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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
Date: October 27, 1966
Subject: Captain Hewes
Interviewer: Polly Redford
Transcriber: Sharon Harrington
R: The date is October 27, 1966, and the interview is to be an interview
with Captain C. D. Hewes at his home on Purdy Avenue in Miami Beach.
C. D. Hewes was Captain, Yacht Captain for Carl Fisher. Pete Chase
tells me that he, Captain Hewes is about 85 years old, fe veteran of
the Spanish American War) and lives on Miami Beach with a great many cats.
Well, If11 just take this opportunity to say that I'm sitting with
Captain Hewes in the truck that he has parked...
H: An old truck.
R: ...parked out in front of his house here on Purdy Avenue in Miami Beachd
and what do you ise the truok for, Captain?
H: Anything, everything& I use it for pulling the trailer. I have a
trailer back there. I've had this thing up 12,000 feet dragging that
trailer, all over every state in the Union.
R: Every state in the Union, so you don't stay here. WheI was the last
trip you took in it, looks like its pretty full of stuff.
H: Well, I just, as I go along I just throw stuff in there.
&t;_lA'-?. LDAIt- eLCRCAMatu it *
R: Yeah, it sure does. What was the last trip you took in it?
H: Well ah; the last trip I took was four years ago.
H: What year was that?
R: Well lets see, this is "66", that been "62". You don't have to talk
right into this, its just, oh, you got a cat in here, too.
H: Oh, she just likes to travel around, +" S- -,-i'- os. .-
R- Ah, where'd you go? Four years ago in this truck.
H: Four years ago, out, out in the Northwest, I think t;hte around Yuk-,
Yellowstone, Teaton, glacier, all up in there.
R: How long were you gone?
H: All summer.
R: All summer, oh, that's great.
H: Had me a cat and a dogg I used to have a dog that ride here with me
all the time.
R: Well, what'd you do with all your other cats in the house when you went
H: Well, I didn't have them. I, they, I picked up one cat on the road
and that's, that's the result.
R: That's the ^atV how many you have now?
H: About thirty.
R: Oh, Godand it was all the result you picked i-m up.
H: From picking that one little cat up in Arkansas.
R: Oh for God's sake.
H: It'd get run over.
R: Yeah. Well, I know. You see, terrible when you see the animals
on the road that way. Well, listen Captain, lets go back, well, hdnw
many years is it now, that you first came to Miami Beach?
H: I came down here in 1911 or 120 I ain't too sure about the year, but/
its either.11 or 12p and they brought Fisher down here with me, and I
came down with him in al=n.ea yacht he owned.
R: Were you the captain of his original boat that he went down the
H: No, he had that boat, but, another fellow brought it down.
H: John Levi.
R: John Levi.
H: Brought 4-4 down, or came down with him and then they used pilots in
the Mississippi River.
H: But, he came down the other way.
H: Then ah,.
R: He had that boat, where, in Detroit or Indianapolis or?
H: No, in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
R: Oh, I know Benton Harbor. I come from Chicago, you.know.
H: Well, that's where he used to, he had lived, he had a home there.
R: Oh, oh, oh, oh. 6t;
H: He had a home there and a big 4* eat-, a big eight foot fence, cement
fence he put between him and the beach, and when the wind would blow,
damn if it wouldn't fill the whole damn yard full of sand, even with the
fence. 'b a- ,
R: Yeah, that west wind is strong up there. So you get-the boat, which,
whatJ^ o^. o C ,.,7
H: 4hee boat was named the Shadow.
R: The Shadow&was the orignial Shadow then.
H: Yeah, then they started naming different places t4he Shadow.
R: Yeah, yeah.
H: ;ew&y my-keee he lived, at that time he lived down on
H: Ah, that's about.., Well, I don't know what we did call that point down
there, but, that's where He44eman was first making a ru that's how
we come to get interested in -U t but/ Hooman had a wall built around
9ct Jku of
that point down there and was filling it inVand tin give us an
idea,and Fisher, we lived right there at that place, so then we, then a
many by the name of Collins, old man Collins, he was theptot,94, really,
the instigator, he wanted to talk to Mr. Fisher, and every time he'd see
John Levi,-ke--ask, =hen can I see Mr. Fisher, when can I see Mr. Fisher?
R: That was old man Collins or 4A*L <-L-5 oe.
H: Old man Collins, Old man Collins, and he had a son Earl, he had a
couple of sons, and a son-in-law, Pancor was his son-in-law.
R: Yeah, I know that.
H: Then ah, Fisher then built a little, then Fisher got interested
over here and John Levi and I came over here and the water was so
shallow that we had to use a canoe to come across the bay, and we
brought with us a piece of gas pipe to see if there enough mud
to build a island where Bell Island-is.
H: There was just a little clump of mangroves there then.
R: Well, this is after Fisher had decided to go in with Collins or?
H: No, that was, when he was making up his mind with-it, So, we brought
piece of pipe and we found out there plenty of mud to build an island
there. So, Collins at that time had started, he already had this little
canal degded ou tsa-t went up to his farm which is now up around 41st
H: And I think some of those orignial trees may, maybe up there yet,
R: I've heard thate Pine Tree Drive is supposed to be his Odu '
R: Ive hardthaPin
H: Eve since thatthat was the entrance to his place,and they were
planted there by a man named Blocker'ad he's dead, too now. So he worked
for one of the later on. Then we came ott-to fr-d- out about that;
if there was enough dirt so then Fishr built a little island, just ei-tbi
hip a little place down there by Brickell Avenue.
H: And filled it in and kept, kept a sort of a record to see, ytt-use
a dipper there, and see about making an island. Give t an idea. 3&
we go, Ben Watson, the fellow right next door there) t Hae4oman, who,
who built this first island over here, Hibiscus Island.
R: Did He-lloman build Hibiscus ITland?
H: I think Ho&loman, I think He-leman built that island, I think. The
first island, and maybe the second one, I don't know)and they may-Re-
had a big home there and lived on it, tee didn't get along so
well together_ he was, he k hitting the bottle pretty much- ke- A-'
At that time, at that time Fisher never drank.
