The Story of Woodlawn Baptist Church & My Mother’s First Wedding

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

Two decades before I was born, my mother married her first husband here, Woodlawn Baptist Church. She knew it was a mistake, she said, but she was “lonesome” and her parents were always fighting. Church was an alternate world to school, where she felt shy and awkward. Now Woodlawn Baptist stands abandoned. The firefighters’ union is considering tearing it down. It almost made its 100th birthday before it closed. 

Remembering the Be-Ins at Willowbranch Park

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

For the briefest of moments, it was the most magical time, wild yet somehow innocent. The be-ins at Willowbranch Park in the late ’60s featured a broil of young musicians, out of which rose the Allman Brothers Band. The be-ins meant long hair, beads and tie-dye, hippies walking barefoot through Riverside, cheap rent in old mansions, but more than anything, they meant music.

Brewster Hospital in Jim Crow Jax

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

The year the old house was built is carved into its porch posts: 1885. It birthed the only hospital for black patients in Jim Crow Jax. Nursing student Lakeshia Sutton stayed with her aunt and uncle in the old building when it was a boarding house and she was a little girl. She feels nursing was a calling, but hadn’t known the “mansion” her aunt called home was “Old Brewster Hospital.”

May be an image of 14 people and people standing

The Last Remaining Doro Artwork in Jax

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

Months ago, the historic Doro Fixture Co. Building in Downtown Jax was demolished. It’s a shame. George Doro’s sole lasting architectural masterpiece, however, might just be the icon screen he designed and built for St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church. His signature was an unblinking eye. His iconostasis just moved to its third location and now has a chapel all its own. Make your pilgrimage to Doro’s great artwork. 

Mid-Century Modern Mystery: The Wilensky House

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

It’s a Mid-Century Modern mystery. Who designed this strange and wondrous house? There are clues. Judge Daniel Wilensky has lived here, with brief exceptions, for 60 years. It’s been described as “Fairyland,” the “Arabian Nights House” and “Fort Wilensky.” One thing is for sure: there’s no other house like it. 

New Story: The Ancient Timucuan Community of Sarabay

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

This is the ancient Timucuan Indian community of Sarabay. For more than two decades, UNF archaeologist Keith Ashley suspected it. Now he’s sure. European pottery found here matches notes in French and Spanish writings from the 1560s to the early 1600s. For the Mocama, the Timucuan people who lived here for thousands of years, European contact meant the beginning of the end.

The Long Surprising History of The Voo-Swar

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

For years Atlantic Beach didn’t want the Voo-Swar, even tried to shut it down. Earnest Davis had built this restaurant and lounge by hand. He saw how black sailors were treated when they came into town. “And so I said, ‘I’m gonna build a place and give ’em a place to come.” Eventually, he’d bring this beach town together in ways few others ever had.

The Dramatic Story of the Pappas Building

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

It was architect Ted Pappas’s artistic self-portrait. It’s when the State of Florida decided people, and neighborhoods, mattered less than cars and through-traffic. It’s also a mystery. Why Pappas salvaged the stones and where he placed them. What else do you do when your city shoots itself through the art you bequeathed it? I’ll be damned if there’s not hope still.

New Story: Hogan’s Creek Tower

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

Who were they, these women in these earliest photographs? Who called this tower their “poor man’s penthouse”? Opened in 1976, Hogan’s Creek Tower, designed by architect Ted Pappas, is one of Jacksonville’s best examples of Brutalism. Like any community, it has its stories. Like the resident who wandered away and spent his 100th Christmas meandering for 17 hours across the city.

New Story: Riverview & T.K. Stokes Boat Ramp

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

It’s where Tedesha Richardson goes for “peace” and “spiritual release.” Even though when Dr. E.H. Armstrong founded the neighborhood of Riverview in the 19-teens, she wouldn’t have been allowed here. Even though Armstrong was a bit of a con man. Even though cars with “human remains” are pulled out of river here. On this dock, Tedesha feels on top of the world.