Juke Joints are a particular southern institution and were common throughout the Holmes County area in the first two thirds of the 20th century. They have been described as a small inexpensive establishment for eating, drinking and dancing to the music of a jukebox or live band. In our area the emphasis was on the drinking and dancing.
There were several jukes in our area when I came to Holmes County in 1964. Probably the most popular for the 25+ crowd was Cotton's Place in Esto. Soon after I arrived I was sent to visit a farmer in the northern part of the county. He was not home but his housekeeper said he was at work at Cotton's Place.
After I met with him there I returned to Bonifay where I was promptly called into the boss' office. "Bob", he said, "I had a call about you visiting a juke joint during working hours." As we drove the only official US Government car in Holmes County at the time, we were easy to spot. After explaining that I had tracked down the farmer there as I was directed, he admonished me to "park down the road the next time I needed to visit."
More popular with my age group at the time was Chuck
n Eddy's on Highway 90 in nearby Chipley. They had a live band on Saturday nights and weren't particularly zealous about checking ID's. I think Bobby Goldsboro performed there at one time and I do remember another singer from Dothan who played a mean guitar and had a local hit about Georgia Pines.
One year in the late 60's a candidate for Sheriff of Washington County campaigned on a platform that included closing of the juke joints, particularly Chuck n Eddy's. He won that November election and shortly thereafter the two guys from Panama City who owned the place paved their parking lot. Everyone though that was a sign that everything had been fixed, however that January came and, true to his promise, Chuck n Eddy's was closed, never to open again. Today it is a church. Many also remember it as somewhere you could go swimming in the summer as they had one of the few public pools in the area. Jukes in the early part of the century were not only known as somewhere a person could get a beer (and many times hard liquor) but where altercations sometimes occurred. An example of that was on March 21, 1938 at the Honolulu Inn, a juke in Holmes County on the state line about two miles south of Black. A 17 year old boy, apparently in a jealous rage, poked his shotgun thru a window and killed a young women and injured another. He was arrested by Sheriff Lon Brown and sentenced to life in prison on June 10, 1938. They didn't mess around then about carrying out justice.
There was a juke near Vernon that I was advised never to visit unless I wanted to get into a fight. I never did.