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Interview with Lamar Hatcher

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher
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Jess, Virginia
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English

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Oral history -- Florida ( LCTGM )
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North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Alachua

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Matheson History Museum
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Matheson History Museum
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Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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MATHESON HISTORICAL MUSEUM

ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM


Interviewee: Interviewer: Transcriber:


Lamar Hatcher Virginia Jess Ruth C. Marston


March 13,2001

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher 2
March 13, 2001


J: This is Virginia Jess of the Matheson Historical Museum. I am interviewing
Lamar Hatcher at 306 S.W. 26th Street in Gainesville. The date is March 13, 2001. Lamar, let's talk about how you came to Gainesville and what you can tell
us that you think would be of interest.

H: Well, I was born on January 10, 1911, on a little farm up in Kite, Georgia. My
father was E. Virgil Hatcher and my mother Claude Hatcher. The Depression hit and things were so bad I saw people coming out of Miami and they had a piece of clothes and shoes. I said, "I've got to get out of this," so I went out on #1 and caught a ride. The first ride that came brought me all the way to Jacksonville.
This was in the summer of '31. 1 was ragged. I had $2.25 in my pocket. This guy dropped me in Jacksonville. I didn't have a map; I didn't know what road I took out of Miami or anything, so I walked up on the Vidauf just off of Bay Street just to look around and this guy picked me up because I had on a little college cap, and he brought me to Gainesville. I asked where the police station was because I'd always heard you could spend a night at the police station if you didn't have any money, so I tried to figure where I could hide that $2.25.
Anyway, I asked around and the police station was pointed out to me.

Then I began to think that I had an uncle that I believed was in Gainesville. He was a druggist and he had been here about ten or twelve years. Instead of asking somebody, I went around looking for drug stores. The first one there was Vidal's.
I looked in there and in City Drug. I went around to Canova's, and McCollum's was the last one down there where Cox Furniture was for years. I went down there and looked in and I saw my uncle. He hadn't seen me in four or five years.
I had grown up from being just a small boy to a man. I walked in and I didn't think about his not knowing me, but he didn't know me. He asked what he could do for me, and I told him I was just looking around and I thought he would recognize me. I saw he didn't, so I told him who I was. He was glad to see me.
Of course, I was glad to spend the night with him, because I didn't know where I was going to stay as I didn't have any money. He got me a room right next to his apartment from the same lady that he was renting from. I told him I would be there just one night. About six o'clock the next morning, he came and asked if I had to leave the next day. I told him no, that I wasn't on any schedule. So he said his wife was sick and that he was the only one at McCollum Drug Store that had a key and he was in charge. Dr. McCollum was out of town. I told him I could stay another day. This went on for three weeks. Every morning he would come and wake me up, wanting me to stay another day. At the end of three weeks, I had found out that the University of Florida was here and that this looked like a pretty good town, so I looked around and got me a room with Miss Haile about two blocks from there, for $2.00 a week. Then I started looking for a job. Iwasjust walking down by Firestone, and went to every one of them asking for a job.
When I got down to the filling station, the man said he was just making a living by himself and couldn't afford to pay anybody. This was about five o'clock and
all of a sudden things got busy, so I said, "Let me help you."

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher 3
March 13, 2001


He said, "Go right ahead." So I got busy. Instead of just selling gas, which he was doing, I sold windshield wipers. I sold everything there was there to sell.
After about an hour, he came around during a lull and said, "I said this business couldn't take two but I believe it can." So he hired me and said, "You can work
from five o'clock until eleven o'clock. You'll be here by yourself."

I said, "Okay."

He said, "You're a salesman. This place can use you." So I started to work for him starting at five o'clock. We soon found that about 10:30 business dropped off By that time school was starting out at the University, and I wanted to go, but all my records came from Georgia, so they said I would have to pay out-of-state tuition. I said, "I've had to borrow part of this money to register and I can't pay out-of-state tuition." They said, "Well, you'll have to see Mr. Gray." He was a hump-shouldered old man. I went there and I talked to him a few minutes. He asked me where my father was and I told him my father was dead. This uncle was my only connection that I had here. I was only nineteen, so he said, "Why don't you make him your legal guardian, and you won't have to pay out-of-state tuition." I felt that was a good idea, so my first cousin was Clerk of Court at Wrightsville, Georgia, so I sent him a letter with $5.00. He fixed it up for me, and I registered at the University. Then I had to look for work, so I went to Mr.
Stokes, who was head of the Agronomy Department, and asked him about a job.
He said they had three boys there and anytime any one of them was not working, I could take his place. The first afternoon I went to one man and said, "I've got to go to school, and I need work. Can't you give me something to do today?" So the next day I went to another, and at the end of the month Mr. Stokes told me, "You worked more hours and made more money than anybody else. What's happening?" I said, "Well, I just go and tell them I need the work." So it wasn't long before one of them quit so he gave me his job. I worked with them until my senior year. I was taking Ag Engineering and was in the Agronomy Department.
They didn't like that so told me they had to have a boy that was in the Agronomy Department, so I went over and talked to Frasier Rogers, who was head of the
Engineering Department.

He said, "Lamar, I understand that. I've got just one job and that's for running the lab, and I'll give you that job to make up for the one you lost over there." So
that's the way I graduated.

J: Can you tell me what you remember about the way the University looked in those
days?

H: There were no paved streets when I came here. They paved all those streets later.
There was just one circle, and it was a tar road. During the time I was at school they paved all those streets and put that lane that comes into the main artery that comes in now. When I entered the University, there were 1600 students and three

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher 4
March 13, 2001

cars on campus. In four years, when I graduated, there were probably twelve or thirteen cars. It was small. You knew everybody, but you didn't know who they
were.

What was so appealing to me was Gainesville. There were palms on University Avenue, right down the middle of the street. There was a little island there all the
way down by the University.