R: Now, who was hitting the bottle, Mr. Ho44eman?
H: He4lman, yeah.
R: Not fisher. New-I heard he didn't drink at first.
H: No, 'I used to/ 4 the old days, up in the lakes, the Great Lakesphe
didn't like to have liquor on the boat even, but, when Prohibition came ou
a-ng that made a ,Immy out of him.
H: Cause, well, it was kind of stylish heck wih it during Prohibition.
That started himp then peoplecome up and he'd have a drink with them and
then another party would come up and have a drink with him; the first thing
you know he had a dozen drinks and they only had one. We tried different
ways to cure him)butYhe finally got to the point where he didn't give a
damn, he said 'I didn't want to get drunk to-wozk- X L. '
R: Well, when was that?
H: Oh, this was a long time ago.
R: So, your first sight of Miami Beach was when you came over, here in a
canoe with a gas pipe to measure Cit the mud.
H: Yeah. Of/ course, we came in with a boat on othe outside through the
cut and at that time the cut was a, you had to be careful three
or four feet to get in the cut.
R: That was before they dredged it.
H: Oh, yeah. That was a long time ago, but there was a little pair of
jetties there. And we, then Fisher was right away, this house right here
where this 7TrL is standing now was under water and was mangroves,
R: Yeah. Meeq ees. /? 9'1k )r
H: Yeah, it was just thick with it,and mosquitoes and sand flies and these
little, little fiddler crabs, you know, millions of them.
H: You've seen 'em wer-e?
R: Oh, yeah. I go down to the Keys a lot. Xheze must e been like it
is down around Jew fish Creek, nowikevt it?
H: Well, something like that but/this was under water. Then 4
fill&,we filled this all up then, to about five or six feet above tide,
but, right now its only about a foot.
R: What happened in between?
H: Its slowly settling down. That house has settled down til the two
steps are down, see.
R: I, I, well, how do you figure,
R: I, I, well, how do you figure, what happened, what's making it settle?
H: It's soft dirt. The fill is soft and at that tine we didn't have the
dredges they got now_ now, the dredges they got will take this rock and
grind it up like all those islands. Now, you take the islands north
of 79th Street, they are solid and sound, but, the ones on this side
can wash away in a minute.
R: Well ah, what, what did you put in it, just the mud, or how did you?
H: Well, this was, we just put in the mud -eHe-cut,the dredge we had
was only about an eightrinch dredge and that was the biggest we could get.
We didn't know the difference, we had a lot to learn, and we learned a lot.
R: When you say we, were you?
H: Well, I was with, um, we were with Fisher, cause I, we were just like
R: Well, I know and you were with him for many years and I was wondering
if you always stay as a, were you always with him with his yacht or do
you, were you connected with his business, too?
H: No, with his yachts.
R: With his yachts.
H: Yachts and race boats, pertaining to stuff like that...
H: ...but l ewl-w.i. his business, although, I, in his business we helped
sell real estate.
R: Oh, you did. Well, tell me something about that.
H: Well, the real estate, most of our big deals on the beach were sold
on the boats)and we had a club down -a Coco Lobo.
R: Yeah, I've been talking to Gar Wood and he told about Coco Lobo.
H: Yeah, that's; and we switched thatover to Gar: Wood and thought we
were getting something rid of something and he's made his fortune.
Same 0VM up there, we switched a lot of stuff +0 lm- we thought we
something for nothing, giving him some junk, Jesus, it turned out to be
R: Well, wea4, what time was that?
H: Up there where his home was, up there on Collins Avenue. f q wp M .
R: Oh, oh.
H: God damn, .e-stayed-on that island over there& he bought that island up
piece by piece.
R: I know, he bought it, he bought it real cheap.
R- Well, all right, you said that they, that you had the Coco Lobo
Club and then.
H: And then we'd go down there and we'd have dinner that night, take
-ts,- 4tf 1 4'1o Ael4 9/4-( Ola / LkotO
h4m fishing, i-ettnew -a d-hen-where to go, and--1-d-entertain
him ade= Sd we'd come back, asv generally, generally up in the office
they had a blackboard and-t4ejy we kept marked ahead so I could see, what
I could figure on and who I was to get and when to get 'em and so on.
But, generally if the salesman had a good prospect, the salesman went along,
R: I see.
H: But,. - e,
R: Well, what did you used to tell them then,like,--een imagine this is
back in the old days and we were on the boat and you'd be selling me this,
and what would you be saying?
H: Well, weAtake 'em down and show 'em the property course at that time,
when we were selling real estate this had been filled...
H: ...but, those islands there weren't filled, up thereo-Ehey were filled
afterwards and course this was all blank. Then we built right over-here
an aquariumoye had an aquarium here..
R: That's right.
H: .a hats where we had that big fish that Charlie Thompson caught.
R: Was that thx famous one that, that tfa- ', what was that fish,
anyhow, anybody figure out what it was?
H: That was Ramidantipicus, that's the Latin name, "Ramidantipicus"!<
It was a, sort of a, it wasn't a shark, it really-wasn't a whale, but,
it used to...I run into one, one time, with a 150 foot boat and it even
jarred the boat so that we knew we hit it.
R: AO ov hvet't s5a- Is it what they call a whale-shark?
H: No, it was a, its not a whale-sharkIts not the shark type>it was
a,,it wouldn't bite but it had a big mouth, ad- t would just run into
a school of fish and the fish would get all excited and then just open
its mouth and the fish would run into a dark cavity, see, and then he
just shut his mouth closed) but/they didn't come up this way too often..-
H: c..didn't see may of 'em up this way.
R: Well, iwetwhat kind of people was it that you used to take out and
sell this real estate to?
H: Well, Fisher was well connected with all the automobile people and
people that made springs and little lights and also with Fordp Ford give
us a lift down there one time.
R: How he'd do that?
R: Old Henry, you mean.
