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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Byron Winn, Jr.
February 25, 1977
J: This is Joyce Miller. I'm interviewing Mr. Byron Winn at his home, 1805
N.W. 21st Street, in Gainesville, on February 25th at 3:45 in the afternoon.
I'd like to start by asking Mr. Winn when he came to Gainesville and why?
B: I came with my family in 1924. My father had lost his farm in Georgia
during the recession in 1923.
J: What made him choose Gainesville?
B: My grandmother was living in Lake City, not too far away, and that was
instrumental in us getting into this part of Florida.
J: You were in what grade at that time?
B: [The] second grade.
J: Did you go to the present day Kirby Smith School?
B: I alternated each year between Kirby Smith and Gainesville High, which
later became Buchholz Junior High, but is vacant.
J: Mm hmm. That was an elementary school at one point?
B: That was elementary through high school.
J: At what time did it convert to just the junior high-senior high division?
B: I don't remember the year. My middle son went there in junior high but
he was born in fifty-one. I don't remember the year.
J: Now, when your father came here, how did he get involved in the restaurant
B: My grandmother was managing the hotel dining room in Lake City, the Blanch
Hotel, and she, my mother, and a friend came to Gainesville and started the
J: Your grandmother rather had already started it prior to your father coming
B: No. She was operating a dining room in Lake City, and she came over here
and helped them open this restaurant in Gainesville.
J: I see. So she moved here the same time your family moved here?
B: Yes. She didn't stay very long; she went back to Lake City after awhile.
J: Then, your father was left with it or did the friend stay also?
B: My mother, my grandmother, and a lady were operating it to begin with. My
father came in later. He was doing other kinds of work.
J: What was he doing at the time?
B: Well, he was trying to work in real estate, in rural areas. But I was too
young to know if he was successful. Whether he came to the restaurant
because it needed him or [because] he didn't do well in real estate, I
J: Was the Primrose ever across the street from where it's located now?
B: Yes, it was in a large, old home, the Dutton mansion.
J: At what point did it switch sides of the street?
B: In nineteen hundred and twenty-seven. Very frequently, the landlord went
up on the rent, so finally daddy bought across the street.
J: Was that the building he moved into prior to it becoming the Primrose?
B: It was a residence. I might add a point of interest; people often ask why
it's called the Primrose Inn.
J: That was the next thing I was going to ask you.
B: During the boom every hotel was named after some flower, and the restaurants
were the Wisteria Inn and the Magnolia Inn, this sort of thing. We named this
one the Primrose Inn.
J: It was fairly common to have that kind of name.
B: It was just a fad in those days. That's the only one left I guess.
J: At what point did you get involved in the business?
B: After I graduated, I helped the family during my school years, even grammar
school and in high school.
J: By helping them do you mean bussing dishes, waiting tables, or what?
B: Right. Before I graduated from college I was managing the restaurant while
they were going on trips and what not.
J: Mm hmm. For long periods of time?
B: For a week at a time.
J: Mm humm. Do you remember some experiences you had being a teenager and working
at the Primrose? Anything in particular?
B: Nothing particularly unusual. I don't remember any disasters or any other
particularly embarrassing moments.
J: But you were trained on the job?
B: Yes, it was on-the-job training rather than formal training; trial and error.
That's the way they operated. They had no formal training in business.
J: How many employees were there in the early '30s?
B: I don't remember how many. They used waiters from the University in the
dining room who worked short staggered shifts. So, they had more of them
than you would have now with employees working an eight hour shift. They
would probably have eight to ten of those, it varied with the time of year.
In the kitchen there were maybe six employees in the kitchen.
J: What would be the best time of year, the winter season?
B: Spring. The winter season is often thought to be best but the football
games disrupt the business. You did have large crowds on the weekend
and in between the weekends people would have to save their money for the
next weekend. And you can't do that much more during a rush than you can in
J: Was the summer fairly slow with the students gone or did the students not
affect your business?
B: It was very very slow on all types of business. There's no air conditioning.
Some people said you could shoot a cannon down Main Street and it wouldn't
hit anybody. There wouldn't be a car or a person moving.
J: Was the restaurant similar then to what it is now, or was it a different
B: It was more of a tea room style until just a few years ago. It had table-
cloths, old fashioned chairs and tables, and old-fashioned light fixtures.
Rather primitive equipment.
J: Then, you decided to modernize it or do away with that?
