THE PRE WAR YEARS

Dad graduated from Vanderbilt on June 8th, 1938 and went to work for his father. Presumably he had worked for him during college as well but I have no specific knowledge of that.

What follows could have been related in the chapter on Frank Senior but - as the story was told so often in the years to come as part of the story of The Mackle Brothers - I chose to detail it here.

By the last half of the 30s Frank Senior's business had improved to the point where a winter trip to Florida was possible. In February 1938 an article ran in the Nashville paper that he had purchased a home in Delray Beach and the family planned to "winter" there.

About the same time he also acquired 22 building lots there. His plan was to spend the winter of 1938-39 in his new vacation home and  build and sell a few houses - just to keep busy. With that in mind he sent is sons Frank Jr., just graduated from Vanderbilt, and Robert to Delray Beach in the latter half of 1938 to begin building the models. 

In October of 1938 permits were issued for twenty homes. The plan was for the boys to start building on half of the lots before their father came down. But before their father could arrive Frank and Robert reported that they had already sold the first ten homes!. Their father gave them a go-ahead on the last ten. Soon they were sold as well!

Frank Senior saw the bright future that Florida held and soon made the decision to relocate the business and the family to Florida permanently. 

The April 1939 edition of the Architectural Journal featured one of the Delray homes and lists Paist and Steward as the architects. Obviously, the relationship with Frank Jr's future father-in-law Harold Steward began from the earliest days of Frank's arrival in Florida. The selling price of this home was $2,895 with land!

One reason for the success in Delray was attributed to the fact that they were able to offer FHA financing. 

The Mackles moved quickly. 

In early 1939 Frank Senior announced the acquisition of 20 lots in Bradenton at the encouragement of their FHA contacts. Dad was sent to Bradenton to build 20 homes. This was his first project "on his own" and it was apparently not a good experience. Dad didn't talk much about failures but this one must have stung a bit. Several time Dad told the story of an old man in Bradenton sticking his cane up the flue of the chimney and sneering "it will never draw". Sales did not come easily and the Mackles did not return to the west coast of Florida for many years.

At the same time they were working on the opening of their next venture - in West Palm Beach -  a project they would call Mackle Park. There, by April 1939, they were offering homes on 70 lots.

And an article in the Miami Herald of August 13 1939 tells of the Mackles acquisition of 70 lots and the start of 16 homes in Miami at N.W. 11th Place and forty-first street. The project, the first in Dade County, was to be called West Buena Vista Center.

Other home building projects started before World War II included - in 1940 - 102 homes in the Silvercrest Subdivision between SW 19th and Coral Way and between SW 24th and 27th avenues and - also in 1940 - 50 lots in Coral Gables on avenues Seville, Catalonia, Palermo and Almeria between LeJuene road and Hernando Street. 

In early 1940, the first permanent office of The Mackle Company in Miami at 2818 Coral Way, was constructed. This office - with several expansions - was to serve as their headquarters until the early 1960s. 

When the Mackle Brothers parted company with General and launched Deltona Corporation in 1962 they relocated to "Five Points" at the intersection of Coral Way, SW 3rd avenue and SW 12th Avenue. Even after the separation with Deltona in 1986 (after a brief stay in space near Miami International Airport) Dad built his last office on 3rd Avenue. 

So for the next 53 years Coral Way and 3rd Avenue extension of Coral Way would be the business home of the Mackle family.

In 1940 and 1941 the Mackles pre-war housing efforts began to wind down. The Navy contract in Opa Locka  began the shift from "for-sale" housing to pre-war and then wartime government contracts. The Mackles were finishing up West Buena Vista, Silvercrest and the homes and homesites in Coral Gables when the Navy's Opa Locka Housing project was awarded. That contract which encompassed 200 homes must have been the main focus of the business during most of 1941. Photographs of that period also show a small amount of government work completed in Key West as early as September 11, 1941.

On October 27, 1941,  Frank E. Mackle Sr. passed away.

An era had ended.

And the young Mackle Brothers were on their own.

Dad was 25 when his father died.

On December 7, 1941 - six weeks after their father's death - the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and World War II - for the U.S. - officially began.