The Perry Rinehart House Tells Its Story

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Springfield’s Perry Rinehart House is one of the greatest Victorian houses in Jax and the third-floor tower room is one of the most magical architectural spaces in the city. When JoAnn Tredennick and Jack Meeks first stepped into the foyer, JoAnn knew this was the house. From room to room and floor to floor, the house tells its own story. Here it is.

The Story of Lovelace Park and the Great Non-Fire of 1973

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The plan to burn 40 acres of underbrush beside Southside Junior High and Greenfield Elementary School made national news. Neighbors weren’t sure what kids were doing in those woods, but they worried city officials were taking things too far. Ironic that City Council renamed the area for Curtis Lovelace, a conservationist who died young that same year while speaking out against other kinds of fires.

A Mother’s Day Imagining of the Moment, 40 Years Ago

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The way my mother appears in this old photograph is how I remember her best. The inside of our house looked like a 1970s antique shop. I try to see this moment in the moment. I fail, knowing what comes next. If we could sit across from each other, this kitchen table between us, behind our writing machines 40 years apart, what would we say to each other?

Murder at the Malabar Motel; or, Justice for Dianne Tadlock Knotts

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The murder at the Malabar Motel was not the stuff of myth. It was more than another false confession by Ottis Toole and Henry Lee Lucas. Its mishandling has haunted retired police officer Jim Crosby for 43 years. Dianne’s children still want justice. Brenda remembers her mother at the piano in the motel bedroom, singing of being “the happiest girl in the whole U.S.A.” Jim wrote the police report, which long ago disappeared.

Mayselle Sweat and her Many Marriages

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A cigar worker, Jewel Blanche, who preferred to be called Mayselle, was 21 years old, on her third of six marriages. She’d been married twice to the police officer in prison who’d given her syphilis. She’d lived in a couple places in Jacksonville’s Mixon Town and her daddy was councilman for the ward. She couldn’t know what was coming, but already had quite the story to tell.

The Truth Behind the Grave of the Unknown Confederate Soldier

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Jacksonville’s Grave of the Unknown Confederate Soldier is not quite what it seems. It’s not just that “Unknown” is misspelled. It has something to do with why Andrew Nicholas left the Sons of Confederate Veterans in 2015. His curiosity led him to strange findings here. To the truth behind the memorial.

How Camp Mooney Became Camp Captain Mooney Cemetery

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When the four girls drowned, 4,000 mourners attended their funeral here. The lost graveyard lies hemmed in by transmission shops and air conditioning businesses. The story that says it began as a battleground is a lie. Depressions in the earth mark otherwise unmarked graves.

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The Biblical History of the Dagley Junkyards

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This waterfront junkyard’s history is Biblical. Old Henry the Patriarch planted his son’s family on this land. The grandsons inherited their halves, their thousands of junkers on the old Atlantic Beach town dump. City Council invited them to leave three quarters of a century ago and the occasional visit from Men in Black recurs to this day. Truth is swallowed up in the mythos. Real estate developers want this land, but the brothers will never sell. 

How Virginia King Came to Christmas in Avondale

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Here’s the story of one of the city’s great old-money mansions and how one resident befriended and invited the strange and offputting Virginia King over for Christmas. The subject of a new play, Virginia wrote an 8,000+ page book about Jax. Philanthropist Helen Lane remembers Virginia from her grand old mansion in Ortega as well, not so very fondly.

How the Wilson Center Rose with Ken McCulough, and Ken’s Last Show

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Ken McCulough directed the first play, Cabaret, on the main stage at FSCJ’s Wilson Center for the Arts. He directed the first production, Our Country’s Good, in the studio theater. Throughout his career, he’s won awards and accolades in Memphis, Seattle, and Lincoln, Nebraska. For his farewell production, students who began with Ken’s career return and hope “to make him proud one last time!”