CS: My name is Chuck Staiger, talking today with Hilda H. Butler who is the VicePresident and Secretary of Mammoth Life Insurance Co. Today's date is April 27, 1977 and this interview is one of a series concerning Black History in Louisville, Kentucky. And I wonder if we could begin, Mrs. Butler, with getting some biographical information from you. Where you were born, raised, education. How did you get started with Mammoth?
HB: Okay. I was born in Louisville in 1912 and I had my early education,elementary and secondary in Louisville. I attended college at Hampton Institute in Virginia. And some years later I attended the University of Michigan graduate 1:00school and I took some actuarial work. I began my employment with Mammoth 1939. And I was employed at that time as a clerk on the, at the district office in Louisville. I came to the home office in 1940 working as a clerk in what we called the Agency Accounting Department. And oh some years later, I became office manager, assistance secretary and I really don't know when I was elected Secretary but it was probably in the late '50s or maybe the early '60s. I'm not too good at remembering dates. And that's about my history.
CS: What is your relationship in the structure of the organization? Is it2:00President and then right now it's your position?
HB: President and Vice Presidents, I'm one of three Vice Presidents. I'm alsothe Secretary.
CS: What field do you have?
HB: Course as Secretary I have control of all the records. I'm in charge ofcorporate correspondence with stock holders, insurance departments, public what have you. Internally I supervise the claims division, I supervise underwriting and policy issue, printing and supply department and I also supervise the clerical workers in the actuarial department.
CS: That's kind of where you got started.
HB: That's where I started.
CS: We talked a little bit yesterday with Mr. Price and I wonder if we could3:00talk with you a little bit about the history of Mammoth Life and what you remember. And if we could just begin with how it originated, how Mammoth Life got started.
HB: As I was told, Mammoth was conceived in the minds of two young men. One wasmy father and the other was a man named W. H. Wright who was from Alabama.
CS: Who was, your father's name?
HB: H. E. Hall, Henry E. Hall. And he and Mr. Wright met in Louisville becausethey both came to Louisville in the early part of the century. My father had worked for an insurance company in the western part of the state, around Henderson, Owensboro and small towns in that area. That insurance company left 4:00the state. I don't know whether they, their license was taken up. I just don't know the details. But he saw many people who were, who lost their insurance protection. And he determined that if he could, he was going to try to organize a company which would protect them. And he and Mr. Wright worked together for several years. I believe they applied to the Department of Insurance for a license to do business about 1910. And um while his application, or their application was pending, the Kentucky legislature changed the law and made the requirements for starting an insurance company steeper. And they were not able 5:00to qualify so.
CS: Was there any hint that they were making these steep requirements because ofblack institutions trying to get started?
HB: Yes that was the reason for the new law, was to stop the black organization.And the impetus behind the law was started by white insurance companies which were then operating in the state of Kentucky. And I suppose they were profiting from their business on black people because at that time, premium rates were different for black and whites. And so there was more profit in, for the company in the black business.
CS: There's a strict, a higher, what is the terminology?6:00
HB: Higher loading. They also used higher mortality rates and that's the way itwas. So at any rate, um.
CS: I hate to interrupt you here but this is about the same time, I believe,that um segregation laws were being passed.
HB: Were being passed, ah huh. That's about the same time. At any rate, Mr.Wright and my father went to court and of course the case dragged on and on and on for a number of years and was not until 1915 that the Appeals Court in Kentucky granted Mammoth a license to do business and that was I think in July, July the 12th,1915. And um by that time there was an organization of people. Now this is sort of sub rosa. But there was an organization of people really, 7:00working behind the scenes throughout Kentucky, just gathering names of people who were willing to take insurance with Mammoth. And um when the court decided that Mammoth could do business, I think they sent out a telegram to these workers throughout Kentucky. And all it said was go. That means now you can put it on paper. And that's the way Mammoth started. Mammoth operated as a mutual company until 1924 I guess and um then they decided to change into a stock company. And stock was sold just like you sell insurance policies. Many of them 8:00with a dollar down and a dollar a week until you get a share paid for. But I guess the thousands of people throughout Kentucky purchased Mammoth stock. And um we just been struggling and going on from then until now.
