Flavet Villages at the University of Florida

by Mike Miller
(Mount Dora, Florida)

Flavet Village, Mrs. Turner

Flavet Village, Mrs. Turner

Flavet Village, Mrs. Turner
Flavet Village, Mr. Turner
Flavet Village II (I think)
Flavet Villages Marker on Campus

I attended the University of Florida in Gainvesville, Florida from 1963 until graduation in 1966.


It probably would have been too expensive for me to go had it not been for the existence of married student housing known as Flavet Villages.

Rent was $28/month for me and my wife and daughter. We paid an extra $5/month for a refrigerator. There were no air conditioners in these apartments; the wiring wouldn't handle it.

The housing consisted of old army barracks that had been moved to the U.F. campus immediately after World War Two from Camp Blanding, an army base near Jacksonville. The housing was to be temporary to handle the anticipated crush of veterans going to school on the G.I. Bill. The crush certainly happened, but the housing hung on until 1974.

The name "Flavet" came from a combination of the words "Florida" and "Veterans".

The villages were placed at three separate locations on campus.

Flavet I was near the Reitz Union; Flavet II was at the corner of N.W. 13th and Radio Rd (today's Museum Rd) on the site of what is now Beaty Towers; Flavet III was located not far from "Fraternity Row" where the Keys Residential Complex is currently located.

All of us who lived in the villages had quite a few things in common: we were married, we had children, we were serious students and we were poor.

We also shared the common curse of cockroaches.

The cockroaches in the Flavet Villages were legendary. There was an urban legend among the village residents that a psychology student lived in the villages shortly after World War Two and was experimenting with cockroaches.

He trained the cockroaches to disappear instantly when lights came on and to appear instantly when the lights went off. He also trained them to hide quietly in the walls, and taught them how to reproduce even more prolifically than they normally do. He showed them how to sneak into a loaf of bread or a cardboard cereal box, and even taught them how to get a drink of coffee by crawling down the coffee pot spout.

The problem is that this student got attached to his roaches. When it was time to graduate, he couldn't bear to kill them so he released them into his apartment. The progeny of these roaches pestered subsequent Flavet residents for years.

As miserable as living conditions could be in these little places, the misery was worth bearing because it allowed us to graduate.

So thank you, University of Florida.

Note:

Credits for the photographs are as follows:

Mrs. Turner: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/66423

Small Family: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/66430

Flavet Village: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/66424

Mr. Turner: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/66422

Comments for Flavet Villages at the University of Florida

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Oct 19, 2017
Philly Family finds the South
by: Gerry Koch

My dad was teaching at LaSalle College in Phila. Pa. We went south so that he might get his masters in creative writing under Andrew Lytle. One wife and six kids, Roman Catholic. Our first day there, a kid by the name of Bubba (no lie), who was to become a great playmate for the year, told us "Yankee go home!" I remember snakes, the burning field of briers, the lone phone booth at the street's end. It was the only protection in a storm. The long mounds of dirt in the brier fields. I guess that is where they put some new buildings. The laundry house down the hill, and the coke machine where we rarely got a GBC which tasted so different in those days. We came home with Hatton Burke who also taught at LaSalle for a year. Three adults and six kids stuffed in an old Chevy with no air. What a drive home!


Sep 24, 2017
Born a Gator
by: Lea Ann McDonald Bird

My family lived in Flavet when I was born in 1956. Dad taught ROTC and then later graduated in 1960. Obviously, I don't remember this place, but do remember Mom and Dad talking about it. Go Gators!!

Sep 02, 2017
Memories!
by: Sylvia Griffin

Yes, we felt fortunate to live in the Flavet housing! We lived in Flavet 3 & Flavet 1, I think. Our first apt there was a two bedroom upstairs & moved to Flavet 1 in a two bedroom downstairs! We had our first son when we lived in the upstairs apt & moved into a downstairs apt just before he turned one. That would have been in 1959. We not only had roaches, but we had bats....hundreds of them. They made their home in between our walls! We would hear this scratching sound, but couldn't figure out what it was, until a bat got into our apt. My husband was taking a shower, when he found out a bat was in there with him! We moved out while they opened up the walls & got them out of there! We were hot, but so was everyone else, do no need to complain! Besides, it was Florida! So many great memories!

