Growing Up In Fernandina (2)

The image above is circa early 1950’s.  Using the local convention that east of Fletcher Ave the front is the ocean side, we have (left to right):

  1. The remains of the back corner of the seawall of the front house that washed down in 1944.
  2. The 3-car garage apartment, where dad sometimes parked the Luscombe (airplane) after landing on the beach, in the winter months.
  3. The present 1930’s Beach Cottage.
  4. The back house, presently leased to Elizabeth Pointe Lodge.

Dad bought the lot circa 1920 when the federal government sold off land that was previously undeveloped lighthouse reservation.  He built the 2nd & 3rd house on South Fletcher.  One for Grandfather Bunker and his.

The front house (1944) washed down in a hurricane a few months after my birth, we occupied the other houses at various time as I grew up.  The ones we weren’t living in were rented.  The upstairs of the back house was rented to Red and Joanne Bean and family for many years, while we lived downstairs.  Tony an Liz Sousa rented the garage apartment for several year.  Most of the rentals were summer renters, the same families every year.  We still have the grandchildren of some of them renting the 1930’s Beach Cottage.

On the back side of the 1930’s beach cottage was a room that contained a 500 gallon storage tank.  Dad had installed a well with two pumps, one was redundant spare.  He supplied water to other residence within about a block of our house, for $2.00 per month.

I remember when the phone system changed from a party line, with a four digit number to a rotary dial with a seven digit number.  It is one of those numbers that is burned into you brain, 261-3142.

On the subject of phones, when someone would travel and wanted to notify the family of  their safe arrival, they would call collect, person-to-person, for themself.  The collect call would be declined because they weren’t home.

With Moore Grocery just up the street, there was little need to go into town.  Clothing came from either Allen’s downtown or the Sears & Roebuck catalog.  Occasionally grandmother, who lived a block south of us, would take me to Jacksonville shopping, by bus.  The highlight of the trip would be lunch at Morrison’s Cafeteria.

Main beach circa late 50’s, Moore’s Grocery, the liquor store, the bar, and the dance hall.  Across the parking lot was the Blue Seas and the attached arcade, then the skating rink.  The putt putt golf course, where I worked one summer. Across the street was the motel, then going north was  Buster Moore’s go-cart track, where I also worked then the laundromat.  Add the ocean, Ft. Clinch, the hammock across Fletcher, the Rec Center, what more could a kid ask for.


Moore’s circa late 40’s.  Dance hall on left, bar, liquor store, grocery store on right. [2]

My oldest brother Al, flew for Panagra Airlines in South America when he first got out of the service.  One of the stewardesses gave him a boxer puppy, which we eventually ended up raising for a period.  The dog was named Martini, as that was her favorite drink at the parties that Al and the pilots he shared an estate with held.  Al and some friends were having a party at the front garage apartment, and Martini had been given some beer.  She also was a leaner.  Someone was standing on the porch, she came up and leaned against him, he moved and she just toppled off the porch.

The Bean’s had a dalmatian (Clarabell).  Dad would go for a swim every morning, Martini and Clarabell would follow him.  They all would swim from the house to about a block past Moore’s every morning.

I have vague recollections of the Beach Pavilion (or Casino), at main beach.  Dad helped with the construction.  There was a bowling alley, my brother Jerry and family friend Tony Sousa had a job as a pin setter.  Besides the regulation balls they had a smaller ball for us kids.  Jerry was 12 years older than me, so this was likely when I was 5 – 6 years old (circa 1950).


Pavilion  circa 1900 (from SW ?) [1]

Pavilion circa 1900 (from NE?) [2]
I doubt this is the Pavilion I remember, which was located where the Blue Seas Restaurant was eventually built.  The trolley went out of business in 1918.   The one dad helped build would have been built post 1920.

This is more in line with my memory of the Pavilion/Casino.  According to Tony Sousa the 1900’s pavilion had been located seaward of this one.

Casino circa 1930’s ? [3]
The movie theater, downtown, was a WW-II surplus Quonset hut.  Saturday double features with a serial such as Buck Rogers.  There was also the drive-in theater.

Speaking of the trolley, it crossed Egan’s creek on a bridge and the marsh on a trestle, friends and I playing in the woods/marsh area west of the Grandmother’s house, would sometime find coke bottles that had been thrown from the Trolley, the old clear glass one.  These made great target for our B-B gun.  I wish I had saved a few of them.  They are on e-Bay for $90 – $450.

There was also the Coke bottling plant game, when a group of us would buy Cokes the one with bottling plant, imprinted into the bottom of the bottle, the furthest from Fernandina would get his paid for by his friends.

[1]  Pavilion on the beach – Fernandina, Florida. 190-. Black & white photoprint, 8 x 10 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory., accessed 15 August 2016.

[2]  Photo credit

[3] Photo credit


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