CS: What was the setup for the mutual going back. How did that work?
HB: Well, you know a mutual company theoretically is owned by the policyholders. And each policy holder is a part owner of the company. And theoretically the policy holders share the profits made by the company in the 9:00form of dividends, uh-huh. And I don't know as I have, look back over the history, I don't see any records which show that during those first year, the policy holders received any dividends. But um I don't believe they did. That's just, I'm thinking about that now. Of course at that time I was, well in 1915 I was three years old so I didn't know too much of what was happening. All I knew was that I had a father who came home in the afternoon and ate dinner and then he went out again. I don't know when he came back. In the morning when I got up, he was there for a few minutes, ate his breakfast and he was gone again. And my mother was really the one that held the family together. Because he just didn't 10:00have time. I don't think at that time, I realized what he was doing. In fact, I know I didn't. All I knew was that he came and he went. But I learned later to appreciate what he was doing, to appreciate him much, much more than I did at the time. I can remember the time when I was ashamed to say who I was. Because I just didn't know my father. I didn't know what he was doing. Although even as a youngster, nine, ten and 12, I visited the Mammoth office which was then located at 422 South Sixth Street, the site of the State Office Building and I visited the office on occasions when I went to town but you know, it was just a place to me. A place to go and enjoy adult company for 15 or 20 minutes and talk to the 11:00girls who worked there. It was just a vacation or a spree. Then I guess I really didn't appreciate what was happening until I left home. When I went to college. Well the regularity of the checks made me know that somebody is thinking about me. And my father wrote me once a month and his letters were always, they weren't always encouraging. But he always had something to say to help me. At that time, Virginia was a long way from Kentucky. And we didn't get to come home 12:00for Christmas or Thanksgiving or Easter. You went in September and you came back in June. And you didn't pick up the telephone and make a long distance phone call. You wrote letters. That's an art that children don't know now. They pick up the phone and talk for an hour. So Daddy's letters were always good to receive because he had a knack of writing things that would stay with you. Whatever my problem was at school, he could always offer me some suggestion for solving it. He never did tell me what to do, but he would quote something or send me a books. I can remember feeling quite insecure at school and Daddy sent 13:00me a book called Self Confidence and How to Develop It. And then he sent me another book Timidity and How to Overcome It. (laughter) And his letters were full of words of wisdom, how to get along with other people. And then I began to really appreciate him as an individual. And I learned later to, well I just became very, very close to him from then on.
CS: When you went away to school was Hampton one of the only places availablefor someone from Kentucky to get a college education? I didn't know if the Day Law was in effect then. (both talking at once)
HB: At the time, oh yes the Day Law was in effect. And there was Kentucky StateCollege at Frankfort. That was the only place you could really get a college 14:00education in Kentucky that I know of. I don't believe Western, no, I believe that was the only place because later, of course the University of Louisville opened the school called Louisville Municipal College but that was after I had gone to college so it wasn't available. And I think Hampton was selected because I had two choices. Kentucky State or Frankfort. And, I mean Kentucky State at Frankfort or Hampton. And Hampton was the other alternative. Because Hampton was my father's alma mater. And you just didn't (laughter), that was it. He was sold on Hampton and that's where you go. If you don't want to go to Hampton, you can go to Kentucky State. That was just the way it was. And I chose to go to Hampton. I'm very glad that I did. I don't regret it at all. 15:00
CS: What kind of programs did Hampton have at that time?
HB: At that time Hampton had the School of Education which trained you to teachin the elementary or secondary level. They had a school of music, a school of home economics, a trade school for boys and young men where they taught auto mechanics, electricity, printing, all kinds of trades. Oh and there was the School of Agriculture. That was big. Hampton was a good place to go because there were, there was, there were five boys to every girl. (laughter) So you were going to have a good time. It was nice. I enjoyed every minutes of the four years I spent at Hampton. But I learned to be a teacher. 16:00
CS: Is that what you wanted? You wanted Education.