Sep 02, 2017
Great memories!
by: Sylvia Griffin

Like everyone else, we didn't feel poor, just thankful we qualified to get to live in the Flavet villages! I believe we lived in Flavet 3 & Flavet 1. We lived in an upstairs apt in Flavet 3 when our first son was born & moved to Flavet 1 just before he turned one year in 1959. We moved to be in a downstairs apt. Yes, I remember the cockroaches, but worse than that we're the bats! After our baby was born, we kept hearing this noise coming from his bedroom & we would go in there to check & hear nothing. Then one night my husband was taking a shower & came running out saying there was a bat in the shower with him! That night, we moved the baby's crib into our bedroom, put a sheet over the top & took turns watching him until daylight. We called the maintenance man & he came out to inspect. He found that there were hundreds of bats in between the walls. We had to move to another unit, until they were able to get rid of the bats & patch up all the walls so they couldn't come back. As I recall, the apt we moved into was also in Flavet 3 & the couple that lived there was out of town. I'm sure they called these people to get permission. To me, it all seemed the logical thing to do at the time. After that, no more bats! Even with the bats & cockroaches, there's great memories living in the Flavet housing!

May 07, 2017
Thanks for these contributions
by: Dirk de Young

Thanks to all of you providing comments, it is enlightening for me, since I was so young and my memories are a bit faded.

May 06, 2017
Flavet III in the 60's
by: Tom Cox

I lived in Flavet III from 1962-1965. We were one street in from the baseball field and track. We were upstairs and our downstairs neighbor bought a window air conditioning unit and cut a hole in the floor and mounted the a/c unit in the floor of their bedroom. The buildings were about 3 ft off the ground so there was room for the a/c to vent. We would go and sit in their bedroom to cool off. They did that so no one could see it and turn them in. $29.50/mo and that included all utilities!

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS

Tom, this confirms a rumor I always heard when I lived in Flavets. At the time I thought it was an urban legend, but it's good to hear from you it really happened. I thought of doing it in our apartment but the "authorities" convinced me it would overload the wiring and burn the place down.

My least fond memories of Flavet are those of sweating through those hot humid summer nights while trying to sleep. Heat, humidity and roaches!

Apr 19, 2017
Flavet
by: Tom Ball

Lived in Flavet III with wife Ann and sons Dan and John from '68 -71. Was on the volunteer fire dept. and served as Village Commissioner, Village Treasurer and Village Mayor. $29.50 per month rent and more cockroaches than we could count.

Many good evenings sitting at a table outside with a light strung out on an extension cord playing pitch with fellow residents. Swam and picnicked at Blue Cave, inner tubed down the Ichetucknee, and watched long bomb passes on the first or second play from Reeves to Alvarez.

Wonderful memories.

Mar 25, 2017
WWII Vets and the village
by: Anonymous

My father served in the Navy (SeaBees) during WWII. I was born while he was in the Pacific. Afterward, we moved to FlaVet Village and he got his degree in Civil Engineering. My younger brother was born there. I think we lived in FlaVet II but am not sure. I have very few memories of that time...after all, I was 3 to 5 ...but DO remember one of father's friends, Albert Crabtree, who was quite a bit younger than my father. He became an attorney in Jacksonville, I believe. Would love to hear others' memories of that particular time...

Mar 20, 2017
Minister
by: Mike McMahon

My first wife,Roz, and I lived in Flavet III until I graduated in 1965. We had our first child, Jeffery, while we lived there. I remember well the roaches!

Feb 21, 2017
Flavet II
by: Sandy Wilson

Flavet II was at the south west corner of 13th St and Museum Rd (formerly know as Radio Road). I ought to know I lived there 12 yrs.


