The Brevard Hotel
My Dad's father, Hartley C. Laycock, Sr., was President and Chairman
of the Board at the People's Bank in Chicago when the market crashed and the economy
collapsed with the Depression. He was a man of high moral and ethical standards, ensuring that depositors recovered as much of their money as possible. When the process was done there was little left.
Dad's family sold the house they had just recently built and moved south to Florida. To help raise raise money for the family my Dad's brother, my Uncle Bill, bought a truck and hauled loads of fruit to Ohio. Dad joined him on some of these trips.
What followed is a remarkable story. As Dad's father recovered from the Chicago ordeal he grew interested in an old abandoned hotel building — the Brevard Hotel — on the Indian River in Cocoa, a short distance from the ocean, Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. He envisioned restoring and reopening it, and headed back to Chicago to raise funds for the project. He was met there with tremendous generosity, raised more than hoped, and soon returned to Florida.
This story reminds me a bit of Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey does all he can to protect his depositors — and then karma kicks in.