HB: Yep. I wasn't musical. (laughter)
CS: Neither am I.
HB: So I was in the School of Education and my majors were Mathematics andScience. And when I left Hampton I taught in a two-room school in Virginia. For a year and then I--
CS: All grades? Or elementary or
HB: A two-room school was a two-room school. Grades one, two and three were inone room. Grades four, five, six and seven were in another room. At that time Virginia only had eleven years of education, public education for Negro children. And all Negro children you had, first through the seventh and then 17:00four years of high school. But there were not 12 grades are there are now and they were later. So I taught from the fifth through the seventh grades and then the next year I went to another county and I taught mathematics and history in the high school. What do you call consolidated, what they called consolidated high school. All the Negros in the county went to one high school. And you know we talk about busing now. But they were bused from one, I mean if you were black, And white too. Because actually there were not enough people in the county, even white students, to have more than maybe two high schools in the county. And children were bused from one end of the county to another. It's just lately that busing has become a bad work. But busing has been a long, has been around for a long, long time. And there was no hugh and cry. I guess it's a 18:00matter, no it isn't even that. I was thinking it was a matter of putting white and black children on the same bus but they don't even that. So I don't know what it is. Any how that's the way it was then. I taught there for two years and then I married. Came back home after a year or two. Finally I (phone ringing) went to work at Mammoth.
CS: Um do you have to get that?
HB: No no.
CS: Okay. What uh, you said you went to graduate school I think in Michigan.What prompted you to go up there? The Day Law was still in effect I gather?
HB: Oh no I had been working here. I didn't go to Michigan until I think I had19:00been working, I believe I went to Michigan in 1947, 6 or 7, '46 or '47. I wanted to become an actuary. That's an experience. I went to University of Michigan. I'd been away from school, I'd been out of school 15 or 16 years. So when I went to graduate school it was a little difficult to get back into study habits. But I was, waned to become an actuary. I don't know whether this is a part of the history of Mammoth. I don't know how this reflects on Kentucky but I think it has some bearing. The head of the Mathematics Department called me in. Into his office, in Michigan at the University of Michigan. He called me into his office 20:00to advise me that I was pursing the wrong course of study. That actuaries had an organization which was very close and that Negros could not become members. And in order to become an actuary, you can to be a member of this society. And since I could not become a member of the society, it was useless for me to pursue this course and he suggested that if I wanted to stay in mathematics, either go into pure mathematics and become a professor or go into accounting. And I assured my department head that I was not interested in a title. I was interested in obtaining information and I preferred to stay there and learn something about actuarial science as much as I could. And whether I became a member of the 21:00society of actuary just didn't matter. And he told me I wouldn't be able to get a job. And I told him that I wasn't concerned about getting a job. I had a job at the time. And I thought I would go back to a job. Interesting enough I found out after that interview, that this department head talked the other Negros who then taking actuarial science. There were two girls and one other young man at the time that I was there. Negros. All pursuing actuarial science. The two girls 22:00after their interview, one went into mathematics, one changed her course to accounting. The young man talked to me and told me about his interview. And I told him, yes I had had the same interview. He asked my advice. I guess because I was older and he was young. And I told him that um he was needed. And I said, I told him about Mammoth, about other Negro insurance companies, I told him about the Atlanta Life, North Carolina Mutual. I told him about Universal. And I told him that at that time, you know, I said we are all at the mercy of white actuaries. Except North Carolina Mutual. Asa Spaulding has been to Michigan. I 23:00don't know whether he's a member of the actuarial society but I know he has the information. And I told him, I said if you will stay in this actuarial course, I can guarantee you will get a job. And I gave him the names of several companies' persons to whom he should write. And I don't know but he is presently the president of Atlanta Life. (laughter) And we are still very good friends.
