Getting Around

          Most families had only one car. According to the 1950 Census, only 10% of families in the US had two or more cars.  That number had doubled to 20% by 1960. It meant that people shared cars, rode buses, used taxis, or walked. Up to some early adolescence, many rode bicycles. Boys on bikes delivered newspapers in those days. Guys would sometimes hitchhike around the beaches   or into Jacksonville. Obviously, there was “bumming of rides.” Some high school students had cars but they were the exception. The 1959 yearbook made much of a student conveying her/his friends around. “Harriett’s [Deam Patten] taxi” is one example shown on page 110.

          Even though it was Florida, few cars were air conditioned. It was only with the 1966 model year that the majority of cars sold in the state were air conditioned. Instead, people rolled down the car windows. It was not as much a hardship as it would seem because most homes and businesses were not air conditioned either.  A quick perusal of ads from the period show how often businesses bragged that they were "air cooled" or "air conditioned."

        Walking to school was common for those who did not have access to cars or ride a school bus. Access meant having one's own car, a friend who would give a ride, or, a relative who would give a ride. School buses were available to those who lived too far to walk—two miles! It was not uncommon to see students walking from 9th Ave. N. to 18th Ave. N. or from Florida Boulevard in Neptune Beach south to 20th Ave. N./Seagate Avenue. No doubt students often walked blocks to each other's houses or other places. 

        There was city bus service but it was limited. The bus terminal was in Jacksonville Beach at 1st Street North and 5th Avenue N. The bus went north on 1st St. through Jacksonville and Neptune Beaches and then west on Atlantic Boulevard to Jacksonville though San Nicholas (where Atlantic and Beach Boulevards joined), across the Main Street Bridge, and eventually to Hemming Park on the Morrison's Cafeteria side. Directly across the park was May-Cohen Department Store. To and from Jacksonville took about 30 minutes, so the buses were infrequent at the beach. The cost on the beach was ten cents (minimum wage was $1 in 1959).

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