March 25, 2021
I attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, 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 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 roaches in the Flavet Villages were legendary. They were big, but not as big as the Madagascar hissing roach in the photo.
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.
Nov 18, 2020
Lived in Flavet III
by: Don S
I lived in Flavet (fla-vet)III longer than about anyone as it took my dad five years to graduate, then my mom completed a bachelors from an associates degree two years later. Seven years in Flavet III still probably stands as a record.
It was one of the few integrated places. Puerto Ricans, people of African descent from the Carribean and an eclectic mix of people from all over the country and world.
There was a special bus to take us (along with kids from Corey and Alumni village) to school (J.J. Finley). The Flavet kids were so poor, everybody knew who we were by our clothes. Still, we were the smartest kids in school.
Whenever we did stuff in class, the teacher had to hold us back from answering to give the wealthy kids a chance to catch up.
I have these vague memories. Second grade addition flash card day. Teacher flashed, I answered, my buddy Casey from Flavet a millisecond behind, the others trailing in the distance. Okay, "everybody but Don."
Casey clearly ahead the rest trailing behind. Okay, everybody but Don and Casey.
A fight between a second grader and a third grader after school. Rushing to see the fight and it was my best friend and Flavet resident David fighting and besting a third grader named Freddy.
David who was black (one of only a handful at JJ Finley during the de facto segregation era) fought the bigger third grader because he was called the N word.
Going to lake Wauberg (not sure of spelling), like almost every day in the summer to cool off. My mom not cooking during the summer because it was too hot.
Lots of kids, though. We played tackle football every day in the fall, kickball and later (around age 8) soccer, whiffle ball then baseball with tennis/rubber balls and eventually baseball at the boys club where a team comprised of us Flavet kids won the championship of T-ball.
MIKE SAYS: DON, THANKS FOR SHARING THOSE GREAT MEMORIES WITH US. MOST OF US IN THERE WERE DEFINITELY POOR, BUT ON THE WAY UP.
Aug 08, 2020
Flavet living 1948-1952
by: William Bauer
My father Robert and my mother Joyce moved into Flavet 1 at he end of 1948 with my brother Rob. I was born there in the summer of 1949.
A few family tales involved my dad and friends setting up a movie projector from UF and showing films and cartoons on sheets in the common area in front of the Flavets.
Everyone brought their blankets and chairs out to watch. It sounded like a very friendly atmosphere.
We had one of the early little televisions too which also drew some friends to our place.
My dad was also known for his painting Santa scenes on the large plate glass front window at Christmas time. My parents maintained friendships with several of their Flavet neighbors their entire lives.
My earliest recollection is that of being in the backyard of the building, separated from the sinkhole pond by a chain link fence.
We would cautiously look down into the little swamp to see if the legendary giant gator was down there. Word spread that our favorite Irish setter dog had disappeared and had been eaten by the gator.
Also in the same area, a little neighbor girl supposedly hit me in the head with a board causing a scar I have to this day.
We did have plenty of kids to play with. Still look through family photos from our wonderful experience in Flavet Village 1.
Finally, a story of my dad and daughter that connects us still to the site.
One day while our daughter was attending UF, following in the family tradition, she discovered my dad's photo as part of the Hall of Fame/Blue Key display in the upstairs hallway of the Reitz Union. (The photos have been moved with the Union renovation a few years ago.)
Upon further investigation we determined it was almost directly about the location of our Flavet unit with our dad looking out over the pond. A really nice thought to hold on to.
MIKE SAYS: THANKS FOR THE GREAT STORY. IT'S FUN HEARING YOUR MEMORIES
Nov 19, 2019
Lived there in the Summers
by: Robin Aronson
My family lived in the Flavet villages for four summers while my parents (schoolteachers) were working on their advanced degrees. (1964 - 1968).
We were in Flavet III twice and the others once each. It was great fun for us kids as there were dozens of other kids around to play with.
I remember the adults playing a lot of Frisbee. It was the first time we had ever seen one.
MIKE says: now that you mention it, Flavet is where I discovered my first Frisbee too!
Oct 24, 2019
by: Eloise Johnson
My husband, Roger, and I lived in FLAVET III from 1962 to 1964. We lived upstairs with a window fan in each window, one pulling the air in on one side of the room and out on the other side to survive the summer heat.
Our night out was grilling hamburgers with our neighbors. We were so glad to be living with such low rent that we could overlook the heat and famous roaches.
We were all very aware of the risk of a fire in the old frame buildings, and occasionally the frat boys would run down our street and yell "fire".
We did have our own fire department so felt pretty safe. Lots of good times with our neighbors, gator games, and campus activities.
MIKE SAYS: Thanks for the memories. I remember those nasty frat boys yelling fire!!!!! Some joke.
Jul 04, 2019
Pronunciation of Flavet
by: Janet Ford
Can anyone please clarify the proper pronunciation of Flavet?
For the past 5 years every 3rd of July, the younger TV anchors and reporters in Gainesville are pronouncing it as "FLA-vit field", as in rhymes with HAVE-it or RAB-bit with the accent on the first syllable.
I went to UF 1962-1965 and have lived here ever since and have always heard it pronounced as "fla-VET", as in rhymes with spa-VET or ha-ha-VET with the accent on the VET in honor of the veterans.
In 1966, I visited a coworker and her husband who lived in the Flavet Village II near fraternity row. I believe her name was Carolyn Miller and we worked in the Cashier's Office in the HUB under Nancy Hayes and Helen Marlowe.
