Flashback 1951

– Bursting at the seams –

 “FFVA – The First 25 Years,” by Bob Bobroff, was a book written in the early 1990s that recapped the first 25 years of FFVA. The book is no longer available. These excerpts were taken from a draft of the work at FFVA’s headquarters in Maitland, Fla.


Gen. Douglas MacArthur had been removed from his Korean War command for making unauthorized policy statements, but by the time the FFVA Board of Directors met on July 3, 1951, cease-fire talks with the North Koreans had begun.

The special building committee had wasted no time. Chairman Dixon Pearce said it was necessary to find larger quarters for the FFVA office due to expansion of services and activities. The committee, he said, had found that at least 50 percent more space was needed and actual requirements might be as much as twice that.

“The Association is paying $250 per month for about 1,500 square feet, part of which is lost because of the room layout,” he said of FFVA’s downtown Orlando location.

The committee recommended that a new 3,000-square-foot building be erected on Cheney Highway (State Road 50), about one-third mile from the airport entrance.

The necessary land was offered to the association for $5,000, considerably under the price for other desirable locations. The committee, Pearce said, had already placed a binder on the property.

The basic plan included the temperature-controlled building described as simple but dignified in appearance; one large, fully insulated room, plus a combination board room and general manager office; a sound-proof room for storage and mailing equipment; two restrooms and a storage room. A parking lot would be located to the rear.

The cost was not to exceed $40,000. The Board authorized the general manager to purchase the property, contract for the construction, and purchase needed equipment.

The Board met again that September at the Clewiston Inn where LaMont Graw reported that the new office building would cost $24,162 plus the cost of air conditioning, parking area and landscaping as well as some other more minor items. The additional equipment would cost about $1,000. All this would make the cost $36,321 including the $5,000 for the land.

Rudolph Mattson, a member of the building committee, said he had seen the building within the past few days and it was being well-built and would be a credit to the association. He recommended that a sprinkler system be installed to keep the grass in good condition.

Additional progress was noted at the board’s October 1952 meeting. Graw, seeing the ultimate need for more headquarters space, proposed that FFVA purchase six adjacent lots. A house was located on three of them and could be purchased for $12,000 cash. The other three lots could be purchased for $2,610. He said the first floor of the house could be used for additional office space and storage. The second floor was an apartment renting for $45 a month.

In rapid-fire order, the Board approved $14,610 for the immediate purchase of the property; appropriated an additional $3,000 to be used for alterations, additional parking and equipment; directed the officers to have plans prepared for an addition to the office and for use of the new property – all to be presented to the Board at its next meeting.

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