Category Archives: Uncategorized

El Modelo: Sensational Murder Trials, Cuban Revolutionaries

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At El Modelo Cigar Factory, Cuban revolutionaries fomented insurrection. Marie Gato, daughter of El Modelo’s owner, died, bullets to her breast, subject of Jacksonville’s most sensational trial of the 19th century. El Modelo still stands. A practitioner of the law firm that calls the building home claims to have seen Marie’s ghost. Either way, this building’s story shifted history. Click below for the first story in a three-part series.

Remembering Jacksonville Mayor Jake Godbold, who passed away 1/23/2020

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Nobody else ever brought Jacksonville together like Jake Godbold did. After Godbold died earlier today, 1/23/2020, the T-U quoted Mike Tolbert saying, “Jacksonville just lost its best friend.” Indeed. Not quite three years ago, I wrote this story about Jake’s days at Fred Cotten’s Barbecue. It made me quite happy that he read it and liked it.

The Adams Building: from the Vice Wars to “Rehumanizing the Broken Man”

Ellenelle: An Architectural Tribute and Shrine to a Great Writer

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The house called Ellenelle is a tribute to the architecture of Henry John Klutho. It’s also a sacred space, a private literary and family temple. Ed had hoped that perhaps in his aunt’s last years, the great writer might come to live here. The bedroom to the side of the library is hers, even if she never inhabited it.

First story of 2020: When the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang was Bombed in Jax

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George and Winnie Sharrow slipped into their small car in Southside Estates and the car bomb blew them to pieces. Police began to speculate a gangland war might be brewing between the Outlaws and Hell’s Angels. Florida had been a “battleground state,” not just for electoral college votes, but for biker allegiance, and the war was waged through women.

New Story: Jacksonville University Apartment District: French Quarter Apartments / University Townhomes

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It was an optimistic time. 50 years ago this Christmas. Today Richard Minor stands where he first learned to walk. His father taught astronomy at Jacksonville University, across the street from this then-new apartment district. His mother, a stenographer, played the ukele, read thick novels and made the martinis at 5. The ’60s promised a younger, more prosperous and more educated America.

The 500th Story

New Story: The Park Lane Apartment Building

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When Hurricane Irma assailed the building, all they could see from the 10th floor was the water. It had been a long time since Tim first decided, at 10 years old, he’d one day call the Park Lane home. It had been a long time since the president of Barnett Bank petitioned the church to “unclaim” his “daughter” so he could marry her, since the future author of “A Wrinkle in Time,” Madeleine L’Engle called the Park Lane home. Not so long since Ivey jetted to Newport with Brownie to meet Foxy and Mary. Nor since Evelyn Nehl, who called the penthouse suite home, brought the AIDS Quilt to Jacksonville.

New Story: Sin City (the Urban Legends / the True Story)

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Actor Darrell Zwerling hadn’t yet starred in Polanski’s Chinatown, when he stayed at Fox Meadows, saying, “This is the life. Swimming & Sunning all day and acting at night.” The apartments advertised, “Luxury Living at Reasonable Rates,” but “No Children” soon became “Adults Only.” By the time Fox Meadows became the Rivermont in the 1970s, drugs and prostitution branded the apartments “Sin City,” a moniker that soon spread to the surrounding neighborhood. The urban legends are legion; here’s the true story.

JaxPsychoGeo Throwback Thurs: Horne’s Beautyrest

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The Wing Hotel rose from the dismemberment of W.W. Wing. When Bob Horne bought the Wing, since become the Bayard Inn, he built the cabins along the oblong road out back, added a “pecan candy” store, and opened Horne’s Beautyrest Cabins. For more than half a century, the whole place has been Bayard Antique Village, resounding with urban legends of haunted church pews, a candied eyeball and heroic cats.