New Story: Sloan / McQueen House

Click below for this week’s story, or navigate the city through the direction buttons at the top of the page:

William has lived his whole life here on Spearing Street on the Eastside. Mable lived here almost half a century. Then tragedy struck. The letters on the pantry door spell, “Mable’s kitchen.” The Reverend McQueen took in boarders, but when a choir member couldn’t make rent, the pastor still paid the community’s mortgage.

New Story: Jacksonville Velodrome

Click below for the full story:

Finally, Wallace McGregor was ready for business. He’d spent more than a million dollars on the facility and bought ads in the newspaper. But they’d come to call it “Wally’s Folly.”

It’s still out here, like a mysterious sign from a buried and lost civilization. It’s not too late. Cast your dreams in concrete.

This Week’s Story: Coca-Cola Bottling Co.

Click below for this week’s story, or navigate the city through the direction buttons at the top of the page:

Helen’s mother could take a sip and tell which city had bottled the Coke. When the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant opened in New Springfield, Charles Guth–“ruthless rascal,” murderer, future president of Pepsi–opened a bottling plant across the street. In later years, William played hide-and-seek amidst abandoned equipment while his parents cleaned at night. 

New Story: The Whipping Post

Click below for this week’s story, or navigate the city through the direction buttons at the top of the page:

Sometimes Gregg Allman felt like he’d been tied, in 1969, to the whipping post. Thomas Frederick Davis, in 1925, author of the History of Jacksonville, Florida, said the whole idea of a whipping post was fiction. In 1911, he praised it.

New Story: Shep’s Discount and Salvage

Click below for this week’s story, or navigate the city through the direction buttons at the top of the page:

Despite stories of murder for hire, a firefighter convicted of arson, and racketeering in rummage and salvage, hey, you can buy a pair of white pleather go-go boots for $2.99 and two hose clamps for a dollar. 

New Story: Ottis Toole’s Mother’s House (Until He Burnt It Down)

Click below for this week’s story, or navigate the city through the direction buttons at the top of the page:

The first time Ottis Toole burnt down his mother’s house, he was 10 or 11 years old. When he burnt down his mother’s house on Day Avenue in 1981, his name wasn’t yet famous as either one of the worst serial killers in history, or one of the biggest fakes. 

New Story: Bexley House / Plaza Hotel

Click below for this week’s story, or navigate the city through the direction buttons at the top of the page:

For trial attorney Glenn Allen, it was love at first sight. He called the old house, the old hotel, his “castle.” It’s because of Glenn it still exists at all.

The Plaza Hotel had stayed in the Bexley family for a century. Though Glenn’s bid wasn’t the highest, Dr. Bexley’s granddaughter Sara accepted it because other bidders wanted to tear down her childhood home and lifelong abode and replace it with a parking lot. Sara was dying and she wanted the house brought back to life.

 

New Story: Lawton Pratt Funeral Home

Click below for this week’s story, or navigate the city through the direction buttons at the top of the page:

Even today, architectural historians often fail to give Joseph Blodgett his due. Architecture, like everything else in the South, was segregated.

Anyone ready to make a joke about conflicts of interest in funeral homes running ambulance services should also know that Lawton Pratt operated a life insurance office in the building while workers built caskets upstairs in the back.

Bebe Deluxe, Storybook Pride Prom, and the History of Gay Pride at Willowbranch Park and Library

Click below for this week’s story, or navigate the city through the direction buttons at the top of the page:

It’s the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, and at Willowbranch Library, an epicenter of gay rights history in Jacksonville, hundreds of supporters of gender and sexual minority young people rally in their defense after Jacksonville Public Libraries Director Tim Rogers canceled their sold-out Pride Prom.

Now there are two teen pride events, instead of one. The prom still takes place, at a now undisclosed location, a local church, and hundreds of supporters rally at Willowbranch Library to express their solidarity and love.

Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum

Click below for this week’s story, or navigate the city through the direction buttons at the top of the page:

David Karpeles understands what Mary Baker Eddy knew: that one sheet of paper can move a planet. A decade after the founding of the Mother Church in Boston, Jax had its own Christian Science congregation. It was supposed to be a “rational approach to spirituality,” but so was Spiritualism. Now this building’s spiritual acoustics soak up the city’s art and music. And that’s appropriate.