CS: What's his name?
HB: Hill, oh boy (both talking, laughing) why would you ask someone's name? Youknow when you get my age you forget names.
CS: I do the same thing.
HB: Oh I can't think of his first name, but his last name is HIll.
CS: That's good enough.
HB: So um here I am.
CS: Did you ever join the actuarial society?
HB: No, no as a matter of fact I did not complete my course. I was at University24:00of Michigan one year. And then I had to come home. I had a sister who became seriously ill. She was an invalid and I, I didn't have to, I chose to come home and stayed with her rather than go back. I would have had to gone back because I was a little rusty. And I had, when I went to Michigan, I took, I dropped a graduate course and went back to take undergraduate calculus because I needed it. And which meant i would have needed at least another six months in school. But I didn't go back. So I'm not a qualified as an actuary. I just have a smattering of knowledge.
CS: You know does the same rules apply for this whatever the actuarial societywas today as they did-- 25:00
HB: No no not any more.
CS: That's an interesting story. Getting back to Mammoth a little bit. Whoactually were the people who backed the origin was it just going door to door?
HB: Just door to door, knocking on doors and telling the story. I learned thatthe nights when my father was out, he was finding people where they were. Which means he was going at the barbershops and poolrooms and cafeterias and whatever. And that's where he was at night. Interestingly enough, I know you don't want 26:00all this but my mother, my mother understood. But she had friends who didn't. They tried to advise her about what she should do because my father was out ever night. And I heard her tell a very good friend and neighbor one time, that you take care of your husband and I'll take care of mine. (laughter)
CS: That's a very understanding mother.
HB: Yes I really did.
CS: That's interesting. Mammoth went from a mutual to a stock company. Someinsurance companies invest in buildings to make money. Does Mammoth do that type of thing? Lend mortgages for homes, churches, buildings in Louisville?
HB: Oh yes. Mammoth has given mortgages for churches in Louisville and outsideof Louisville. We now operate in eight states and I guess there are several 27:00churches in all of the states who at one time or another had a mortgage with Mammoth. Mammoth has invested in home mortgages oh for a number of years. Mammoth helped, I don't know if you are familiar with the western part of Louisville. I'm sure you don't remember when the homes on the parkway from Greenwood south.
CS: Which parkway?
HB: Western Parkway. Is that what you call it? From Greenwood south were built.But that was a development there. It must have been in the early '40s? You weren't around.
CS: I wasn't around.
HB: I'm sure you weren't around. And Mammoth financed those homes. The architect28:00and contractor who built them was Plato. Uh-huh and they were built when FHA began or during the early days of FHA and Mammoth gave mortgages down there. Mammoth was famous for block breaking. Do you know what that is? You know.
HB: If a Negro wanted to buy a house in a formerly all-white neighborhood, youcouldn't get financing anywhere.
CS: From the white mortgage--
HB: From the white mortgage companies, from building and loans of banks orinsurance companies. Nowhere would give you a mortgage. Mammoth would give the first mortgage and break the block and then all the other financial institutions would fall right in. You know, then when a block is broken it's broken and 29:00that's all. Mammoth did that in Louisville, Dayton, Cleveland, St. Louis, Cincinnati. Oh you name the city in these eight states and it has happened. Even in Chicago.
CS: There was a demand for housing in the black community. There was no otherway to get financing.
HB: Except through a black financial institution and of course Mammoth wasn'tthe only black company that did it, they all did it. That was one way of helping. My father used to say and I've heard him say many times that the--I'm almost through.
CS: That's okay, I've got another side.
HB: That he was going to, he wanted to build a company that would give30:00employment to black boys and girls. We didn't use the word black then. But that was his sales talk to people. We are going to build an institution that will employ your children. And I guess one of my greatest satisfactions that I get out of being here at Mammoth now, is seeing young people come in and learn and stay and rise to the higher jobs. I got a lot of people that I call my children.