H:, l4' it, bau 1 ,because, things got to going
down and down and I, he said, oh, it won't long, I told him, God damn,
it'll be eleven years before you ever get even with the hPeLA /Icost
a lot of money to do this, an4 e had a lot of money, beAgse/ when I
left up there, I don't know this particular trip, but coming down
through the lakes'around through Michigan and H uron and so I had
sK, who was a buddy along with him and a fellow named Rove and
a couple other business men and the main argument on this little
boat was.,,course, you could hear all o-f--&.. 9OAi- dUD^.
R: Yeah, they've got privacy on a boat.
H: Well, it wasn't nothing secret about it, it was wide open and stuff,
what do you do when you got this much money, well, real estate seemed to
be the only investment.
R: Well, that, that's interesting, tell me more about that. Fisher came
into this money pretty quickly.
H: on o stilite deal.
R: Estilite deal was a big thing, and then, some people have said
that he came down here and then he got interested, it was kind of a
hobby with him or was it an investment or both or?
H: Well, it was a, it was, after he started down there and seen he could
do this and wanted to do -h4ie, and it was more or less a hobby and a
business,5ecauseythey discussed what to do with this money up there.
I heard him discussing it e-ee-and real estate and they mentioned
6-e Hill and stuff, the railroad people, how they, that's where
they made their money.
R: Why didn't they want to put it in the market, do you remember?
H: Well, the market, he never played the marketD I don't think Fisher
ever played the market.
H: I don't think he ever played the market butywhen Jane's first
husband, after left Carl, he played the market and he bought him a
seat, fifty or sixty thousand dollars)inANew York Stock Exchange.
When they separated,., ,ell, how did you get in there you
R: $Xe scooted in that way.
H: OH, Ae.. l 4Cek L ^/nI ^~ oiver.
R: Well, I'll open this, lets just stay here for a few minutes.
H: So ah, where was2I now.
R: Ah, Jane Fisher bought her second husband a seat on the New York
H: Oh, yeah; When Carl left her; he left her about a million and a
H: He didn't leave her, she wanted a settlement, she left him, thinking
that this guy Johnson was an At guylp --guess she thought he was, and
he /h-6 ye was all right but, he said, I'll leave it to you
in small first mortgages so some aig'lo cant get it away from you in
one chunk, and its a good thing he did, cause now I think she's flat,
or nearly flat and it took her a long time to get rid of it.
R: Yeah, it did, but, how many other men did she marry after?
H: I think four other men she married and I think the last one sued
her for non-support.
R: She wasn't very lucky.
H: No she wasn't.
R: But, now was Fisher a very good husband?
H: Fisher was a good man all the way around&,be was a good husband,
butrhe was all mango& emeads he was a nice man, a good man,
but, he was a hundred per ent manjihe wasn't no, no feminine stuff about
R: Yeah, well, then why, would that make him a good husband or a
H: Well, I think her main object was he a secretary and-
B-c~i -6 t 4ki 949
4 4and they wre- working with an exceptionally good secretarywhe-
-P hker 6iu46noh
knew thi4 stuff, knew hat- he couldn't get along without her, so, one
day, later on, F ous as intimate with him as A* was, I'd walk
right in the offices r in the house and we'd exchange questions, but,
I see Anne on his lap, both of them crying, I asked hin what in the
hell is the matter?'
R: You want me to turn this off?
H: Well, it doesn't matter if you tue it offp Imear.
R: Well, if I, do you want me to ewft it off, o1LHt' because, Ib
say, nobody has to hear thisA doesn't want to. So, what do you want
to do, want-t4*4 it off?
H: No, no, that's all right. I see 'em crying, what-d- I do, I said hat
in the hell is the matter2 well, Anne is going to marry O'Dell, and now
"6f4 ,6 1-1 :4i "6
the way she met O'Dell, she was and he asked me i- couMl
Y go out and see Anne and- he told me where she's at, and I went out
to see Annedand-Anne was on a porch, in the summer time, singing, when
we used to get ready for the-9races up there, you know. This fellow was
sitting there, young fellow, reading to her, nice fellow, she introduced
me to him, but/everyiime he'd turn his head or anything, she'd give
me a kind of wink, you know, to say, well, he's a preachers and she
introduced him as a preacher from 4er church, ad- he was very nice, but/
anyhow, he hit the button ,she fell in love with him and they actually
$' r r*t&fr 4vw-te & ay, r i
got married. Tk"t ^ was going to leave him.aAl all
the time we were going to get married and now she's going to marry
O'Dell. You know what he did? He got, we got another woman in,she got
another girl to come in and act as secretary out of the office.
H: He had a whole bunch of girls in there, up here on Lincoln Road,
at that time.
R: Yeah, at Lincoln Road, yeah.
H: Lincoln and Washington.So. .k, that was Margaret Collier.
R: Oh, that's, that's the one he married then.
H: That's the one he married, after, afterwards. So, ;. Anne married
O'Dello Fisher give them a seek, then, at that time, we were starting
RK: Oh, yeah.
H:; Starting on /loZ rae-) and Anne, then he gave them a -9eck and
built a nice house on it and gave it to them up there;at IoVttc
H:. And they lived up there, come every summer they spent
H: So,,he was preaching in some of the big churches, I think, I think /.K
Pittsburg but he was an awful nice fellow and a very good preacher, you
know, what he said seemed to impress you e said it in such a way.
R: Well, do you think, that, that Jane left Carl Fisher because of
H: Well, I think she just got,$he got, ah,She had been she was a
waitress and she was a little bit, ah, kind of got the idea that she
was a little too good or somethingO you know how they get.
H: Yeah, 4bt, she was slipping around a little, hIroelT she was, and
opwh4h she chased him around or thought she did, but, she didn't
catch ies much.
R: Well, I mean, it may be, I mean, its been long, long dsawn and, and.
H: That was a long time ago.
R: And most of the people are dead so it doesn't make too much difference,
but, I mean, I gathered then that he had a few girlfriends on the side
and she didn't like tab Y';
H: Well, he had, not necessary did he have them on the side, like you
would say keeping them up or something. It just seemed like, well, you know
how girls are now, if a guy's got any money they thing, well t/I
Le try to make him, a "- '^" gl.e4& him home., andy- nd he
didn't abuse anybody, never mistreared anybody, and he had half a
dozen I knew of right here, on the beach, some of them married.-ea.