B: We gradually improved it. It was necessary to keep abreast.
J: At what point did it change from the Primrose Grill to the Primrose Inn?
B: I don't remember the year, but there came a time when people came in looking
for the bar and grill. Of course, the county was dry, so I changed the name
for that reason as much as any. Soon after, of course, the county became wet.
J: Even when it was dry, could people bring their own liquor in or was there no
liquor allowed whatsoever in the restaurant?
B: People could bring their liquor in but it was hardly ever done. On football
games there might be some, but any other time it was extremely unusual.
J: Is that because it was unusual for the whole town, or was it just the type of
restaurant that the Primrose was?
B: It was unusual for the town. I don't think they did it anywhere except when
the people came from out-of-town.
J: Mm hmm. That made a big difference then?
J: Did it make a big difference because they were out-of-towners or because it
was a football weekend?
B: The two things went together. It was the football I suppose, because out-of-
town people came at other times when they would be in a different mood.
J: Mm hmm. What type of food did the Primrose have to begin with?
B: Pretty much as it is now: meats, vegetables, homemade desserts, and homemade
bread. Not too much difference. f
J: Was the cheese appetizer common?
B: No, that I added soon after we had the bar. We added that when we started
J: What would be a common food to eat at that time? Was roast beef as common
as it is today, or were they more apt to order pork or something?
B: Fried steak and pork were more popular than now as were heavier dishes,
like meats with gravy. People didn't watch their diets or cholesterol
then. I didn't know what cholesterol was. So you had richer food then
J: Was it prepackaged food or was all of it prepared fresh?
B: It was always freshly made.
J: Mm hmm. Do you see there's been a change in that now? Are there more
prepackaged items that you use?
B: No, therearemore frozen things. Some of the fish fillets that are avail-
able are good. Shrimp and oysters are still prepared on the premises. There
are very few things that are portion controlled. There are a lot of things
that are portion controlled but not heated. They're cooked.
J: What would be a large crowd coming in the '30s, in terms of numbers of
B: That's hard to answer. There were times that I can remember in the very early
'30s, when there were no restaurants to speak of in Gainesville and transporta-
tion was poor, when people would stand on the streets for several hours, and
they would keep coming until you just had to close from people being exhausted
and not able to do it anymore. It was during football games or some special
occasions. Nowadays, they have more places available and the roads are better.
After a game people get in their car to leave the parking lot, and they can be
home almost as quick as they can be downtown and get a meal.
J: Was there a special dinner hour or was the restaurant opened for lunch
B: No. During those times it served breakfast, lunch and dinner. I guess they
called it breakfast, dinner and supper.
J: Was there any break or was it continuous?
B: Yes, there was a break from seven until nine, twelve until two, and six until
eight. On special occasion, as I mentioned before, the hours were longer.
But this was a normal day and that was done on a one hour shift, not a double
shift. Today they work a double shift for two meals.
J: Were you open seven days a week?
J: Did you get any extra business by the fact that the Florida Theatre was
across the street?
B: Yes, we got business from it. There was a difference when they had a good
movie or something special.
J: Mm hmm.
B: It made a difference.
J: Was there a great effect on your business during the Depression when people
were not wealthy enough to eat out anywhere?
B: Yes, it became necessary to have low prices, even meal tickets. As I recall,
in the early '30s you could get a very nice steak from Morrell and Company
from the Midwest that was seventy-five cents. The whole dinner; dessert,
soup, baked potato, and a very nice steak, was seventy-five cents.
J: You sold it for seventy-five cents?
B: The meat that we got at that time was from young steers, and we bought the
short loins. They were so small that you could cut a nice T-bone and it
wouldn't weigh a pound and a half. Today, you can't even buy short loins
of that size from that company. In addition, you have to get the long, full
loin, which has the sirloin on it too. The service that we got from purveyors
and employees made it easier to work with. They were more cooperative and
a little more anxious to sell. It's harder to do business in many ways now,
but of course it's come to the point where the public doesn't expect all the
things they used to get. The old time was a faster way.
J: In terms of what? They don't mind the less-personal service or what?