CS: Let me uh, excuse me. I'll interrupt you here and flip this over. We're justabout out and I don't want to miss--
CS: Okay we're just starting again here on side two. I'm sorry to interrupt you.
HB: Oh that's okay. We have home office employees, people who come in at a very31:00low level. They come out of high school. They aren't ready for a job. But they stay here, they complain that the pay is low but so many of the young women and older women now, I mean they're mature women now, who have physicians and industry and with the government today, started at Mammoth and every time I see them, I feel so good, I really don't know what to do. I have, I can just, I could almost reel off the names of many, many girls who started at Mammoth and who now have really representative jobs. They may not have made a lot of money when they came to Mammoth but they learned something. They got experience and 32:00they are now making money. And that makes me feel good. And then I see people here who came in like I did, at the bottom. They go right up to the top. My assistant, a matter of fact, came in fresh from high school, knowing nothing except how to smile prettily. (laughter) But she has been a wonderful worker. She's been here now I don't know, I guess about 20 years. And she is studious. You know there are courses in insurance that are offered not by correspondence but there is an organization called Life Office Management Association. We offer the courses here to employees who want to take them. They cost a little bit. Something like, I don't know what the current cost is. A few years ago it was about $20 for a course. There are eight courses all together. The company pays 33:00the cost for the course, if the employee passes. If the employee doesn't pass, then they must reimburse the company. If they pass examination. And I think we have about 25 young men and young women now who are preparing to take their test next week. First week in May. And hopefully they'll all pass. There are as I said eight courses. I think we have some girls who are taking course six now. (background noise) We have two taking six. Oh we have about ten in course one. They are just beginning. So it's wonderful.
CS: How many employees do you have here at Mammoth?
HB: Here in the home office, around 50 I guess. I really don't know.34:00
CS: And how many--
HB: All together between 275 I guess and 300. Something in that range, I don't know.
CS: That's in an eight state area?
HB: Uh-huh. Our agents too are offered opportunities to go to school. There arecourses called L-U-T-C, Life Underwriting Training Course. They are encouraged to take that and the company pays for it if they pass. There are other students, other workers who are taking, what do they call it, courses which lead to the CLU designation which you know is similar to PhD in education. And after passing a course in CLU, the company reimburses the employee for his fees. And that's good. 35:00
CS: I wonder if I could put you on the spot again and you mentioned there weresome people who started at Mammoth and have gone elsewhere. I wonder if you could perhaps on the tape, mention some of them. You know just a few of the people who maybe work in government or other industry.
HB: I don't know, put people on the spot. I don't know whether they want,whether they are, you know. I really don't like to call anybody else's name because I don't know how they feel about it.
CS: Okay I understand. What do you look for in the future in Mammoth?
HB: The future of Mammoth. Well, what do I look forward to? I look forward toMammoth's continued growth. Economically all black businesses are having a hard 36:00financial time. Mammoth has struggled before. There are fewer black insurance companies in operation today than there were 10,15,20 years ago. I believe that the number will shrink further within the next 15 or 20 years. Hopefully it is my hope that Mammoth will be one of the survivors. I think the organizers, the founders of Mammoth were dedicated. They weren't the only dedicated people in 37:00the world I know. But I just love to visualize Mammoth as being one of the survivors. Not as a black company, but as an American company. Just any other insurance company. I really would. We have no prejudice. We really, we don't have the work race on any form that we have. Sometimes and we have, we know that we have white policy holders because we have received claims and maybe the hospital's form has race on it and they indicate. That's the only indication we know. Because we just, it really doesn't matter to us. We have employees who are white and they get along with us and we get along with them. We get along with 38:00them. I don't know how they get along when they leave. But they stay.
CS: You mentioned that the market seems to be shrinking for black insurancecompanies. Do know what reasons? Are the larger insurance companies applying pressure or making inroads into your customers? Do you have any way to combat that?
