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Title: Mr. Barney Colson
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Title: Mr. Barney Colson
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Colson, Barney ( Interviewee )
Miller, Joyce ( Interviewer )
Publisher: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: March 14, 1977
Copyright Date: 1977
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Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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    Copyright
        Copyright
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Interview
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        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
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COPYRIGHT NOTICE


This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the 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
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materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limts the amount of material that may be
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For all other permissions and requests, contact the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida






























ORAL HISTORY PROJECT


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


INTERVIEWEE:
INTERVIEWER:


Mr. Barney Colson
Joyce Miller


DATE: March 14, 1977



















M: This is Joyce Miller. I'm interviewing Mr. Barney Colson at 215
S.E. Second Avenue on March 14 at 3:15 in the afternoon. And I want to
start by asking Mr. Colson when he was born.

C: November 29, 1922.

M: Your family goes back about four generations in Gainesville till about
the 1820s?

C: Yes.

M: What year was your father born?

C: April 24, 1878.

M: You said he moved into the--what would be the city part of Gainesville
in...?

C: 1900 to 1902, right along in there.

M: That he got involved in the land business, or was it abstract exactly?

C: Abstracts.

M: In abstracts as early as that in-1902.

C: That's correct.

M: Was it necessary in order to sell land, even in 1902, to have an abstract
on the land?

C: It isn't absolutely necessary, it's advisable. An abstract, of course,
is the history of the land and you can determine what has happened to
it. If you don't know, you take the chance if you buy land. In 1902,
I suppose, the county was getting large enough and the values high
enough that people were interested in knowing the history. Actually
the company just started in 1885. So it had been in existence for
about twenty some odd years when we bought it.

M: What did you say the original owner's name was?

C: J. A. Carlisle. He was the Clerk of the Court in 1885. He started
the company.


I














M: Is the abstract business a type of monopoly in that--is this the only
place in town or are there competing organizations?

C: No, it is not a monopoly, it's free enterprise system. There are two
other companies that do not prepare abstracts, but furnish title in-
surance at this point. A number of years up to 1949, however, there were
two companies in Gainesville, the Abstract & Reality Company and the
Alachua County Abstract Company. We purchased the Abstract & Reality
Company in 1949.

M: So as far as abstracts then, this is the only one?

C: It's the only one.

M: You mentioned in 1939, or was it '36?

C: '39 my father died.


M: '39 your father passed
What was her name?


away, and your sister took over the business.


C: Frances Colson.

M: Then you took over the business after....

C: 1946.

M: After the war, '46. What happened to your
working?

C: No. She was married and retired.

M: Do many of your family members work in the
business?

C: They have throughout the years. Right now
for the business.


sister? Did she stay on


business? Is it a family


I have three nephews working


M: But besides that, there are non-relative employees predominately?

C: Yes.

M: We were talking about the city boundaries of the town in the thirties.

C: Yes, if I am correct they involved up to--well, you could look on an
old city map and determine accurately, but it would be North Boundary
Street, west to about Northwest Twenty-second Avenue, south at the
university campus and then over to Thirteenth Street, south down Thir-
teenth Street to about the railroad, and then east to what would be
about Northeast Fifteenth Street now.














M: Would the president's home be considered on the outskirts of town?

C: Yes.

M: Would that be the same for Citizen's Field?

C: Citizen's Field would've been out of the city limits, I believe, at
that time.

M: Was there a different tax structure for people actually in the city
limits and those out?

C: During the periods of thirties, the taxes were very low, but very few
people could afford to pay what taxes there were. Really in 1933
practically everyone in the county was unable to pay the taxes. It
resulted in an act of legislature in 1937 called the Murphy Act which
forgave taxes and enabled people to save their properties from loss
of taxes.

M: Prior to that, say in '33 or '34, when people could not pay their land
taxes, was it foreclosed?

C: It's the same as it is today that there would be a tax certificate issued
and after two years a person could acquire it by tax deed. But every-
body was what you called land poor, no one could afford to pay taxes on
what they had and they were not interested in acquiring other pieces of
land that would be a cost to them.

