, were they from
Alachua? Were they people who would normally be working on farms? What
kind of people were they?
GD: No, when they worked for me they did not have time to farm.
AB: You worked them pretty hard.
GD: We worked six days a week, and mostly ten hours day, and it took all of
that to make a living. I see only a couple of people who are older than
me, Miss McFadden there, and maybe one other. The rest of them I believe
I am senior to. As you get older, you cannot remember too much, you will
find that out.
AB: Mr. Duke, let me ask you the same question I asked Alex. There are also
some younger folks in the audience here, and we are facing some hard
economic times. From your wisdom, your life, and what you have done, what
kind of advice can you give young people starting out, in terms of the
difficulty in finding a job, and other related problems facing them?
GD: Well, I thought I touched on that just a little bit when I said that I
have two grown grandchildren that live with me, and they had a great deal
of trouble finding a job.
AB: But did they have as much trouble finding a job as other people? What is
it about the way they were raised, or the kind of work they did as
children?
GD: I would have to be bragging on myself.
7


AB: That is what we are here for.
GD: They were raised in such a way that by the time they were ready to go out
and find a job, they were able to do so.
AB: They knew how to work then.
GD: Yes, they both did, and they both got pretty good jobs.
AB: Did they work in your lumber mill with you?
GD: They were too young.
AB: Well, why did the saw mill close, and when?
GD: In 1958, I would say. The timber supply was just too far away. We hauled
timber from above Lake City, from Levy County, from Camp Blanding, and so
on. These places were just too far away.
AB: Thank you very much, Mr. Duke.
BW: [Bill Watson, speaker in the audience] I have another question for Mr.
Duke. My father at one time worked in the woods in your operation, and I
recall during my years as a small child that there were great jobs in the
City of Alachua when the wages went up to one dollar an hour. Do you
recall what year that was?
GD: Well, it had to be about 1930-1931, right along in there. It went up to
about two dollars and fifty cents an hour when President Roosevelt was
elected.
BW: You are talking about a day, are you not, Mr. Duke?
GD: Well, yes, I am talking about a day. As I already said, when you get to
be as old as I am, you forget a lot of things.
BW: One other thing Mr. Duke, for years we had a whistle early in the morning,
about eight o'clock. Did that not come from your mill?
GD: Yes sir.
BW: What was the purpose of that?
GD: We blew the whistle to start with to let people know what time it was, I
guess. I think the first whistle was blown about six o'clock, then we
blew it about twenty minutes to seven, and then seven o'clock, which was
work time every morning.
AB: So the whistle was kind of the alarm clock for all of Alachua then?
GD: That is so long ago I do not remember.
AB: We have one more question in the corer.
MH: [Martha Richard Hagan, speaker in the audience] It is not a question, it
8


is just that we had another sawmill here at one time, over on this side of
town.
AB: Mr. Duke, where exactly was your sawmill located?
GD: I will tell you where it was. I owned the property on both sides of 441
where Hunter Marine is, and the other businesses there on out to where you
strike the overpass, pretty well on both sides.
MH: Did you not have a sawmill on this side of town at one time, and a
commissary way out on 441?
GD: Boy, you want me to remember that far back?
MH: I knew somebody that worked for you where Alachua Milling is today.
GD: That is the property my father bought when he came to Alachua in 1922, and
yes, we did have a mill there. We came down, coming east to where there
was an ice plant, the old Diamond Ice Company. They burned up, and we
bought that property and moved part of the mill there. And, of course, we
lost that mill by fire. We moved from there over to 441 in 1942, the year
World War II started.
MH: I was just wondering, what type of system did the sawmills use back then
to replenish the land that they took timber from?
GD: We did not have any system like that. We bought the land usually from the
owner, either so much per tract, or so much per tree, and we cut down what
we wanted.
TC: Is that land being used for farming today?
GD: I imagine most of it is.
AB: Thank you Mr. Duke. David Bush, can you tell us something about your
past?
DB: I will remain seated if I may because I am not retired and my feet hurt
today. Regretably, I was not born in Alachua, but my father and his
father have lived and worked in Alachua County for the past one hundred
years. When my grandfather was a young man back in the 1850s and 1860s,
when this place was called Newnansville, he came to buy, sell, and
transact his other business.
AB: Where did he come from?
DB: He lived over in the west part of Alachua County. Of course, in those
days Alachua County was much larger than it is today. At one time it went
all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. A lot of the other little counties
were carved out of Alachua County at one time. And he worked in the other
parts of the county in later years, in Newberry when the phosphate mines
were in operation, and a sawmill in High Springs, and a tannery in
Gainesville. My father, together with his brothers, operated a grocery
store in Gainesville in the late 1890s.
9


