The Fisherwoman, Poet and Preacher in the Lost Black Community Called Hogan

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The 92 year old black preacher woman recalls Bishop Noah Nothing and on back to Sister Savannah, who ate nothing but the fish she caught, recited poetry, preached and carried her shotgun everywhere. She lived in the lost settlement called Hogan. Here’s what story still echoes in the landscape.

Updating the Mysteries of the Burdette / Clarke House

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A significant part of the story is chasing dead ends and phantom leads, balancing contradictory evidence, demanding ghosts stand still and be more present. So here’s the story of the Burdette / Clarke House updated, with its frustrated artist, abandoned sanitarium and moonlight shrimping.

Lost Smiles on Moving Day, 1973

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The moment would have vanished entirely, but for these few photos Lon King took in 1973. The Housing Department was demolishing the house and the duplex where the five kids lived next door. Fifty years later, the land is still empty. He’d moved downtown for work, grown his hair, rode his bikes through the empty streets. He still wonders what happened to those kids.

The Tortuous Tale of Tarzan and Darlyn on Trout River

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When Darlyn Finch Kuhn was eight years old, her brother spotted the monkey on a fencepost by the side of the road. Bringing Tarzan into the family for two years was a wild experience. Where did he come from? (And where did he go?) How do we contextualize Tarzan amongst urban legends of the Riverside monkeys and Monkey Farm and Silver Springs escapees or the thousands of monkeys who’ve called Florida home?

Exploring the Mysteries of Cosmo and Gullah Geechee North Florida

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Nobody knows how Cosmo got its name. White folks live here, they just don’t know they live in Cosmo. Forged from Emancipation, this historic community of former slaves spoke its own dialects more African than African American. Oh but the buckruh knew how to get their land. Now but vestiges of Cosmo remain.

Remembering O.Z. Tyler, Epic Poet on Willow Branch Canal

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A quarter century ago, the ancient epic poet, “the Colonel,” opened his Tudor style home on Willow Branch Canal to a poet in his 20s. Orville Zelotes Tyler, Jr. wanted to be to America, to the South, to Jacksonville what Homer was to Ancient Greece, and his subject was Osceola, the Seminole leader who’d resisted the U.S. Army and was only captured under truce. 

Hogans Creek, Barometer for the Health of the City

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Hogans Creek, part of Jacksonville’s “Emerald Necklace,” reflects the level of care the city takes of itself. It always has. It’s been both garbage dump and pseudo-Venetian “Grand Canal.” It’s taken lives. It’s provided a getaway route for the city’s most famous alligator. Now it’s part of Groundwork Jacksonville’s plan for an Emerald Trail. Hogans Creek is a barometer of the health of the city. 

Mount Zion A.M.E. Church, Cradle of Freedom in Florida

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The story of Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church won’t walk a straight line. It’s a story comprised of stories, of a black congregation that walked right out of the Civil War and purchased this hallowed ground. It’s the stories of its members, from Senator Joseph E. Lee to Dr. LeMorris Prier to Sollie Mitchell, who died just before his 104th birthday in March. It’s the history of tragedy and triumph, one of the cradles of freedom in Florida.

The Triangle Bar and All That’s Left of Old Lem Turner

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One block is all that’s left of Old Lem Turner Road where it met the Turner Ferry. Some seem to think the Triangle Bar has been here about that long. This is where Jesse Carver brought his granddaughter on the first night of her life in 1972, where J.W. Rich, who killed Johnnie Mae Chappell, all but lived for 30 years, where the Trout River Bridge burned in the Civil War. Stories still accrue.

Because of Poor Planning, Parking Storage is Hollowing Out Downtown Jax

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Call them “parking craters” or “dead zones” or osteoporosis. Mammoth parking garages are eating Downtown alive. When the flâneuX sees only parking storage on either side, they guess Downtown is the “parking district.” Jane Jacobs titled a famous essay “Downtown is for People.” Jax authorities sometimes seem to think otherwise.