J: All the way down University Avenue?

H: Yes. Since I've been here, they've taken all those down.

J: I can remember the ones on Main Street, but I don't remember any on University.

H: They don't like to be beautiful. This was a beautiful town then, a beautiful town.
It was small. At the University, if we had a big weekend, we didn't have the girls here so we could tell the sororities and they would send down their housemother with the girls. We all had to move out of the house and we weren't allowed back in the house. They would come and stay Friday and Saturday nights, and leave on
Sunday afternoon. We had some pretty good times.

J: Where did you boys stay? Did you camp out?

H: We slept in cars. Any boy who wasn't staying at the fraternity house had a room,
so we could go stay with him. If you had a date, you could get in anyway. You
couldn't go as a stag. Girls were scarce, but we did get one on the weekend.

J: Is that how you met Emily?

H: No, I met her later on. In my fraternity, there was a Gulf Deder, and he and his
girl friend were killed by somebody out at the cemetery. They never did find out who shot them. He had just built a big house out in back of our fraternity house, so his wife couldn't handle the payments, so she moved out and rented the house that he and his father and mother had built. They rented that house so he could send his boys to school here at the University. It was the house behind my fraternity. I looked out one day just after the Carter family had moved in. Emily, my wife, walked around the road next to the fraternity house, Theta Chi House, and I looked out and I said, "Ooh, that's a beautiful girl. I think I'll marry her."
One of the Kenney girls knew it and went and told her. Emily was just out of high school and it scared her to death. She wasn't ready to get married. So we didn't get together then, but about four or five years later we did get together. We
were married in the First Baptist Church. Father McCall.

J: Dr. McCall and Preacher Gordon were both really important in this community,
weren't they?

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher 5
March 13, 2001

H: Yes. McCall wasn't the same type that Dr. Gordon was. Dr. Gordon, I liked him
a whole lot. Dr. McCall was more reserved. Everybody didn't like him as good
because he was slow in conversation.

We stayed here and I worked in the Department of Agriculture for sixteen months here with Fred Craft right in front of the courthouse in two little rooms. The Chamber of Commerce is one and we were in the other. I wasn't pleased with my progress, so when I got my vacation, I went up to Georgia and put in an
application up there forjobs.

I went up there and stayed eleven years and after that, decided that I wasn't making enough money for what I wanted to do so I resigned. I remember this lady who was head of the department said, "Mr. Hatcher, what are you doing
resigning? In Civil Service they couldn't fire you if they wanted to."

I said, "Well, it isn't that. I'm not worried about getting fired."

She said, "Why are you quitting?"

I said, "Well, you see all these people who are retiring. They've got one car, one
house, and that's about all they've got. I want more than that."

She said, "Well, I reckon you're right. You can make more."

So I resigned and came back to Gainesville. Emily's father had the Florida Gift Shop. He wanted to sell me that, and I bought it. The first year I made half what I had been making. I didn't make any money, but I then had Hatcher Jewelers right side of it and went into the jewelry business. I studied and I got all my books, and went to two or three seminars about diamonds and all. I was down there where they tore up the Phifer estate. Mrs. Phifer didn't want to do that but she had a brother in New York and he said they could put that business in there for J.C. Penney on the corner of University and 3 rd Street, and they could soon make more money. Well, they had I believe it was twelve or thirteen small buildings that they thought they could get pretty good rent out of, but it never did pay. She came and told me that they were going to do it, and said, "You've been so nice to me since you've been here and have let me know about things and have kind of looked after some things for me, so I'm telling you. We're going to do this. Don't say anything about it, but I'm giving you a chance to get out of here
and get you a building before everybody else starts looking."

So I opened up at the corner of University and Main and stayed there for five years and then moved to the Phifer property. I stayed there twenty years. It got so the vandalism was so bad there. We changed police chiefs and got to where we didn't have a very good police department. Then we went out to 34th Street. I told Fred I knew the place and said "I'm going to build out there," so we built the
place.

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher 6
March 13, 2001


J: Where was that store? Was that in the downtown area?

H: No, it's 34h and University. It was just a natural. I had trouble keeping
merchandise in there the first year. Then I sold out to Kelley Phillips. He was to pay me in ten years. At the end of one year, he had such a good business he wanted to pay me out. I said yes. There was nothing saying he couldn't pay me
out.

By that time, Carl Bryce and I were traveling in motor homes. We had gotten to be real good friends. We spent six weeks in Mexico and when we came back, I was working out in the yard. Kelley Phillips called and wanted to know if we were here and I said we were. So he brought me a cashier's check for the balance. So I took that money and put it into the stock market, and that's the best
thing I ever did.

J: I did it about a month ago, and it wasn't the best thing I ever did!

H: Not if you did it a month ago!

J: Tell me how things looked in 193 1.

H: Route 441 came up and went through town. It's 13th Street now. The high school
is on it. I can't remember what year, but it was many years back. Gainesville was
just a little town.

J: I remember Katherine Stevens said something about there was a pond at
University Avenue and where 13 th Street is, where the Holiday Inn is now. Do
you remember that?

H: Pike Fraternity House was there on that corner. I don't remember a lake being in
there.

J: That must have been a long time before.

H: Gainesville was just a little busy place. Everything operated around the
University. They had big weekends. Now they don't have any big orchestras.
Everybody has his own party. They don't get together. Back then, everything
went together.

J: Yes, the whole town sort of celebrated. I can remember the Military Ball was a
big event. Harry James and all that good stuff.


H: Jan Garber.

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher 7
March 13, 2001

J: Like the palm trees down University Avenue, can you visualize anything else that
might help us know how pretty the town was, what you liked about it?

H: Well, it was beautiful. The train was an odd thing. It went right down the middle
of town. That was something. Everybody wanted to see the train when it came
through.

