Letter from Carl Arvil Mead to Oscar Winfield Mead

Dublin Core

Title

Letter from Carl Arvil Mead to Oscar Winfield Mead

Alternative Title

Letter from Carl Mead to Oscar Mead

Subject

Miami (Fla.)
Vero (Fla.)
Beaches--Florida

Description

A letter from Carl Arvil Mead to his father, Oscar Winfield Mead, most likely written the winter of 1920 when Carl Mead and his family were in Miami, Florida. He was from Walton, Indiana and his father was from Pekin. In the letter, Carl Mead describes the sandy beaches of the Biscayne Bay area, the cost of house rentals , the Rickenbacker Causeway, the economic development of the city, the drive from Indiana to Florida, the family's trip to Vero, tasting various Florida fruits, and the cost of groceries and gasoline.

Creator

Mead, Carl Arvil

Source

Digital transcript of original 3-page letter from Carl Arvil Mead to Oscar Winfield Mead: Private Collection of Ann Wilder.

Date Created

ca. 1920

Contributor

Wilder, Ann

Is Part Of

Miami Collection, Miami-Dade County Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.

Format

application/pdf

Extent

47.8 KB

Medium

3-page letter

Language

eng

Type

Text

Coverage

Miami, Florida
Vero, Florida

Accrual Method

Donation

Provenance

Originally created by Carl Arvil Mead.

Rights Holder

Copyright to this resource is held by Ann Wilder and is provided here by RICHES of Central Florida for educational purposes only.

Curator

Wilder, Ann
Cepero, Laura

Digital Collection

Source Repository

"City of Miami History." City of Miami. http://www.miamigov.com/home/history.html.
"MIAMI: ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF HISTORY." HistoryMiami. http://www.historymiami.org/research-miami/topics/history-of-miami/.
"The City of Vero Beach - A Brief History." City of Vero Beach. http://www.covb.org/index.asp?SEC=7A2FDAEA-D94A-426F-B0C9-C376A4297189&Type=B_BASIC.
"History of Vero Beach, Sebastian & Indian River County, Florida." VeroBeach.com. http://www.verobeach.com/history.html.

External Reference

268 N.W. 27th Terrace
Miami, Florida

Dear Father:

