Author Topic: Does anyone remember going to Rowlab?  (Read 1280 times)

sandyshoes

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Does anyone remember going to Rowlab?
« on: May 29, 2020, 03:55:34 PM »
It was my favorite fieldtrip in elementary school in the 1960s-early 1970s.  It was somewhere downtown, and Mr. Rowe (spelling?) put on a scientific presentation, we could ask questions, and afterwards we could buy something from there to take home.  Once he created a tornado in a glass case - with the lights off it was quite dramatic, as it was neon blue!  I would love to hear more about Rowlab, if anyone remembers it and can tell more stories about it.  I haven't been able to find anything online.  Hearing about other people's favorite school fieldtrips might be a fun pastime as we continue to soldier through the pandemic.  I'm sure it would amuse your children/grandchildren as well! 

Tacachale

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Charles Hunter

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Re: Does anyone remember going to Rowlab?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2020, 04:28:35 PM »
Yes, went there several times. It was on East Forsyth, in the block between Market and Liberty.  I remember it was a few blocks beyond the last stop of the #22 Lake Shore bus.
I think this is the building
https://goo.gl/maps/SnjqJPXMr7YvNnrk7


billy

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Re: Does anyone remember going to Rowlab?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2020, 07:14:35 PM »
I remember buying science fair fixings there,
agar and petri dishes (“ I’ll make botulism”)Toy Parade sold chemistry sets and separate bottles of chemicals for a while.
( I’ll make gunpowder!”)

Adam White

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Re: Does anyone remember going to Rowlab?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2020, 03:58:22 AM »
I remember buying science fair fixings there,
agar and petri dishes (“ I’ll make botulism”)Toy Parade sold chemistry sets and separate bottles of chemicals for a while.
( I’ll make gunpowder!”)

Me too! Agar and petri dishes. Good times...
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: Does anyone remember going to Rowlab?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2020, 11:43:49 PM »
I went to Rowlab often as a child, sometimes on school field trips like others here.  Neat and interesting place to spend the day.  Loved his model rockets best as this was during the height of the space program going to the moon.  My dream was to get that giant Estes Saturn V model rocket [https://estesrockets.com/apollo-saturn-v/] but it cost a small fortune  ;D.

Below are two links:  One is actually a prior MetroJax post from 2010!  The other is from the Florida Times Union in 2016 and includes the pictures of Mr. Rowland below.  The full article is quote below the pictures.

Seeing the sign on the wall in the lab photo reminded me of growing colored crystals, a long ago memory!  Nothing like piquing the curiosity of a young child.

https://www.jacksonville.com/news/2016-11-20/call-box-rowlab-launched-rockets-science-careers-and-project-ideas
https://www.metrojacksonville.com/forum/index.php?topic=7194.0

[quote


Dear Call Box: When I was a kid, there was a shop downtown where you could get science supplies. What can you tell me about it?

D.P., Arlington

Dear D.P.: If you were doing a science project and needed a 6-inch pickled frog or an exploding volcano, you could get it at Rowlab.

If you needed a life-sized skeleton for a Halloween party, you could get it at Rowlab.

If your child was concocting a chemistry experiment in the garage, you could get a half-pound of calcium chloride at Rowlab.

Ernest “Ernie” Rowland opened Rowlab Science Center, a scientific hobby shop, in 1941. Over the years, thousands of Northeast Florida students turned to him for help with science fair projects. So did science teachers looking for an eye-catching demonstration. And so did scientists placing orders from as far away as Sri Lanka, Rowland said in a 1982 Times-Union interview.

His store was at 345 E. Forsyth St. in a building with a lot of lawyer’s offices. Tucked down the hall was Rowlab. He had a medical technology laboratory next door.

His shop was filled with biological specimens, plastic skulls, astronomy gadgets, vials of chemicals, volcanoes, ant farms, fluorescent inks, electrostatic metal balls, rocket-launching buttons and even pickled grasshoppers. He sent his catalogs to schools all over the country.

“We are the third largest mail-order house for model rockets in the country,” he said in 1970.

Like a modern-day Merlin, Rowland held court in his shop, listening patiently to children as they hesitantly talked about the bare bones of a project as he helped them put flesh on it. He also took time to explain the scientific equipment that he sold.

