Category Archives: Uncategorized

How One Corrupt Cop, Worshiped as a Hero, Went Down: The Story of J.C. Patrick

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J.C. Patrick, a colleague said, would serve a warrant on the Devil. Duval County’s chief homicide investigator always got his man. Unless paid not to. Patrick was the common denominator of corruption between the administrations of Sheriffs Rex Sweat and Dale Carson. This is the story of how his son took him down and how his reputation followed.

 

How the Gale House Replaced the House of the Seven Gables

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The house was meant to be a new start, but Emanuel died here just four years later. It was quite the life the couple left behind in Ohio. For half a century, Louise Gale, Emanuel’s widow, made the house home for her daughter, siblings and grandkids, carving the Colonial Revival Jax mansion into the Gale Apartments. Along the way, the old house’s story includes the one-man fraternity “Foo Beta Goo,” stuffed emperor penguins and “Riverside characters.”

Lives and Afterlives of “The Green House” on Riverside Avenue

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Ed and Ruth Brown called the “Green House” home for about four decades and Ed died on Christmas Day, 2017. The house is most famous for when members of Lynyrd Skynyrd lived here, but its story also includes the Osky’s alligator heiress, a ballet master who studied with Ballanchine and attempts by fire and, yes, developers to destroy it.

Walking with Ted Pappas through the Journey’s End House

Silvertown and My Mother’s Early Childhood Home

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Here’s the story of my mother’s early childhood home in what had been Silvertown, a neighborhood built for black residents after the Civil War and then swallowed up by Riverside. The house is gone now, except for in a few old photos and secondhand memories, and in the letter she dictated in 1940, when she was four years old.

The Old Fed; Or, How Henrietta Dozier Bent the Rules

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The Old Fed is as full of contradictions as was Henrietta Dozier, the Jax architect who sometimes went by “Mr. Dozier” and “Harry.” She didn’t break the rules but she bent them all. Recently I wandered with architect Brooke Robbins through Dozier’s Federal Reserve Bank Building, one of a dozen historic structures being restored within a couple blocks downtown. 

Resuscitating Klutho’s Last Downtown Design, the Florida Baptist Convention Building

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For 40 years, the Florida Baptist Convention Building has stood abandoned. Now architect Brooke Robbins is bringing the old building, the last downtown design by architect Henry John Klutho, back to life. Recently I wandered with Brooke up the stone stairwell, through the building’s history, to its rooftop.

Possum Head Swamp at Thanksgiving and Christmas

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Grant and D.J., five and eight years old, built forts and defended them in Possum Head Swamp. Their mother and grandmother made the Christmas Light Trail from the boys’ house to their grandparents’. The seasons rearranged the paths and switched the waters and the lands and taught D.J. that the wetlands behind and beneath and before the city were bigger and older and therefore more real.

The Napoleon Bonaparte Broward House at Pilot Town by Fort George Island

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In its century and a half, the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward house has been empty more than lived in. It hoists its widow’s walk from the roof at Fort George Island. Built by a New York dentist in the 1870s, now the hq of the Timucuan Parks Foundation, the house will forever be associated with Broward, the Duval County sheriff, Jax city councilman, state representative and Florida governor who smuggled guns to Cuba and wanted to drain the Everglades and start racial apartheid.

The Forgotten History of Snyder Memorial Methodist Church

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Last year would have been the church’s 150th anniversary. There was no one to celebrate its incredible history. Founded by Northern abolitionists, Snyder Memorial Methodist Church played an important role in Jacksonville’s Civil Rights struggle a century later. Whether Reverend Hinkle committed suicide nobody said. And whether police shipping the homeless man one-way to L.A. was really a good deed is doubtful. Now the church waits, abandoned, for its next chapter.