B: Well, when they get any kind or personal service, they expect to pay a rather
large price. In those days, they expected to get very good food and nice
service for a very cheap price. We could do it because we could buy the
things cheap and then get them delivered on Saturday. Nowadays, on homecoming
you can't get anything delivered on a Friday because the homecoming parade
disrupts everything downtown. Whatever you're going to have for the whole
weekend you have to get it on Thursday. It's a very hard strain on storage
down there. In other parts of town where they can get traffic, they can get
deliveries on Friday, and sometimes on Saturday. Now, only a few companies
will deliver on Saturday.
J: Now, you mentioned that during the Depression you could get a nice steak dinner
for seventy-five cents. What about the cheaper dinners? How cheap might a
full dinner be in the Depression?
B: I can't remember. The Primrose was not looked on as being cheap. I failed to
add that this was not a cheap restaurant. It was looked upon as a place where
you went when you had some money.
J: Mm hmm.
B: So the seventy-five cents, when you look at it in that light, makes it
even cheaper you see. You could get nice meals for around thirty-five
J: What were meal tickets? You mentioned that before.
B: You can buy a meal ticket for five dollars, and you punch the stuff and
you'd get a discount. I don't remember what the discount was on it. It
seems to me you could buy a ten dollar meal ticket for eight dollars.
J: Did many restaurants have meal tickets?
B: Yes, quite a few.
J: Quite a few had them.
B: It was not just a promotional gimmick. This was a standard thing like
boarding houses which would serve you all the week for a certain price.
I heard a man speaking the other day. He said he had lived right near
the ATO house in a boarding house. He had two meals a day, five days a
week, for $5.50 a week. He's a little younger than I am, but not too much.
This was just before the war, in the late '30s.
J: Did customers still come in during the Depression?
B: Oh, yes.
J: The people that came were not out of work. They would've been your middle
class to better class people.
B: Yes. During the Depression some people had money. Of course, the bubble
burst in twenty-nine, and it was real bad until thirty-two when they started
taking some major steps. Then it gradually got better but the Depression
went on until the Second World War I think.
J: Mm hmm.
B: We had stenographers even as late as the '40s who were working at $12.50
J: How did it affect you, not so much in terms of the restaurant, but as a
young boy. You were in high school at the time. Was there a difference
in what you had to do?
B: I was not old enough to remember any difference. Let's see, the Depression
really started in twenty-nine, so I was only twelve. My parents were rather
poor. They came here bankrupt. They were rather poor and trying to get
ahead, so they didn't have any money to throw away and waste on me with
frivolous things. It really didn't make any difference to me. When it became
the Depression, I didn't have any less than I'd had before. I don't think
they did either because they didn't mind working hard. They stayed right
there and worked so they always had enough. We lived there in the restaurant,
so we had a place to live and we had enough to eat.
J: Did you live upstairs?
J: The whole family?
J: Which would've been how many?
B: My sister, myself, and my mother and father.
J: Mm hmm.
B: There was a time when my grandmother became ill and she got too old to
operate her business in Lake City. Three of her sons were also there,
living upstairs during the Depression.
J: Until what year did your family live in the Primrose itself?
B: Both my parents and my grandmother moved out in 1940. My father bought a
farm where the P.K. Yonge school is now. He had always wanted a farm down
here so he moved away from the restaurant, turned the operation over to me,
and I leased it in 1940 for six months until I had to go off to war.
J: How many bedrooms were there upstairs in which you were living?
B: There was twelve.
J: Mm hmm. Were you renting out others besides the ones where the family
J: Who would you rent them to? Students, professors, or whom?
B: Usually not students. We had overnight guests, and a few people stay there
by the month. We also had weekly rates and monthly rates, as well as daily
rates. But most of them had private baths. Two had a connecting bath and
all of those were private baths. At that time they were comparable with
J: Well, how many people might you have at one time besides the four family
members living there?
B: You mean outsiders?
B: Well, we usually kept the rooms more or less filled one way or another.
I don't remember any particular vacancies. We had people coming and going
but I don't remember the vacancy rate.
J: Do you remember any of the people by name who lived up there, say in the '30s?
B: Yes, there was a Miss Terry, who had Terry's Gift Shop, and we had a Dr. and
Mrs. Warren, who came down for the winter. He moved from Georgia so that he
could establish his residence and save on the Georgia income tax. He came to
Florida, and hunted and fished during the winter. He figured he'd save enough
on his Georgia income tax to pay that. We had a Professor Clark, Washington
Clark from the University, who had a room there for awhile before he was
married. There was also a Captain Quekemeyer, who was ROTC was there until
he got married.