But the only problem with my family was that they never stayed in one
place long enough to establish any permanence or to gather any sizable
amount of worldly goods. And they wandered around first to south Florida
where my parents took up a homestead in what is now the city of Coral
Gables. They stayed there about fifteen years and sold it just before the
land values went up. They moved to Suwannee County and lived there for
about fifteen years. Then at the height of the Depression, or the depth
of the Depression, whichever was the worst part of it, they sold their
eighty acres, farm house, stock, and tools, all for a total of $500, and
moved to Alachua. That was in 1935, and I was about seven years old at
the time.
AB: What do you remember about that move and the times and the way people were
during the Depression?
DB: You mean the Great Depression. That is the way we always speak of it. The
Great Depression had probably one of the greatest effects on the lives of
anyone who was born before 1930, than any other event in their lives.
AB: How so?
DB: Well, just in terms of poverty. Not everyone was poor, but most people
were. The Bushes came to Alachua in 1935, and late in the year they were
going to try their hand at running the business. And right across the
main street from Hitchcock's Foodway, where the Jiffy Store is now, close
to the ballpark, they rented a little service station and store building.
It no longer exists today. Unfortunately, they did not know that the
underground gasoline tank had a leak in it. So most of their gasoline
profits drained out in the ground. And about the only way they were able
to live was to use the money my mother earned as a seamstress. She would
make dresses for twenty-five cents, or fifty cents. She was a fast
worker, so we were able to make a living off that for a couple of years.
AB: Did she make dresses for people here in town or in Gainesville?
DB: They stayed there for about two years and moved to our present location,
about two hundred or three hundred yards down the road, next to Jack's
Hardware. We have been there for forty-six years, in the same location,
under the same family management.
TC: How has your business changed over the years?
DB: Well, it has stayed about the same size, but it fluctuates with good times
and bad. Talk about the Great Depression and all. This past two, three
years has been rather severe, but not as bad as the recession of 1949 or
1950. This has been of greater duration, but not as severe. The past two
or three years things have slowed down, I think, with everyone. But, we
managed to stay there, and we plan to stay there as long as possible. So
the rumor that we have gone out of business is premature.
AB: Let me ask that question of you that I have asked several other people.
What sort of advice or wisdom can you give some younger folks who might be
starting their own businesses or commercial enterprises here in Alachua?
And what have you learned that you might be able to pass on to them to
help them survive the next couple of years and make a go of it here?
10


DB: It is not the best of times to start your own business, but no time is.
Just do unto others as you like them to do unto you is about the best
advice. Like Mr. Lundy says, "You have to keep making it." It is not
easy. Nowhere is it written down, not in the constitution or anywhere
else, that life is fair and everybody gets a square deal and has a happy
ending. So make the best of it.
BW: Mr. Bush, do you have plans to expand your dry goods store?
DB: I do not.
BW: Since this is a family-oriented business, what will happen when the family
loses interest in this only dry goods store in the city?
DB: I have one grandson who is twelve-years old and he is very enthusiastic
about running the family business. I hope his enthusiasm will last until
he is able to take over. Aside from that I expect to be there awhile
longer, however. Do not talk about closing up quite yet.
AB: How has the business climate changed in Alachua? I mean, has Gainesville
and the Oaks Mall and things like that been a tremendous drain on Alachua,
or what?
DB: Back in the early days, in the mid-1930s, transportation was a problem.
There was very little transportation in the way of automobiles and roads.
By our standards today, it was a horrible mess. Alachua was a hub of
civilization. On Saturday afternoons and Saturday nights there would be
1,000 to 2,000 people on the streets of Alachua coming from several miles
around. They came here because anything they could possibly want was
here, and they did not have any way to go anywhere else, even if they
wanted to. Alachua, in the mid-1930s, was a garden spot of North Florida.
And the people did not come here just to buy and sell, it was also a
social event. People would come to visit because they did not see each
other at any other time, except Saturdays, here in Alachua.
AB: Exactly when did Saturday nights stop becoming popular?
DB: In the late 1940s, I would say. It happened very gradually.
FB: [Frank Bradley, speaker in the audience, Editor, High Springs Herald] I
have a question about Interstate 75. Did that not change the traffic
patterns of people, tourists, and just anybody else coming through High
Springs and Alachua? Also, to what extent did that effect the way
business is conducted in Alachua?
DB: Very little, because this never was a tourist center. There was nothing
here to attract a tourist.
AB: Mr. Turner is next to talk a little bit about what brought him here and
what sort of work he is in and what he sees in terms of making a living
here.
PT: [Pete Turner, panelist, housing contractor] I think I am the only one so
far who has not been from Florida. I am originally from North Carolina.
We came down here in the latter part of 1956. I would like to make a
11


