Gilmore Settlement and Homes Built into Burial Mounds

I try not to wince at the street sign that warns me this road’s a “dead end.” It dead-ends at Grant Mound.

When UNF archaeologists and students were able to scan the Petherbridge site after bulldozing, they “found thousands of pieces of pottery, and pieces of human remains”.

French colonial artist Jacques Le Moyne called them “hermaphrodites.” 

Gilmore Cemetery and Settlement

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Irish immigrant Archibald Gilmore founded this settlement in 1885. The Gilmore train station stopped somewhere along today’s Gilmore Heights Road North.

Bill Hawley trudged through the dark wooded night in fear of the escaped convict. The Timucuans were here five millennia before all that.

New Story: Kona Skatepark

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Local kids who felt bummed about their swamp-dreary working-class hometown in the late 1970s were surprised by the arrival of Kona, but skateboarding’s the blue-collar ballet of concrete Jax.

Rattlesnakes and the Murder House in Callahan

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Joseph’s daddy hoisted the seven foot long diamondback rattlesnake from his hip for the camera.

Pine trees were planted in rows like beans and corn.

Joseph’s family was the first to live in the old Johnson house after the murders.

The Buried Head Behind the Drew Mansion

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Something was down there. They knelt in the muck and bramble, peered closer, and finally one boy fished his fingers around in the hole and fell backward in fear.

Wire services reported that locals called it “the haunted house.” United Press International referred to it as “the Haunted House of Jacksonville.”

 

Hansontown Lies Beneath FSCJ’s Downtown Campus

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Hansontown lies beneath Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Downtown Campus, figuratively and, in part, literally.

When Florida Junior College consolidated its downtown locations into the new Downtown Campus in the late 1970s, it eliminated the last of Hansontown, a century-old neighborhood built for freed slaves and former U.S. Colored Troops.

Some FSCJ leaders now espouse views on urbanism much like those the college abandoned by building Downtown Campus.

Oak Lynde, Home of Jacksonville’s Own Miss Havisham

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Jacksonville’s own Miss Havisham, Addie lived alone with her servants in the vast echoes of Oak Lynde, her 32-bedroom house.

As her inheritance ran out, she took in boarders. Some of her wealthiest boarders would eventually own the house.

Today, only eight bedrooms remain.

Pedrica Mendez’s House

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When Padrica was a little girl in the 1940s, the Cuban community in Jacksonville surrounded her and her family with love and a yet larger sense of family.

One night as she left the opera in Rome, a photographer snapped her picture, wrote, “in omaggio alla sua bellezza,” or “in homage of your beauty,” on the back of the photograph, and gave it to her.

The fire that consumed the great two-story house next door jumped sparks at Padrica’s house.

Still what most struck Padrica were the cadences she heard in the Orthodox music of ancient Ethiopia that reminded her dearly, tearfully, of rhymes and end-lines from old “Negro spirituals.”

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.