New (Old) Story/Stories: Dames Point & New Berlin Crab Shack

When the Dames Point Bridge, with its 21 miles of cables, threatened to remove Mabel Emory from the old Dames Point fishing village, she said, “I’m really scared of it. I don’t like it at all.”

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Three decades later, Shane Reed stands outside the tin-roofed New Berlin Crab Shack that once was his Great Grandmother Millie’s house and says the Jacksonville Port Authority might force his multi-generational family off their land, “but that don’t mean we’ll go.”

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New Story: New Berlin and Goat Island and Christopher’s Pier

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The fishing village began with Dr. Henry Von Balsan in 1860, and the oldest graves in New Berlin Cemetery date to the early 1880s.

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Fred “fashioned hisself new legs out of car tires, fitted his stubs down in the tires, and that’s how he got about.”

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Rollians Christopher’s decision to stand his ground, with all the island’s rattlesnakes and his 1100 goats, led to a protracted battle against multiple government entities that made statewide and national headlines.

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Joe says,”I used to swim across to Goat Island with my gun in the air, hunt rattlesnakes, wrap ’em around my legs, and swim back.”

New Story: Five Points Theatre / Riverside Theater (Sun-Ray Cinema)

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Dorothy Fletcher traces the history of cinema through the history of this building.

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The theatre is an echo chamber for Al Jolson singing “Mammy” in blackface in 1927 and live Sweeney Todd in 1985 and Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft in The Graduate in 1967 and S&M performers Blixx and Ravynn in 2000 and Babadook in 2015.

 

New Story: Museum of Southern History

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If this “history” isn’t revisionist, it’s hard to imagine what is, and it’s full of a strange loser’s condescension: anyone who does not know these fictional facts is ignorant of history.

photo by Junah Hanuj

photo by Junah Hanuj

I let myself imagine a time when the South finally leaves the Confederacy behind and allows itself to surge free into a beautiful future.

New Story: The Harbor Point House

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The house was finished just in time for William John Campbell to be born inside on September 21, 1900. Alice Gibson was 86 years old when she died in the house on March 8, 2012.

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I hold a negative of the boathouse up to the light and a figure appears in the doorway.

New Story: Trump Office Closure, Inside Scoop

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According to Patsy Butts, who donated the Park Street storefront for the Trump campaign office, the caller from Trump Florida “berated” her, even threatened to have her thrown in jail or a psychiatric ward.

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Butts is apparently so angry at the Trump Florida campaign that she’s been ranting to friends that she might not be able to vote for Trump after all.

New Story: Invisible Pirates Just off the Sandollar Restaurant and Marina

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Whether the Sandollar Restaurant and Marina was built in 1988 or 1954, both of which the restaurant gives as the year it opened, the invisible Somalian pirates who operate container barges just off shore still make Jacksonville writer Hurley Winkler smile.

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New Story: Riverside’s Trump Office is Vanquished!

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The office lasted little more than half a year. It set up shop as a great big middle finger to Riverside Avondale. Then it disappeared as quietly and quickly as it came.

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Time Magazine cover, art by Edel Rodriguez

 

New Story: The clock the bus smashed

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The Seth Thomas Clock Company built 100 identical clocks for America’s streets. The Greenleaf and Crosby Clock is one of only 12 that remain.

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A bus smashed it to the ground in 1974. A one-handed man rebuilt it. Three months after the Great Fire of 1901, this clock stood in the ashes.

New Story: Potter’s Field (Hillside Cemetery) and Howell’s Morning Glory Chapel

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The priests called the potter’s field Haceldama, or “field of blood.”

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“There will be about 10 that no matter what we do we will not be able to identify them. One doesn’t have a head or legs, so even if we had a dental chart, what could we do?”

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