New Stories: Barnett Mansion and Springfield Tunnels

Two stories. Scroll down for both.

Click below for the full story about Barnett Mansion:

“There are so many stories in this house,” he says.

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In the 1970s, the police saw William Barnett, 1824-1903, standing in the shadows and drew their guns.

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Click below for the full story about Springfield Tunnels:

Billy says he and his friends slipped through an aperture into a system of extensive tunnels beneath the Barnett Mansion in Springfield.

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The great strength of conspiracy theories and urban legends is that you can’t prove a negative.

New Story: White Shell Fish Camp

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“Flounder got both their eyes on the same side of the face,” Brandy says, and sheepshead fish have “human teeth.”

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When the fishermen pour in, Brandy deals kindly with people. When the people stay away, she marvels at the coordinates shared by angels and crustaceans.

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New Story: Death and Life of a Spanish American War Fort

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The guns never fired. Behind concrete parapets, the two eight foot long, 16-ton “rifles” peered over the bluff, waiting for the Spanish ships to take the St. Johns River into Jacksonville.

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Perhaps the spirits they believed haunted these grounds and witnessed walking up from munitions tunnels were the ghosts of their virginities.

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Are These The Whetstonian’s Last Days? / The Mural of the Life of Walter Whetstone

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The Whetstones seem too worn out to fight for the Whetstonian’s preservation.

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Dorothy Whetstone does most of the talking these days. She speaks fondly of how they first met at the Jefferson Street Pool just up the street 59 years ago.

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Dot points to the wall and says, “Oh! That mural! That tells the story of Walter’s life.”

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A Jax Psycho Geo Halloween Special: The Neff House

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For nearly a century, the stillborn house left behind by the suicide of Nettleton Neff has waited empty. Only one family has called the Neff House home. They called it “The Castle.”

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When they heard inexplicable voices and doors opening and slamming shut throughout the house, they didn’t blame ghosts. They blamed the strange steel ball they found at the site of a brush fire by the house. Though the Betzes left the Neff House in the 1980s, UFOlogists and conspiracy theorists never stopped harassing them. 

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Meanwhile, the Nettleton Neff House yet molders among the hills on the most secretive roads at the back of Fort George Island. It’s is the loneliest structure in Northeast Florida.

New Story: Oceanway Folk Art, Christel Bartchlett’s Flowers of Fish Scales

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The bright red three-dimensional rose petals are made of fish scales and the basket itself is a triggerfish hide beaded with tiny snail shells. Off to the side hover butterflies with wings made of fish gills.

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The original artwork of Alan Bartchlett’s parents, George and Christel Bartchlett, comprised of willow twigs, sawfish bills, and manatee ribs, is nearly all that remains of Goat Island.

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New Story: Blackburn House

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I’m 42 years old. My mother died 30 years ago this month.

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How do I live here in my mother’s English teacher’s house? How do I write this question? How have I always written? When will I ever finish writing about my mother?

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New (Old) Story/Stories: Dames Point & New Berlin Crab Shack

When the Dames Point Bridge, with its 21 miles of cables, threatened to remove Mabel Emory from the old Dames Point fishing village, she said, “I’m really scared of it. I don’t like it at all.”

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Three decades later, Shane Reed stands outside the tin-roofed New Berlin Crab Shack that once was his Great Grandmother Millie’s house and says the Jacksonville Port Authority might force his multi-generational family off their land, “but that don’t mean we’ll go.”

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New Story: New Berlin and Goat Island and Christopher’s Pier

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The fishing village began with Dr. Henry Von Balsan in 1860, and the oldest graves in New Berlin Cemetery date to the early 1880s.

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Fred “fashioned hisself new legs out of car tires, fitted his stubs down in the tires, and that’s how he got about.”

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Rollians Christopher’s decision to stand his ground, with all the island’s rattlesnakes and his 1100 goats, led to a protracted battle against multiple government entities that made statewide and national headlines.

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Joe says,”I used to swim across to Goat Island with my gun in the air, hunt rattlesnakes, wrap ’em around my legs, and swim back.”

New Story: Five Points Theatre / Riverside Theater (Sun-Ray Cinema)

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Dorothy Fletcher traces the history of cinema through the history of this building.

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The theatre is an echo chamber for Al Jolson singing “Mammy” in blackface in 1927 and live Sweeney Todd in 1985 and Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft in The Graduate in 1967 and S&M performers Blixx and Ravynn in 2000 and Babadook in 2015.