J: Was it mostly single people then, or was it different?
B: Well there were some couples. I remember we had an engineer road builder
from Valdosta who was there for a year or so building a road. Of course,
people coming overnight could be single or couples. There were some sales-
J: How would they know that your place was available overnight? By word of mouth?
B: Well, if there was a sign in front. If they were regular visitors to the town
they knew it was there. There weren't many motels and not many hotels so
they'd ask around. It was normal to try to find a place. It didn't matter
where they were, people would find them.
J: How much would they pay, approximately?
B: I don't remember. I have no idea what they paid. I think the rates about
then were $1.50 for a single.
J: Was the price for the meals at the Primrose quite different from twenty-nine
to thirty-nine? Was there a big change?
B: I can't answer that question because I'm not familiar with what the prices
were in twenty-nine. I wasn't exposed to them. I don't know.
J: Mm hmm. You mentioned that the waiters were University people. Were they
students? Is that right?
B: Mm hmm.
J: Do you recall either how much they got paid, whether their pay included meals,
or how they were compensated?
B: They earned their meals and tips, and their working time would vary. They'd
pool their tips together and sort the schedules themselves so that a couple
would come in early and leave early, and some others might come in a little
later, after twelve, and stay until you finished the meal. The professors in
those days, even the deans of the colleges, would go out of their way to help
them establish their schedule at school so they could work at our place and
many others. Senator Cross worked at the College Inn when he was going to
school. I think he worked in the kitchen, and a great many important people
around the state worked in Gainesville.
J: Did you find that some people worked because you did supply a free meal? Some
students couldn't even afford meals so, perhaps, that would be a big incentive?
B: Most of them did work for their mals. It was normal they worked around the
boarding houses, and many places where they worked for their meal they had to
bring in a certain number of customers. They'd have to go out and get six
paying customers in order to get a job.
J: You mean, in order to get the job they had to bring the customers
B: Yes. This was not unusual at all. It was pretty much the usual practice
in the boarding houses around the campus. We had a lot of lawyers and a
lot of SAEs. The SAE house and Pi K house were on the corner where the
Flagler and the Atlantic Oil Station is, and that wasn't very far from
Primrose. It just happened that neither one had a dining room at that
time. Later on, they put in dining rooms but at that time they didn't
have a dining room. It turned out that we had a lot more SAEs than any
J: They would walk down for their meals?
B: Just walk down or hitch a ride down.
J: For supper or for all their meals?
B: For both. There were quite a few law students. They worked their way through
school right there. They made very little but they did have their meals and
some change to do their laundry.
J: What would be the proper attire for someone eating at the restaurant? Would
it be casual or would it be dressy?
B: Well, some of both. People were not as casual in those days. Now, they have
a beautiful Reitz Union over there. I'm amazed when I go over to campus as to
how much they have now that we didn't have then, and yet you see people walking
through there in rags. In my day it seemed like people were proud if they could
afford something, they would wear a little better clothing. Some of the
professors wouldn't let them come to class. They wouldn't let them in class
J: Mm hmm.
B: They had some dress codes. They weren't prim but some of the professors
required them to look like college people. They didn't have any crummy-
B: Now, the type of people that would come into your restaurant would include
students, professors, and townspeople, right?
B: Tourists and retired people that had money to come in.
J: Did you have a special room or meeting room?
B: The present, large front room was added in 1935.
J: What was prior to that? Was it just the back area?
B: It was just the back area and the little room off of the lobby.
J: To the left of the lobby?
B: Mm hmm.
J: The front room, you say, was added in thirty-five?
J: Have there been any other major additions since then?
B: Yes. After they put the front room on, they had to add on the kitchen.
The kitchen then was too small.
J: Was that done also in the '30s?
B: It was done in the '30s.
J: What about competition for the Primrose? Would the Whitehouse and Hotel
Thomas be competition or would that just draw a different kind of clientele?
B: It drew the same clientele. The Thomas and the Whitehouse were here first.
Of course, they had the hotel business. There weren't any other hotels here.
There were a couple of other ones. The commercial building is still there
and the Arlington Hotel. So there were primary hotels, but no motels or
anything on the edge of town. And they had dining rooms with similar type
food with breakfast, dinner and supper all in the same price range. Maybe
a little more, but approximately the same.
J: Did that hurt your business?
B: Well, I don't know. I think we hurt their's when we were in business.