M: Were there any families in town that were perhaps better off financially
that were able to acquire land? For instance, did the Pounds begin to
acquire land at that point, or was that much later? Or the Kirkpatricks?

C: The Pounds acquired some of it. Mr. Pound acquired some of his land in
the twenties during what was called the boom days, but during the thir-
ties there was not a great deal of interest in acquisition of land.
There was some but not a lot of interest in it. Kirkpatricks were later
in the thirties, probably close to the forties, before they became very
active.

M: So it wasn't just a matter of people being able to buy up land because
no one had the money to?

C: No one really wanted to.

M: Are you familiar with the acquisition of the land for P. K. Yonge Lab
School and how that came about?














C: Not directly. I do remember that Paul H. Smith Construction Company
came to the town and built the institution. I believe that the city
did lease part of the land to the university for it to be built on,
but I don't recall the details at the moment.

M: What about the beginners? Were real estate people like M. M. Parrish
already in the business by the early thirties, or was that also after-
wards?

C: His father was in business. Actually his father became the first state
director of the FHA in about 1939 or 1940. Federal Housing Act came in
existence at that time to encourage home building. Part of that time
M. M. Parrish, Sr., was in the real estate business. I can't remember
right off hand any of the other ones.

M: So he's the only one that you could really remember. Was he the biggest
at the time?

C: I really don't know. There was nothing big in those days in the real
estate business.

M: Where do you think the change came from really being rich as far as
land, but not able to pay on it, and really starting to become solvent?

C: In the way of land, but it was not a detriment to you to be land poor
so to speak. It was really not until about the forties right prior to
World War II and then after World War II the land began to accelerate
in values. But during the thirties it was very, very flat.

M: So Gainesville really had a boom in the early twenties, and then again
in the forties with not much in between.

C: There was very much of depression during the period between....

M: That would go not only for acquisition of land, but would that go for
building of homes also?

C: Yes. As I recall--I may not be accurate in this-but about the only
house building was done by the Stringfellows at that time. They had
some money and they were able to contract with some carpenters and
masons to work at a steady base, possibly making two dollars a day or
something like that. They did build some houses.

M: That's the homes that are now located behind the Florida Bookstore?

C: There's a few there and there's some over in what's called Highlands area.


M: What area is Highlands? Is that the northeast section?














C: Northeast around northeast duck pond.

M: Those are homes built by Stringfellow also?

C: Some of 'em.

M: Was Highlands considered almost an upperclass neighborhood to live in?

C: Yes, it was probably the better....

M: Were there any other subdivisions like that?

C: Golf View had been developed in the twenties, but it didn't progress
very much until after World War II. Hibiscus Park was there.

M: Where was Hibiscus Park?

C: That's right north of the law school. Then College Court, of course,
across from the campus, and then University Heights immediately east of
the campus was there. Those were areas that were developing. Most of
it was immediately between town and campus, a little bit northeast
around the duckpond, and very slightly north of campus, but nothing north
of Rattlesnake Creek or in that area.

M: Nothing west of the campus?

C: No.

M: Because that would be....

C: Golf View. Golf View was over there.

M: Golf View, right, which would've been a few blocks west of the campus. So
Highland Heights was the subdivision then, you would say?

C: Probably was.

M: What would the cost of an acre of land be? I know it would vary according
to when we're talking about, early thirties, late thirties. It would
also vary on the areas of town, but could you make any distinctions?

C: Farmland and acreage in the county, you couldn't give it away. Even
after the World War II, the pinelands, the farmlands, would go as little
as seven dollars a half an acre. If you could sell a lot in town, I'd
imagine two to three hundred dollars would buy most anything.

M: Were there separate sections in town where there would be predominately
homes and other sections that would be primarily industry or did that come
about after the zoning laws?















C: I think the patterns were very much like they are now. The southeast
round Gainesville south of the railroad tracks, it was industry and
the homes were in the northeast part of town as they are now. The
zoning probably developed from the patterns that were already estab-
lished.

M: That already existed?

C: Yeah.

M: Do you remember any big uproar or a change in town when they put in the
zoning laws in the early thirties?