J: The White House Hotel was there, wasn't it? Was that a stop for the train? H: Yes. They stopped there and ate. They would stop there and let them go in and
have a meal at the White House Hotel. The trains at that time weren't serving
food. The Thomas Hotel was there.

J: The Thomas Hotel must have been quite a resort. It was pretty big for
Gainesville. There was miniature golf in the front yard and all that.

H: Yes. I remember the first time that Jan Garber was here. He was a Delta Sigma
Phi. We were having a party for him there in the Thomas Hotel. J: Yes.

H: Austin was a sailor, too. He came walking out of there, and when they saw each
other, they went over and hugged each other, so we had quite a party with two of
them. I can't think of Austin's first name. J: Was it Gene Austin?

H: Yes. Gene Austin.

J: Did you ever know Hoagie Carmichael? I understand he spent some time here. H: No.

J: And James Melton? He was that tenor. H: Yes. He was kin to the Melton's here. Melton Buick. J: Oh yes? I didn't know that. H: Yes. I was always good friends with Gene and Bobby and their old man. I was as
friendly with the old man as I was with the boys.

J: We went with Bobby and played bridge some. He's gone now. H: Yes, both of the boys. The Melton boys are gone.

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher 8
March 13, 2001

J: Let's see. We've got the downtown area. H: In 1939 built this house in Golfview.

J: I've always thought that Golfview was one of the prettiest neighborhoods in town.
Well, you've certainly seen Golfview grow, and they've done a wonderful job in
keeping it as a residential area and not have student intrusion.

H: We've got a lot of students in here. There are only two on this street, but on the
next street there are more. There are not too many in here, being close to the
University as we are.

J: As a business man, what do you think some of the most important people were in
developing the character of the town as it is now and helping business along?
What were some of the clubs you belonged to?

H: A lot of people didn't get along with Addison Pound, but I always got along good
with him.

J: He was Baird Hardware, wasn't he?

H: Yes. In Baird Hardware he had a bunch of things. He had four or five salesmen
that traveled all over the state.

J: I know Cecil Gracy worked for him. H: Yes, Cecil worked for him.

J: It was the biggest business in town, wasn't it?

H: By far the biggest. Addison didn't want to put power in where he has to have
power. If he had put on more salesmen and moved it, but he wanted everything kept in Gainesville. He had outboard motors -the best ones -for the state, but instead of putting a place in, say, Palm Beach or Miami and one in Jacksonville,
he still wanted it all out of here.

J: They wanted better distribution.

H: They took it away from him. You know where he used to live, don't you, up on a
little street that cuts off before you get to 13th back in there to the right?

J: He had about an acre there, didn't he? Just loads of roses?


H: Yes.

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher 9
March 13, 2001

J: My little granddaughter is living in student housing near there. I keep telling her
that was a beautiful place.

H: Oh, it was gorgeous.

J: The oak trees.

H: I don't know who lives in that house now, do you?

J: No, I don't. I remember the oak trees that just almost made the street dark it was
such a wonderful tunnel of oaks. Do you remember the old Baird house and the old Stringfellow house before they were torn down to make room for banks on
Main Street? Those big old house with the columns.

H: Yes. I hated to see them torn down.

J: What do you know about those old families? I don't remember much. I know the
young ones in the family, but I don't remember much about the older people, do
you?

H: No. You see, I always worked. I didn't have the time to mix in town that some
others did. I had to work to make my own living all the time I was in school. I lived in places out at the University where they wouldn't dare let you live now. I lived in shack with no bathroom, no shower. You had to go across and unlock a gate and go in back of a hothouse to take a shower and go to another building to
go to a bathroom.

J: You were pretty brave.

H: Now you couldn't live in places I lived in. You had to do it if you were going to
make it.

J: I guess so. They didn't have scholarships then like they do now, did they?

H: They just didn't have the money. Back in the olden days, I had the job in the
Student Assistance. It didn't pay much. I think it was $20.00 a month. You had to have some more income. My father had died before I ever came here. I was a junior in high school. My mother was up there in that little town and we would farm. She had a lot of kinfolks that lived out of town and when the kids would get up to high school, she would send them to stay with my mother. They would
bring her a little stuff in, but not as much as they should have.

J: I know you joined the Country Club. Did you join the one that's right here near
Golfview?


H: Yes. I was a member when I built this house.

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher 10
March 13, 2001


J: I remember playing on that course.

H: I never did have time to be a golfer because I always had to work. I just never did
have time to play. When I built this, I said I could just put on my suit and go
swimming, and I did that some, but they soon decided to move.

J: I've forgotten when the club moved out. I guess it was before the war, wasn't it?

H: No.

J: It was after the war. That's right. If you built this in '49, that would be after the
war. Who built the house for you?

H: I can't remember.

J: It's not important. I remember that M.M. Parrish built ours. It was the last one he
built, I think, in Gainesville before the war.

H: Is that right?

J: Yes. He just barely finished it, I guess in '42. 1 understand that you and Carl
Bryce did a lot of traveling together in your RV.

H: Carl and I really enjoy traveling together. His wife, Hazel, and Emily were good
friends. Carl used to tell me about where he started. He had registered to start at the University as a freshman and his father died. He had several brothers and sisters, so he couldn't go to school. His father was a logger and he always knew a lot about timber. He said his aunt went to church one Sunday and when she came back, he had bought a sawmill and put it up in her back yard in Archer. When she got home, she had a sawmill in her back yard!! That's where he started. He had many sawmills after that. He bought timber all over this country. He would start from Cedar Keys and he would say, "See that tract at the corner. I had that so many years ago." We would go on down and he would see another tract and
would say, "I got that." He had a big tract all over.