HB: The larger companies make inroads on our customers, on our employees. Theycan lure our employees away with promises of higher rate, higher pay, higher commissions. Pardon me, fortunately some of the employees come back. They try it for a while and then they come back. They also are entering, have entered the 39:00market. They found that the old myth about blacks dying quicker really doesn't pan out that way. So they have found that black insurance is still as profitable as any other. And it is against the law for them to discriminate in their rates. Although some companies have subtle ways. We won't discuss that. (both talking at once) Oh they have maybe as an example, they have red rates and green rates. Some people qualify for red and some qualify for green.
CS: Just in the same booklet that they--
HB: Uh-huh. And there's no mention in their printed material of race but I guess40:00they know how to get it across. If you if you live west of a line, you know how they give you the weather report? If you live, there's a tornado warning for communities west of a line running from here to there. Well that's the way they designate it. If you live west of a line running from the river to the fairgrounds you use green rates. Otherwise you use red rates.
CS: And if the customers over the guys shoulder when he's looking at thedifferent ages.
HB: That's all the customer sees. Wherever he opens his book. You know, he justuses the green pages or where the green tab is. That's the way it's done sometimes. 41:00
CS: That's very interesting. Do you hope to expand Mammoth's customers, perhapsfrom I guess mostly black to uh. (both talking at once)
CS: To a higher end of white, more white insurance?
HB: That's one of the ways we believe we can begin. If we have (both talking at once)
CS: I don't mean to take it into trade secrets.
HB: No that's no trade secret. It's difficult for a black salesman to canvas awhite area. It's difficult to get prospects in a white area. It's difficult to get a client to sign on the line. Oh you'd have a few. Just as we have a few white clients sure but it is a minority. So what the best way is to employ white 42:00agents. And we have some. But we don't know what color their business is. Hopefully some of it, hopefully some of its mixed. We don't know. Because, and we don't know where people live, in Kansas City or Milwaukee or even Detroit. We don't know where the line is.
CS: Right. I know that you deal mainly in life and health insurance.
HB: That's right.
CS: Has there been any thought to branch out into other areas of the insurance business?
HB: There have been, there has been talk about going into the fire field.Several years ago and although we haven't ventured there, because we haven't licked the life and the health yet. We still have that in the back of minds. There are, I wouldn't say definite plans as far as timing is concerned. But 43:00certainly in the minds of the younger people who are coming along. They're planning to expand our product and our lines of work. That's the only way we could survive anyhow.
CS: That's good. I like to give you some time to see if you have any generalcomments you would like to make regarding the relationship between Louisville and Mammoth today and in the past. Let's open it up for any general discussion. Put you on the spot again.
HB: Yeah I don't know what to say, relationship between Louisville and Mammoth.I don't know. Mammoth I think in the business community of Louisville has. Let 44:00me say it this way. Mammoth is well thought of generally. Among the people who are out front in the financial world. I think that Mammoth offices are respected. I think that Mammoth is becoming an integral part of what makes Louisville run. I think Mammoth should not only because it represents people in some sort of way but I think that the city is fast. Well it's getting to the place now where it's close to 50-50. I remember when I went to school at Hampton 45:00I think the percentage of Negros in Louisville was something like 16 or 15 or something like that. But I know it's the percentage has changed quite a bit now.
CS: Louis Coleman of the Urban League said it's around 24%. I may have misquotedhim, I'm not sure.
HB: So I think that um Mammoth represents possibilities. I think it representshope for younger people. It's a symbol of achievement in a way that it gives the poor, it gives the ordinary, not the poor, it gives the black children something to look forward to. Something well this did succeed. You know? Heck you can't 46:00clobber a child to death by seeing failures because all he sees is closed stores, drug stores, grocery stores all down the line. This used to be a grocer but now it's all boarded up. This was a theater but it's all boarded up. And other black businesses just don't last. And you have to have the symbol of success in order to want to succeed. You've got to have something to look forward to. It's my hope that Mammoth will be their symbol. With the help of all 47:00the people in the city of Louisville and God maybe.
CS: Well I want to thank you very much. Would you like to say anything else?
HB: Well I'll tell you I think I've said a lot.