“When a parent comes in for a microscope or other instrument for his child, I show him what we have, sit down with him and talk about his child and explain the instrument,” Rowland told the Times-Union in 1982. “I can make certain it is right for the child, and the child is right for it.”

In 1952, he played a prominent role in organizing the first science fair in Duval County in the Lee High School gym. He worked with county and regional science fairs for more than 30 years.

His scientific interests were broad and honed since childhood. He grew up in DeLand and traded an electric train set that his parents gave him for Christmas for a friend’s far less expensive chemistry set. When his parents found out, the gifts changed hands again. However, his parents gave in and bought him his own set.

His bedroom soon became a lab until an experiment shattered a window, sent a cascade of battery acid down the side of the house and ate away the paint. Rowland and his lab were banished to the garage. He made his first telescope when he was 14 out of an old pair of spectacles, a roll of cardboard and a dime store magnifying glass. Though crude, Rowland said he could see the craters of the moon and the rings of Jupiter with it. Shortly afterward, he ground his own 6-inch mirror for a telescope.

Around 1940, he moved to Jacksonville and not long after, started the Jacksonville Astronomy Club. Walter Bennett, father of U.S. Rep. Charlie Bennett, was a charter member.

In addition, Rowland had two clubs for kids at his shop. On Saturday mornings, he gave shows in his science theatre utilizing devices like a high-voltage generator and a tornado machine that delighted the kids and Rowland, according to newspaper archives.

“Hot ziggety dog,” he would say, rubbing his hands together in glee.

In 1980, he began starring in a weekly cable TV program, “Rowlab’s Science Fare,” emphasizing the fun side of research. He billed himself as “Mr. Rowlab, The Wizard of Cablevision.”

Over the years, he invented two dozen experiments and scientific models, some of which were patented.

“For better or worse, that guy turned me into a teenaged science nerd,” said Mark Musselwhite, an air traffic controller, in a 2000 interview.

He first met Rowland in the late 1960s, when Rowland oversaw model rocket blastoffs in the sand dunes behind Regency.

“There would be a 100 people back there, and we would be shooting off rockets for hours,” Musselwhite told the Times-Union. “It wasn’t dry old science. It was, ‘This is what’s going on. Men are walking on the moon.’ He could communicate enthusiasm.”

Rowland died in 2000 at age 80 after a short illness.

If you have a question about Jacksonville’s architectural history, call (904) 359-4622 or mail to Call Box, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL 32231. Please include contact information. Photos are also welcome.

Sandy Strickland: (904) 359-4128[/quote]
« Last Edit: May 30, 2020, 11:55:18 PM by jaxlongtimer »

sandyshoes

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Re: Does anyone remember going to Rowlab?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2020, 12:58:55 PM »
Thanks, everyone!  Good times indeed.  Are there more fieldtrip memories out there?  Would love to hear.  Doesn't have to be Rowlab.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Does anyone remember going to Rowlab?
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2020, 10:21:14 PM »
I'm young, so my stuff is much more recent and still around. Sally Industries was a lot of fun to see. We also went to MOSH and that was pretty cool. I can't think of any other field trips we had (from St. Johns County) that went into Jax. Besides that was the Alligator Farm, and Orlando.
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: Does anyone remember going to Rowlab?
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2020, 11:01:52 PM »
Elementary school field trips I recall included:

Coca Cola Bottling Plant
Frito Lay Factory
Anchor Hocking Glass Factory
Foremost (and Sealtest?) Ice Cream Factory
Merita Bread, Sunbeam Bread or A&P Bakery Factory
Buckman Sewage Treatment Plant (it was brand new at the time)
Farmers Market
Train ride from Union Station to Baldwin (trying getting that today!)
Kennedy Space Center (Cape Kennedy back in the Apollo years)
Hurricane hunters at NAS (yes, they were stationed there at one time).  A few lucky kids got taken up for a ride in one of them too.
Marineland
Marine Science Center in Mayport
Jacksonville Zoo
St. Augustine (Castillo De San Marcos, Old Jail, Fountain of Youth, Alligator Farm)
Ft. Caroline
Ft. Clinch
Forest Ranger Tower on Beach Blvd. (all woods in those days!)
San Marco Fire Station (including firemen sliding down the fire pole)
Chinese Vegetable Farm
City Prison (remember "Scared Straight?")
Children's Museum in Riverside (now MOSH)
WJAX radio station (At that time it was owned by the City and they had a noon time talk show that put some of us live on the air)

As a patrol boy, we did Saturday "drills" on the old City riverfront parking lot behind the courthouse (the one being removed) and afterwards went to the Florida Theater for a free hot dog, coke and matinee.  At the end of the year, we made the 4 day pilgrimage to Washington, DC.

