News From 1903

Below are the highlights throughout the year that we thought you might find interesting. We have updated the Hotel Registry Book, the Blanche Employee roster and will create flyers that you can download for some of the notable parties that were held at the Blanche throughout the year.

Dr. Goldstein, eye specialist from Kentucky will see patients in the Blanche beginning in February 1903 for the next several months until another one finally settles in the area.

A music store is opened by Mr. J. A. Holloway of Gainesville in the little “Brown Front” next to the Hotel Blanche in Feb 1903.

The Florida Index starts a column on the fourth page called “Among the Colored People”, S.F. Hadley, Editor in February 1903 and appears sporadically but at least once a month throughout the year.

Baseball is very big not only at the college but by local businesses and men’s groups throughout the spring with a game between the Hotel Blanche with the manager, J.W. Chappell in the lead and the F.A.C. team beginning in March 1903.

In April 1903 the Blanche Manager expresses interest in starting up a Lake City branch of the “Elks” club.

In May 1903 the bill to change the local college name from Florida Agricultural College to the University of Florida is passed in the Florida House and Senate.

Dr. J.G. Purvis, D.D.S. from Lake Butler sets up the first dental office in the Blanche May 1903.

The Hotel management changes hands in May 1903 from J.W. Chappell of Live Oak to D.E. Whetstone of Lake City. Mr. Chappell takes a position with the Cudahy Packing Co in Jacksonville, Florida but states his headquarters will remain in Lake City visiting on the weekends. Mr. Whetstone had purchased the local telephone company the previous year and is in the process of upgrading it to more easily hook-up with other telephone companies across the state.

The Commencement Program for the college has the new name of the University of Florida in June 1903.

D.E. Whetstone sells the Whetstone Telephone Company to Mr. W.N. Shine, President and General Manager of the Jacksonville Telephone Company in September 1903 who plans to revamp the central office apparatus, have telephone service available throughout the night and enables the residents to have long-distance phones all over the country.

Columbia County votes for going “DRY” in September 1903. There goes the new Blanche Saloon. All saloons within the county must be closed down by October 1st. All due to the work of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union that was organized in November 1901.

The University of Florida (Exclusively for males) – college in operation for 20 years but only recently named UF Begins it new term September 22, 1903, with seven four-year courses, dormitories, a fine new gymnasium and Tuition Free to Florida Students.

In October 1903 a system of six rural free mail delivery routes was established. All you had to have was an authorized metal mailbox nailed to a central location and the family and a few neighbors could share the cost of the box.

Mr. J.A. Holloway closed his music store in October 1903 and returned to Gainesville.

After winning the “DRY” vote the W.T.C.U. set their sites on creating a city library and began holding dinners and luncheons to raise funds to buy books. Later in the month, they rent the storeroom recently vacated by Mr. J.A. Holloway (sells pianos) in the Masons building on the same block as the Blanche.

We begin to see advertisements from liquor stores from other Florida counties in the newspaper and out-of-state from beginning the middle of October 1903 until it is repealed.

In November 1903 the office of the Southern Express Company was moved into one of the storerooms of the Hotel Blanche.

In November 1903 the Columbia County Medical Society is formed after a visit from Dr. T.S. Anderson, of Live Oak, Councillor Third District, Florida Medical Association.

In the November 20, 1903, Florida Index newspaper, the first telephone directory is posted.


On November 21, 1903, the W.C.T.U. library and public reading room officially open.

The first Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association advertisement is seen in the Florida Index November 27, 1903.

The new headquarters of the E.G. Rogers & Company Millinery moves into the former spot of J.P. Cone & Co in the Blanche Hotel Black end of November 1903.

In the December 4, 1903, edition of the Citizen Reporter, we learn that the library will cost $0.29 per month or #0.87 for three months per library card to check out books for a week or ten days. They have collected several hundred volumes of the best and latest books on history, biographies, travels, and fiction. The acting librarian is Mrs. R.L. Borper for the remainder of the year.

In the December 11, 1903, edition of the Citizen Reporter we see the first advertisement from the city marshal offering a $25 reward for reporting those who are selling whiskeys, wines and beer within the city limits.

We go back to the college library today to further our research. They were closed all last week for spring break. If you are enjoying our posts and would like to help us get the book published when we have finished our research we hope you will consider contributing to our Publishing Fund.

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