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.

Story Cycle: Church Betrayal-The Fat Round Nexus-Trumplican Wedding

Click an image below for the first story. Click the hyperlink at end of the story to get to the next one. Four brief stories comprise the cycle.

the pews left behind in the sanctuary at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church

Fat Round, no longer either, is still a nexus in what remains of Brooklyn

The Sanctuary at Mt. Calvary, the church Reverend John Allen Newman created from the dissolution of Mt. Calvary

Brooklyn’s forsaken Mt. Calvary Baptist Church

Blinded by the Lighthouse Replica / First Baptist Church

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Just before Christmas, 1998, several homeowners downtown and just to the north in Springfield said they’d “seen the light” and the light made them mad as hell.

One Springfield resident called the new First Baptist Church parking-garage lighthouse replica “extremely obnoxious, just this blinding glare flashing in our windows.” It seemed like the church had stationed “a spotlight […] right outside the house.”

New Story: Brooklyn: Avon Apartments / Sam’s Grocery (After the Fire)

I’d just written the 111 year old Avon Apartment Building’s story two weeks ago.

Headlines about a Brooklyn, New York fire on the porch of an old house that just burned in Brooklyn in Jacksonville, Florida?

Arlington and Lillian Roads: No ID Required

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Respectfully, Devonte Shipman asks, “What was it that we did wrong, Officer?” This kind of thing has happened to him before. This time, he’s recording it.

Officer J.S. Bolen says, “You crossed the crosswalk! Against the red hand!” He threatens to put him in jail, calls for backup, and tells Vonte that Florida requires its residents to carry an ID at all times.

As though Bolen understands time in neighborhoods deemed not worth time. As though Bolen understands his position as Vonte Shipman’s public servant.