little comment on wages and all that, in the olden days. I say old, well,
I mean about 1938. It was while I was going to school, before I finished,
that I built the first house. I built it by myself. When I got my first
job, I thought I was a carpenter, and I got paid ten cents an hour. It
has changed a little bit since then. We came here, like I said, in the
latter part of 1956. We lived in Gainesville at the time. We were not
sure this was where we wanted to stay. First we stopped in Jacksonville.
One night there told me I did not want to stay there, so we came on to
Gainesville.
During the weekend we were riding around just looking over the town and
all, and we came through Alachua from a back road. We came into it and I
thought it was Dodge City as we came down Main Street. We went back, and
we liked the lay of the land. It seemed very similar to the section of
North Carolina from about 1946 on, from when after I had gotten out of the
service. I was looking for another kind of job in 1956, but there were
not that many jobs around because there was a kind of recession here then.
I was scanning through the papers and I saw an ad up here that Phil
Gonzales had in the paper for a carpenter. Well, when we came through
Alachua, I did not know it was Alachua. We saw all these buses with the
word "Alachua" on them, and we did not know how to pronounce it. I asked
two or three people about it, and we finally located the place. I found
Phil and talked with him on Saturday, and I went to work for him the
following Monday morning. I worked with him a couple of years and we we
liked it here, and we decided to stay. So I went into business for myself
and we moved to High Springs in 1959, and I have been in business since
then. I think there are quite a few people in here that I see that I have
done work for. A lot of my work is repeat business. People have found
out about my work from friends of theirs. I have done a lot of work for
people in High Springs as well as Alachua. I think Mr. Bob Wells is the
real reason I am in Alachua rather than High Springs. I tried to buy a
lot over here and was going to build and somebody found out I wanted it
and so they offered me more money for it, and they bought it. So I said,
if that is the way you are going to be, I do not want to be up here.
So Mr. Wells said that I have been doing a lot of work over here. And
every time he would see me he would ask me why I did not move over, so we
decided we would. We first moved over here where Dr. Goode used to have
his office, over on the other side of town. We had one child then, Wayne,
my eldest son. He was born in High Springs and the house he was born in
they have torn down now. Another son was born while we were at Dr.
Goode's house. I thought I would build another house where Paul O'Dea is
living now. I had a daughter. I am getting like Mr. Duke now, I am
forgetting. Anyway, while we were there my other daughter was born in a
house that had previously belonged to Mr. Enneis. During that time I was
looking around for some property. The property that I have now is out
on the east side of town, which was across the railroad track in front of
Copeland Sausage. I bought nine acres from him and we have a development
out there which I built a house on.
Nowadays you have got to have six permits before you can build a house or
do any job. That is about the way it is getting. It is getting to be
such a hassle, that there is not much pleasure in it anymore. But I have
always enjoyed it. So far as retiring, I think you have got to have
something to retire on. I do not have anything to retire on, so I guess I
12


am going to have to continue working. But I do have two older sons and
two daughters. My oldest son worked with me for a year or two, then left
and went to work in Gainesville. Building did not entice him too much.
My youngest son is still with me. I do not know if he is going to stay in
it or not. I told him that it is a rough life so he had better enjoy it
if he is going to stay in it.
AB: Mr. Turner, you came from another place. Now a lot of people here tonight
have mentioned to me that people in Alachua have to get used to the kind
of workers that there are here. They need to get used to the way people
work here. How would you describe the kind of people that worked for you
in construction?
PT: Well, the people that have worked for me have never been any different
from any other people. I have always tried to be fair with them. I want
a day's work for a day's pay. And I have always had good relations with
all of the workers I have ever had. In fact, this young man sitting here
beside me worked for me at one time. And I have worked quite a few of the
younger kids these days. Now I do not mean all of them, but some of the
ones I have tried to work, they do not seem to want to put out. They do
not want to work. You know, they want a position, but not a job. And in
my business, it is work.
AB: Do you think that might be because in earlier days, the only kinds of jobs
that were available were on farms, and at places like sawmills, where
everybody had to work pretty hard?
PT: The ones I am talking about have never had to work hard. This may sound a
little peculiar, but I have a daughter who is going to Santa Fe Community
College, she said, "Well, what am I going to do Daddy?" I said, "I do not
know, that is up to you." The only thing I can say with a young one
coming up nowadays is get into whatever you get into, but get some
enjoyment out of it. Because money does not mean everything. I do not
know about the kids coming up, the young boys and all. I have worked some
of them, so I know something about them. I feel they have so many
opportunities ahead of them today that it is hard for them to make up
their minds what they want to do. Now take the kids coming out of high
school right now, it is unlimited what they can do. They can go into
anything. I think there are so many opportunities out there that it makes
it hard for them to decide what to do.
UN: I have a lot of questions tonight. He said he was making ten cents an
hour?
PT: When I started out in carpentering, I paid ten cents an hour, that was in
1938.
UN: How much do carpenters make an hour now?
PT: I make anywhere from ten cents to ten dollars an hour now. Sometimes I do
not make anything. I do not work by the hour now.
AB: We are kind of moving into current situations and current kinds of work. I
would like to ask Mr. Bob Miller, who did in fact work for Mr. Turner a
little while, and other places around town, and now has his own
13