CS: I know this can wear you out.
HB: Most of what I've said is enjoyable because it comes from, I mean it's real.I mean I'm not putting on, I'm just saying things. I really didn't talk much about the history of Mammoth, did I?
CS: Well you are part of the history of Mammoth. Well thank you I think thatconcludes the interview.
HB: You're quite welcome.
CS: Let me flip it off here.
CS: I'm back on again. We just thought of something else that we should probablyinclude in the tape here.
HB: Well I was just saying that the building at 608 West Walnut is interesting.It has an interesting history. It was completed in 1926 and owned by Mammoth. At 48:00that time the first floor consisted of a theater, the Lyric Theater, a drug store which was owned by a Dr. White who came here from Owensboro. And by the way, Dr. White was the uncle of Frankie Moorman who had a filling station at 8th and Walnut for a long, long time. What else was on the first floor? Oh there was a the drug store, the theater I guess that's all. The second floor was consisted of the Mammoth's home office. Oh I should say half of the second floor 49:00because the other half was rented to the Urban League had an office there and the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company has it district office on the east side of the second floor. And the third through the fifth floor consisted of apartments. There were six apartments on each floor. The building stayed that way for quite a few years. Then as the company expanded. Well first we took over all of the second floor and we had to put out our very good tenants. And they had to find other locations. And then we moved to the third floor, we lost six good tenants. Then next we just took the other floors, just gradually as we 50:00grew, we just needed the space. In 1965 I guess, was that when Urban Renewal began?
CS: Around that time.
HB: We were offered money for the building. The city wanted to buy the buildingand well Urban Renewal was going to use. And then they made us a very lucrative offer. They offered to relocate us in a used building. A building formerly occupied by another life insurance company. And we declined the offer. We decided to stay. So they told us that in order to be compatible with the area there were certain improvements that we would have to make. And so the 51:00auditorium of the theater was demolished and we put the new look on the outside and that's all. Other than that, the building is just like it was.
CS: It sounded like in 1929 it was when your father was still--it sounded likesomebody had it in mind to start with a small office but room for expansion.
HB: For expansion, that was the idea. And you know we had all types ofresistance from the city authorities about remaining here.
CS: In '65?
HB: Uh-huh. They told us that this building was not. This was an apartmentbuilding and it was not suitable for office space. But it was built that way. 52:00This um and we had to get the original plans to prove that the building is structurally sound. Every floor is reinforced concrete and the walls, none of the walls are what they call bearing walls. It is supported by concrete columns. There's one sticking out there, right there. And you see them all through the building. Even where we have torn down the walls to make office space. These columns are support. And none of the walls are supported of the building. The, course our plans of renovation had to be approved. There were a number of minor faults found. I think the last time we submitted our plans, came back and the 53:00fault they found was that there was no outlet for water, for a water hose to be attached on the outside of the west side of the building. Now there was an attachment for you know a hose to--
CS: Fire department or sprayer.
HB: No no to water your flowers or clean off your (both talking) yeah a spigot.No spigot on the west side of the building. Some of the demands were really ridiculous. There was one at the front. There was a spigot at the front where you could attach the hose to wash off the sidewalk but there was none on the west side of the building. You'd be surprised.
CS: It's amazing. I'm glad you thought of the details.
HB: You know this building was called The Gold Coast Apartments. (phone ringing)54:00It wasn't a Mammoth building. When it was built it was The Gold Coast Apartments. And in the black community you were somebody if you lived in the Gold Coast. (laughter) Well it's no longer the Gold Coast, it's now the Mammoth building.
CS: When did that change, as you were expanding?
HB: Only just as we were expanding. And as tenants began to move out, the namejust sort of dropped away. Just stopped using it. I don't know who named it The Gold Coast but that was it. And there was a, and everybody clamored to get in The Gold Coast.
CS: Well I think I've taken up quite a bit of your time and I appreciate youtalking with me and I guess will conclude our interview officially. Thank you.