C: Oh, possibly a little bit. I think my father was on the first city zoning
planning, but it was really the simple zoning and I don't really recall
any uproar.

M: When was Eighth Avenue converted into a road?

C: The east end of it's been a road for a very, very long time, probably
since the founding of the city. Going west from Sixth Street, it's been
relatively recent, I'd say within fifteen years.

M: Oh, that recently.

C: Yeah, very recently. Starting at Sixth Street west was paved very recently.
I'd say fifteen to twenty years.

M: Do you recall when they converted Ninth Street into...well, Ninth Street
then, what we call Thirteenth Street, do you recall when the paved that in
the early thirties?

C: Yes, I do.

M: What kind of commotion did that cause, or did it?

C: It did. Certain property owners didn't want the road. Certain property
owners didn't want their flowers...Turlington particularly, who lived
where Gainesville High School is, had some very large camellias which
he didn't want disturbed by the road. Generally speaking, most of the
people along the road did want it, but there were a few that objected
to it as they do today.

M: Was it two lane at the time?

C: Oh, yeah.

M: I was wondering if there was a feeling among the downtown merchants also,
against possible pulling away of business


1














C: I believe I do recall that there was some resistance to that, worrying
about it. I think Sixth Street people, on what they called Dixie High-
way, were a little bit concerned that the traffic coming through Gaines-
ville would not go down Sixth Street but would move over to Thirteenth
Street. The normal fears when every road is built.

M: Was Sixth Street a large shopping area at the time?

C: No, it was a state road. There was no large shopping center. The
only shopping was downtown around the square.

M: When you refer to Sixth Street, that's the present-day Sixth Street you're
referring to?

C: That's right. They call it the Dixie Highway.

M: Would it have been the same street that the moss factory was located on?
Was that also on Sixth Street?

C: I'm not sure.

M: What about the price of abstracts? A person would want to sell their
land and they would come into you, how would you go about researching
their land, and what would it cost the person, and how long would it
have taken?

C: It wouldn't take very long. In fact, in 1932 or '33, the company re-
cords show that our gross income for the entire year was $237.00, so
you see, the times were really slim. The cost of them would be what-
ever you could get.
During that time, the Major Thomas owned a good bit of land and
made a number of abstracts. I do recall that they didn't have money
to pay them but they paid for the abstract with what you call aluminum
chips, which could be traded in their stores. They had several small
grocery stores and we would get these aluminum chips, and we would buy
groceries.

M: Is that the same thing the Chamber of Commerce was sort of pushing back
then, that merchants accept those and the people take the chips?

C: I don't know that the Chamber of Commerce was pushing, but I know that
we did use those aluminum tokens for the grocery buying in those times.

M: When did it get to the point where there was actually a set price for
an abstract?


C: There's always been a set price.














M: Where you could actually collect it then?

C: Yeah. I don't recall, but normally the certificate in those days was
ten dollars and then it was seventy-five cents a page. Today, for
example, a certificate charge on abstract is twenty-five dollars and
is two dollars a page. So it hasn't increased terrifically since that
time.

M: How would you go about researching a piece of land in the first place?

C: We have started indexing the property by legal description, not by
name, ever since the company was formed and each day we go to the
courthouse. It used to be done by hand, now it's done by microfilming.
Take all the documents that are filed and bring them over here and
index them according to properties and it's just a continuous indexing
process to keep up with, so that we can go to any particular parcel of
land and have it all already indexed in a certain way, according to
parcels or legal description rather than names.

M: You mentioned that this is important in selling land, but why exactly is
it important to know the history of the land when you're selling the
land?

C: Obviously if you bought a piece of land and the person you bought it
from didn't own it, you'd be in trouble. Or if the person you bought it
from owed money or had not payed the taxes or any number of items and
you were not aware of it, you'd be in deep trouble when you bought the
land. Of course, the company now issues title insurance. The abstract
doesn't guarantee that that title is perfect but it does guarantee every-
thing that has happened to the land is there. If we missed something, we
would have to pay for it. Title insurance looks at the abstract, guar-
antees the condition of the title. It can be done two ways: either an
attorney can examine the abstract and give it legal opinion or you can
buy a title policy which is backed by the title insurance company.