woodworking shop in town, to talk about why he is still working in
Alachua. What he hopes to do with his business, and what work is like
here.
BW: There have have many times that I wondered why I was still here. I moved
up here in 1973. We had been up here to visit some friends, and it looked
like an attractive area. We wanted to get away from the city. The land
up here was going for a reasonable rate then, so we moved up here and
bought a piece of property. I worked for Pete for five or six months, but
he did not want to give me a raise, so I moved on.
AB: Ten cents an hour?
BM: Not quite that bad. So I moved on and spent about five years over at
Hunter Marine.
AB: What sort of work did you do over at Hunter Marine?
BW: Just about everything they had to do. When I first started there I was in
the mill. By the time I got off my probationary period, I was just about
running the mill. Then, through various climbs and drops, I had just
about every other job that they had to do in the plant. By the time I
left there, I was involved with Research and Development. I was
designing, or helping to design and construct, interiors for prototype
boats.
AB: Is it common at Hunter Marine to be able to move up through the ranks,
doing these different sorts of things, or is it a pretty rigid operation?
BM: I am pretty much a loner, always have been. When you do not fit right
into your group, then they try to find another group for you to fit into.
So rather than pecking away at it, I found myself banging my head against
the wall. But from there I left with a friend of mine and went to
Gainesville, where we built kitchen cabinets for about a year, but that
really was not what I wanted to do. So I came to Alachua to open my shop
because the rent was low, and because it was close to home. And there was
not a lot of competition in my field.
TC: Bob, what kind of challenges does a businessman now face in a town like
Alachua?
BM: Just starting out, I think the biggest challenge is developing a rapport
with the people in the area. It is often said that people in small towns
do not trust outsiders, and I found that to be true the first few months
or so that I was open. People tend to deal with people that they are more
familiar with. So when you first open up, and no one knows you, they
tend to hold back and wait and see. Fortunately, I was able to weather
that, and everything has been moving along fairly well since then.
Business has been steadily growing. I have been here three and a half
years now, and I still have people coming in once or twice a week that
live in Alachua or in the surrounding area that do not know I am here. So
it is a challenge here, and it is always going to be. But you just have
to sit tight and sort of slug it out, take what comes, and do the best you
can with it.
14


AB: What would be the worst thing that could happen in terms of the future of
the economy of Alachua in terms of your own business? And how would that
affect you?
BM: Well, I suppose the worst thing that could really happen would be if I
were to injure myself to the extent that I could not carry on with some
form of work. If business were to fall off, I sort of feel like what Mr.
Duke was saying about his sons, that I have never had any trouble finding
a job, and hopefully that would continue.
AB: Do you foresee your operation expanding and being large, or do you intend
to keep it small?
BM: No, I would like to get a little bit larger than I am now, but mainly just
to have room to put more things. My shop reminds me of my father's
garage, in that everything is there but what is supposed to be. The
things that need to be inside are out in the rain. But I like to have
control over the things that I am doing and I feel that when I sell
something to a customer, I am not just selling an item, I am selling a
part of myself. If I put that into the product, if I hired other people
to do it, then I would not have as much control over that as I do now. I
am not saying that everything I do is the best that can possibly be done
by anyone under any circumstances. However, I do feel that I do the best
that I can do with what I have to work with. And as long as I am doing it
all myself, it will remain that way.
AB: So there is a real value in keeping your shop small, keeping control of
the business and your relationship with some of the other people.
BM: Right. I thought several times about moving out of the shop, to be able
to spend time away from the shop to do work in people's homes and expand
the types of work that I do. But to do that, I would have to hire someone
else to stand at the counter all day and deal with people that walk in
off the street who want various things built. There is no way that you
can hire a duplicate of yourself to stand at the counter and deal with
these people the way that you would deal with them.
JH: [Joyce Horsley, speaker in the audience, wife of Church of Christ
minister] Please forgive my ignorance, but I am new to Alachua, and I
really do not know what you do. What is your shop?
BM: I own Alachua Woodworks on Main Street. I build furniture, repair and
refinish furniture, restore antiques, and then just about anything in
wood.
JH: I passed your place when I walked by, but I did not know that was you.
TC: Gary Rickle, can you tell us a little bit about what you have seen develop
in the past few years that you have been in town?
GR: [Gary Rickle, panelist/owner, Rickle's Ace Hardware] Well, I am certainly
glad you asked Bob to speak before me. I was afraid you were going down in
ages there.
AB: I have heard some interesting stories on why you chose Alachua. That
15