He had a big outfit over in Trenton. He bought it from IT&T. It wasn't supposed to have any restrictions on it, so after he bought it and went to cutting timber off it, he went to developing on the tracts and there is a section there out of Trenton and they sold that and were getting along fine and all of a sudden he sold the tract and they said, "Wait a minute. That's not land that you can sell to build houses on. You can't do anything but put timber on it." He sued IT&T for selling this land with restrictions on it and telling him there were no restrictions. That's about the last thing that Carl did. He won his case, but that didn't mean he got any
money out of them. The last I knew his estate was still working on it.

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher I I
March 13, 2001

J: I always thought they were one of the wealthiest people in the Gainesville area.
Was he?

H: Yes. Carl made money on timber and land. If he could rent land for $20.00 an
acre, he would rent it and a lot of these old people who owned farms and didn't want to turn it loose were glad to get that rent. We would drive around on a
Sunday and he would show me a place that he had rented and planted all in pine.

J: It must have been a long-term lease so he would have a chance to harvest.

H: Twenty years. It was always a twenty-year lease. He made a lot of money on
that. What happened to him was he would get in at a good place, and he would
get $30.00 an acre for the straw.

J: Straw?

H: Yes.

J: What did they do with that? Put it in furniture?

H: No. They put it around for mulch. I remember we had a place over on the
Suwanee River that he and I would go by every now and then. We did a lot of riding around on Sundays. That was the main time we would ride. We kind of liked this old man, and we'd go by and see him now and then. He had a big pasture there, and Carl rented it for $20.00 an acre. He got along fine with the old man until about ten or twelve years ago. I said, "Are we going by and see the old
man?"

He said, "No, no, we ain't friendly no more."

I said, "What's the matter?"

He said, "Well, his son left here and then he came back and has gone into the straw business. He's paying me $30.00 an acre for that land now. I'm renting
from the old man for $20.00 an acre, and the old man don't like it."

J: He was making $10.00 an acre profit!

H: It was good land, and the trees grew like mad. I don't think Carl had cut that
when he died. Probably the estate has already cut it. When he would keep it nineteen years, he would cut it clean and made a profit, but you had to know what
you were doing. Carl knew that.

When we came out of Mexico the last time, I said, "Carl, what are you going to do?" He said, "I've got too much to do so I've got to go back." We had been down there six weeks and we had left home seven weeks before. I said, "Well,

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher 12
March 13, 2001

I'm going from here to San Francisco and I'm going to Hawaii for a week." He said, "Well, when you get back, you call me." I said, "Collect? Carl, you know your office won't take a collect call from me." He said, "They sure will because I'm going to tell them when I get back to take it." I said, "I can pay for it." He said, "No, you call me collect." When I got back from Hawaii, it had taken me about two weeks to go over there and it had been about a month, I called and you know who answered? Carl answered. It was about 7:30 here. He said, "Lamar, meet me in South Dakota in three weeks. They're having a big motor home convention there, and I'll meet you there and then we'll work our way back." So I said, "What time?" He said, "About eleven o'clock." So we went up there and we were listening to the radio and heard a man telling another fellow how to get to the convention, and Momma said, "That's Carl." We were about five minutes
from where we were meeting. So we rolled up there just about the same time.

We were about a month getting back here. Iwasgladtoseehim. enjoyed traveling with him. He was always a good sport, and Hazel and Emily would go to the grocery store and we would always hold back. They would buy chicken
and steak and all this other stuff, but Carl and I would buy gizzards.

J: Country boy food!

H: Yeah. Gizzards and chicken parts. They wouldn't buy it, but we would. We
were the cooks, too. Carl had a great big frying pan. Hazel wouldn't let him put it in the bus, so he kept it outside in one of those lockers outside. He also had an
outfit that he put a potato in and mash it down, and it would make pieces.

J: You told me that you all went about 165,000 miles together, right?

H: Yes. I bought a brand new bus and it had 120,000 miles when I traded it for a
bigger bus. Emily always thought the other one was too small. It was just right for me, but I bought a bigger one and then drove it about 50,000 miles. We
traveled all over Canada.

J: Alaska?

H: We spent the summer of 1980, the whole summer, in Alaska. Carl had three
nephews up there and a brother. He called them and told them I was coming and to look out for me, that he was supposed to come with me, but something happened and he couldn't come. When I got up there, I did what he told me. I called them and they said, "Are you pulling anything?" I said, "No." I didn't know how bad the roads were, so I wasn't pulling anything. They said, "Well, we'll have a car around there in about thirty minutes." They brought me a station wagon that had 32,000 miles on it. They said, "As long as you stay here, you
keep this."


Wasn't that nice!

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher 13
March 13, 2001


H: They were doing mainly airports up there in the northern part of the country, and
they said, "Every time a plane goes out of here, it's not loaded. If you're around, we'll put you on it and you will see things that nobody else will ever see." They
had three airports to build and there wasn't a road to any of them.

J: That must have been exciting.

H: It was. We weren't going to stay that long, but we spent the whole summer up
there. We came on back empty handed. We caught some fish, but we hadn't really gotten into the salmon like we wanted to. We came back down to Ketchikan and stopped there. This was a resort and they had rooms to rent and places for motor homes. They had boats with, I think, 15-horse Johnson motors and you could rent them every day to fish close around there. They had a big bankers' convention there and everything was rented, so we couldn't get it. They told me they had a long dock there and they said, "You're staying here so you can fish on that dock. Nobody else can come in here and fish from it, but if you're in here and we haven't got a boat for you, we'll let you fish from that dock." We would catch but two each. We caught our four fish in less than an hour. They
were anywhere from 13 to 15 pounds each.

J: My goodness.

H: So we did that and then we went back several times. They had a canning facility
and they let us use it and we brought home a case of salmon that we had caught.

J: Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. We will have this
transcribed and you will then have the opportunity to edit it and add or delete
anything you wish. Thank you again. It has been a pleasure.

