Reincorporation of the City of Oak Hill, Florida was by getting a court-appointed Board of Elections, certifying he first candidates to run for Town Commissions since 1934. Ten were certified.
There were more qualifying candidates than there were voters in the last election in the depth of the national depression, when only seven persons showed up at the polls.
The town had grown and interested in the upcoming election seemed keen.
The circuit court ordered a primary election January 16, 1962 under the old Town Charter for resumption of municipal government, which was abandoned 32 years ago.
There were about 300 qualified voters and a heavier turnout was anticipated because most didn’t want the town reincorporated again.
The qualified candidates are members of the Board of Elections: W.F. Burns, acting town clerk; Mrs. Horace Treadwell, secretary; Warren Williams; Horace Treadwell, board chairman; C.Q. Goodrich Jr.; W.M. Gillespie, attorney for the board; and Mrs. Katherine Odham, county supervisor of elections.
Tiny Oak Hill, with the monster of NOVA roaring on its doorstep, was up and running toward municipal government for the first time in 30 years.
The Board of Elections set up by circuit court a decree and met with attorneys to set up machinery, which will put a government into existence for the first time since 1932.
Horace E. Treadwell has been elected chairman of the board and Warren Williams, vice-chairman.
The ones running for office can’t publish any literature and can’t circulate their own petition.
The elections charter also says he must have paid his poll tax, but that a bit archaic – poll taxes have passed from the scene many moons ago when all t he word NOVA meant, was a guy who wanted to fight Joe Louis.
The candidate can’t solicit votes and must be nominated by petition. An affidavit must accompany the petitions stating that the candidate has seen it and required 10 signatures it contained. It also must have a statement of the candidate’s acceptance of the nomination and proof that he is qualified.
An election was held in February and the City was reorganized. The final totals for the tree frontrunners were: Goodrich 202; Treadwell, 145; Burch, 142.
It was a great turnout with 84% of the 376 voters casting ballots (316).
The three winners had five days to organize themselves by selecting a mayor then to determine the lengths of terms of office.
They are to be one, two and three years in length.
Gillespie and Gillespie is representing the City Commission. The city sold its first occupational license to James P. Denny, who operated a barbershop and its first beverage license to the Junior Nightclub, owner Theo Maynor.
Cal Dietz says Oak Hill is being left out on getting an interchange of Interstate 95 at Oak Hill because New Smyrna, Edgewater and Brevard County Line all have one.
Dietz says Cape Canaveral now has 625,000 people and is expected to have 2,028,512 by the year 1970. He said this estimated figure would triple the Oak Hill population by that time.
Village Improvement Association also pushed for an interchange here in Oak Hill.
Edward Gehrke and others brought a petition for the writ in January as owners of property near the rendering plants.
It was believed they got the permit unlawfully and improperly from State Board of Health, City and County Zoning Commission.
The order noted that construction of the plant started before December 7 or 9, 1963; whereas plans should have been submitted prior to the start of construction.
As is understood, there was nothing on the books specifically prohibiting a tallow plant, so an enterprising group headed by George Polerra went ahead and built one. It was practically built before anyone here knew what was happening. The building drew concern because it had no windows.
The tallow plant was told to halt by Circuit Judge Howell Milton from further construction or operations of a plant at Oak Hill.
The tiny village of Oak Hill, which has been living in a legislative limbo for three years, can now call itself an incorporated town.
The Florida Supreme Court says it is so. Oak Hill, a fishing and citrus village, has come alive after slumbering peacefully through three decades, now finds itself in the very shadow of the 525 foot Vehicle Assembly Building, the world’s largest structure.
It is there the vehicle will be assembled which the United States hopes will put American astronauts on the moon within this decade.
It is kinda tough for Oak Hill old timers to believe all this is really happening, but it is really a blessing since dredging of the river has almost ruined the fishing and shrimping by making it too deep.
Some changes came as we see fish camps spring up, but that has been helpful also.
Horace E. Treadwell, scion of a well known area family, was the prime mover and shaker of the whole thing.
Attorney Gillespie contended from the beginning that the Oak Hill Charter, while dormant, never died and that the Circuit Court had the power to order an election.
Another group still opposed to the reactivation of the charter has fought it through the courts. One of the original objectors, Archie Smith, and his group stuck it out, and there is still legal recourse, according to Attorney John Starling.
Treadwell, elected a councilman, has noe stepped out of office; but is no less interested in getting the fldgling city of the ground and moving.
Ruth Treadwell, housewife and wife of Horace Treadwell, also worked in support of efforts to reactivate the city cheater; showed mixed reactions to the high court ruling thought. She was always for five city commissioners instead of three.
Ruth was elected as a City Commissioners in 1966-67 and served until her resignation because of illness. A commissioner was very rude and wanting her to resign and that hurt her and everyone here. She was a very brilliant and lovely lady, she really knew her laws of government and cared that they were run in a way to help the people.
