Eartha White lived in the Mission she founded on LaVilla’s West Ashley Street. She lived with the poor she helped, ate from the food she shared, and clothed herself from the donations she offered. Though she met with business leaders, mayors, governors, and presidents, she never separated herself from the poor it was her life’s purpose to help.
The Ocean Highway at Night is the story of Old A1A, a lost branch of a bypassed Florida highway, its communities of Summer Haven and Marineland, the world’s “first oceanarium,” the rock shelves of limestone coquina on the beaches, and the mysterious mayors of these coastal podunks.
It’s built to last 1,000 years–at least. Never mind Hurricane Dora in 1964. Never mind the kids who swung from chandeliers in the “Abandoned Castle” in 1967. Leon Cheek never got to give his mansion the life he envisioned for it, but Jerry Ferguson has.
Supposedly Ginger’s Place is haunted by the former burlesque dancer who once ran the bar, not by the building’s history of bikers, storm floods, or the former owner who stayed upstairs in her wheelchair after her husband died at the jukebox.
Ernest Hemingway supposedly visited just about every bar that’s been around long enough. Pete’s Bar has the proof in the pictures on the walls. But how many bars can claim the ultra-reclusive J.D. Salinger came by for a drink?
Partially by way of reality-TV. Theodore Roosevelt spoke from the front porch. “Bachelors’ quarters” kept prostitution covert for club members. Women weren’t admitted to the Seminole Club, nor allowed up from the first floor.
Now Peter Behringer will use the 23,000 square-foot building to teach elementary school kids science through making candy. And maybe a future president will stop by.
We sneak into the panorama, the restaurant once revolved, strangers are kind, but no gold was hidden in the walls.
In 1983, Larry James Bana set afire the boarding house from which he’d been evicted. Seven people died.
But The Palms, the 110 year old hotel building just north of the Florida Theater, one of the last boarding houses in the center of downtown Jacksonville, still keeps its three floors of old rooms steadily booked.