might be a good way to start out.
GR: Well, there are two stories, one takes a minute and a half, the other
takes two and a half hours. Which would you want? I am probably the only
one on this whole panel that would admit to being a Yankee. But I figure
I am here by choice, the rest of them are here by chance. My wife and I
chose to move here from Chicago, which was not a small change from the
life we had known, and particularly the choice between a northern climate
and a southern climate. We chose Alachua because we wanted to buy a
business, and because it was the only one we could find that we could
afford. Miss Martha Hagen, sitting back in the corner, was an employee in
the store that we purchased. Her boss, Mr. Bill Wall, was the man who
offered to sell the store to us on terms that we could afford. With a
small amount of cash that we had to give him, we were able to move here in
a U-Haul, and with a Mastercharge card. That was all we had. From there
you do not have a choice. It will work. I am sure Bob has experienced
the same thing and Pete and everybody else here that owns their own
business. Mr. Duke, I am sure you have experienced the same thing many
times. If you want to eat the next day, and there is not any other way,
you can always find people to walk into your store. It is just a matter
of parting them and their money to be able to go to the next day.
We have seen significant changes. We have seen the community change from
predominantly farm-oriented businesses to predominantly do-it-yourself
businesses. I am not unhappy that we made those decisions early in the
game and hopefully we have been able to help some of these people complete
some of the projects that they have attempted to tackle over the years and
hopefully we will be able to continue to do that in the future.
I do not have a lot of words of wisdom that some people a little older
than me have. However, Mr. Willie Cauthen there, probably gave me some of
the best advice when I first came here, and he probably does not remember
telling me. But one day when he was clipping both of my curls he said he
had heard a story about a young man that went to a town one time and the
young man asked an older man how people were in this town. And he said
the old man thought for a minute, then said, "Well, son, how were the
people in the town you came from?" The kid said, "Well, I want to tell
you, those were the nastiest, rottenest, meanest, most low-down people you
would ever want to meet in your life." The older man said, "Son, that is
just the way they are here." Some time later another young man came along
and he asked the question exactly the same. However, when the old man
asked what kind of people were in the town the young man had come from,
the young man answered, "I want to tell you, those were the finest, most
gracious, gentle, wonderful people you will ever want to meet in your
life." And the old man answered, "Son, we have the same kind of people
here." I am thinking that exemplifies the town of Alachua and the way
business is here.
TC: Gary, where do you see Alachua going in the next five years or so? If you
could get out your crystal ball and polish it, and based on your previous
history and time in Alachua, where would you say we are going to be five
years from now?
GR: I think I would probably feel very similar to many people in town who
think that what is going to happen in the next five years will revolve
16