Feb 21, 2017
Flavet III
by: Mike Miller

I think the Flavets I lived in were II and III. I believe III was adjacent to Fraternity Row.

Feb 19, 2017
It was Flavet II
by: Dirk de Young

Ours was for sure Flavet II, I knew that name all these years and it never occurred to me that there could be a Flavet I and Flavet III.

Feb 18, 2017
That's where my life began
by: Dirk de Young

Moved there in 1956 and left when I was four years old. Our family lived in a unit on 13th street. My older sister is famous for having fed me one of those famous cockroaches:)There was a chain link fence between our house and the street and a swing set in the front yard. We have pictures playing in a small inflatable pool and with a garden hose. My mother told stories of putting her feet in the oven to warm them up in the winter.

My father who was a grad student in Latin American Studies, used to tutor football players. His article, "Land and Man in the Haitian Economy," was published in a UF Monograph in 1958.

We lived in that unit with four children, as he was an older student, WWII Vet. We never felt poor, but in retrospect I know the truth. My favorite meal was hot dogs and beans and I still love it today. I remember that there were snapping turtles in Jennings Creek.

One day I tried to visit my dad at the school by taking one of those pedal cars and got picked up by the police and returned home in a squad car. My older brother and father used to go somewhere to hunt frogs at night. My father finished his studies and got a job at the Nevada Southern University (now UNLV), we drove across the country in an old station wagon. I did not return to UF until 2001 and of course by then it was all gone. Thanks to this page for bringing back a lot of dear memories.

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS

Thanks for the great memories. I also lived in the Flavet that was on 13th Street near the corner of what was then, I think, Radio Road. After all these years I'm not sure if it was Flavet I, II, or III. I ended up living in two of the three villages. It must have been 1964-1966 when I lived there and in the other Flavet. I was on a waiting list the first year I was at UF living in accommodation even less luxurious.

Jan 11, 2017
Flavet II
by: Halle

We lived in Flavet II in 1957-58, I was 5 years old and I was bussed to Stephen Foster Elementary School for Kindergarten and 1st Grade. We played in the big fields and hunted arrowheads (which we found regularly and believe it or not in the ditch that is now apparently called Diamond Creek, we found sharks teeth, very large and old teeth along with small ones, medium sized too. Gainesville, in the middle of the state, was once covered by the Ocean.

We watched movies behind the wash house while sitting on the grass and munching popcorn. I learned to ride a bike in those gravel roadbeds, which caused many of scraped knee and elbows. We played marbles in the back of our apartment where there was only a dirt road. I still have pictures of Halloween when there was a costume contest and all the children dressed up and marched through the street to the park and the winner was crowned the King and Queen of Halloween. I remember getting a dart gun for Christmas and shooting it at the ceiling and the dart stuck (remember you always licked the end so it would stick) and when it finally fell off, it took part of the ceiling with it because the ceiling was like cardboard, only paper.

Best time of my life and we didn't know it. I'll be 65 this year, so it was 60 years ago.

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS

Thanks for the great story. In many ways Flavet was a slum and we were all working hard to get out of it. Many of us wouldn't have made it through school without that cheap housing. My memories, like yours, are generally very good one.

Nov 01, 2016
salvage
by: D. Cummins

I went thru the Flavets near the frats after they kicked every one out in 1974. All the furniture and other things were still there. I still have a wall mirror with the UF tag on it from there.

I would ride over after classes on my bike so I could hide if the cops came around. What a crappy housing complex. They should have been paid to live there. I am told some of the structures were moved yet again.

We made some money at night grabbing furniture and selling it to second hand stores. That furniture was very well made and I do not doubt still in use in Gainesville and beyond.

May 03, 2016
Flavet
by: Joyce Lowe

We could not have afforded school without Flavet and the low rent. Thank you University of Florida!

Sep 01, 2015
Retired
by: Mike M

We lived in Flavet I before we had our first child and then we moved into Flavet III next to the fire station in 1964. We still have our old friends from those days and we all agree it was fun and allowed us to graduate. I finally retired in 2006.