The Primrose stayed there until both the others were closed. Of course,
there were other factors in their closing. The new motels killed them.
J: There were other places in town but I guess they were mostly quick-eating
places. Do you recall, for instance, the Black Cat?
B: Yes, that was a hamburger stand that was not much more than the In and Out
except that you went inside. It was about like the Toddle House. Have you
ever been there?
B: It was a little bigger inside but not as nice.
J: Did you know the people who owned that?
J: What were the other places in town? Oh, there was Louis's lunch downtown.
I guess people working downtown would go there.
B: I didn't get down there very much so I can't really answer firsthand what
type of people they did have. I'd be foolish to try to say.
J: What other restaurants were in town besides those two?
B: There was a place similar to Louis's down by the railroad track where
Sixth Street is now. Sixth Street didn't exist at that time. So when
they cut that through they eliminated that. Across the street from the
place where Smith's Office Supply is now, there was a steak house. It
was opened in the '30s.
J: Do you recall the name of the steak house or the name of the other place?
B: The Steak House.
J: It was called the Steak House. The other place you mentioned, do you
B: It was Louis's. There was a place where the First National Bank is, between
the railroad tracks and the street. There was a little place there about
the size of Louis's, it's not as big as Louis's downtown. Let me see. The
Presto Restaurant was uptown. There was a Greek restaurant and they had two
stores there where the framing shop was. I don't know what's in there now
on the corner of First Avenue and University, up by the newstand. There
was Thom McAn and another store in there and Mr. Presto had those three
stores. They started with one. They were across the street where the
Florida Bank parking lot is, and they moved to this location there,
expanded, and did real well.
J: Do you recall the Royal?
B: The Royal was uptown, yes. That was once the Blue Goose and it was very
popular and very profitable when my parents came. I've heard them talk
about it and other people talk about it. That was really the only restaur-
ant downtown of any consequence. There was Alachua Cafe around the side of
Woolworth's downtown. There was a commercial hotel, and that once had a
cafeteria in it called "Phil 'N Nicks," but I believe that was right after
World War II.
J: What about the College Inn, did that have quite a bit of business in the '30s?
B: Yes. It had a tremendous business and the operators were very sharp. They
were all businessmen who worked very hard.
J: Who were the people who owned it?
B: Mr. and Mrs. Hammond were the original owners and then Mr. Ahrano went in
with Mr. Hammond. When they burned down I think that Mr. Ahrano took his
insurance money and pulled out, and Mr. Hammond rebuilt and continued there.
That was out on the campus, I didn't know too much about that.
J: So they attracted most of the students?
B: Mostly students and people who lived in that area of town. They had quite
a few townspeople too. They had a good operation.
J: Did you ever go to the University or did you go right from the high school to
working in the business?
B: No. I went to the University. I graduated with a major in accounting.
J: You were there from thirty-four to thirty-eight?
J: Did your sister also work at the restaurant?
B: Yes. She cashiered and helped me when my folks would go away.
J: Were there specials like quail?
B: Yes, there was a time when quail was served on the menu.
J: Mm hmm.
B: It was against the law when I was very young. I remember conversation about
it. One man took his to the judge and said, "Look here. This is what they're
doing down there." He didn't do anything about it.
J: The judge didn't do anything about it?
J: It wasn't something you had to ask for. It was right there on the menu.
B: Yes. This was only for a short time. Soon after that it was discontinued.
People would bring some in they had killed. I can't say for sure, but
daddy would give somebody some and they'd cook them instead of the meal.
I don't know. They were actually served on the menu there for five or
J: Were the cooks that you had white or black?
B: They were black.
J: Was there one named Rosie?
B: I don't remember one named Rosie. Wages were ridiculously poor and the
hours long. We had two sisters work there awhile who were very good in
their primitive way. I mean, they had good hands for cooking nice food.
We had a couple of men too. But I don't remember too well the names of the
J: Were there any health regulations on preparation of food?
J: By the way, was it always waiters, no waitresses?
B: Since I was old enough to remember, it was waiters. But when they first
started, they did have some waitresses.
J: Now about the health regulations.
B: Right. There were health regulations but they were primitive and the equipment
was primitive. Of course, here in Florida, it was a boomtown with lots of
growth. The buildings were not built for restaurants so they were poor.
We didn't have stainless steel.
J: When did you switch over to electric refrigerators?