M: Is this something that's fairly recent, title insurance?

C: No title insurance has been in existence from the 1800s. The volume
of it didn't really start until, I'd say, the late thirties and early
forties when FHA came into effect. When the companies were mostly local,
the people knew the attorneys. They were willing to take an abstract
attorney's opinion, but once you started dealing with investors from
other towns, they don't know the attorneys so they want a title policy
guaranteed by our company that would be acceptable all over the country
and that is when the...as the town grows and people come into town that
don't know the older attorneys and all, they're not interested in that,
they want a large company to guarantee it.














M: What is the cost of this kind of title insurance?

C: There are schedules that vary from fifty dollars on up, depending on
the value of the land sold. Actually, the title insurance rates have
not changed since 1938. It's one of the few rates that I know of that
has not gone up. Of course, the acceleration of the values of the
property makes it cost more, but the basic rate is the same as it was
in Cthe] thirties, sixties, and seventies, as today.

M: You're right, it's probably the only thing that hasn't gone up. You
mentioned that your father was running a business in the thirties,
and that was one of those years the company brought in how much money?
It was in the hundreds?

C: About $237 for the entire year.

M: How many people were employed at the company at the time? Was it just
he?

C: And one other lady. My aunt worked him, if you could say employed.
She ate with us at home, and that was the extent of it.

M: How did your family survive at that point? You were still, by that
point, just starting high school?

C: I was young during those days, but I do remember that it was quite
difficult. One interesting thing that I do remember, I found a round
object on the school grounds and I took it to my father. I didn't know
what it was. It turned out to be a quarter. I'd never seen one. So
that gives you some concept of the children's lack of knowledge of
money. We just didn't have any. We always had something to eat, but
nothing extra. We never went out to eat anywhere. We never went riding
in the car. We had a car, but I don't think we used it hardly ever. We
always walked. We had enough clothes, but never more than one pair of
shoes at the time. And we were considered to be fairly comfortable.

M: Did you have relatives living with you to help overcome the cost?

C: No. They didn't pay rent. They were just...

M: There.

C: ...help. We were just helping people that would stay there. Nephews and
cousins would stay here on occasion.and some of them always
looking for jobs but never could find one.

M: Where was your home located at that time?

C: It was on East University.


M: When?














C: It's now 607 East University.

M: Do you still own that?

C: The property is still owned by the family. It's vacant now.

M: So some people would move in with you, and you would not have the money
for, say, extras, but it never got to the point...your father always
had the business though? He was able to maintain the business?

C: There was nothing else to do but to maintain it, and what little it did,
what it helped. Of course, he went into debt, as most people did, to
survive at So it was quite difficult, I'm sure. I didn't
fully appreciate the pressures.

M: Did he do real estate work at the same time, or did he stick straight to
the abstracts.

C: I don't recall and I don't think anybody could sell real estate. It's
about like the abstract business, there wasn't any. Or, as you say,
realtor would be starving with everybody else.

M: What about the tung groves? Where were they located in the thirties?

C: To the west of Gainesville, about where the interstate is. Some of them,
were up at Brooker up there on Cooter Pond area, and some of them actually
on the Jacksonville road northeast of town, but it was a small grove.

M: That northeast, would that be...?

C: Waldo Road.

M: Do you feel that that was a boost at all, economically or socially, to
the community?

C: I'm sure it helped.

M: You were fairly young at the time, but maybe as a child, do you remember
ever being taken to the tung blossom festival and seeing the Queen and
the seventy floats?

C: I don't remember that. I do remember going out to the place where they
ground the nuts and....

M: Where was that located?

C: I don't remember exactly where, but it was west of town.


M: But at actually the festivals or anything?














C: I don't remember the festivals.

M: When the city began to grow, say, in the late thirties--it didn't really
grow till the forties--but when it began to, in which direction would
it grow?

C: It grew in the northeast probably more than it grew west to begin with,
but then the predominate growth has always been towards the north and
west.

M: Do you find that that's true in many towns?