R: Oh, that's all right, I don't want to pry e anybody's namesthAir
personal affairs, that's not Ft. I'm interested in
the man and the place. So we don't have to mention any names.
H: Well, anyhow, sw /ek Uf- -h'' (Att; b rr4 4- they came to a
disagreement and that was the settlement aqd he settled that fer OJ'
over a million dollars, I think, around a million and a half, A'( 1 W
4 i- in small first mortgages so tht gigolos, cause he
knew that she would fall for some ^kl' and when they, A)le 6.4
they hadn't much more than, they hadn't'much more than separated, til
I remember in the spring, I had to go down, I was in New York then, and I had
to take the boat and go down and meet thrs steamer and Jane was coming back
R: She'd been to Paris.
H: She'd been over in Europe with Johnson. I doat know if they were
married then or not, but I think they were.
R: Well, I believe they met in 0'4roloz
H: They were. Anyhow, she says to me, isa, what do you think of 1,.
Johnson, well I said, he wouldn't make a patch on Carl's pants.
P IOkAeA di dn 4j93?'7 i (
% She didn't seem to take offense aboe ityell,-e was friendly more
or less too.
R: U -L pretty friendly with CdAl
H: She's, oh yeah. Yes, she stayed friendly, but,,she tried her best
to bust up Margaret and himj so ah, then we had a, one of our oom-
companions was Albert Champion/and his wife Edna.
R: Was he connected with the sparkplugs.
H: Heswas the man that made the sparkplugs, and they're named after
R: Champion sparkplugs.
H: A Albert Champion& so they kept insisting that Carl marrre Margaret.
and Margaret turned out to be a good secretary. You know, had a good
memory andcould keep track a b4O 4 6 (I lot of stuff to
handle,, Y A "-
R: That was a big operation, of course.
H: It was a big operation and there was stuff you had to remember and
you had to try to remember the personality of the persons.
R: Yeah. Well was it all, were all the people who worked with Fisher
now you say, you yourself helped to sell real estate, well did
Margaret, in her way, help too?
H: OH, oh no. She was, no she didn't, she helped, of course, iuS
_I4-, by running the office sufficiently.
R: Well, so Margaret made, she made a good secretary, but, I
gather they weren't very happy when they were married. I mean,
she didn't make a very good wife, did she?
H: Yes. She made a good wife, a good wife 4and and he was
more loyal to her, I wouldn't say more loyal; he was loyal
to her in every way you could think of, but7he was on the
decline, more or less, then.
H: And it was through her that she, be. she helped him
save some of his money or values through Montauk see,
Montauk is what put him on the bum.
H: Because, just at that time, here come this slump.
R: Yeah, yeah.
H: And the labor up there, you couldn't, you can't hire labor
with I.O.U.'sjyou got to in cash aand4Then he had some enemies
working against him, I say working against him more than working
for him like they should have been.
R: Yeah. Well, he, r-v- Wood said there were a number of his
friends in with him on the Montauk ,eal.
H: Yeah, there were a lot of them and that's what hurt him
worst of al4e., he didn't care a damn about what he lost, but/
he hated to see them lose.
H: Lot of he said etl he hated to see them lose. So, so he
kept at the company, kept going dPif why he'd supply 'em
with a little extra money, so they, Margaret insisted that
instead of him getting the money that he buy something from
H: So that they have that real estate, you know, you see.
R: Ur-hum. In other-words, buy it back from them.
H: Buy it, actually buy it.
H: You see, you got something instead of a receiptyou got some
real estate, which/helped her get on her feet afterwards.
H: Bt+-when he died, he was actually broke, you might say, te 4
left her a lot of costs, There was a lot of money outstanding
that she knew about and no other-body knew about it, people
owed him. She probably got some of it, but7not much of iti
butr/he did have this real estate.
R: And of course, all she had to do was wait and.
H: Wait and, and she, he left everything, most everything to
her&g course, I was in his will before he went broke,...
H: ...but, ltiF-
"Then he got to drinking.
R: Well, when did he really start drinking, what you'd call
H: Well, during Prohibition.
R: Well, that was already 1918. That's before...
H: Yeah, he used to have a drink, you know, one thing or
another, but, he never was a drunk e until after thae-
Prohibition&Ehen7I used to run liquor in here and he
R: Where'd you get it from, Bahamas?
H: W. in the Bahamas, mostly in Bahamas.
H: But then, that was when we had a big, bt-r-later on we had
a big yacht and I had to bring big people around, why, that's how
he come to get interested in Montauk, by JS the Pennsylvania
Railroadaems the one that got him interested in Montauk, because%
they owned that whole damn point.
R: Yeah, and they of course, they wanted the train service in, ah.
H: They wanted the train service in, -"e Fisher had an idea and
he talked it over with a, ship building companies and they were
going to make a, a, a, overseas landing at Montauk.
H: To saveesaf a day's time t> New York, and he was going
to have it carry the immigration and customs on the steamer, so that
when they tied up the dock you stepped on the train and went
to New York. All free and clear.
R: Um-hum. Like the boat train abroad.
R: But, it never, so, who was it in the Persylvania that got
him interested in that? Do you remember?
H: La Boutileer. I think it was Boutileer was it, was the
presidentt then, I think. Boutileer, I think that was the name.
R: Well, anyway, he was some man that came down on gq that you
entertained on the boat?
H: Oh yeah, yeah, asd entertained -him.on the boat and then I used
to entertain a lot of them on the boat for different things.
H: And we'd like, we were going to have a. a diesel race at the
H: With diesel cars.
H: Well, had a big meeting, went down to Cuba and took them around
down in there and, t- d-so they could have their meetings and talk.
Finally they decided the best thing to do was not to do it, because-
4 6 a4-4
it would mess things up in the gasoline and the fuel, and guesg
tfe thing to do was not to do itLso they didn't do it.
R: Well, now Carl Fisher's connectiodnwith all these people he
seemed to know a lot of people who were connected with suppliers
to the automobile industry, like, you said the spring man,
and the sparkplug man, and Firestones.