B: Whenever they had them. I don't remember. But I do remember when they
had the ice refrigerators.
J: And what did you use before the stainless steel?
B: Galvanized metal and wood. I remember when the refrigerators were made
of wood, galvanized metal, and with the ice for cooling. Of course, the
man brought the ice on the truck and put the blocks in. In the beginning,
they'd bring ice and you'd chip it up to use for ice tea. Later on, they
began to bring it in bags already crushed and in many cases this wasn't
too sanitary. The health department had a lot to say about this at times.
They watched the ice compaines very close while they crushed it, and what
kind of bags they used to put it in. Of course, we had ice makers which
solved that finally.
But there were health departments. I'm sure their budgets were not adequate
and perhaps the inspectors had too many places to cover. I don't know what
would've happened if they'd close down all the meat markets and restaurants
at the same time, because they didn't comply with the health rules. I'm
sure nobody complied very well. I don't know of that many epidemics or
sickness, anymore than we have now.
J: What was the status of a restaurant owner in the '30s? Was it considered
that you were a very respected part of the community? Was it considered
upper status to have a business?
B: Well, anybody who could pay their bills and own a car or a nice home had
a certain amount of status. The job itself didn't give you any status.
A professor, doctor, lawyer or a businessman would have more status. In
a restaurant, you had to work awfully hard during the Depression. You felt
more like a cook or a dishwasher unless you were a very good manager.
J: Would you have a separate man be the host or would everybody chip in doing
B: The cashier would be the host normally.
J: Mm hmm.
B: You spoke of restaurants in general terms. Of course, in a lot of the places
the manager would be a waiter, cashier, and host. If he wasn't there
waitresses would be cashiers, as they are now.
J: What about a license? Was it necessary to have a license from the state to
open the restaurant?
B: You didn't have to get a permit where now you have to get a permit in order
to get a license. The first thing you get is a permit to operate.
J: At that time you didn't need it?
B: Then you could go buy a license. I don't recall it being needed.
J: Mm hmm. Either the permit or the license?
B: You had to go buy a license from the city or county, an occupational license.
J: Did you know how much your family paid for that?
J: Um, what companies would you buy food from?
B: It was C.W. Zaire and Company and Chitty. There was one, I think I've
forgotten the name right now. Cox Leasing Company. We traded with them.
J: That's Hal Batey's.
B: No, I don't think so.
J: Thorton Stringfellow's Central Grocery maybe?
B: Central Grocery, that was it. I traded with those. Of course, Groover and
Cotting wasn't in business then. We got meats from Swift and Company and
J: Were they local or did they ship in from Jacksonville?
B: They were from Jacksonville. We got produce from Jacksonville, from Conway,
plus a lot of farmers brought it in. I know we bought meats from the meat
market. I remember, in our first year or two, I'd run up to the market and
get a package of meat. They were running out of something and I'd go up
there during supper. The market was staying open until 8:00. Everybody
worked long hours. My father and mother would send me there to bring something
and I'd go get it. I don't know right now. I can't remember what it was, but
it was a half a block away. You could almost go to the market and get an order
when they had ordered it in the dining room.
J: Right. Now, in the early '30s, when you were at Gainesville High School, you
were on the football team?
B: Yes, I played. I was rather young. I was sixteen when I was a senior on the
football team and we were members of the Big Ten conference. As I said earlier,
they had elementary all the way through twelth grade there at Buchholz High
B: We had a very small high school. We were a member of the big ten conference
and we were third in our senior year, in spite of having less than two teams
for practice. We couldn't have a good scrimmage because we didn't have
J: How many players were there?
B: We had seventeen making the trips. We started out with more but they were
very strict on scholastic. We didn't have band, or shop, or any course
to get easy credits. We had just all the academic courses including geometry,
physics, chemistry, latin and english. All the academic courses. If
you didn't pass, you didn't play, and you didn't have any tutors. The
teachers, at times, weren't even getting paid. They were given a scrip
which most of the merchants would take, but not necessarily all of them.
I don't exactly remember the arrangements, or how long it lasted, but
they kept teaching and I don't know how it finally straightened out.
J: Was Howard Bishop your football coach?
J: What kind of coach was Howard Bishop?
B: I think he was good. Unfortunately, he had to do it all himself. He
didn't have any assistants. He also taught physics a I don't know what
else. I know he taught me physics as well as being the coach. But he
didn't have time to do much coaching to individuals. Looking back now,
now I can see so many things that nobody had a chance to teach me.