C: That's true, but here it's quite logical because you go south, you hit
Payne's Prairie, you go east, you have all the Sunnyland area, the state
owns all the land and the swamps and so the nature of it is that the
availability of good land was better to the northwest than to the south
or to the east, which were swampy.

M: But primarily, it grows west, more west than it does north, it seems to
me. Like north of Paradise, what would've been Paradise there's....

C: Yeah, it is. But there's a lot of growth to the east. Northeast has.
had a tremendous growth. Awful lot of houses northeast.

M: They're not fairly new ones though.

C: Not the newest development that's west, but immediately after the war and
for about ten or fifteen years most of the growth was east.

M: In the east?

C: Northeast.

M: What about the effects of the fire on the community? Do you recall in
the early thirties when Fowler fire took place?

C: His garage. Yeah, I do. I remember it burned down. I remember the big
advantage of it was that some of my relatives got the job nailing the
boards back on the roof, which was very encouraging at the time. Only
job they'd been able to get for some time.

M: Did the whole town come down to see that fire also?

C: Oh, yeah, a number of people were there.

M: Besides the Fowler car place and the building, were there particular...?

C: The Cox Furniture Company burned up during that period, I believe.














M: There was another fire then in '38 and that's where Cox Furniture or what
they would've called Gainesville Furniture...

C: Yeah, burned up.

M: ...burned up at that time. Were you old enough to recall that one?

C:

M: What kind of reaction was that in the community also?

C: Well, it was quite worrisome.

M: How did they announce to the people that there was a fire? Was it
just over RUF?

C: You could see it.

M: Oh, you could see it from most of the town?

C: People that were close enough. It was at night and you could see it.
Light.

M: Some people have mentioned fire boxes that were located in different parts
of town. They would call up and that area of town would know there was a
fire. Was that much later than the thirties, or can you recall that?

C: I don't remember those fire alarm boxes were not telephones, but something
that--I don't know much about them. They were there, but whether people
used them or not, I don't know.

M: Do you recall the Pinkosons and how they were involved in land?

C: Yeah, I think so. Pinkoson was the sheriff here at one time.

M: Was he beginning to acquire land at all?

C: He owned some land, yes.

M: I noticed in the back what seems to be a scouting badge. Is that correct?
What is that?

C: No, that's for donating to the boy scouts for the last few years.

M: Were you in the scouts in early years?

C: Yeah.

M: Were you in the troop of Mr. Aims or Mr. Cooper?














C: I was in troop four. Francis Cooper's troop.

M: Do you recall some of the experiences on the troop or some of the people
that were in the.troop when you were in it?

C: Ralph Turlington was in it and Bill Crow of Crow and was in it,
Herbert Smith, I believe Jack Durrance was in it.

M: What types of things would you do? I know Mr. Cooper mentioned that
there'd be some camp-outs in different areas.

C: It was mostly that type, nothing fancy. We'd go down to Wakiva Creek on
Waccasassa River during the Christmas holidays or out to Sunnyside,
some of the lakes around Hawthorne and camp.

M: What other types of things? Did they earn badges?

C: Yes.

M: At that time? The same badges as there is today?

C: Yeah. I don't know what they do now, but they did earn merit. It's the
same rules.

M: Did they meet weekly?

C: Once a week, uh huh.

M: Where were the meetings?

C: At the legion hall is where we met, American Legion.

M: Were any social events involved in it also?

C: No.

M: Just camping primarily?

C: Uh huh. Nothing that costs money was involved.

M: It was just the fun type things also?

C: Uh huh.

M: Do you recall ever having to throw any of the boys in lakes or something
to either get over the cold water or...?

C: No, but I do recall something interesting about Ralph Turlington. We
used to plant pine trees and have fire lines plowed around it. There was
a big muddy fire line and we gave him a quarter to take a nose dive in















the mud. He agreed to do it and he did for the twenty-five cents. We
called him Pineywoods Turlington. I believe that's what we called him
in those days.

M: Was his brother Ed...or was Ed too old by that time?

C: No, they were not in the troop.

M: This was troop number four?

C: Uh huh.

M: Was Bert Aims, I believe his troop....

C: Was two.

M: Were there other troops in town?


C: Yeah, there was more. I don't really remember,
three or four of them.