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Full Text

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MATHESON HISTORICAL MUSEUM ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM Interviewee: Lamar Hatcher Interviewer: Virginia Jess Transcriber: Ruth C. Marston March 13, 2001

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher March 13, 2001 2 J: This is Virginia Jess of the Matheson Historical Museum. I am interviewing Lamar Hatcher at 306 S.W. 26 th Street in Gainesville. The date is March 13, 2001. Lamar, let’s talk about how you ca me to Gainesville and what you can tell us that you think would be of interest. H: Well, I was born on January 10, 1911, on a little farm up in Kite, Georgia. My father was E. Virgil Hatcher and my moth er Claude Hatcher. The Depression hit and things were so bad I saw people comi ng out of Miami and they had a piece of clothes and shoes. I said, “I’ve got to get out of this,” so I went out on #1 and caught a ride. The first ride that came brought me all the way to Jacksonville. This was in the summer of . I was ragged. I had $2.25 in my pocket. This guy dropped me in Jacksonville. I didn’t have a map; I didn’t know what road I took out of Miami or anything, so I walked up on the Vidauf just off of Bay Street just to look around and this guy picked me up because I had on a little college cap, and he brought me to Gainesville. I asked where the police station was because I’d always heard you could spend a night at the police station if you didn’t have any money, so I tried to figure where I could hide that $2.25. Anyway, I asked around and the police st ation was pointed out to me. Then I began to think that I had an uncle that I believed was in Gainesville. He was a druggist and he had been here about te n or twelve years. Instead of asking somebody, I went around looking for drug stores. The first one there was Vidal’s. I looked in there and in City Drug. I went around to Canova’s, and McCollum’s was the last one down there where Cox Fu rniture was for years. I went down there and looked in and I saw my uncle. He hadn’t seen me in four or five years. I had grown up from being just a small boy to a man. I walked in and I didn’t think about his not knowing me , but he didn’t know me. He asked what he could do for me, and I told him I was just looking around and I thought he would recognize me. I saw he didn’t, so I told hi m who I was. He was glad to see me. Of course, I was glad to spend the night with him, because I didn’t know where I was going to stay as I didn’t have any mone y. He got me a room right next to his apartment from the same lady that he wa s renting from. I told him I would be there just one night. About six o’clock the next morning, he came and asked if I had to leave the next day. I told him no, that I wasn’t on any schedule. So he said his wife was sick and that he was the only one at Mc Collum Drug Store that had a key and he was in charge. Dr. McCollum wa s out of town. I told him I could stay another day. This went on for three weeks. Every morning he would come and wake me up, wanting me to stay another day. At the end of three weeks, I had found out that the University of Florida wa s here and that this looked like a pretty good town, so I looked around and got me a room with Miss Haile about two blocks from there, for $2.00 a week. Then I started looking for a job. I was just walking down by Firestone, and went to every one of them asking for a job. When I got down to the filling station, th e man said he was just making a living by himself and couldn’t afford to pay a nybody. This was about five o’clock and all of a sudden things got busy, so I said, “Let me help you.”

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher March 13, 2001 3 He said, “Go right ahead.” So I got busy. Instead of just selling gas, which he was doing, I sold windshield wipers. I so ld everything there was there to sell. After about an hour, he came around during a lull and said, “I said this business couldn’t take two but I believe it can.” So he hired me and said, “You can work from five o’clock until eleven o’cloc k. You’ll be here by yourself.” I said, “Okay.” He said, “You’re a salesman. This place can use you.” So I started to work for him starting at five o’ clock. We soon found that about 10:30 business dropped off. By that time school was starting out at the University, an d I wanted to go, but all my records came from Georgia, so they said I would have to pay out-of-state tuition. I said, “I’ve had to borrow part of th is money to regist er and I can’t pay out-of-state tuition.” They said, “Well, you’ll have to see Mr. Gray.” He was a hump-shouldered old man. I went there a nd I talked to him a few minutes. He asked me where my father was and I told him my father was dead. This uncle was my only connection that I had here. I was only nineteen, so he said, “Why don’t you make him your legal guardian, and you won’t have to pay out-of-state tuition.” I felt that was a good idea, so my first cousin was Clerk of Court at Wrightsville, Georgia, so I sent him a letter with $5.00. He fixed it up for me, and I registered at the Universi ty. Then I had to look for work, so I went to Mr. Stokes, who was head of the Agronomy De partment, and asked him about a job. He said they had three boys there and anytime any one of them was not working, I could take his place. The first afternoon I went to one man and said, “I’ve got to go to school, and I need work. Can’t you give me something to do today?” So the next day I went to another, and at the end of the month Mr. Stokes told me, “You worked more hours and made more money than anybody else. What’s happening?” I said, “Well, I just go and tell them I need the work.” So it wasn’t long before one of them quit so he gave me his job. I worked with them until my senior year. I was taking Ag Engineering and was in the Agronomy Department. They didn’t like that so told me they ha d to have a boy that was in the Agronomy Department, so I went over and talked to Frasier Rogers, who was head of the Engineering Department. He said, “Lamar, I understand that. I’ve got just one job and that’s for running the lab, and I’ll give you that job to make up for the one you lost over there.” So that’s the way I graduated. J: Can you tell me what you remember about the way the University looked in those days? H: There were no paved streets when I came he re. They paved all t hose streets later. There was just one circle, and it was a ta r road. During the time I was at school they paved all those streets and put that lane that comes into the main artery that comes in now. When I entered the Univer sity, there were 1 600 students and three