around IBM. Taking that out of the scene I do not think that there is
much question but that this town will continue very similar to the
progress that is has made over a period of time with people working or
commuting to a larger metropolitan area like Gainesville. If a major
operation like IBM does not produce the type of job and labor market that
you would expect, Alachua will probably become what most northerners know
as a bedroom community. For a town like Gainesville, you would probably
have to have a higher income type of individual as a whole, than what you
have now. I know I look here and see several people who have owned large
tracts of land that have been sold and keep getting divided down into
smaller and smaller tracts as people become more and more condensed. I
would not expect that to change too much, unless there were a major
development like IBM, which would only hasten it.
AB: And would that be good or bad?
GR: Well, we have a piece of property on 441 that we would love to develop.
So that would be very good as far as we are concerned. I am sure that you
could find a lot of people that could argue differently.
AB: Mr. Rickle mentioned a certain Mr. Willie Cauthen. I would like to take
this opportunity to recognize him. Willie Cauthen has a barber shop in
town. And as I understand it, he tells the best stories in Alachua.
WC: [Willie Cauthen, speaker in audience, local barber] What I liked about
Alachua was when I came here, I went to work with an older man. He told
me he had worked in High Springs, Newberry, and Alachua. He thought
Alachua was the best town of any of them. And another thing I liked about
Alachua from when I first came here, we did not know what it was at night
to close the door. That has changed. It is like Mr. Bush has said about
Saturday, people were just there on the streets, but where they are now I
do not know. You walk down the street now without a bit of trouble.
GR: I would like to add one bit of history, although I have not been here very
long and there are maybe some people who could elaborate on it. I have
been told, and maybe someone could expand on it, that the store I
currently own is maybe the oldest store here in town under continuous
operation. I know you have been here a long time, but if I understand it
correctly, the store we currently own has been several places in town. I
believe that Mr. Eddy was one of the original owners of that store, but I
do not know how far back that goes.
FW: As far back as I can remember, Mr. Foster Eddy's son owned this store.
That is about as far as I can remember.
GR: Do you have any idea what date that would be?
FW: Well, it was back about 1930?
UN: Mr. Carl Williams was the first owner.
AB: Miss Sapp works at the Sun First Federal Savings and Loan. I asked her to
be on the panel to talk about current conditions for work here in Alachua,
and again to look into the crystal ball about future conditions to try and
predict whether they will be good or bad.
17


MS: To clear up what the name is, when we opened up an office here in Alachua
almost seven years ago, we were behind the laundromat which Mr. Hitchcock
owned at the time. We opened there as First Federal of Lake City, and
then due to a merger in July, 1981, we became part of Sun Federal. And
the reason the office was opened in Alachua was that we had found that
this was a good area [in which] to lend. There was a market for people
who wanted money to build and to finance their houses. So at that time we
had an adequate supply of money to lend, and we opened the office
primarily for that reason. We also wanted to serve the savers who were
here since there was not another institution that was doing what we were
doing at the time, with the First National Bank of Alachua being a
commercial bank, and us being a savings and loan.
We were able to offer a service to the people of Alachua that the bank was
not serving. We grew quite a bit in the location that we were in. We
were there for five years, but we still had people who would come in and
say, "Gee, I did not know you were here." We were on a side street and we
were not real obvious. And so we did some studies and talked to other
business leaders in the community about who had moved from off a side
street or down Main Street to see what they had experienced in growth from
their move off of Main Street onto US 441. We talked to Bob Hitchcock who
had moved a couple of times and then finally moved on the main road. We
talked to the bank which had been on a side street as well, and they
experienced real good growth, and I do not recall who else we talked to.
But they all experienced phenomenal growth by moving from off the side
street to where they were visible to the public commuting back and forth,
because there is not a lot of traffic on Main Street. And we decided that
we would look into purchasing property on US 441 and we eventually
purchased our present piece of property that we have since built on. We
have been open at the office since the latter part of May, and just since
then we have experienced tremendous growth.
About working in Alachua, to clear up something for Gary, I am not a
Yankee. I was born in Newberry and raised there, and so it is almost like
being from Alachua, since Newbery is just thirteen miles away, and it had
the same kind of economic base at the time I was born and grew up, that
Alachua did. The thing that I like about living in Alachua is that people
are so friendly and open once you get to know them. Once you establish
their trust, and they know you are going to treat them like they want to
be treated, they will tell you anything, without you asking. In fact,
they feel like they have to justify to me why they make a withdrawal from
their savings account.
Looking at what we expect from Alachua, even if IBM never does anything
with that tract of land they have purchased, we look for Alachua to
steadily grow. Because we have seen an influx of people from South
Florida coming up here to build and open savings accounts. So Alachua is
going to grow and have a better economic base.
AB: But do you see the same kind of growth Mr. Rickle sees, Alachua
becoming sort of a bedroom community for Gainesville, or will there be
more indigenous growth of industries like Driltech and Hunter Marine?
18