In high school, seniors had options for Grad night at Disney World and a New York humanities trip.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2020, 11:59:37 AM by jaxlongtimer »

Charles Hunter

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Re: Does anyone remember going to Rowlab?
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2020, 07:54:27 AM »
Dayumm - did you ever go to class? :D

Let's see, my list is shorter, and there are a couple reasons for that - we didn't take that many field trips, and my memory has probably chosen not to recall all of them.  I don't think our elementary school principal liked field trips.
Jacksonville Zoo (when the bears and big cats were in concrete pits)
Formost Dairy plant on College Street by the RR tracks, and to the farm "way out in the country" on Blanding (probably near Morse Ave.)
St. Augustine - same places as jaxlongtimer
Children's Museum on Riverside Ave.
Marineland
there may have been more, but I don't recall.

In (I think) Junior High, maybe 9th grade (which would now be in High School), for Civics class, we rode the train to Tallahassee to look at the Florida Legislature and other state government (jealous, because back then the Legislature met every other year - in their off years, class went to DC)

thelakelander

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Re: Does anyone remember going to Rowlab?
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2020, 08:43:29 AM »
I grew up in Central Florida. Here are the field trips I remember taking as a kid. Primarily theme parks, local citrus industry and Publix manufacturing complexes.

Circus World/Boardwalk & Baseball
Cypress Gardens
Bok Tower
Publix Dairy Processing Plant
Publix Bakery
Publix Headquarters
Butter Krust Bakery
Disney Grad Night
Disney Prom
Polk Museum of Art
Adams Packing (orange juice processing)
Packaging Corporation of America (Corrugated box plant)
Florida Southern College
Polk County History Center
Polk County Jail
Lakeland Civic Center
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Tacachale

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Re: Does anyone remember going to Rowlab?
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2020, 11:52:16 AM »
Some that I remember from the 80s and early 90s from my school in Jax Beach.

Zoo, natch
BEAKS bird sanctuary
Marine Science Education Center in Mayport
Tree Hill Nature Center
Fort Clinch, where I first learned about Bloody Mary, of all things
Kingsley Plantation, where I first learned about Old Red Eyes, who sounded suspiciously like Bloody Mary, or more directly Candyman
Fort Caroline, which didn’t have its own memorable ghost
St. Augustine
Alligator Farm
MOSH
Jacksonville Symphony
The Episcopal cathedral (it was an Episcopalian school)
The beach, of course
A synagogue
I also recall a visiting a now long gone marsh that England, Thims and Miller was turning into a development, although that may have been an Indian Guides trip
A weeklong canoe trip on the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Does anyone remember going to Rowlab?
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2020, 11:58:16 AM »
Dayumm - did you ever go to class? :D

Charles, I recall we went on field trip days about once a school quarter.  But, on those days, we did hit several spots so many on my list would have been on the same day.  St. Augustine, Cape Kennedy and Marineland would have been all day trips due to the distance.  I am not sure kids today get as many opportunities for field trips or tend to go more to "fun" places like amusement parks rather than "educational" or rarely visited "behind the scenes"places like historic sites, factories, farms, civic sites, etc. and I think that is a real loss.  Field trips connect classroom learning to the real world and can really inspire kids.

I had recalled the dairy being Sealtest but, you have prompted me to recall it was probably the Foremost Plant too (although Sealtest also had a plant in Jacksonville.  Maybe we went to both at one point.  I can't find much about Sealtest in Jax on the web.  Maybe Lake can check it out for us?).  Below is some interesting info on Foremost.  It's also included in this MetroJacksonville article and thread from 2013:  https://www.metrojacksonville.com/forum/index.php/topic,19614.0.html
Quote
Ice Cream Manufacturing Pioneer Dies
September 2, 1987

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Paul E. Reinhold, who pioneered modern ice cream manufacturing and sat on boards of major companies, has died. He was 93.

Reinhold, a Jacksonville business executive, financier and philanthropist, died Monday night at his home following an extended illness.

A native of Verona, Pa., Reinhold founded Foremost Dairies Inc. and was one of the founding directors of American Heritage Life Insurance Co.