H: They bought places down on the islands, down along this front
here. Now, another thing, you see them, now, they're starting
to build these high-rises on the bay.
H: It was Fisher's idea all time that the bay was the pleee, -he
right place for the hotels.
R: Oh, really?
H: Yeah, and he's the one that built the first swimming pool1
R: The the-#as Flamingo there.
,i ,h=. / (said simultaneously)
R: No, no. We're not doing this for, for Grand Opera, after
all, but, I mean, it will come out nice and clear. Well, um,
lets talk about the crowd that, oh yeah, I know there's one
thing that interests me, what about, how did the people
here, were they as different fromuthe people up in Palm
Beach? Why did Fisher come here instead of Palm Beach?
H: Well, he came here by accidentand the first time he came
here wee a little boat, Levi and them see6 so that they had
a a little boat raok over there on the West Coast7somewhere,
and they went back nortpand-wLevi brought the boat around to
here and then he stopped here and they were going to meet him
up at Jacksonville or at Palm Beach or somewhere, but/he
suggested that they come on down here.
H: And they did and they liked it, and then bought that place
from a doctor down there on Brickell Avenue. I forget the
name of it or number of it but its, ...
R: It was a big house, I don't the number of it.
H: A big stone house built by some doctor, then, then he
filled in some land along side of it, and one thing or another,
just experimenting&then/that got him interested hereV we4ll he
figured then he'd make this better than Palm Beach.
R: Well, how'd he feel about the Palm Beacham qM
H: Well, they were high class, they were high tone.
H: They were pretty high tone and didn't think they'd come
down here, -d-u-wiu- -.. he, h_ ah, he thought they would after
he got things going right.
H: And he. tried to keep the town open, more or less, ad, but,
he was the boss,)he was the boss of the townphe had a counsel
and stuff like that, but he was the boss.
H: And that's what we need today; we need a boss now. We haven't
got any boss there now, they're fighting one another and nobody
knows who's who,
R- Up on City Counsel now? You still think Elliot Roosevelt
makes much of a boss?
H: Nd, but, he's Elliot Roosevelt, a, he's down there for a
purpose, some purpose from the north that he's down here the
Party, I think seit him down /lt .
;R: wa; nte r^d r aI- t m 0rw O r
R: / wan ted to emorh something I don't know.
H: No, P don't know what lae want to do is, is get
this beet-ba and they'd get it.
H: But, Roosevelt, you know, is partial to Jews and he, his daddy
was, true as I set here, if it hadn't have been for Churchill, he'd
of give Stalin this country. Churchill saved 44wr t'.
R: Well, ah, in the old days,I know that, I( ---w-a
good-field to discourage /.t people from buying here)but, on the
other hand there were some very rich Jewish families like
Fleishman, and Hertz and ah-..
H: J-Wa Fleisman-/was a friend/ right to the end, but/his
son, his own son, by God, he wasn't the same, same clan. Just
that much difference and then they lived together, near one
another at Sands Point in Port Washington, Long Island.
R: Nnmbt T :5 -"
H: They lived near one another.
R: Well, there was some other big, ad, Jewish names down here,
Lasker and ah, so he didn't...
H: Yeah, but, Hertz, he now, Hertz keap a lot of stuff mortgaged,
sees Fisher borrowed money on this stuff to pay on Montauk.
H: And he, he hated Hertzphe hated Hertz, he used to call him
a God damn cheap, dirty-ass Jew on the phone. He hated him, but,
Hertz / i-t on just the same, -Imea-, he had the 56aLF iA
Fisher could never claim it back.
H: You know, he never had the money.
R: Well, yeah, so you mean, Hertz was one of the people that
got stung on that Montauk thing that he ah...
H: No, he didn't get stung on that hge wasn't in on that. He
made money on it, becaase,-.een.tuo Fisher borrowed money to
carry Montauk, to hold on Montauk and he borrowed the money
on this real estate down here.
R: And then Hertz the real estate.
H:': And Hertz then had t.hem-mortgaged or lienea, you might say
on that real estate/that Fisher never could take off, have
money enough to take off.
R: Well, so everything went along down here pretty well, though,
until, lets see, when did they start on Montauk, tht was in
H: It was in, it was before "26" because, my family arrived
here that night of that storm in 26`e liveain this house.
R: You mean, they came here the night of the hurricane Of "
H The night the hurricane, but, they didn't know anything
about the storm.
H: They came down on the train and the taxi brought them over
here and they...
R: Well, what an introduction,,-we4-3 that must of been a wild
H: Well, it wasn't so ba,, none of these buildingswere here
then, you know, it was all wide open.and we--get rolled around)
"wth i-t Te old house stood, had wooden shingles on, and it
didn't blowi them off.
R: Did you get the flood, did it flood up?
H:' The flood came right up to the floor.
H: Within an inch or so of the floor, but the house at that time
stood about two foot higher than it is now.
R Yeah, yeah, and un.
H: Now, that house, now that house was built out of refuge
from the Flamingo Hotel; that house and the house down here
further down and the one behind it.
R: You mean, the extra, the extra wood and stuff that they
had left over.
H: Extra stuff, yeah, yes. See, now, this is concrete block...
H: And ah, its built on pads, now, mind you this is soft
filled ground; its built on pads about that wide. Now,...
R: Of what?
H: ... cement.
H: See, they dug this down about a foot, then laid this pad
with a lot of reinforcement and put an edge for the blocks to
H: ... just like a beamb aad ou know that house has settled
at least o- two feet and it hasn't cracked.
R: Um-m. It all just went down at once.
H: All at once, because, its bound together. and on the corners,
if you'll notice, bkae its poured, you got a corner bad poured
to strengthen it.
H: Now, I was talking to this fellow that's making this base
cream here and he's building a six story building down there
on Lennox Avenue...
H: ...and they're putting it on pads.
R: They're putting it on pads, too?
H: That's the first time.
R: I thought that they had to go t0ov with filing fer the o0.i
: I thogh
H: And they decided its all right, but that, of course, that
ground up there is more solid than this. That won't settle.
R: Yeah, well of course this was fill.
H: This was fill and settled, but still, to think that in
settling that thing it didn't crack, you can be surprised,
and I guess it surprised the engineers.