Carolyn was married to "P Michael Miller" or Phillip Michael Miller, but called him Mike. I think he might be the author Mike Miller of the Florida Back Roads Travel article.
Please reply to me via email at email@example.com if you can clarify the proper pronunciation of Flavet. I would appreciate it.
(This may be too long and unnecessary for publication).
Janet Ford Roberts
MIKE Says: Nice story, Janet. I am the Mike Miller of Florida Back Roads Travel. I lived in Flavet, but am not the guy you are thinking of.
The way I always pronounced it was FLA-VET, as in SPA-VET. I placed equal emphasis on each syllable, although many people accented the second syllable.
Same thing down here with younger TV people and their pronunciation of Kissimmee with the emphasis on KISS instead of SIM. It is probably a losing battle.
Mar 28, 2019
Charlie Wolff mentioned the volleyball court in his post. We were a couple buildings away (near the store and playground), but when studies permitted we would play.
Most of the games were coed, but no quarter was given to the females. There was one player who was on the football team and when he spiked a ball you really knew it.
My husband played more than I did, but both of us enjoyed getting together with our neighbors for a "friendly" game.
Mar 27, 2019
Flavet lll 1968 to 1970
by: Charlie Wolff
We lived I F3 behind the SAE house in 248d.
We were right next to a volleyball court on a corner building.
It was $29.50 per month and that included 50kw electricity and water.
My wife hated roaches and was obsessed with keeping them out. Our families lived in South Florida and we drove down many times a year.
Every time we left town she set off a couple of Bug Bombs. That did two things. It killed many of the roaches and drove the rest to neighboring apartments that could not afford the bombs.
We actually only stayed in Flavet Village because Cory Village had no room. Once we got approved to move to Cory all of our neighbors begged us to stay so we did.
My wife, Bonny, started a nursery for other married students kids.
I went behind all of the grocery stores and scrounged wooden crates and cut them into fence slats.
I made a fence so all the kids could play without wandering away. The village maintenance supplied the white paint!
One of my neighbors, Harvey Hill, became a great buddys. We lost touch for about 25 years but finally found each other and visited.
Harvey passed a few years ago but at least we got to reminisce about the Flavet Village days.
MIKE SAYS: Great story, Charlie. You were there only two years after I was, but we had our own bug bomb stories even before your incident.
One of my friends was actually rich enough to afford a roach service who came in every month. All the roaches moved into adjacent apartments just like the ones from your bug bomb.
We all belong to the brother and sisterhood of the roach. We are survivors!
Mar 18, 2019
Flavet 3 67-72
My mom getting her degree thru masters at UF and my dad working maintenance at UF.
I was born while we lived here and remember so much. I cried when they razed it in 1974, at the age of 7....apiece of me sort of died.
My mom confirms we really had great times there even if spartan. I remember walking upstairs to give my bottle to the baby there as I was a "big boy", my sitter Melissa age 10, sleeping in my room at night watching the shadows/light as the cars passed outside.
I graduated GHS in Gville and am a physician in SD of all places.
I miss Gville, Flavet, and that old fogger we kids ran behind :) at Fla Vet 3
Nov 02, 2018
My parents lived in one of the Flavets while my Dad was in Pharmacy school. All 3 children were born while they lived there. I remember our parents talking about very fond memories but tough living conditions in Flavet.
I’m trying to remember the nickname of the Flavet wives who helped their husbands study, type their papers and graduate. It was something like a Flavet wife degree! Anyone remember this?
MIKE SAYS: Rebecca, I remember the term PHT that was bestowed on wives. It stands for Put Hubby Through. Think that's it?
Oct 07, 2018
by: Mac McMasters
We lived in Flavet 2 from 1957 until graduation in 1960. Only married veterans were allowed to live there. We experienced all the problems with roaches and bats, but they were taken care of right away.
Most of us were poor and enjoyed getting together to play cards and games. We had old tv sets and tv antennas on our roof that we turned manually pointed to Jacksonville or Tampa depending on which station we watched.
Our first two children were born while living there. I have a few pictures showing the apartments if there is a way I can find to share them.
Feb 10, 2018
My ex-husband and I lived in Flavet III from 1967-1970. Our building had eight apartments, and we quickly learned that the only way to control the roaches was to turn in a work order for spraying signed by someone from all eight apartments.
We did this every couple of months, and surprisingly had little problem with bugs.
I will always be grateful that we graduated before they closed Flavet. With both of us in school, we never would have been able to afford the more expensive student housing.
Plus, when everyone around you is poor, you don’t feel so deprived. Some of the best years of our marriage were when we lived there.
MIKE SAYS: Thanks for the great story, Linda. I can't believe I never heard of the trick about filling out work orders for all 8 units in the building. I wish I had known that back then:))
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
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!
MIKE SAYS: Tom, this confirms a rumor I always heard when I lived in Flavet. 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
by: Tom Ball
Lived in Flavet III with wife Ann and sons Dan and John from 1968 to 1971. I 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.
Mar 25, 2017
WWII Vets and the village
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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 ones.
Nov 01, 2016
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
by: Joyce Lowe
We could not have afforded school without Flavet and the low rent. Thank you University of Florida!
Sep 01, 2015
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.
MIKE 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
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.)
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 Street 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.
MIKE 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
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.
MIKE SAYS: Thanks for sharing your story, Kimberly. We lived there shortly before your family: 1964-1966. 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
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.
Apr 08, 2015
Flavet II 'Boomer' record holder
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
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!