I was on the work crew and we did repairs, moved furniture and responded to problems in the village. Great days and memories of late study hours, low rent and convenience to classes. The days of Larry Dupree and game days.

Thanks to U of F housing we made it even though tuition was only $113 a trimester.

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS

Great story, Mike. I probably met you somewhere along the line in those days. Larry Dupree and Steve Spurrier are names that will live forever in Gator Legend. I had a good friend who worked on the Flavet work crew; I worked for the Gainesville Utility Commission. Most of us had to work; there were no government guaranteed student loans back in our day. THANK GOD!!

Jul 20, 2015
Flavet II record holder
by: Sandy

He was never rich. Three marriages tends to be costly! All he ever wanted to do was to be a doctor and he succeeded in that.

My brother and I attended the 50th anniversary of the first medical class of UF in G'ville recently in his place. None of the other medical students had children (while in medical school) so my brother and I were treated as novelties by his classmates.

I was introduced to so many unique personalities in that 1st class and have kept up with them as best as I can. If you are interested, I have a YOU TUBE video called 'The Japanese Colony of Eau Gallie' that is about the first class (a particular member that was one of my fathers best friends.)

Sandy

Jul 17, 2015
SAE fraternity (house)
by: Sandy/Flavet record holder

In all my years in Flavet II the 'fraternity row' was along the east side of 13th St(441)from Museum Rd (then Radio rd.) to University Ave.

The SAE fraternity was nearest to University Ave. The same lion was at the corner of 13th St and Univ. Ave. in front of the SAE house. Other fraternity members would splatter the lion with paint to hassle the SAE members.

Sorority row was down near the 441 (13th st) train overpass on the east side. The pond by the current day art gallery on the west side of 13th st. was used to 'punish' any frat member that gave his fraternity ring to a female admirer. They (a gang of guys) would carry him on their shoulders to the pond where he was thrown. The victim always put up a great fight.

We could hear the roar of the guys trying to haul a 'lover' to the pond all the way to Flavet II.

Sandy

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS:

Sandy, I remember all of that fraternity noise as well. Thanks for the memories. Most of us who were married students were pretty serious about studying and getting graduated and getting out of there. There was a bit of resentment toward the rich frat boys having fun and partying all the time....at least it seemed so to some of us old drudges studying away in our Flavet unit.

Was your dad able to make a good living with all his degrees? BS, MS, PhD, MD?

Jul 15, 2015
248U
by: Kimberly

Our family lived in Flavet from 1966-1971 while my dad was in architecture school. The students now are amazed when I say I grew up in Flavet and they say, "on the field?" My daughter will be in Keyes in the fall facing Flavet field.

Our apartment faced SAE house. I loved playing down at the "circle" and going to the village store, and the book mobile.

The previous comments about the roaches is funny. We had bees in our walls.

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS:

Thanks for sharing your story, Kimberly. We lived there shortly before your family: 1963-1966. No way I could have made it through UF without those low rents. It made living with cockroaches somewhat tolerable. I do remember some units had bees, but we lucked out on that score at least.

Apr 09, 2015
Flavet II "Boomer" Record Holder
by: Mike

Sandy's post brings back many memories of my years at Flavet II. We didn't live there nearly as long as Sandy and her parents, but I do remember that among our village residents were the first University of Florida medical students. It's hard to believe that back then the medical school was still a baby in diapers and has now grown up to be a world renowned research and education institution.

Go Gators!

Apr 08, 2015
Flavet II 'Boomer' record holder
by: Sandy

When I was born in 1951 we lived in Flavet II and did not move out until 1964. I lived mostly in unit 372A nearest Radio Rd. There was a par 3 golf course on the north side of Radio Rd. My father may qualify as the most 'graduated' man in UF history! BS, MS, PhD, MD (first class). It was an experience to say the least.

Jan 07, 2015
Flavet
by: Tracy

We lived in Flavet III in the early and mid 60's while my dad was in school at UF. Mom says their washer made the entire building shake. It was a necessity as my brother was an infant in cloth diapers!

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