R: What was, one thing I was trying to find out about Fisher,
what was he like in his mannerisms, did he have any particular
habits or was he a man that, well, somebody said that he
couldn't sit still, I've forgotten.
H: Well, he, he liked to wiggle around now, we used to go down
to the Keys on a little boat and we'd be going around down
to Coco Lobo Then we'd see an old sponge boat)well, the old
sponge boar, you could smell the damn thin for a mile, and- a-
and it seems like when you get one of them smells, there
seems to be a place where you get through itd you ever notice
H: And we'd go and we'd sit and get on boat and have lunch
with them guys; old e they had in hs aad-They
treat us fine, but, of course, he always left them a nice f
gift-,ead something and thank tm and he was 1 ;ghted-te-begF
ae- hen he had a wardrobe, Galloway, he brought that colored
fellow, in Indianapolis, Galloway was ivg for years, ad
"'hey finally had a row, butrhe didn't really want a rowyh-rh
te was going broke and he Lad, had to get an excuse to get...
R: What finally did happen to Galloway, 1 oC a one oDk
H: He went to some, he went to some ten cents store man's
place or some rich man...
H: ...in Palm Beach. I think in Palm Beach, somewhere up there)
and he died/ of old age) butt he was a good worker.
R: Well, he was 43ivnh for years, I know.
H: 44-ig- for years and years, Me t C C (A (t .
Then ah, then, then take you back to New York, then we had the
.Y? c2 Lai I haven't got any pictures of it,.anyhow,
I took, I picked up the party t"'r Margaret, Albert
Champion and his wife Edna, and Al son and Lucille, that was his friends
tra7-_ ^ Tm T----O then LeGorce...
R: Oliver LeGorce.
H: Oliver LeGorce, yeah, and I took them from New York down
to Virginia Beach.
R: Yeah, I know where that iso I've been down the water you
always went down, did you go down the waterway -e inside or
H: No, I went down the outsideA good weather, it was good,
nice weather and anchored right off the,Coast Guard there.
H: The Coast Guard then had made arrangements and we came out
and they came out with a surf boat and took us seashore, so I
went ashore with them. I wanted +D> 5 A-0 & t* -
R: -Was- Margaret in -tw?-
H: Yes, 6et1ies Margaret and CA. so I went and they took
us ashore, then they, __ Madison, took us up to a place,
I think the man's name was Davis6 and that reason/ how we come
to get acquanted with him was through LeGorce, because/ Davis was
working for the Montauk company at that time.
R: Ur-hum. Um-hum.
H: So we went in to this old place and we had to get out.et &A-k^
4 old gate, 'and U)pit looked like my yard, jeet- M
"Ut looked like my yard and and a eBw-o--two-
and a few pigs. ad.here was an old barn made out of boards
eut heire and we went in that barn) et t-ee- and Jesus Christ
it-wrahuga,-and went in there and Jesus Christ when you opened
that door &.i it was a palace.
R: For heaven's sakeS!
H: It was a palace. You couldn't of made it prettieiran4 so
up in the loft, this had evidently been built for heavy capping
%- al Vl-& I V, le L) 4A
the floor was built with a -_mahe timberI guess-
that was put there years ago. and that's where we held the, it,
and you know who married A O"Dell. The one that married, that
married hirsmtere- ., -
R: Who? His first wife.
H: And her, and he and Anne were there together.
R: Um-hum. Ah-hah. What was that building that it looked like
H: It was just an old barn, that he took and fixed up,
Mr. Davis. Mr. Davis, he was superintendent, that was the
right, if that's the correct name, he was superintendent for the
Montauk company then under construction at that time and he
had been recommended to us by LeGorce.
R: I see. Well, LeGorce was a very great fxlend of Carl Fisher,
too, wasn't he?
H: He was a great friend of Fisher and he give us a lot
help, lot of publicity, we got through him. That's how we
aov't e-.r nC T w
dene- he-name up their, > hen/we gave him a nice home,
right there, right across the creek up theregrand we gave
that to Le Gorce and I think Mrs, I think her, I think
Mrs. LeGorce still lives there, I think.
R: Well, LeGorce just died very recently, wasn't long ago.th-etl
H: Wat-long ago and he was a big help to the big-rackeT%- cv,- O
R: Yeah. H4- -bO LL-o CA-W 41'r 0o- \ 0\ ve.
H: He was a great helpdand I don't know how he got attached to '"^A.
hia-7hen his son, died ahead of that& LeGorce had a son.
R: Oh, I didn't know that.
H: And he died, that hurt LeGorce.
R: What about Steve Hanlgan, did you know him?
R: What was he like?
"H: Well, he was, when we first met him, he was in Indianapolis.
kL J.. ^O
and we got, we had old Pop Myers there, i-fyou didn't know
Pop Myers, old timer had charge eAS speedway.
H: And S-eve Hanfgan was starting to write news, and he did
write news( and Fisher brought him down here and9I think,
established him in 4hemsi-w the City Hall here, as a publicity
R: I know he was the head publicity.
H: Yep, then he went from here later on and he, he done some
good work here and got a lot of, he, you know, he got all the
syndicates so they got so they knew him and they'd take his
H: And ah, especially I'll take Wisenmueller and Gertrude Adderly eV-( C
I used to have to tow 'em over here with a, with a, see, we had a
boat house right over here.
H: And I used to tow them around on a surfboard, not a surfboard as
-ye"got 'em now,,but, just a flat board.
R: Yeah, with a, with a rope.
H:. Yeah, and they'd stand on there and, yeah, and geese, I'd, that
was one of my jobs everyday, nearly d1id4-4 get that boat, it was
a fast boat) and take 'em, go over on the bay there.
R: Well, I didn't know that Weissmuller and Adderly were here,
when did they come?
H: Oh, yeah, and he paid their way down, took care of them, and
I think, I think he helped sponsor her swimming the English Channel.
R: Oh really.,
H: I expect so, cause, he done a lot ofr things like that, you know.
R: Well, how s it he was doing so many things all the time?