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher March 13, 2001 4 cars on campus. In four years, when I gr aduated, there were probably twelve or thirteen cars. It was small. You knew everybody, but you didn’t know who they were. What was so appealing to me was Gain esville. There were palms on University Avenue, right down the middle of the street. There was a little island there all the way down by the University. J: All the way down University Avenue? H: Yes. Since I’ve been he re, they’ve taken all those down. J: I can remember the ones on Main Street , but I don’t remember any on University. H: They don’t like to be beautif ul. This was a beautiful town then, a beautiful town. It was small. At the University, if we had a big weekend, we didn’t have the girls here so we could tell the sororities and they would se nd down their housemother with the girls. We all had to move out of the house and we weren’t allowed back in the house. They would come and stay Friday and Saturday nights, and leave on Sunday afternoon. We had some pretty good times. J: Where did you boys stay? Did you camp out? H: We slept in cars. Any boy who wasn’t staying at the fraternity house had a room, so we could go stay with him. If you had a date, you could ge t in anyway. You couldn’t go as a stag. Girls were scarce, but we did get one on the weekend. J: Is that how you met Emily? H: No, I met her later on. In my fraternit y, there was a Gulf Deder, and he and his girl friend were killed by somebody out at the cemetery. They never did find out who shot them. He had just built a big house out in back of our fraternity house, so his wife couldn’t handle the payments , so she moved out and rented the house that he and his father and mother had bu ilt. They rented that house so he could send his boys to school he re at the University. It was the house behind my fraternity. I looked out one day just after the Carter family had moved in. Emily, my wife, walked around the road next to the fraternity house, Theta Chi House, and I looked out and I said, “Ooh, that’s a beautiful girl. I think I’ll marry her.” One of the Kenney girls knew it and went an d told her. Emily was just out of high school and it scared her to death. Sh e wasn’t ready to get married. So we didn’t get together then, but about four or five years late r we did get together. We were married in the First Baptist Church. Father McCall. J: Dr. McCall and Preacher Gordon were both really important in this community, weren’t they?

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher March 13, 2001 5 H: Yes. McCall wasn’t the same type th at Dr. Gordon was. Dr. Gordon, I liked him a whole lot. Dr. McCall was more rese rved. Everybody didn’t like him as good because he was slow in conversation. We stayed here and I worked in the Department of Agriculture for sixteen months here with Fred Craft right in front of the courthouse in two little rooms. The Chamber of Commerce is one and we were in the other. I wasn’t pleased with my progress, so when I got my vacation, I went up to Georgia and put in an application up there for jobs. I went up there and stayed eleven year s and after that, decided that I wasn’t making enough money for what I wanted to do so I resigned. I remember this lady who was head of the department sa id, “Mr. Hatcher, what are you doing resigning? In Civil Service they coul dn’t fire you if they wanted to.” I said, “Well, it isn’t that. I’m not worried about getting fired.” She said, “Why are you quitting?” I said, “Well, you see all these people who are retiring. They’ve got one car, one house, and that’s about all they’ve got. I want more than that.” She said, “Well, I reckon you’re right. You can make more.” So I resigned and came back to Gainesville. Emily’s father had the Florida Gift Shop. He wanted to sell me that, and I bought it. The first year I made half what I had been making. I didn’t make any m oney, but I then had Hatcher Jewelers right side of it and went into the jewelry business. I studied and I got all my books, and went to two or three seminars about diamonds and all. I was down there where they tore up the Phifer estate. Mrs. Phifer didn’t want to do that but she had a brother in New York and he said they could put that business in there for J.C. Penney on the corner of University and 3 rd Street, and they could soon make more money. Well, they had I be lieve it was twelve or thirteen small buildings that they thought they could get pretty good re nt out of, but it never did pay. She came and told me that they were going to do it, and said, “You’ve been so nice to me since you’ve been here and have let me know about things and have kind of looked after some things for me, so I’m telling you. We’re going to do this. Don’t say anything about it, but I’m giving you a chance to get out of here and get you a building before ev erybody else starts looking.” So I opened up at the corner of Univers ity and Main and stayed there for five years and then moved to the Phifer property. I stayed there twenty years. It got so the vandalism was so bad there. We changed police chiefs and got to where we didn’t have a very go od police department. Then we went out to 34 th Street. I told Fred I knew the place and said “I’m going to build out there,” so we built the place.

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher March 13, 2001 6 J: Where was that store? Wa s that in the downtown area? H: No, it’s 34 th and University. It was just a natural. I had trouble keeping merchandise in there the first year. Then I sold out to Kelley Phillips. He was to pay me in ten years. At the end of one year, he had such a good business he wanted to pay me out. I said yes. Th ere was nothing saying he couldn’t pay me out. By that time, Carl Bryce and I were tr aveling in motor homes. We had gotten to be real good friends. We spent six week s in Mexico and when we came back, I was working out in the yard. Kelley Phillips called and wanted to know if we were here and I said we were. So he brought me a cashier’s check for the balance. So I took that money and put it in to the stock market, and that’s the best thing I ever did. J: I did it about a month ago, and it wasn’t the best thing I ever did! H: Not if you did it a month ago! J: Tell me how things looked in 1931. H: Route 441 came up and went through town. It’s 13 th Street now. The high school is on it. I can’t remember what year, but it was many years back. Gainesville was just a little town. J: I remember Katherine Stevens said something about there was a pond at University Avenue and where 13 th Street is, where the Holiday Inn is now. Do you remember that? H: Pike Fraternity House was there on that corner. I don’t remember a lake being in there. J: That must have been a long time before. H: Gainesville was just a little bus y place. Everything operated around the University. They had big weekends. No w they don’t have any big orchestras. Everybody has his own party. They don’t ge t together. Back then, everything went together. J: Yes, the whole town sort of celebrate d. I can remember the Military Ball was a big event. Harry James a nd all that good stuff. H: Jan Garber.

