New Story: Durkeeville: Kennelly Building; Ballot Cures, ‘Black Votes Matter,’ ‘Red Ball Building’ Goes Blue

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The story of the Black Votes Matter mural includes the stories of curing mail-in ballots with signature problems, of the “Mamas of the Movement” and the men and women memorialized in “In-Justice ‘N Jacksonville,” of environmental justice, of painting blue the former business HQ of a conservative Jax politician who opposed taxes and bussing. It’s about bearing witness.

New story: Normandy Motel

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At the shabby old motel where he grew up, where the Ku Klux Klan burnt a cross and moonshine soaked the pastures, the retired judge still practices law. Old family dairy buildings stand back in the woods, while the former “blood bucket of the Westside” is now an insurance office. The judge’s mother was a homecoming queen. No one remembers the puppy’s name in her earliest photos. 

A Centennial! Let Eartha White Inspire You.

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Let Eartha White inspire you. 100 years ago, after passage of the 19th Amendment, she led voter registration drives and helped face down Ku Klux Klan parades ahead of Election Day. If you’re anxious about this election, let Eartha White’s courage give you strength.

Whether the Beacon Motel Haunts the Waterford Condos

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Where Condo Row marches along Jax Beach, yesterday’s motel dreams occasionally trickle to the surface. Where the Waterford stands, once stood the Beacon Motel. It was here a Toledo carnie named Billy Elledge, “Willie the Kid,” tied up the proprietors and committed his third murder in 36 hours. Few Waterford residents have heard the rumors the building is haunted. Bob Kelsey dreamt a big bird picked up the Beacon and dropped it in the ocean.

Remembering Craig Morris

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In praise of Craig Morris, who passed away on September 22nd. Craig spent his career here at the 46,000 acre Timucuan Preserve. This place had called him. He’d never forgotten the vision. When he was a child, having just moved into a Fort Caroline subdivision, he went for a walk and saw “human bones by the hundreds eroding out of the bluff.” He honored them his whole life.

New Story: Part Two–River House Apartments/Riverside House/Rochester House

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The only remaining hotel from when Jax was “Winter City in Summer Land,” it survives because it shipped on a barge up the river. The nephew of Walter Percy, the great Southern novelist, a cardiologist, has called the old hotel home for 40 years. Few neighbors have spoken with him, but they hear him play the piano. If this house played some small part in Mary Todd Lincoln’s losing her mind, Rachel recalls it as the house of love, art, warmth and creativity. 

New Story: Part One–River House Apartments/Riverside House/Rochester House

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Mary Todd Lincoln stayed in this Riverside house when it was located in Brooklyn and called Rochester House. After four months, she fled Jacksonville in the midst of a nervous breakdown. It’s one of the oldest houses in the neighborhood and the last of the hotels from the city’s Victorian tourist age. The nephew of a great Southern novelist has lived here for 40 years. Rachel remembers fondly her very own “River House ghost story.” Click below for part one of the story.

 

New Story: Collins Road Christian Academy

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My desk stood against this wall. Now there’s no roof above it. How could I not have known about the fire? This is the school I attended near the ends of both my mother’s life and my innocence. Here, I fell for a Filipina and my classmate’s death rocked the school. Even as all our righteousness was nothing but “filthy rags,” wickedness, in the menacing form of popular culture, knocked at the doors. Oh, but there was Popcorn Day!

The Story of Lord Ranch, Old Kings Road

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People say the old meatpacking plant and farmhouse is haunted. Lavaughn Lord worked as hard in the slaughterhouse as Charlie and there was no ranch work her husband did that she wouldn’t do. It was, in part, the pain that drove them out to Old Kings Road. It seems strange that Charles, Jr. never knew the ranch that people associated with his family for 40 years.

Vote, 2020, against the Terrorist Tactics of 1920

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It’s been 100 years. Since women got the right to vote. Since Eartha White ran that registration drive. Since the Ku Klux Klan marched in intimidation parades all over Florida. Tiny Eartha White stood up against a terrorist giant. Klan members hid behind patriotism and appeals to “law and order.” Local newspapers wrote of the Klan with reverence and mystery. Across Florida, people died for wanting to vote. Across the United States, people wrote of what happened in Jacksonville. If you find yourself intimidated this election year, think of Eartha White. This story ends on an up note. Click below for it.