In 1916, he founded Reinhold Ice Cream Co. in Oakmont, Pa. The company eventually merged with Beatrice Dairies. In 1930 he began using industrial refrigeration techniques to freeze ice cream at a plant, considered the first of its kind in the nation.

The next year Reinhold was approached by J.C. Penney, founder of the department store chain, and was asked to direct an ice cream and dairy operation in Florida. Reinhold moved to Jacksonville.

The company was called Foremost Dairies Inc., in honor of Penney’s prize bull, Foremost.

During the years in which Reinhold was chief executive of Foremost, the company grew from a small operation serving several Southeastern states into an international conglomerate. By 1955, Foremost was the third largest dairy company in the world and registered sales of $400 million.

Reinhold served on numerous boards including those of Eastern Airlines and the Barnett Bank of Jacksonville. He was a founding director of the Federal Reserve Bank branch in Jacksonvolle.

Survivors include his daughter, June Reinhold Myers of Ashland, Ohio; four grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Memorial services were scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at Trinity Lutheran Church with entombment in Evergreen Cemetery.

https://apnews.com/92d7239f208ef7dc193b03a84a9976d3

And this from the Florida Times Union:
 
Quote
Byline: Sandy Strickland

Dear Call Box: I want to know if anyone else in Jacksonville remembers a giant replica of an old-fashioned milk bottle that was outside a little store, of sorts, at the former Foremost Dairies plant on College Street. It sold ice cream, milk and other dairy products. Now this is over 60 years ago so I can't trust the memories. My father was advertising manager for Foremost for over 20 years.

C.H.

Dear C.H.: Sorry, but we were unable to find anyone who remembers the giant milk bottle, nor were there any Internet references. We talked to Peggy Bryan, a Jacksonville native whose father, Cotton Paul, was senior vice president of Foremost. Her maternal grandfather, Paul Reinhold, headed the company.

Bryan recalls a store at the side of the plant at 2903 College St., but not the milk bottle.

"There were ones in other Foremost plants around the country, but I don't think we had one here in Jacksonville," Bryan said.

So we're throwing this one out to longtime residents or retired employees.

J.C. Penney, the famed department store magnate, by the way, is responsible for the company's founding. In 1931, Penney asked Reinhold to direct an ice cream and dairy operation in Florida. Reinhold had founded an ice cream company in Pennsylvania in 1916.

In 1930 he began using industrial refrigeration techniques to freeze ice cream at a plant, considered the first of its kind in the nation, according to his obituary published in the Times-Union in 1987. So Reinhold moved to Jacksonville, and the company was named Foremost Dairies, in honor of Penney's prize bull, Foremost.

During the years in which Reinhold was the chief executive officer, the company grew from a small operation serving several Southeastern states to an international conglomerate. By 1955, Foremost was the third-largest dairy company in the world with sales of $400 million, the obit and other Internet sources said. It eventually merged with Beatrice Dairies.

In 1978, the company was acquired by Louisville-based Flav-O-Rich. Operations ceased in 1991. Though a portion of the plant has been demolished, the milk processing and container storage facilities still stand on College.

https://www.questia.com/newspaper/1G1-384452594/foremost-dairies-but-no-milk-bottle

fieldafm

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Re: Does anyone remember going to Rowlab?
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2020, 01:26:05 PM »

Ramses II exhibit just as the Prime Osborne was opened

St Augustine Fort and Old Jail.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Cummer Museum

Five Points Theater for some kind of ballet performance

Haydon Burns Library Downtown - where the librarian recognized me from hanging out in the Genealogy and Florida History section after school.

MOSH- several times. This was apparently the default destination when the teachers planned trips every year. Instead of exploring better options, I guess they decided to cut out of the planning day early to go do shots at the local Jaxx Liquors.



Never went to any parks (for example Kingsley Plantation or Fort Caroline) until I was in Boy Scouts. Looking back, that was a missed opportunity.



While not a field trip, one of the most impressionable things that happened in school was an assembly (you know, like the ones where they tried to sell you yo-yo's or cooking books to give to your mom for Mother's Da) where the team that dug up the Maple Leaf came in to talk about the discovery and had artifacts recovered from the wreckage.

billy

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Re: Does anyone remember going to Rowlab?
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2020, 08:04:20 PM »
Pete’s Bar