Supervisor of voter resignation Katherine Odham said it would be no problem if five were in office.
E.A. Smith, 73, who brought the suit against the municipality says he things it wouldn’t do any good to appeal. He says he didn’t think the community was large enough tog justify incorporation. He is Volusia County native. Smith said, “This is just a bunch of boys trying to play big shots!”
Oak Hill of the future – one has an instantaneous flash of admiration for the bit thinking of Calvin “Cal” Dietz down in little Oak Hill.
This village, nearest of all Volusia county communities to the NASA moonshot takeoff point on Merritt Island, has awakened from a long sleep. It used to be an organized town, but in 1930, it’s charter lapsed beaus funds ran out. In an interview, Dietz envisioned Oak Hill with a population of 100,000 persons; in the 1960 census, it had 758. Dietz would expand the territory of Oak Hill from one square mile to 100 square miles and give the town ocean frontage across the wide Indian River lagoon. In his words, he would “make a living room for our future citizens” and “provide them with the best possible services, recreational areas and the like.”
Two things he’d have in the 100 square miles would be a site for an atomic power plant and jetport with runways five miles long for the 2,000 mph aircraft of the future. All of his visions spring, probably and are attributed to Dietz’ former occupation: he has an advertising salesman in Indianapolis before moving to Oak Hill to run a major sports fishing camp. Cal did run a small fishing camp for a few years.
Horace Treadwell and Ruth were for reorganization for a short while and then they saw it wasn’t what they really wanted at all. A saying I have always heard (How true it is!) “You had better be sure when you pray for something – it may not be answered in the way you wanted, after all.”
Dietz moved on after a little time had passed. Oak Hill, today, is one square mile and voter registration is stil at 350 – population is at 950.
There are twice as many people living outside the city limits and we have tried to annex them, but the people keep voting it down..
The city went down the river channel and annexed “Golden Bay” but they aren’t allowed to vote in City elections.
Clarence Goodrich Jr. has been mayor since the incorporation. The other two don’t want it, because they don’t want what goes with it. Some people are leaders and some are followers.
At this writing, the other two commissioners are William Dewees (since 1971) and John Allen.
The people living here still do fishing, crabbing, oystering, clamming and shrimping – but only a small amount of people can make a livelihood from it.
The City Hall is located at 234 US1. There are city meetings twice a month on the first and third Mondays of the month.
The City has a Chief of Police – Bev J. Wyatt, Patrolmen are Howard H. Gaines Jr. and Danny L. Richardson, with auxiliary policeman Matthew Woods. The police station is located at 107 Oak Street just behind the Village Improvement Association at 126 E. Halifax Avenue.
The city of Oak Hill still has a mayor and two commissioners. The mayor being Clarence Q. Goodrich Jr., the two commissioners are William R. Dewees and John Allen.
Mayor Goodrich, who has been mayor since 1963 (the reincorporation), is married to Ida Simmons Goodrich and they live at 124 Blinn Street. They have one daughter, Jennifer – married to John Bonamo who has twin sons, Jon and Jason. Ida has worked for years for Patrick Air Force Base on the Banana River.
William R. Dewees, city commissioner, is married to Doris “Sapp” Dewees and they live at 239 Lagoon Avenue. They have three sons. Mark is married to Gwenn “Moody” Dewees, and they reside at 158 Blinn Street and they have a son, William Jason. Second son, Kevin, is married to Pam LeFils, and they have a daughter named Sonya. The third boy, David is still going to school and living at home. They own a fish camp and trailer park.
The other commissioner is John Allen, married to Virginia “Montgomery” Allen and they live at 176 Church Street. They have two daughters, Jennifer and Courtney. John and Virginia are also schoolteachers.
The number of businesses here at this time are five service stations; four regular and one service yourself at the handway convenience store (all have groceries except two), the Williams service station sells beer and wine, etc.; there is hardware and Gulf groceries and alcohol products at Baldwins Grocery; a beauty parlor, owned and operated by Ann Barnhouse; an ice cream parlor owned by Dana and Bobby Greatrex; Manny’s Gift Center, selling all kinds of imported and domestic gifts, including alligator items and small short order cook restaurant; two fishing camps, Lopez and LeFils (LeFils has a trailer park); two other small trailer parks, run by A.C. Dewees, “The Palms” and “Mar Del” (opposite LeFils trailer park; A. C. (Del) owns and operates the Smiths Live Shrimp Co.; a flea market; Goodrich Seafood Restaurant; Packwood’s; several fish houses; Barlow’s crab plant; and a small flower nursery owned by Mr. sand Mrs. A.B. Carmichael.
There are several large trailer parks just outside the city limits.
Oak Hill has seven churches: Church of God (on Flamingo); Church of God (On Gaines); First Baptist Church (corner of Compton and Halifax); First Baptist Church (corner of Halifax and Gaines); Missionary Baptist Church (this one is south of the city limits); Shady Grove; St. Martha’s; and a church on west Halifax Avenue near the railroad.