After about 6 days’ travel we arrived here and are well located at the above address. This place is out in the thicket almost but by no mean is it at the edge of the City as there is city for some eight miles north west of here. Enough laid out to build a city like Chicago.
The soil here is sand, not sandy, but pure san and this is filled with rock white as snow. Looks like lime hardened and as it is exposed to the air becomes harder. I would judge it is of coral formation.
I am planting some garden, but Florence says she isn’t going to worry herself about any garden as I will not raise anything anyway, but you know how well she likes those big watermelons and I sure planted some of those seeds first thing. I also planted beans, radishes, lettuce and tomatoes, aim to be living fine by Christmas, “don’t you know.” This *quotation, the southerner adds to every sentence he tells you.
There are hundreds of tents here, people living in them the year around. They charge $5.00 per month for a place large enough for a tent to be place on the summer season and $15 per month commencing Nov. 1st for the winter season. Houses or shacks rent from $50 to $500 per month. If you had your house here furnished as it is, it would rent for $150 per month, but would probably sell for $10,000, located within 2 miles of the business section. Lots anywhere within a mile of the main business section sell or $1,000 up per front foot. I have decided that to judge a piece of property at what I think it is worth and then multiply it by ten or more and that will be what they will ask you for it. Too high for me, scares me out, guess I haven’t the nerve or don’t know a bargain when I see it.
We have been over to the beach a few times. There is a road built across Biscayne Bay about 150 feet wide and they call it the “Causeway” then when you get across this which is three or four miles long, you are on a large island of some 500 acres or probably more. This is all laid out in lots with some very fine buildings on it, that, maybe, if I get my nerve up, I may price some of those lots. Suppose they are worth from $5,000 up.
The children have a fine time hunting shells on the beach and they sure are pretty. We were in bathing Thursday. It is like bathing in brine if you are covered with mosquito bites. The ocean looks pretty and is unlike other clear water as it looks so blue and tastes so salty, makes your nose and eyes smart and burn like onions do some times. Florence and Betty are scared of the waves which are three or four feet high, but the girls and I went out some 50 yards, where, if the water were still, It would not have been two feet deep with a solid sand bottom, but the waves went over their heads often and they sure had a fine time. It is so hot here you *simply cannot stand it to be out in the boiling sun long at a time, so the bathers go late in the afternoon and they are there by the hundreds.
The business section of the town is growing very rapidly, many new buildings going up, 7 or 8 banks with fine buildings. I have not seen any of their statements yet, do not know how large they are. Garages by the hundreds. I don’t have a desire to loaf around those places any more. I surely have my fill of them.
There are over 1300 real estate offices in the city, a real bunch of grafters. In fact the place in general has that appearance. If you see anyone coming tell them to be sure and bring a well filled pocket book as they will need it.
On our western trip we were in an altogether different country from this. It was farming and grazing country, while this is a fruit and truck country. Florence thinks the garden spot of the world lies in and around Walton, Indiana, and I believe she would like to be home right now. Coming down thru Kentucky, the roads were good but very rough; full of holes and up one hill and down another; sand later on and ground about like southern Indiana, plenty of red clay and red sand. Niggers and sweet potatoes, mules and mosquitoes in abundance. Corn all the way, but very poor. I can raise more corn on a town lot in northern Indiana than they raise on ten acres in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, or Florida. Between each row is a row of peanuts which look fine. Plenty of fine roads in Tennessee. We came through Nashville, on to Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama. Out of Birmingham we came through *mountains. Not such mountains as the Rockies around Salida and Gunnison, Colorado. The children call them knobs.
We stopped at Claud Smith’s at Vero, Fla. He came from Walton 18 months ago, and is putting out a truck farm. The fruit here is of so many different varieties and flavors. Ate some apricotta (avocado) pears that look good but taste so slick and sickening. Have a seed as large as a hen egg. Mangoes, a fruit, not a pepper, whose taste is little better, pineapples, oranges, grape fruit and bananas in abundance. In our yard we have a banana in bloom, guava trees and fruit getting ripe in the yard now, *also one tree of limes. The guavas are the size and shape of a lemon but taste like *mayapples, turpentine and onions all stirred together. Think you’d like them? The limes taste like lemons but much stronger and not so large. Ruby says they surely make castor oil out of them.
We also have some trees that they say bear mulberries and pigeon peas, on fruit on them till February. That is all the fruit we have in the yard. *Cocoanuts in nearly every yard where they have been there long, as it takes ten years to grow trees to the producing stage.
The forests and swamps are covered with pines and palms, such as palm leaf fans are made of, some trees thirty feet high, with oleander and hibiscus and other pretty flowers growing wild. Saw plenty of hogs running wild, the real elm peeler type and the cattle not much better. No wonder milk is $1.00 per gallon, as there is no grass and poor quality of cattle. Flour is $1.80 per 24 pounds, eggs 46 cents a dozen potatoes 7 cents per pound, meats a little higher than mother [something missing], bananas and oranges a little higher here than at home. Oranges and grapefruit will be in full season about Nov. 15th.
We came over several toll bridges and one toll road that cost 75 cents for 15 miles. The roads in Georgia and Alabama are mostly good, quite a little asphalt. One place in Alabama we came down an old railroad bed for 50 miles. About 25 miles out of Birmingham while driving at night it came on a severe rain storm. We were along a large telephone system and such popping and cracking you never heard. Then came a blow out. We stayed by the roadside all night. Our hinged front seat worked fine as did also the hammocks for the girls. The mosquitoes were awful.
Gasoline gets higher until you get to Vero where it is 27 cents. It is 24 cents here. Corn is $2.25 per cws, oats $1.25 a bushel. It seems to be the freight rate that does it.
All the coast towns are nice but the northwest part of Florida where there is too much pure sand. Southern Georgia has lots of pecan growers.
Carl

Transcript

See uploaded file. I hope it uploaded as there is not much indication. If not -

268 N.W. 27th Terrace
Miami, Florida

Dear Father:

After about 6 days’ travel we arrived here and are well located at the above address. This place is out in the thicket almost but by no mean is it at the edge of the City as there is city for some eight miles north west of here. Enough laid out to build a city like Chicago.
The soil here is sand, not sandy, but pure san and this is filled with rock white as snow. Looks like lime hardened and as it is exposed to the air becomes harder. I would judge it is of coral formation.
I am planting some garden, but Florence says she isn’t going to worry herself about any garden as I will not raise anything anyway, but you know how well she likes those big watermelons and I sure planted some of those seeds first thing. I also planted beans, radishes, lettuce and tomatoes, aim to be living fine by Christmas, “don’t you know.” This *quotation, the southerner adds to every sentence he tells you.
There are hundreds of tents here, people living in them the year around. They charge $5.00 per month for a place large enough for a tent to be place on the summer season and $15 per month commencing Nov. 1st for the winter season. Houses or shacks rent from $50 to $500 per month. If you had your house here furnished as it is, it would rent for $150 per month, but would probably sell for $10,000, located within 2 miles of the business section. Lots anywhere within a mile of the main business section sell or $1,000 up per front foot. I have decided that to judge a piece of property at what I think it is worth and then multiply it by ten or more and that will be what they will ask you for it. Too high for me, scares me out, guess I haven’t the nerve or don’t know a bargain when I see it.
We have been over to the beach a few times. There is a road built across Biscayne Bay about 150 feet wide and they call it the “Causeway” then when you get across this which is three or four miles long, you are on a large island of some 500 acres or probably more. This is all laid out in lots with some very fine buildings on it, that, maybe, if I get my nerve up, I may price some of those lots. Suppose they are worth from $5,000 up.
The children have a fine time hunting shells on the beach and they sure are pretty. We were in bathing Thursday. It is like bathing in brine if you are covered with mosquito bites. The ocean looks pretty and is unlike other clear water as it looks so blue and tastes so salty, makes your nose and eyes smart and burn like onions do some times. Florence and Betty are scared of the waves which are three or four feet high, but the girls and I went out some 50 yards, where, if the water were still, It would not have been two feet deep with a solid sand bottom, but the waves went over their heads often and they sure had a fine time. It is so hot here you *simply cannot stand it to be out in the boiling sun long at a time, so the bathers go late in the afternoon and they are there by the hundreds.
The business section of the town is growing very rapidly, many new buildings going up, 7 or 8 banks with fine buildings. I have not seen any of their statements yet, do not know how large they are. Garages by the hundreds. I don’t have a desire to loaf around those places any more. I surely have my fill of them.
There are over 1300 real estate offices in the city, a real bunch of grafters. In fact the place in general has that appearance. If you see anyone coming tell them to be sure and bring a well filled pocket book as they will need it.
On our western trip we were in an altogether different country from this. It was farming and grazing country, while this is a fruit and truck country. Florence thinks the garden spot of the world lies in and around Walton, Indiana, and I believe she would like to be home right now. Coming down thru Kentucky, the roads were good but very rough; full of holes and up one hill and down another; sand later on and ground about like southern Indiana, plenty of red clay and red sand. Niggers and sweet potatoes, mules and mosquitoes in abundance. Corn all the way, but very poor. I can raise more corn on a town lot in northern Indiana than they raise on ten acres in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, or Florida. Between each row is a row of peanuts which look fine. Plenty of fine roads in Tennessee. We came through Nashville, on to Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama. Out of Birmingham we came through *mountains. Not such mountains as the Rockies around Salida and Gunnison, Colorado. The children call them knobs.
We stopped at Claud Smith’s at Vero, Fla. He came from Walton 18 months ago, and is putting out a truck farm. The fruit here is of so many different varieties and flavors. Ate some apricotta (avocado) pears that look good but taste so slick and sickening. Have a seed as large as a hen egg. Mangoes, a fruit, not a pepper, whose taste is little better, pineapples, oranges, grape fruit and bananas in abundance. In our yard we have a banana in bloom, guava trees and fruit getting ripe in the yard now, *also one tree of limes. The guavas are the size and shape of a lemon but taste like *mayapples, turpentine and onions all stirred together. Think you’d like them? The limes taste like lemons but much stronger and not so large. Ruby says they surely make castor oil out of them.
We also have some trees that they say bear mulberries and pigeon peas, on fruit on them till February. That is all the fruit we have in the yard. *Cocoanuts in nearly every yard where they have been there long, as it takes ten years to grow trees to the producing stage.
The forests and swamps are covered with pines and palms, such as palm leaf fans are made of, some trees thirty feet high, with oleander and hibiscus and other pretty flowers growing wild. Saw plenty of hogs running wild, the real elm peeler type and the cattle not much better. No wonder milk is $1.00 per gallon, as there is no grass and poor quality of cattle. Flour is $1.80 per 24 pounds, eggs 46 cents a dozen potatoes 7 cents per pound, meats a little higher than mother [something missing], bananas and oranges a little higher here than at home. Oranges and grapefruit will be in full season about Nov. 15th.
We came over several toll bridges and one toll road that cost 75 cents for 15 miles. The roads in Georgia and Alabama are mostly good, quite a little asphalt. One place in Alabama we came down an old railroad bed for 50 miles. About 25 miles out of Birmingham while driving at night it came on a severe rain storm. We were along a large telephone system and such popping and cracking you never heard. Then came a blow out. We stayed by the roadside all night. Our hinged front seat worked fine as did also the hammocks for the girls. The mosquitoes were awful.
Gasoline gets higher until you get to Vero where it is 27 cents. It is 24 cents here. Corn is $2.25 per cws, oats $1.25 a bushel. It seems to be the freight rate that does it.
All the coast towns are nice but the northwest part of Florida where there is too much pure sand. Southern Georgia has lots of pecan growers.
Carl

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