J: How was the black team in town over at the Lincoln School?
B: I don't know. They used to say they were good, and they'd say that for
six or eight years. They apparently didn't care whether they were passing
or not. I don't know but they had older players, and they seemed to have a
better team than we had. I can't answer your question firsthand because I
J: What were some of the other teachers that you remember particularly well?
B: There was Clara Floyd who is now a lawyer. Ruby Wallace who was later
Mrs. Waits. There was Mrs. Winnofred Metcalf, and then her mother I think
was a teacher.
J: These people that you're mentioning. Do you remember any particular event
that was unusual in any of their classes or any different kinds of methods
they used that would've been very different?
B: No. We had a Mrs. Bristell who taught botany. I never did have her. We
saw her but I didn't take botany. I didn't have any particular need for it,
and I didn't like her. She seemed to be rather hard from what everybody
said. There was Mrs. Graham who taught French. I took Latin but not French.
She flunked a lot of people and they'd all line up crying and everything.
J: How about Fritz Buchholz, what kind of person was he?
B: Well,he was pretty old when I knew him. I'm sure he was very nice, but he
was stern and strict. I don't know what started it, but on the back play-
ground I remember him climbing up a tremendous oak tree to get a student out
of the tree and take him inside to punish him. What triggered it, I don't know.
J: So he would do a lot of the disciplining himself?
B: Yeah. The above student's name was Eugene Crown. He wasn't in any of my
classes. He was a country boy but he was sharp. I don't know what his
J: Were you a classmate with Ed Turlington? Was he there the same time you were?
B: Yes. We were very close and he broke his arm on the blocking dummy hanging
from the rope. He broke his arm when he blocked it and he fell in the sawdust.
J: So was he on the football team also?
B: That was the end of his football.
J: Oh, that was the end. [laughter] What group of students did you hang around
with? Who were your friends at that time?
B: I don't know how to describe the group, I could just name them by names. We
played baseball together. They had a city league. It was four teams and
they had the east side and west. The ones on west side were way out and the
ones on the east side played with another group. I worked a lot. I worked
more than other boys. I didn't mix with them as much.
J: So you didn't have a whole lot of time for socializing?
J: Was your day mostly going to school, then football practice, and then working
at the restaurant?
B: That and studying, yes.
J: How long would football practice be?
B: Until after dark.
J: And then you'd go from there to the restaurant?
B: Yes. We'd take a shower. We had cold water to take a shower in, and no
towels unless you took one.
J: From home?
B: Yeah. It was cold water. I remember that. You sure hated to get in it.
But if you had the sniffles it sure cured that.
J: You say you went to the University in 1934.
B: Yes. We won the state high school baseball championship too in a tournament
in Winter Park. At that time they didn't have anything broken down into
Triple-A and all that; it was just a statewide baseball tournament and we
did win it.
J: This baseball team that played, where did it play?
B: It played on Harris Field, which has been destroyed, now, for that complex
J: Was it just city leagues or was it for the schools at the same time?
B: No. We had city leagues that the Kiwanis and Exchange sponsored and they
played on Lynch Field. It was down at the Baptist Church on Fifth Avenue, S.W.
Fifth Avenue between Second and Third Street. There's a vacant lot
down there and we played there until they sold it to the church, I
guess. In fact, the city softball league was there, too. They had
circuses down there at times and carnivals. Then, when we got in high
school we played at Harris Field.
J: You went to the University now. When you were at the University, were
you still living at home?
J: Did you join a fraternity at that time?
J: ATO. That was located at what corner at that time?
B: S.W. Thirteenth Street and Third Avenue. It's now on Second Avenue. They
moved next door and built a house. No, it was on the same place. They
moved the house next door. It was at the same place it is now.
J: Oh, I see.
B: But the house is moved to the next lot. That's right.
J: Is it the same house that was there in the '30s?
J: Where did they get this house from that they have now?
B: They built it.
J: I see. Do you recall pajama parades?
J: What were they like?
B: They didn't have them when I was in school. It was before I was in college.
J: They stopped them before you got to college?
B: Yes. All the Freshman and all the students in the dormitories used to do it.
And, of course, they used to beat the freshman unmercifully with paddles for
J: Is this fraternity guys or everybody?
J: So you never really experienced it?
J: Did you experience the rat court?