M: Perhaps 'cause I've mostly interviewed men I've
but I've heard nothing about girl scouts. Were
the thirties in girl scouts here?


but I think there were


run across boy scouts,
the troops as early as


C: I really don't think so.

M: So it's probably later.

C: Uh huh.

M: I don't even recall when girl scouts were founded exactly, but they
must've been founded that early, I would think.

C: I would think so. I don't remember girl scouts.

M: I don't either. If I understand right, you are a Republican. Was your
family involved in Republican politics which were almost nonexistent
very early?

C: No, my family was Democratic.

M: Oh, they were Democratic?

C: Uh huh.


M: That's your father and most of the family?


L














C: Uh huh.

M: So that's been just a recent change in the family?

C: It's a change when the Democratic party changed why the Republicans
became more like the Democratic party, so times have changed. I changed
probably back in the forties.

M: So,after F.D.R. then?

C: Right after Truman is when I changed it. Before Eisenhower.

M: Was your father involved in politics at all in the town as a Democrat, or
was he just voting and that's it?

C: No, not during that time. Earlier he was somewhat involved inthe state
politics with William Jennings Bryan CAmerican political and religious
leader (1860-1925)], and before that time. That's before I was born,
but during the thirties I don't believe he was involved with politics,
other than the school board.

M: You were very, very young when your father was chairman of the school
board, but can you recall some of the problems he had?

C: Mostly money.

M: It seemed like...I've read the early thirties in the Gainesville Sun
and seems like every year it was the same problem of keeping the school
open past seven months. Was that primarily the problem?

C: Yes, just the money problem.

M: Were there six members of the school board at that time?

C: I don't know. I couldn't tell you.

M: How did your father get involved with the school board?

C: I guess by somebody begging him to do it.

M: There wasn't real competition for people?

C: I don't believe there was. He was really on the school board for about
thirty years, a long time.

M: Was that prior to when he became chairman?

C: He was on the school board for a very long time.














M: Was he on the school board when he died or was he already off by then?

C: No, he was off then.

M: Do you recall any other positions he held in the community besides the
school board?

C: He was the first president of the University of Florida Alumni Association.
He was president of the Rotary Club and things like that.

M: And were those in the twenties?

C: That was probably in the twenties and early thirties.

M: Was he involved in the church?

C: Yes, he was a very dedicated Christian and member of the University
Avenue Church of Christ.

M: In reference to yourself, you were in high school then in the late
thirties? It was located at what we call

C: I went to the P. K. Yonge School when it opened.

M: When it opened you were at P. K.?

C: First class.

M: That would'te been the P. K. that we know today as Norman Hall?

C: That's right.

M: What was it like moving into the new building?

C: I thought it was a very fine building.

M: Who was incharge at that time at P. K.?

C: I believe it was J. Hooper Wise. I'm not positive but I believe it was
J. Hooper Wise.

M: What kind of an administrator was he? I mean, did you ever have any run-
ins or anything?

C: I had no problems with him.

M: Was he very passive? Many people remember stories about F. W. Buchholz
who was at the other school.

C: Yeah. He was not that type.














M: Just strictly an administrator?

C: Uh huh.

M: Do you recall some of your teachers at P. K. at that time?

C: Yes, I remember Mrs. Boutell and Mrs. Clara Olson. Mr. Hal Lewis, I
think, was student teaching at that time. I think he's retired recently.
I can't recall. I could if I thought more, but I can't think of any in
particular.

M: What kinds of things were you involved in in school? Did you just go
to school and come home or were you involved in sports or any clubs that
they had?

C: No, I was particularly interested during those days in ornithology, study
of birds, and Mr. Doe had the bird collection in the attic of the school.
I became very well acquainted with him and took a lot of field trips for
birds with him. That was quite interesting to me during those days.

M: When did the bird collection get into the Seagle building, the old
museum?

C: I couldn't tell you when but it was probably after World War II, I
would think. I don't know.

M: I often wonder what they've done with that because it was a nice collection.
They have not redone it at the new museum. Who were the students at P. K.
at that time? Do you recall some of your friends?