H: Well, he just had the money and he would do little things like that,
seemed to give him a satisfaction. Now, when I had the big boat, he'd
send, well, God damn sometimes it would be a dozen guys come down; the
boss sent me down for something to eat well, gees the story would get
down and-God,-' cooking for the guests, so we used to keep a lot of
soup and stuff all ready f-ei lem- 6mcD-.
R: Um-hum. Um-hum.
H: And then he'd eheA about some little thing that didn't amount to
nothing and turn right around and s _______
I remember one.- time he was complaining how much it was costing to
I Ic5.)t4i' ( -
feed these people well, I it cost that much, but/also
I figured up, it cost about twice that much to give them a drinks
Well, that's all VI4 iatqa got to have that. We got to have that.
r Bragg, I don't ee-ehat-4ai-t of a 7 Bragg, he had a place
up there and he waa had a place in Montauk,too, oinirgiat. A' '
H: And ah, I' -gkt to checking up to find out)on h4-em aeu you know,
for my own satisfaction, what it was costing around to feed these
different yachtsV Jesus, it was costing about four dollars a plate
to feed these guys on Bragg's boat. I said well, God damn.
I was only spending two or three.
H: But he, he 'd holler, but he'd get over it,in-a--nuta
R: Well, now that was a story, you know, Jane, did you ever read that
H: I read part of it, but, its mostly Jane, its all for Jane
R: Well, I know, but, there's one story that she told about him
-aa getting so mad one day that he took a steak and went out and
threw it into the ocean. Now, does that sound like the kind of thing
H: No, I never seen him do anything like that, but, he used to get
mad as hell at, ou ---a-. on one old
steam boat they had and he'd take a God damn little old radish and
when he got through with it, it looked like a rose.
H: Fisher get mad as hell; well, look here, here's an hour's work.
He'd do things like that.
R: Well, he had a, had quite a sense of humor too, didn't he?
H: Oh yeah.
R: Lot of jokes and.,.
H: He liked to joke and he liked to go to the prize fights over here in
nigger towhand-he wa, she wasth was very, he wasn't partial to
niggers but he wasn't against 'em, he liked 'em. Now, he started to
build and he started building houses up on 41st street and was going
to have a colored colony.
R: Ah-huh. Well, what happened to that?
H: Well, the town, course, after it got out of the Jewish hands
started to grow on up that way, that was kind of a, a lost cause, I
guess. I think some of the houses are probably up there,-yeaeh.
R: Well, I ah, you know they always talk about the fact that there
are no colored people over here on the Beach and I thought that that
was something that Fisher had planned out.
H: N, but, at that time we had the Jews south of 5th Street and
that was what was trying to keep 'em there, because when we'd get through
r-e, -- s, -&,,-6- jijiC / e- ; ,1 ,, P
selling 'th- I'll make you a Garden of Eden was
working on the Beach then, thft if you they'A take it
away from you, and they did and the original deeds said you can't sell
to a nigger or a re-baut
R: My, it sure has changed.
H: Sure has, sure has changed, and they took it away' too; its theirs.
Its not the same now, at that time if a fellow's working and-"ye
rlllm--et him and he said, yes, didn't need no lawyer, his word was
good. By God, you couldn't do that now, you'd have to have three or
four lawyers and a couple of dictaphones.
R: Well, A what did they used to do here mainly in the old days?
H: Well, polog w. adwe had one of the best polo teams in the
R: Um-hum. Well, I know you imported them, even from England and so.
H: We had, now, old Bob Bullock, who lived on the- cornershe's deadc
strong as an oxen, he was the world's best polo playerd.---
H: -..ow, I mean it, he was the world'.s best polo player and he was on our,
on Fisher's team.and-Fisher tried to play but he wasn't so good.
R: Well, what about his eyes, I don't see how he could of done all that
bike racing and everything as blind as he was supposed to have been.
H: He, he did bike racing and -tah first, they had a sort of a
bicycle track before they built the speedway.
H: Him and eioe, you know, they- bicycle days.
H: And I think that's one thing that kind of got him interested in
building the first speedway because...
R: Well, how could he be a racer like that?
H: Well, I don't know how he could do it, but here's onrthing now,
you may not, probably you don't know it, but, down where the T6iw taS n
Fleetwood is, or where it was, had it tore down, right along there, we
had a strip about as long as from here up to the end up there.
R: About a couple of blocks.
H: Yeah, that was the Landing strip, and at that time, the little old
planes we had was what we call a standard5
H: And he wanted to learn to flys he liked to fly- he liked aviation,
he wanted to, he somehow wanted toylear- d aa- he tried to learn to
fly, but/they had to cut him out from down there. The pilot says we
can't, we got to cut him out because he'd get killed. He said his
eyes, for some reason or another he'd get cockeyed and he can't seem
to get himself straight. Now at the Indianapolis Spee;way Races, he
would lead the race he would get in the car, the leading car and
of course, they went off, and of course, now ih'. I don't know if
you've ever had thick glasses on, but you can see straight ahead,
but/ you can't see out-see, by watching straight ahead you can
see the track,atd he would make the trip and keep speeding up and
speeding up til he come on the last lap and he pulld- into the pit.
The\the race was on when they crossed the wire.
H: oY 4d- ^ ci S M vCok and they still do
that, ydo that.
R: Well, it was funny because I always heard about his bad eyesight
and I wondered how A i"( because that bike racing in the old
days was tough.
H: Then he had a, up here on Lincoln road, on Lincoln Road he had a
golf, tennis court, I don't know if you remember that big thing, big
aeta-sL, a big place and that was right about, that was between
Washington and Collins on the north h side of the street in the h/ V ,
R: And what did he do there?
H: He, that's where he played tennis fhat was his -f'avete favorite
game was tennis.
R: But his eyes were good enough to see that ball coming?
H: Oh yeah, but, the ball hit one eye and put that eye out. It -tvu'L fe
a blood vessel in there and put that eye out.
R: And that was the end of that eye, huh?
H: End of that eye, so then he only had one eye, so then he used to
read by putting 4 (a--' ic c-
R: Well how could he recognize you in the distance? / i
H: No, he couldn't tell that later on, but, he 4,u-4e-e d no
trouble that way, but,;-y,tra e, I know he couldn't see in the distance
aCc* C he put that up.
