I AM Sanctuary

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The “I AM” Sanctuary on Kings Avenue…

…the Wandering Jew

…and the time Benjamin Franklin was Lady Master Lotus.

Anna Fletcher’s Final Home

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Photographs of ghosts, of ectoplasm. She died here, in her final home, on Riverside Avenue.

The wife of the Jacksonville mayor and longest-serving U.S. senator from Florida testified before Congress, against Houdini, on behalf of Spiritualism.

 

Beluthahatchee–land of activism and art

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“Florida is my birthplace,” Kennedy writes in The Klan Unmasked, “and I am attached to it. I did not want to give the Klan the satisfaction of forcing me to abandon Beluthahatchee.”

When Kennedy drove up to the bus station in Jacksonville to pick him up, all he saw was a bum with a guitar case. When he asked Guthrie where the rest of his belongings were, the singer-poet said, “I’m wearin’ ’em.”

Who Was Chopstick Charley?

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It rains through the ceiling on the front corner booth. Everyone’s favorite is the woo dip harr, shrimp wrapped in bacon with sweet and sour sauce. It’s the oldest Chinese restaurant in the city.

“Charley” was “tiny” and “spoke very little English.” His wife, whose name Susan can’t recall, was a broad-shouldered white woman with dark curly hair who stood a head taller than Charley.

 

The next installment of What Ever Happened to Beverly June?

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They called Emmett Spencer “the dream killer.”

They called Mary Catherine Hampton “the Liz Taylor of the Prison Set” and “Hillbilly Lolita”

Main Street Bridge

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The first cars drove 1700 feet of Main Street over the St. Johns River in 1941. By 1945, Jacksonville Police Chief Abel Roberts felt compelled to address the high rate of car accidents on the bridge.

You and I, my so dear daughter, you, born on my mother’s, your grandmother’s, birthday, my mother who died 12 years before you were born, walked across this shaking bridge. The more it shook, the tighter you held my hand. Those many years ago. Holding your tiny hand. No better feeling in the world.

Part Two: What Ever Happened to Beverly June?

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Emmett Spencer was in jail on charges of two murders and told police he’d dreamt about seven others. Soon headlines would refer to Spencer as the “Dream Killer.”

“I knew I couldn’t go on living as I had those six months. If I had, I believe I would have become totally insane.”

Tim Gilmore’s talk on the case will take place at Chamblin’s Uptown, August 16th, at 7 pm. 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1637767666267952/

Part One of a New Series: What Ever Happened to Beverly June?

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Every day, he replayed the Wednesday he’d come home from work at 6 pm—February 24, 1960—to find his wife gone, the baby crying alone in her crib.

Neighbors said the stranger had been parking a blue 1958 Ford across the street from the Cochrans’ for three weeks and reading a newspaper for hours at a time.

New Story: Farris and Company Slaughterhouse

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Built in 1921, the Farris and Company Slaughterhouse stands both cavernous and labyrinthine. We could easily lose ourselves inside.

Early Arabic business success in Jacksonville occurred in the face of vicious racism. City directories and census forms often recorded Syrian immigrants as “Negro” in the middle of the Jim Crow Era.

Sister Mary Ann at the Church of the Immaculate Conception

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Sister Mary Ann braved the jails, whispered with the condemned. She nurtured soldiers shot, stabbed, battered and dismembered in Civil War Jacksonville. She raised the funds to open the orphanage, and St. Mary’s Home opened on August 15th, the Feast of Assumption, 1886. 

Daily, she’d made her rounds among those dying of Yellow Fever, their yellow eyes and the vomiting of blood, the seizures that mocked demonic possession.

By the time she died in January 1914, “Jacksonville’s Angel of Mercy” had selflessly served the sick, the dying, the condemned, the homeless, the lost, and the orphaned in Jacksonville for 50 years.