MS: Growing up in Newberry, if you were not working in the farming community,
you either worked at the University or at Sunland, which was called the
farm colony at that time.
I saw when GE came in and they hired a tremendous amount of people and
raised the standard of living here in Alachua. People who normally had to
work on a farm, and got paid not even a minimum wage for working from
sunup to sundown, suddenly had all kinds of benefits, a decent wage, and a
chance for advancement if they worked hard. The same thing happened when
Driltech and Hunter Marine came in. We have seen the economic base
broadening. Thanks to these companies, Alachua is not dependent any more
on whether is has a bad year and everybody is wiped out. We have more
variety, but it is more personalied than it was before. I do not see it
as much as Mr. Rickle sees it, because Gainesville is growing west toward
Newberry more than it is growing northwest toward Alachua.
TC: What part of the whole picture in the community is dependent on the
educational system within that particular community? We have some school
administrators in the audience tonight and some former teachers. What
part does education play in making for a better living in the community?
MS: I believe it plays a very important role. I think the school system in
Alachua County is great. I really do. We have a local community
college. I was one of the first students at Santa Fe Community College
when it was called the Junior College. The opportunity is there to be
educated and trained, not just getting a master's or a Ph.D., but in
technical areas that would serve the community. It allows people who
maybe might not be able to get a Ph.D. to be able to be trained in an area
that they are interested in.
BW: Since the deregulation of the banking industry, the First National Bank
and your business basically operate in the same fashion. You mentioned
the possibility of mortgage money being available. Obviously, before you
moved here you did not have any customers in Alachua, I would assume.
MS: We did have some, being from the Lake City office. It is strange, but
some people do not like to keep all of their money in one place. We did
have a small base of savers and when we opened the office down here, they
gave us those people to serve.
BW: What have you experienced in terms of new business? Do you have the
established community or the new people that are coming into Alachua? And
what do you think the reasons for that change might be from First National
to Sun Federal?
MS: I would say it is probably about half and half with the old customers.
But a lot of the old customers, when we first opened up, just kind of came
in and opened a little account just to see how we would do. We have had
some people who have become dissatisfied, and that is mainly when you are
with a commercial bank. Unless they do you wrong, you are usually going
to stay with them. Because you have a track record with them, and they
know you, you can go in and do business. But we have some who have become
dissatisfied. Since deregulation, we are in more competition with First
National. We are offering the same services, but some things we offer are
better, and some things that they offer are better.
19


UN: Can I ask an offbeat question? In sitting here I have heard the older
people refer to this town as Alachua-way, and others are saying Alachua. I
am curious, what is the correct pronunciation, if any?
AB: We are interested in the proper pronunciation of where we are.
DB: [David Bush, panelist, Bush Dry Goods Store Owner] Alachua with the
accent on the "way."
AB: How would you pronounce the name of the town?
FW: Al-a-choo-a. It is an Indian name that was given to Alachua(way).
GR: Well, I was taught to say Ala-cha-way.
BS: [Bridget Schmidt, audio recorder] I really think it should be a native
who says it.
AB: We are all natives.
BS: Ala-choo-way.
AB: Okay, we have many different pronunciations. It depends on who you are
talking to. The last person we have to hear from tonight is Dr. Collante.
Dr. Collante represents a newcomer in Alachua, and we have asked him to
come and speak with us tonight a little bit about why he chose to set up
his office here and what he sees in this community's future, in terms of
good and bad.
RC: [Rodolfo Collante, panelist, local physician] Well, regrettably, I am not
a Yankee or a native. I am a Filipino, and I came to Gainesville about
nine years ago. I worked at Alachua General Hospital for almost eight
years until I decided to go into private practice. I always liked small
towns, and that was the main reason I moved to Alachua. I always hated
being structured in a metropolis. So I learned more and more about
Alachua and the super people who were instrumental in my coming here. Of
course, these people helped me out about the nature of the town, and so
on, and I found it to be a challenge. The first obstacle I had was to
learn to be one of the local people, so to speak, and now I feel like I am
one of them. Since my private practice is quite new, just about two years
old, I find it very satisfying and very fulfilling. I feel as if I am
wanted. So I think I will stay here for quite a long while.
AB: Are there some people in the audience that would like to say anything
about the work here, about the employment about the future, and the things
that we have been talking about, if they have not had a chance to say
anything yet? I would just like to thank Dr. Collante, or Dr. C. as we
have introduced him. He has offered his office as a teaching ground for
the University of Florida and the nursing college. And it is helping us
to understand and help the people of Alachua better.
SH: [Sam Hill, speaker in the audience, representing Florida Endowment for the
Humanities] I am Sam Hill from the University of Florida and a member of
the Board of Directors of the Florida Endowment for the Humanities. And I
20


