Category Archives: Uncategorized

World Beach…Where Burger King and McDonald’s Debuted

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Mirza calls this stretch of Beach Boulevard, where Burger King and Jax’s first McDonald’s opened for business in the 1950s, “World Beach.”

World Beach contains no beach, but its storefronts represent at least two dozen nationalities and ethniticities, immigrants and refugees who’ve washed up here from around the world.

New Story: Jacksonville Beach: New Trinity, Killing the Devil, and the Murder of Vera Gould

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After the three young people stabbed K.’s grandmother to death in her Jacksonville Beach home, newspapers quoted them calling her “Satan,” themselves “the New Trinity” and Lex Hester, one of the most prominent men in Jacksonville’s political history, “the Antichrist.”

 

 

Hope for Life Baptist Church, Where Bob Gray Preached His Last Sermon

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Referring to the pastor whose sexual abuse of children Trinity Baptist Church covered for half a century, Gary Hudson says, “I knew Bob Gray for 30 years. I had Gray speak at Hope for Life that Wednesday night, March 22, 2006. It was the last time Gray preached in a Jacksonville church, the last time he preached anywhere.”

Gary Hudson says reading his Bible led him to renounce his faith. “The busiest guitar tech in the Panhandle,” describes himself now as “a very happy peace-loving non-believer.” His book is “dedicated to all I have influenced to believe in the Christian gospel.”

I know no better Halloween story than that of the great fake killer, Ottis Toole

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Did Ottis Toole, in partnership with Henry Lee Lucas, murder 600 people? Of course not.Toole House 12

Did Ottis Toole, as he claimed with conscientious journalists, conduct the greatest “goose chase” in American history? Maybe.

Toole House 1

Did Ottis Toole perfect cannibal recipes? Of course not.

Ottis Toole Christmas

Did police agencies across the United States allow Ottis Toole to dupe them in exchange for lurid false confessions that allowed them to clear scores of cold cases, including that of Adam Walsh? Absolutely.

Where the Jacksonville Woman’s Club Stood

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It’s not a “demolition,” they say. It’s a “salvage.” Either way, the Jacksonville Woman’s Club building is gone. Causes seen as primarily “women’s” have encountered the same contradictory status of being both exalted and discounted that women themselves have historically experienced. The “Woman’s Club

Movement” owns an important place in the history of feminism, leading even to #metoo. The headline declaimed, “Quadruple Amputee to Get Degree and Bride this Week.” Mellen Greeley, the architect who built the Woman’s Club building, “said the secret to living a long life was being a peaceful person.” My daugthers will always identify by their own names. They’ll never be Mrs. Somebody-Else.

From Mini-Museum to Big-House: The Art of Richard McMahan

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Richard McMahan’s intensity does not waver. Whether it’s the thousands of miniatures he’s created of Van Goghs, Frida Kahlos, Picassos and duChamps, or it’s the prison stories and illustrations, the collection of shackles and prison uniforms, Richard’s work is obsessive.

courtesy Community Foundation of Northeast Florida & laird/blac palm inc

Everything Richard does forms part of a life’s-work. His Mini-Museum offers a survey of the world’s great art, while his Big-House project asks “the biggest question[s] of all.”

photo by James Hunter

In the Heart of Riverside: JaxbyJax V and the Martha Washington

This Saturday, 10/13, JaxbyJax V, the fifth annual JaxbyJax Literary Arts Festival, takes place in 12 intimate venues around Park and King Streets in Riverside. See the event schedule and this year’s writers at www.jaxbyjax.com.

Click below for the full Martha Washington Hotel story:

So the folks hard at work deep in the bowels of the JaxPsychoGeo Detective Agency (!) thought this week’s post should concern that geographic center of Jacksonville’s Riverside Avondale, the largest historic district in Florida. 

Here, then, is an archived JaxPsychoGeo story from 2016 about the Martha Washington Hotel. Demolition had begun. Wayne Wood called the saving of the Martha Washington the most dramatic victory in Riverside Avondale Preservation’s history. The old building has lived many lives–those of Southern aristocrats, World War II servicemen, indigent elderly women, and 21st century hipsters. It has much more living to do.

From the JaxPsychoGeo Archives: LaRose’s Shoes

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Big stained glass piano in the middle of the store. Some said Joseph John LaRose designed half a million pairs of shoes. What they found inside, after he died: the appraiser from Sotheby’s called it King Tut’s tomb. Jackie Kennedy had come. And Betty Grable. And Joan Crawford. And Brooke Shields. Jayne Mansfield was wearing his shoes when she died. He chastised me. I wanted to tell him how wrong he was. He wanted me to do the same.

How Mayor Hazouri Defeated Stink / History of the City’s Greatest Offender

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When Jacksonville’s air ranked most fatal, when parts of the documentary The Smell of Money aired nationally, when the city was best-known for its stink, Mayor Tommy Hazouri declared war on odor. The oldest chemical plant in the city still offends. It began more than a century ago. 

Unfinished Hauntings in Mandarin

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The Hood Road House, she says, is how a house can be haunted when it’s brand new. But aren’t all hauntings about what’s unfinished, by definition? Venturi and Brown wrote, “When circumstances defy order, order should bend or break: anomalies and uncertainties give validity to architecture.” Steve walks me about the house, says he’ll be done by Christmas, just doesn’t say what year.