C: The ones that are still here that were in the class were Pierre Vidal with
City Drug. Alvin Bobrolt, shoe store, Charles Black was there, Winston
Summerlin, and Minnie Reta Garris, she was head of the school lunch pro-
gram. Gretchen Kukomoor was there at that time. I could think of more.

M: How big was the class?

C: I believe around thirty to forty.

M: At G.H.S. they considered seventy a large class so.

C: I think our graduating class was about forty.

M: In terms of the building, it's huge. Was that whole building as big as
it is today and what was most of it used for?

C: It was classrooms. Of course, it had from elementary through high school
in it. It wasn't just a high school, the whole works.


M: But they used most of the space then that's there?














C: I believe when they first started they hadn't finished the third floor.
I don't believe they did. They used just the first two floors.

M: There was no heating or air conditioning or anything like...? Well,
air conditioning, I guess, would not but....

C: No air conditioning. There was heat.

M: Was there a charge or anything?

C: No.

M: How did you get to go to P. K.?

C: You had to sign up for it.

M: Based on what did they accept the people?

C: I don't know.

M: You just knew that you went there and that was it. I know you're busy so
maybe we'll just cut it short. Was there anything else that you might
feel would be interesting to know in terms of land, first of all, in
reference to the Depression or the thirties in Gainesville?

C: It's interesting to note that during the boom days, Florida land had a
rather high value, but it did deflate very drastically and remained very
flat for a number of years. We haven't had that type of situation since.
We've had some ups and downs, but never that severe. Of course population
has increased tremendously so I doubt that the values will ever decline
to anything like that. I think one thing that impressed me during those
days is that you didn't have to worry about stealing or anything. Your
house would be left unlocked, there was no problems even though things
were very, very tight with the...and the schools had no drug problems,
really no alcohol problems and no discipline problems that seemed to be
in schools today. Even though times were very hard, the standards of the
people were very good on a whole.

M: Maybe when things get better off that breeds this kind of....

C: Maybe it does. Maybe things are too good, but when things are that tough
why people are...well, there are fewer people.

M: Was the relationship,- by the way, between the university and the town
good in the thirties or was there a strain?

C: I think it was. From the high school boy's point of view there was a
strain because the university boys wanted to date the high school girls
because the university was all male at that time.














M: But other than that, do you think between the townpeople it was?

C: No, I didn't recall any great problem.

M: Did you want to say anything else about P. K. in the thirties?

C: They didn't teach me to spell very well [chuckle]. They didn't teach
basic English very well. They did do a good job of creative writing and
a few things like that, but I have always felt that the English back-
ground I got was inadequate.

M: You graduate from there in 1940?

C: Yeah.

M: Then immediately went to the university?

C: No, I went two years to Abilene Christian in Texas and then went into
the navy. In forty-three I got my degree from the university and went
into the navy.

M: Anything else you'd like to say then about the thirties?

C: There's one interesting thing I do remember. One of the sayings of my
father's at the dinner table at that time that was somewhat of a joke
I guess. He'd say that tonight we'll have ham and eggs, if we had some
ham, if we had some eggs.

M: This was in the early thirties then?

C: Yeah, and the diet consists mostly of grits and vegetables and that type
of thing.

M: Potatoes?

C: No, grits.

M: Not potatoes, grits.

C: Never potatoes, always grits for breakfast and then cold grits for supper
[chuckle].

M: There wouldn't be any going out to the Thomas or the Whitehouse or Primrose?

C: No. I don't recall ever eating out when I was young. Of course, when I
was in high school, we used to go to hamburger places and things like that
but as far as going out to a restaurant for a meal, I don't really remember.


M: Where did you go, to Black Cat or Louis'?














C: Well, Louis'.

M: Was that mostly townspeople at Louis' because it was located downtown?

C: Very much like it is today.

M: Did you have hamburgers with eggs? They had hamburgers and eggs for about....

C: No, just hamburgers and milk.

M: Later on, he had hamburgers and eggs for about fifteen or twenty cents.

C: Well, you could get a quart of milk for a dime and a hamburger for a nickle.

M: So it was a pretty good meal and cheap.

C: Yeah.




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