B: No, I didn't, except for whatever fool thing they had in the fraternity
which wasn't much.
J: Was there hazing in the fraternity and did you experience hazing?
B: No. I think some did and still do, I suppose. I don't know if they still
do it here but I read about it at other schools. They used to haze them
and take them out on road trips. I believe they would gather the freshman
or what not from the house itself, and take them out on a road trip with
thirty, forty dollars, and let them get back home the best way they could.
J: Were there quite a few Gainesville boys in ATO when you were there?
B: Oh, there were three or four. Let's see, Don Morrison and there were two
pledges that I don't think were ever initiated. I guess it was just one
that I can think of.
J: That's Dr. Morrison today?
J: In terms of studies on campus, do you recall some of your professors?
B: Yes. A Dr. Bates was the accounting professor. He was head of the accounting
department. I had Roy Purvis and Earl Powers on occasion and a young professor,
Ben Ogburn who died from a tonsilectomy.
J: When you were there?
B: No, this was when I was in school. Let's see, Dr. Tutill and Dr. Black
in chemistry, and Dr. Deitrich.
J: Do you recall any of these people in particular. Did one of them leave a
greater impression than the others on you?
B: Well, I also had Matherly who was head of the College of Business Administra-
tion and he taught classes, too. But Dr. Bates was the one that I thought the
most of as a professor.
J: Why would you say that?
B: Because he was able to teach better. He took his time and he had a nice way
about him and made his lectures interesting. He could talk slowly so you had
time to absorb it. He covered the subjects and he made it interesting. I was
in business administration. The main reason I took accounting was because it
seemed to be the only thing where you learn anything about business.
J: Did they have a graduation ceremony at the end in thirty-eight or did you just
graduate and that was it.
B: Yes. You had a graduation ceremony.
J: Did you attend?
B: I had to.
J: What was it like?
B: I don't remember.
J: It's not one of your most memorable experiences?
B: I don't remember. I know I went. Some of the professors talked so fast,
and still do. They think they're so smart and know everything, and they
talk so fast that the student can't keep up. Dr. Bates didn't leave you
behind yet he covered all the subject, too.
J: Our tape is running out. Would you like to add something about the
restaurant? One quick thing. When did you become owners of the Winn-
jammer? Was that at a later time?
B: Yes, in 1964. The restaurant was bankrupt. I bought the lease and the
equipment for very little.
J: What was it called before?
B: The Sandwich Park. It was a curb-service restaurant.
J: Do you still own both?
B: No, I sold the Primrose.
J: Oh, you sold the Primrose?
B: Right. I still rent the Winnjammer and one of these days I'll have to
leave that, too. I'm getting too old to do all that.
J: Who owns the Primrose now?
B: Jack McCraw.
J: You have children, though, that could take it over, don't you?
B: They don't want it.
J: They don't want the restaurant? Are they in something completely different
than the restaurant business?
B: Well, one works in research for a telephone company in Orlando. One's in
an Army field band in Washington, and one is living here with me and he wants
to be in forestry.
J: So, that's the end of the family passing on the business?
B: Some of them change and strike out on their own then.
J: Was it difficult for you to sell the Primrose?
J: It was just a business, it wasn't something that you felt was part of the
B: Yes, it was difficult. I wanted to practice accounting because I'd been
tied too much in the way the restaurant operated in those years, and for
quite a bit of times after it it was very trying. It was only in the last
few years, after the liquor came and you got a liquor license, that you were
able to get prices up and operate like you should operate. This is probably
why my children didn't want to do it either. They saw a lot of that.
But, anyway, I spent a whole lifetime getting it from the primitive state
it was in to where it is now. The new owners haven't changed it much and
there's no particular reason to do so. They've re-decorated the dining
rooms. It's a different color scheme.
J: Well, that's been fairly recently, hasn't it?
B: Yes, after they bought it.
J: In the last year or two?
B: No, it's been about two years.
J: Two years?
B: But the meals are approximately the same with the same type of service and
what not. I put a lot of years, and a lot of time in it, and I miss it.
J: Did your father work pretty much near to the end? Once he went into farming,
did he just get out of it?
B: No, when he went into farming I leased it. Then, I left to go into the war,
World War II. While I was gone, they rented it out to some people who kept it,
and when I came back I took it over. Then in 1956 I bought it. But he
wasn't active in it after World War II.
J: What about your mother?