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher March 13, 2001 7 J: Like the palm trees down University Ave nue, can you visualize anything else that might help us know how pretty the town was, what you liked about it? H: Well, it was beautiful. The train was an odd thing. It went right down the middle of town. That was something. Everybody wanted to see the train when it came through. J: The White House Hotel was there, wasn ’t it? Was that a stop for the train? H: Yes. They stopped there and ate. Th ey would stop there and let them go in and have a meal at the White House Hotel. The trains at that time weren’t serving food. The Thomas Hotel was there. J: The Thomas Hotel must have been qui te a resort. It was pretty big for Gainesville. There was miniature golf in the front yard and all that. H: Yes. I remember the first time that Jan Garber was here. He was a Delta Sigma Phi. We were having a party for h im there in the Thomas Hotel. J: Yes. H: Austin was a sailor, too. He came wa lking out of there, and when they saw each other, they went over and hugge d each other, so we had quite a party with two of them. I can’t think of Austin’s first name. J: Was it Gene Austin? H: Yes. Gene Austin. J: Did you ever know Hoagie Carmichael? I understand he spent some time here. H: No. J: And James Melton? He was that tenor. H: Yes. He was kin to th e Melton’s here. Melton Buick. J: Oh yes? I didn’t know that. H: Yes. I was always good friends with Gene and Bobby and their old man. I was as friendly with the old man as I was with the boys. J: We went with Bobby and played bridge some. He’s gone now. H: Yes, both of the boys. The Melton boys are gone.

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher March 13, 2001 8 J: Let’s see. We’ve got the downtown area. H: In 1939 built this house in Golfview. J: I’ve always thought that Go lfview was one of the prettie st neighborhoods in town. Well, you’ve certainly seen Golfview gr ow, and they’ve done a wonderful job in keeping it as a residential area and not have student intrusion. H: We’ve got a lot of students in here. There are only two on this street, but on the next street there are more. There are not too many in here, being close to the University as we are. J: As a business man, what do you think some of the most import ant people were in developing the character of the town as it is now and help ing business along? What were some of the clubs you belonged to? H: A lot of people didn’t get along w ith Addison Pound, but I always got along good with him. J: He was Baird Hardware, wasn’t he? H: Yes. In Baird Hardware he had a bunch of things. He had four or five salesmen that traveled all over the state. J: I know Cecil Gracy worked for him. H: Yes, Cecil worked for him. J: It was the biggest busin ess in town, wasn’t it? H: By far the biggest. Addison didn’t want to put power in where he has to have power. If he had put on more salesmen and moved it, but he wanted everything kept in Gainesville. He had outboard motors – the best ones – for the state, but instead of putting a place in, say, Palm B each or Miami and one in Jacksonville, he still wanted it a ll out of here. J: They wanted better distribution. H: They took it away from him. You know where he used to live, don’t you, up on a little street that cuts off before you get to 13 th back in there to the right? J: He had about an acre there, didn’t he? Just loads of roses? H: Yes.

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher March 13, 2001 9 J: My little granddaughter is living in student housing near there. I keep telling her that was a beautiful place. H: Oh, it was gorgeous. J: The oak trees. H: I don’t know who lives in that house now, do you? J: No, I don’t. I remember the oak trees that just almost made the street dark it was such a wonderful tunnel of oaks. Do you remember the old Baird house and the old Stringfellow house before they were torn down to make room for banks on Main Street? Those big old house with the columns. H: Yes. I hated to see them torn down. J: What do you know about those old familie s? I don’t remember much. I know the young ones in the family, but I don’t reme mber much about the older people, do you? H: No. You see, I always worked. I didn’t have the time to mix in town that some others did. I had to work to make my own living all the time I was in school. I lived in places out at the University wh ere they wouldn’t dare let you live now. I lived in shack with no bathroom, no shower. You had to go across and unlock a gate and go in back of a hothouse to take a shower and go to another building to go to a bathroom. J: You were pretty brave. H: Now you couldn’t live in places I lived i n. You had to do it if you were going to make it. J: I guess so. They didn’t have scholarsh ips then like they do now, did they? H: They just didn’t have the money. Back in the olden days, I had the job in the Student Assistance. It didn’t pay muc h. I think it was $20.00 a month. You had to have some more income. My father ha d died before I ever came here. I was a junior in high school. My mother was up there in that little town and we would farm. She had a lot of kinfolks that liv ed out of town and when the kids would get up to high school, she would send them to stay with my mother. They would bring her a little stuff in, but not as much as they should have. J: I know you joined the Country Club. Did you join the one that’s right here near Golfview? H: Yes. I was a member when I built this house.

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher March 13, 2001 10 J: I remember playing on that course. H: I never did have time to be a golfer because I always had to work. I just never did have time to play. When I built this, I said I could just put on my suit and go swimming, and I did that some, but they soon decided to move. J: I’ve forgotten when the club moved out. I guess it was before the war, wasn’t it? H: No. J: It was after the war. That’s right. If you built this in , that would be after the war. Who built the house for you? H: I can’t remember. J: It’s not important. I remember that M.M. Parrish built ours. It was the last one he built, I think, in Gainesville before the war. H: Is that right? J: Yes. He just barely fi nished it, I guess in . I understand that you and Carl Bryce did a lot of traveling together in your RV. H: Carl and I really enjoy traveling together. His wife, Hazel, and Emily were good friends. Carl used to tell me about where he started. He had registered to start at the University as a freshman and his fath er died. He had several brothers and sisters, so he couldn’t go to school. His father was a logger and he always knew a lot about timber. He said his aunt went to church one Sunday and when she came back, he had bought a sawmill and put it up in her back yard in Archer. When she got home, she had a sawmill in her back yard!! That’s where he started. He had many sawmills after that. He bought timber all over this country. He would start from Cedar Keys and he would say, “See that tract at the corner. I had that so many years ago.” We would go on down and he would see another tract and would say, “I got that.” He had a big tract all over. He had a big outfit over in Trenton. He bought it from IT&T. It wasn’t supposed to have any restrictions on it, so after he bought it and went to cutting timber off it, he went to developing on the tracts a nd there is a section there out of Trenton and they sold that and were getting along fi ne and all of a sudden he sold the tract and they said, “Wait a minute. That’s not land that you can sell to build houses on. You can’t do anything but put timber on it.” He sued IT&T for selling this land with restrictions on it and telling him there were no restric tions. That’s about the last thing that Carl did. He won hi s case, but that didn’t mean he got any money out of them. The last I knew his estate was still working on it.

