Tag Archives: Andrew Jackson High School

Spiritual Lighthouse Church

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It was home, in the old days, to Southern preaching, bluegrass mandolin, and séances. Bluegrass gospel musicians Billie and Gordon Hamrick were staunch  Southern Baptists, but Billie had “psychic visions.” The line of Spiritualist pastors here, almost all women, dates back to training by the famous psychic Edgar Cayce. In one of Jill Cook Richards’s first séances at the church, she says, her guardian angel came to her.

Harry Crews’s Childhood Nightmare Northside

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The novelist Harry Crews chronicled how Jacksonville imported desperation from half the state of Georgia. It offered hope, but required human sacrifice. First coming to Jax when his stepfather-uncle aimed a rifle at his mother’s head, Harry lived in half a dozen houses across the Northside, all of which his family called “the Springfield Section.” When Harper Lee read Crews’s second novel, she said William Faulkner had come back to life.

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.

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.