Category Archives: Uncategorized

Beat Writers in Historic Springfield: William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Lewis Marker in Jax

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In 1952, while the Beat novelist William S. Burroughs awaited trial for killing his “common law” wife, Joan Vollmer, in Mexico City, he wrote most of the novel Queer, in which a fictionalized Burroughs named William Lee pursues a fictionalized Adelbert Lewis Marker of Jacksonville named Eugene Allerton with undisguised lustful aggression through Mexico City.

When Marker sought refuge back home in Jacksonville’s Victorian Springfield, Burroughs came to call, as did Allen Ginsberg. Ginsberg wrote novelist Jack Kerouac about drinking rum with Marker on East 4th Street or East 6th Street. Burroughs wrote his first two novels for Marker, said if Marker didn’t like them, he’d never write again, though he seems to have forgotten the wife he’d just shot in the forehead and killed.

Mediterranean Southern Gothic

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It’s a Mediterranean yet Southern Gothic masterpiece set beside Little Pottsburg Creek. Drivers on Atlantic Boulevard have wondered at the house for decades. The legends proliferate.

It was Harry Moyer who made this 1920s architectural gem a true work of art. He drenched the original design in his masterful tilework. The house has survived decline before, but it needs you now more than ever.

Suddath / Van Valkenburgh House

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The citrus grove featured the first Satsumas in North America. Robert Bruce Van Valkenburgh had brought them from Japan. He’d raised 17 volunteer regiments for the Union in the Civil War, included the one he commanded at Antietam. The Suddaths called this rambling house home for 70 years and dug old bottles from the bluff. Jessica climbed the roof as a child. 

St. Johns Flower Market’s Long Strange Trip

From Moonies to “flower pimps” to midcentury modern architecture, Click here for the strange and wondrous story of St. Johns Flower Market.

The Beerbower House: Prehistoric Avondale

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The house will ever be imbued with the story of its strange genesis. Casper and Ida ferried coquina to the woods where Riverside ended. When the president called Elsie “predestined to be a star and kissed [her] on the brow,” she told her mother, “You kiss me too. I may never be kissed in the White House again.” Then Tilly had occasion to chat with Lynn Beerbower, to find out “how small boys used to earn their pleasures.”

Emerson Kennels, Centering Love for Animals and People

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For more than half a century, Emerson Kennels has sheltered dogs and helped people. From Dr. Angus Gaskin’s veterinary clinic to “Mac” Macdowell’s German Shepherds, the traveling salesman who boarded his hyena to Dorie Sparkman’s bringing puppies into her elementary school classrooms, this hidden sanctuary folded into the city has meant courage and love and rescue since its beginning. 

Mrs. Martha, in Planting a Living Fence in Floral Bluff Manor, Chose the Right Dildo

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Julia Morton recommended several dildos, including a gliricidia that erupted in “pale-pink flowers in the spring.” Older words related to “diddling” with “diligence.” No dildo fence rises behind the Wash-O-Rama, so what has Jesus to teach us?

Wild Bill of Jax and His Leprosy

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“Will Bill of Jacksonville” had come back home, but outside a small circle of family and friends, he kept his diagnosis a secret. Not only did the disease frighten people, but in this Bible Belt town, it resonated as the plague of the Old Testament.

The Board of Health moved to quarantine his mother’s home on Rural Route 5 in the small western Duval County community of Hart Haven. “In closing,” he wrote, “let me give your readers, each and every one, a personal invitation. I assure you that when you leave, your outlook and perspective on life will be different.”

The Growing Problem of Little Boys and Airsoft Guns

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Chris Webster stands before a wall display of toy replicas of Glock semi-automatic pistols, AR-15s, and grenade launchers that look startlingly similar to real weapons, and says, “My main objective in starting this business was to bring young men to Christ.”

Airsoft weapons, including assault rifles and grenade launchers, so closely resemble real guns that police officers often can’t tell the difference. In the last few years, inevitably, Airsoft guns have dramatized headlines. The boys are little. The guns are big. Their vulnerability and susceptibility to any performative semblance of manhood should break all our hearts.

The Barnett National Bank Building, Its Deep Roots and Tendrils through Time

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It was “the Year of the Skyscraper.” The 10 story building next door began to tilt. Alfred duPont raised Florida from the Great Depression, merely from infusions of his personal wealth. When Barnett began the Bank of Jacksonville in 1877, he couldn’t have known it would grow into one of the largest banks in the South. After Herbert Hoover, Alfred’s wife, Jessie Ball duPont, changed direction. Her hair was graying, but her eyes still sparkled.

Barnett’s personification of its first Automatic Teller Machine frightened Southern working class families. Charles Rice said he’d never sell “Bion Barnett’s bank.” Then he checked into rehab. Then he sold. Then he drowned in his own swimming pool. Now UNF is making the Barnett “the front door to the startup community in Jacksonville.”