R: Um-hum. Ah, well, really talked about his personality...
H: He had a good personality.
R: If you had kind of to describe what kind of a fellow, if as
supposing I had never heard of Carl Fisher and I never knew all about
this, what, what would somebody who never heard of him, whe#nyou
say well what kind of a person?
H: Well he was a swell guy .he would listen to youand if yr,-f-he
thought you were on the up and up, you'd get a square deal. Now, I
know coming down here ah, bringing him down on the inside route some-
times in the little boats,
H: He'd get acquainted, we'd go ashoreand that's one thing when his
God-damn bifocals would do 4,'-A because he used te- se them at first
and God-damn he'd walk right overboard, god-damn that's the truth.
The dock would be that far away...
R: Yeah, and you can't, I know.
H: ...and he'd just walk right over the damn step and I used to get
right that close and watch him.
H: and not only him I've had to-., Jay down
the same thing.
R: And ah, so when you used to bring them down in the boats, you started
to say something about...?
H: Oh, he'd, he'd get acquainted with some of them guys and they didn't
have this or they didn't have that or, and God-damn he'd buy 'em
glasses or anything. He, he felt like he was doing something and
he wanted to do it; it was a pleasure for him to do it.
R: -g, he really had a lot of fun out of his money, didn't he?
H: He had lots of fun& he had lots of fun and then he was -te
really the originator of the exchange between one station and
another OjA^ dRC "r^ He was the really,.a$me originator,
I think)of that exchange, which now you can take a tire here and
go up to New York and change it or stuff like that, but in those
days you couldn't.
R: Yeah, yeah. What do you think he would have been like if 4a
tfhe never had struck it rich?
H: Well, he was a nice fellow then, eestr-etke they were
running the bicycle shop.
R: Did you know him then, did you know him ...?
H: No, I didn't know him then. I never knew hin I knew of him, but/
I didn't know him.
R: Well, when, how did happen to get connected with him anyhow, we
never did ask that)
H; Well, the way I come to get connected with him, when I got out of
the Navy in 1905, I went to Indianapolis, my folks we've there ..
R: Urn-hum. L
H: ...and I went to work for-thmai, the Studebaker Company& Studebaker
Company, and I studied for electrical, I started r electrical engineering
ead-- wound up O0\
R: So you were going to work for Studebaker and then...
H: I worked for Studebakerwe--+ in meeting out there, I met an old
friend, fellow by the name of Claty Pierce, who was the son of a/
Pierce was a poultry raiser who liked my father so I got acquainted
so Fisher at that time was ah, he was v promoter for advertising
and he was taking balloon seek-
R: Is that whee- he had the automobile agency?
H: YeahD.o he had a big deal and so this Claty Pierce, Claty Pierce
had been, was working for him too, so we had to go out there and we'd
bring him back.
R: Bring him back?
H: Yeah, he'd go out in his balloon and the balloon landed well we'd
bring him back.
R: Oh, I see.
H: But he, one trip there he had, that's where Jane, I think,Amet him
or talks about him, when he keek the God-damn old skeleton of a
car Vc&t)1 i o Dbkd'' and they went up in it and went away, but,
it didn't go far.
R: So then you met him because you were helping this Claty Pierce
bring him home from his balloon? itCtnow
H: Yeah, that's how I come to meet him through this Claty Pierce.
So, then he found out, then he had, then him and Jane just about got
iA) 4*k Od''.-
married, just ge- married and he had the place up 4 a boat up at
St. Joe and he wanted me to go up there so I went up there. That's how
I come to go with him.
R: And then you were with him then all the way through the rand old
days. When did it start to sort of --
H: Well, it started, see, he, he had a boat called, see this boat we
came down on called, the fist time was called the Shadow.and this, he
got in a ditch, you might, he got in a rut here, this place was
pulling him down,so he had to start to liquidate so he liquidated that
boat to the Deerings, James Deering and his brother and I went with
the boat to Deerings.
R: Oh, so you worked for James Deering?
H: Yes,ut that Viscaya in commission.
R: Well, wait a minute, now, Viscaya was finished, oh, yeah, that's right,
Viscaya was finished in about "25", just before the hurricane, "24",
H: No, maybe, maybe I guess before that because see, then I came,
then after the war came while I -w with him, then I had to leave him.
I got my question then I had my ah, my questionnaire to go to, had
to go in the Army or Navy...
R: Oh, I see.
H: So, then I went in the Shipping Boarcdand while I was at sea, when
I got back I went, then I lived in Detroit.
H: When I got back, Cotcher, a man by the name of Cotcher, Cotcher
Lumber Company were building a big house right over here where this
Qag'Bell Island is.
R: Yeah, yeah.
H: He had a place up there and a boat( and he got in touch with me and
said Carl wants you to get in touch with him right away, so I got in
touch with him and he wanted me to come down here and go back to work
for him again&in the meantime I got a couple of letters, he wanted to
build this kind of a boat7and that kind of a boat and so on.and so
I came back here and went back to work for Fisher so during, -so during
this ,-tk "26" hurricane I was with Fisher.
R: Ah-huh, ah-huh, and then, so you went back to work for Fisher
after you came back from the war and stayed with him for how long?
H: Well, I stayed with him then, 'til he went, you might say, broke.
R: And that was when, about ah, after Montauk.
H: That was after Montauki ee, I forget what year really, or course,
I have got it marked down someplace.
R: WEll, I, I...
H: Then I went to work for a fellow named/ of course, other yachtmen
got acquainted with me, running around, they knew I was okaybrrrsy there
was several of them who wanted me but, one fellow by the name of Howell,
Tommy pell, V P' &r.
Tommy he was a market man, he wanted me, so he
insisted I come on to work for him, which I did.and he had a big boat
called Azagpa.. n L4 ta . .
R: Oh, yeahbwell did that used to be in the lakes at any time?
H: Yeah, it was built up there.
R:lCause I 've seen that boat, -zaela, I remember it when I was a kid,
they had it um...
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