New Story: The Park Lane Apartment Building

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

When Hurricane Irma assailed the building, all they could see from the 10th floor was the water. It had been a long time since Tim first decided, at 10 years old, he’d one day call the Park Lane home. It had been a long time since the president of Barnett Bank petitioned the church to “unclaim” his “daughter” so he could marry her, since the future author of “A Wrinkle in Time,” Madeleine L’Engle called the Park Lane home. Not so long since Ivey jetted to Newport with Brownie to meet Foxy and Mary. Nor since Evelyn Nehl, who called the penthouse suite home, brought the AIDS Quilt to Jacksonville.

New Story: Sin City (the Urban Legends / the True Story)

Click below for this week’s story, the first of three in a series about that infamous Jacksonville neighborhood long known as “Sin City,” or navigate the city through the direction buttons at the top of the page:

Actor Darrell Zwerling hadn’t yet starred in Polanski’s Chinatown, when he stayed at Fox Meadows, saying, “This is the life. Swimming & Sunning all day and acting at night.” The apartments advertised, “Luxury Living at Reasonable Rates,” but “No Children” soon became “Adults Only.” By the time Fox Meadows became the Rivermont in the 1970s, drugs and prostitution branded the apartments “Sin City,” a moniker that soon spread to the surrounding neighborhood. The urban legends are legion; here’s the true story.

JaxPsychoGeo Throwback Thurs: Horne’s Beautyrest

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

The Wing Hotel rose from the dismemberment of W.W. Wing. When Bob Horne bought the Wing, since become the Bayard Inn, he built the cabins along the oblong road out back, added a “pecan candy” store, and opened Horne’s Beautyrest Cabins. For more than half a century, the whole place has been Bayard Antique Village, resounding with urban legends of haunted church pews, a candied eyeball and heroic cats.

New Story: The Lions of Drew and McConihe

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

The lions looked out on Bay Street, facing north, four stories high, for 70 years. Irony brought them down: the life insurance company cut short their reign. Now they stand beneath the glass giant that for years so awkwardly dwarfed the city and await our pilgrimage.

The Life and Multiple Deaths of the Drew Building

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

The story of the building at 45 West Bay Street concerns a bear, Jacksonville’s first bookstore, Ottis Toole, the tragic deaths of construction workers, multiple demolition plans, the ghost of a third floor and the love of an architect who refused to let this building die. Now Urban Grind Coffee, Folio Weekly and other businesses call the Drew Building home. Click below for the story.

This Week’s Story: The Final Flooding of This Particular History–Marjenhoff Park

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

In five years, this neighborhood will be flooded and returned to swamp. When Hurricane Irma turned Marjenhoff Park and its surrounding houses into a swirl of swill, long after the 25 year history of South Jacksonville as a city, long after those little boys chased an alligator through city pipes, almost a century after South Jax City Councilman and son blurred ages, still: once “haunt” and “home” meant the same thing. 

This Week’s Story: Tip Top Tavern / Randall’s Ranch House Restaurant

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

Before that night the Ku Klux Klan wore their hoods in for dinner, before somebody assaulted Randall Fleiss and stole his ivory, before Ron Pate initiated his “If you want to fight, you have to fight me” policy, Darryl Swearingen asked his mother if he could take a job washing dishes. The story of the Tip Top Tavern / Randall’s Ranch House Restaurant dates back almost a century.

New Story: Dix Ellis Trail

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

The ghetto’s relocated to the suburbs. The cheap hotel by the interstate interchange is the port city of 500 years ago. Drugs and sex slaves do brisk business. Jacksonville murders black transwomen. I B-my-OB at suburban hotel truck stops and transcribe the “marketplace of ideas.” Get your kicks on Dix Ellis Trail!

Halloween-week story: Spence Auto Sales and Ottis Toole Death Car

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

It was November 1983, six months since Spence had last seen Ottis Toole, the great fake serial killer. Detectives thought they could pin the Ottis Toole death car and a rusty machete to Spence Auto Sales. Two months later, Spencer Bennett was dead. 

New Story: Baldwin: Everybody’s Restaurant

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

The restaurant’s “been here forever,” they say, Minnie Bennett-Lynn “renamed it from Sunshine” and “wasn’t messin’ around.” Mr. Thigpen “supplied fresh horses for the stage and for its passengers he supplied food and shelter.” The town called Thigpen city fathers renamed for Dr. A.S. Baldwin. The fried okra’s better’n the fried squash.