Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Crossroads: One House Still Stands

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It was the most prestigious crossroads in the city. Two senators lived here. Anna Fletcher said her house was haunted, that a grandfather clock had thrown itself upon a young woman. She wrote about it in her 1929 book Death Unveiled. Now only the Porter House remains. Click below for the full story.

Jax Zoo (For Harry Crews, Jiggs and Gandai)

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In Harry Crews’s 1992 novel Scar Lover, the Jax Zoo becomes the scene of Southern Gothic anti-epiphany. For years, descriptions of the zoo in the news sounded hardly more pathetic than in Crews. If what happened to Jiggs seems unforgiveable, maybe, hopefully, the baby gorilla named Gandai can offer us all redemption.

Conflicting Tales of the Burdette/Clarke House

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This week’s story, as Hurricane Dorian bears down on Florida, proves suitable for stormy weather. The 1887 riverfront house in Floral Bluff isn’t as well known as it should be. It is, however, for sale. Its story involves moonlight shrimping, an “abandoned sanitarium,” and a frustrated artist. 

A Tribute to My Father

My father, Leslie William Gilmore, died Thursday morning, the 22nd day of August. He was 95 years old. These links take you to my tribute to him. It doesn’t do him justice, but it’s something.

New Story: Sloan / McQueen House

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William has lived his whole life here on Spearing Street on the Eastside. Mable lived here almost half a century. Then tragedy struck. The letters on the pantry door spell, “Mable’s kitchen.” The Reverend McQueen took in boarders, but when a choir member couldn’t make rent, the pastor still paid the community’s mortgage.

New Story: Jacksonville Velodrome

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Finally, Wallace McGregor was ready for business. He’d spent more than a million dollars on the facility and bought ads in the newspaper. But they’d come to call it “Wally’s Folly.”

It’s still out here, like a mysterious sign from a buried and lost civilization. It’s not too late. Cast your dreams in concrete.

This Week’s Story: Coca-Cola Bottling Co.

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Helen’s mother could take a sip and tell which city had bottled the Coke. When the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant opened in New Springfield, Charles Guth–“ruthless rascal,” murderer, future president of Pepsi–opened a bottling plant across the street. In later years, William played hide-and-seek amidst abandoned equipment while his parents cleaned at night. 

New Story: The Whipping Post

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Sometimes Gregg Allman felt like he’d been tied, in 1969, to the whipping post. Thomas Frederick Davis, in 1925, author of the History of Jacksonville, Florida, said the whole idea of a whipping post was fiction. In 1911, he praised it.

New Story: Shep’s Discount and Salvage

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Despite stories of murder for hire, a firefighter convicted of arson, and racketeering in rummage and salvage, hey, you can buy a pair of white pleather go-go boots for $2.99 and two hose clamps for a dollar. 

New Story: Ottis Toole’s Mother’s House (Until He Burnt It Down)

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The first time Ottis Toole burnt down his mother’s house, he was 10 or 11 years old. When he burnt down his mother’s house on Day Avenue in 1981, his name wasn’t yet famous as either one of the worst serial killers in history, or one of the biggest fakes.