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher March 13, 2001 11 J: I always thought they were one of the wealthiest people in the Gainesville area. Was he? H: Yes. Carl made money on timber and land. If he could rent land for $20.00 an acre, he would rent it and a lot of th ese old people who owned farms and didn’t want to turn it loose were glad to get that rent. We would drive around on a Sunday and he would show me a place that he had rented and planted all in pine. J: It must have been a long-term lease so he would have a chance to harvest. H: Twenty years. It was always a twenty -year lease. He made a lot of money on that. What happened to him was he would get in at a good place, and he would get $30.00 an acre for the straw. J: Straw? H: Yes. J: What did they do with that? Put it in furniture? H: No. They put it around for mulch. I remember we had a place over on the Suwanee River that he and I would go by every now and then. We did a lot of riding around on Sundays. That was the main time we would ride. We kind of liked this old man, and we’d go by and see him now and then. He had a big pasture there, and Carl rented it for $20.00 an acre. He got along fine with the old man until about ten or twelve years ago. I said, “Are we going by and see the old man?” He said, “No, no, we ain’t friendly no more.” I said, “What’s the matter?” He said, “Well, his son left here and th en he came back and has gone into the straw business. He’s paying me $30.00 an acre for that land now. I’m renting from the old man for $20.00 an acre, and the old man don’t like it.” J: He was making $10.00 an acre profit! H: It was good land, and the trees grew lik e mad. I don’t think Carl had cut that when he died. Probably the estate has al ready cut it. When he would keep it nineteen years, he would cu t it clean and made a profit, but you had to know what you were doing. Carl knew that. When we came out of Mexico the last tim e, I said, “Carl, what are you going to do?” He said, “I’ve got too much to do so I’ve got to go back.” We had been down there six weeks and we had left hom e seven weeks before. I said, “Well,

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher March 13, 2001 12 I’m going from here to San Francisco and I’m going to Hawaii for a week.” He said, “Well, when you get back, you call me .” I said, “Collect? Carl, you know your office won’t take a collect call from me .” He said, “They sure will because I’m going to tell them when I get back to take it.” I said, “I can pay for it.” He said, “No, you call me collect.” When I got back from Hawaii, it had taken me about two weeks to go over there and it had been about a month, I called and you know who answered? Carl answered. It was about 7:30 here. He said, “Lamar, meet me in South Dakota in three w eeks. They’re having a big motor home convention there, and I’ll meet you there a nd then we’ll work our way back.” So I said, “What time?” He said, “About eleven o’clock.” So we went up there and we were listening to the radio and heard a man telling another fellow how to get to the convention, and Momma said, “That’s Carl.” We were about five minutes from where we were meeting. So we rolled up there just about the same time. We were about a month getting back here . I was glad to se e him. I enjoyed traveling with him. He was always a good sport, and Hazel and Emily would go to the grocery store and we would alwa ys hold back. They would buy chicken and steak and all this other stuff, but Carl and I would buy gizzards. J: Country boy food! H: Yeah. Gizzards and chicken parts. They wouldn’t buy it, but we would. We were the cooks, too. Carl had a great bi g frying pan. Hazel wouldn’t let him put it in the bus, so he kept it outside in one of those lockers outside. He also had an outfit that he put a potato in and mash it down, and it would make pieces. J: You told me that you all went about 165,000 miles together, right? H: Yes. I bought a brand new bus and it had 120,000 miles when I traded it for a bigger bus. Emily always thought the other one was too small. It was just right for me, but I bought a bigger one and then drove it about 50,000 miles. We traveled all over Canada. J: Alaska? H: We spent the summer of 1980, the whol e summer, in Alaska. Carl had three nephews up there and a brother. He called them and told them I was coming and to look out for me, that he was suppos ed to come with me, but something happened and he couldn’t come. When I got up there, I did what he told me. I called them and they said, “Are you pulli ng anything?” I said, “No.” I didn’t know how bad the roads were, so I wasn’t pulling anything. They said, “Well, we’ll have a car around there in about thirty minutes.” They brought me a station wagon that had 32,000 miles on it. They said, “As long as you stay here, you keep this.” J: Wasn’t that nice!

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Interview with Lamar Hatcher March 13, 2001 13 H: They were doing mainly airports up ther e in the northern part of the country, and they said, “Every time a plane goes out of here, it’s not loaded. If you’re around, we’ll put you on it and you will see things that nobody else will ever see.” They had three airports to build and ther e wasn’t a road to any of them. J: That must have been exciting. H: It was. We weren’t going to stay that long, but we spent the whole summer up there. We came on back empty handed. We caught some fish, but we hadn’t really gotten into the salmon like we wanted to. We came back down to Ketchikan and stopped there. This was a resort and they had rooms to rent and places for motor homes. They had boats with, I think, 15-horse Johnson motors and you could rent them every day to fish close around there. They had a big bankers’ convention there and everything was rented, so we couldn’t get it. They told me they had a long dock there and they said, “You ’re staying here so you can fish on that dock. Nobody else can come in here and fish from it, but if you’re in here and we haven’t got a boat for you, we’ll let you fish from that dock.” We would catch but two each. We caught our f our fish in less than an hour. They were anywhere from 13 to 15 pounds each. J: My goodness. H: So we did that and then we went back several times. They had a canning facility and they let us use it and we brought ho me a case of salmon that we had caught. J: Thank you so much for sharing your e xperiences with us. We will have this transcribed and you will then have the oppor tunity to edit it and add or delete anything you wish. Thank you again. It has been a pleasure.