Gravely Hill Plantation and Graveyard

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Why is the world’s oldest man buried here? Or wasn’t he 133 years old? Where are Jim Domingo, Cyrus and Francisco? And who burnt down the old house on the hill? The kids playing hide-and-seek? Or that ageless wanderer who’d lost count of his wars, trying to keep warm on a winter night?

 

Black Masonic Temple

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What these walls have seen! Architects Mark and Sheftall began their own firm in 1912 and with a commission for the grandest building in black Jacksonville. The Black Masonic Temple formed the brick foundation of the black community.

Princess Laura Adorkor Kofi preached her “back to Africa” message here in the 1920s. Future Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Leander Shaw had his offices here in the 1960s. And the tunnels beneath Broad Street would offer protection if Florida’s massacres of black communities at Ocoee, Perry, and Rosewood should spread to Jacksonville. 

Someone Save the Heston House

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The bachelors were born in this house and died in this house, at either end of a century. The old boathouse fell into the creek. Linden’s boat, the Rapid Rabbit, became an artificial reef.

Charlie fished the whole world, but Sam Skinner drowned off the dinghy. Paul won tennis championships. Their mother watched St. Paul’s Episcopal Church float away on the creek. The beds are made, typewriter fossilized, and the house still waits.

World Beach…Where Burger King and McDonald’s Debuted

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Mirza calls this stretch of Beach Boulevard, where Burger King and Jax’s first McDonald’s opened for business in the 1950s, “World Beach.”

World Beach contains no beach, but its storefronts represent at least two dozen nationalities and ethniticities, immigrants and refugees who’ve washed up here from around the world.

New Story: Jacksonville Beach: New Trinity, Killing the Devil, and the Murder of Vera Gould

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After the three young people stabbed K.’s grandmother to death in her Jacksonville Beach home, newspapers quoted them calling her “Satan,” themselves “the New Trinity” and Lex Hester, one of the most prominent men in Jacksonville’s political history, “the Antichrist.”

 

 

Hope for Life Baptist Church, Where Bob Gray Preached His Last Sermon

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Referring to the pastor whose sexual abuse of children Trinity Baptist Church covered for half a century, Gary Hudson says, “I knew Bob Gray for 30 years. I had Gray speak at Hope for Life that Wednesday night, March 22, 2006. It was the last time Gray preached in a Jacksonville church, the last time he preached anywhere.”

Gary Hudson says reading his Bible led him to renounce his faith. “The busiest guitar tech in the Panhandle,” describes himself now as “a very happy peace-loving non-believer.” His book is “dedicated to all I have influenced to believe in the Christian gospel.”

I know no better Halloween story than that of the great fake killer, Ottis Toole

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Did Ottis Toole, in partnership with Henry Lee Lucas, murder 600 people? Of course not.Toole House 12

Did Ottis Toole, as he claimed with conscientious journalists, conduct the greatest “goose chase” in American history? Maybe.

Toole House 1

Did Ottis Toole perfect cannibal recipes? Of course not.

Ottis Toole Christmas

Did police agencies across the United States allow Ottis Toole to dupe them in exchange for lurid false confessions that allowed them to clear scores of cold cases, including that of Adam Walsh? Absolutely.

Where the Jacksonville Woman’s Club Stood

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It’s not a “demolition,” they say. It’s a “salvage.” Either way, the Jacksonville Woman’s Club building is gone. Causes seen as primarily “women’s” have encountered the same contradictory status of being both exalted and discounted that women themselves have historically experienced. The “Woman’s Club

Movement” owns an important place in the history of feminism, leading even to #metoo. The headline declaimed, “Quadruple Amputee to Get Degree and Bride this Week.” Mellen Greeley, the architect who built the Woman’s Club building, “said the secret to living a long life was being a peaceful person.” My daugthers will always identify by their own names. They’ll never be Mrs. Somebody-Else.

From Mini-Museum to Big-House: The Art of Richard McMahan

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Richard McMahan’s intensity does not waver. Whether it’s the thousands of miniatures he’s created of Van Goghs, Frida Kahlos, Picassos and duChamps, or it’s the prison stories and illustrations, the collection of shackles and prison uniforms, Richard’s work is obsessive.

courtesy Community Foundation of Northeast Florida & laird/blac palm inc

Everything Richard does forms part of a life’s-work. His Mini-Museum offers a survey of the world’s great art, while his Big-House project asks “the biggest question[s] of all.”

photo by James Hunter

In the Heart of Riverside: JaxbyJax V and the Martha Washington

This Saturday, 10/13, JaxbyJax V, the fifth annual JaxbyJax Literary Arts Festival, takes place in 12 intimate venues around Park and King Streets in Riverside. See the event schedule and this year’s writers at www.jaxbyjax.com.

Click below for the full Martha Washington Hotel story:

So the folks hard at work deep in the bowels of the JaxPsychoGeo Detective Agency (!) thought this week’s post should concern that geographic center of Jacksonville’s Riverside Avondale, the largest historic district in Florida. 

Here, then, is an archived JaxPsychoGeo story from 2016 about the Martha Washington Hotel. Demolition had begun. Wayne Wood called the saving of the Martha Washington the most dramatic victory in Riverside Avondale Preservation’s history. The old building has lived many lives–those of Southern aristocrats, World War II servicemen, indigent elderly women, and 21st century hipsters. It has much more living to do.