would like to say that I snuck in here, or I think I did, so it is not a
huge matter that I am here. But I have very good reports to take to the
board. You can thank me for this. Tax money had nothing to do with it.
This has really been a very high quality program and I am just delighted
that this is going on and I hope it goes on in many communities in the
state.
AB: Thank you Dr. Hill.
UN: Tonight and last Thursday night I learned a great deal about what seems to
be the very recent history of Alachua. I have been here and in the area
since 1910. It has been said that no community can make their own
decisions about the present and future unless they are aware of their
past. So I wonder what we know about the origins of the town, when it
started, and why there is a town called Alachua.
AB: We have been talking a little bit about that last week. We mentioned the
railroad, the railroad camps, and Ms. Dansby's family coming here in
the 1820s. I think over the next several weeks, anyway, every time we
have a historical dimension to our discussions and we bring it up to the
current times, we will continue to talk about that.
FC: [Franklin Copeland, speaker in the audience, farmer, formerly of Copeland
Sausage] I cannot sit here all night without saying a little bit about
way back. My father and brother started Copeland Sausage in 1928. At one
time Copeland was the second largest employer in the county.
AB: Somebody was asking me earlier this evening how Copeland got started here
in Alachua.
FC: It got started because two people decided they wanted to kill hogs. They
started out by killing about 700 hogs the first year. They started
northeast of Alachua where they killed the hogs outside of town, then
hauled them into town for cold storage and processing.
AB: So the ice plant was already here?
FC: Oh, yes. It was here before 1928. It operated out there for about a
year, and then they moved to the present site of the Rolling Green, which
was the city limits at one time. I think now it has been taken in. Then
they killed just across the road and brought them on this side to cut them
up.
AB: Because there was a city ordinance against killing hogs inside of the
town?
FC: Yes. And the company grew and in the second year there were three
partners, and it stayed that way until 1948.
AB: How many people were working at Copeland Sausage in 1948?
FC: Oh, I do not know. I would say that by 1948 there were about 100 people
working at Copeland Sausage. I was just going through some records my
mother sent me, and in 1938 when Social Security started, the employees
were getting one dollar and thirty-five cents a day, and they were having
21


two cents a day taken out for social security. It grew in size until at
one time Copeland employed about 550 people.
AB: A lot of us do not know about Copeland being bought by Green Giant.
FC: It was bought by Swick, or actually, Mr. Woodson. Mr. Woodson was in the
textile industry in North Carolina. He came down along with Mr. Swick,
who was a relative. He was purchasing it for Mr. Swick to run, and Mr.
Woodson died.
AB: Now when was that?
FC: That was 1948. And he died just prior to the closing of the deal, and at
that time there was uncertainty as to what would happen. But his wife
went on through with her husband's wishes. They bought it and sometime
within a year, a man from Georgia came down and operated it until 1969.
During that time they became the largest kitchen south of Chicago. That
is quite an accomplishment because they were producing up to a million
pounds of sausage per week. That is a lot of baloney.
AB: That is a lot of hogs to kill.
FC: And they butchered beef and hogs, but primarily hogs. And the Green Giant
bought it in the latter part of 1969, and kept it until about 1975, then
they sold it. The new owner kept it almost a year then sold it to Riviana
Foods from Texas, and they never did open it. It seems that Riviana Foods
bought about six other major packers and never opened any of them. I
guess they used them for a write-off. But anyway, the University got it,
and it is a graveyard now. It is a sad affair for the city of Alachua.
AB: Well, it is sad that there were a lot of good years there, and a lot of
good work for people.
EB: [Ed Bramledge, speaker, representative of Driltech Industries] If I
could, this is on employment and so forth, and new business. I am Ed
Bramledge and I work at Driltech. I just wanted to say that Driltech came
here because, first of all, they had access to a survey that indicated
that there was a good market for labor and that the unions were not too
strong. The weather was fine and we could do a lot of work outside in
testing our equipment. We started in Gainesville, and then Alachua looked
more inviting. Then people invited us to come here. So this survey took
in four or five cities, several in South Carolina and other locations, and
this spot came out. That is how we found this spot.
JH: If you do not mind, I would like to tell you a cute story about how you
pronounce Alachua, such as Alachuway. Some people once did not know how
to pronounce it. They heard some people say it one way, and some people
say it another way. So they stopped off at a Dairy Queen and asked, "Will
you please pronounce it real s-l-o-w." And the lady went, "D-a-i-r-y
Q-u-e-e-n."
AB: I especially want to thank our panelists tonight. Like last week, they do
not always know what is expected of them and then they get here and we
start talking and a lot of good things come up. I want to thank the
people in the audience that talked also. We hope to have you on some of
the panels further on through the season.
22


University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs