Tag Archives: Barnett Bank

El Modelo: Sensational Murder Trials, Cuban Revolutionaries

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At El Modelo Cigar Factory, Cuban revolutionaries fomented insurrection. Marie Gato, daughter of El Modelo’s owner, died, bullets to her breast, subject of Jacksonville’s most sensational trial of the 19th century. El Modelo still stands. A practitioner of the law firm that calls the building home claims to have seen Marie’s ghost. Either way, this building’s story shifted history. Click below for the first story in a three-part series.

New Story: The Park Lane Apartment Building

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When Hurricane Irma assailed the building, all they could see from the 10th floor was the water. It had been a long time since Tim first decided, at 10 years old, he’d one day call the Park Lane home. It had been a long time since the president of Barnett Bank petitioned the church to “unclaim” his “daughter” so he could marry her, since the future author of “A Wrinkle in Time,” Madeleine L’Engle called the Park Lane home. Not so long since Ivey jetted to Newport with Brownie to meet Foxy and Mary. Nor since Evelyn Nehl, who called the penthouse suite home, brought the AIDS Quilt to Jacksonville.

The Barnett National Bank Building, Its Deep Roots and Tendrils through Time

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It was “the Year of the Skyscraper.” The 10 story building next door began to tilt. Alfred duPont raised Florida from the Great Depression, merely from infusions of his personal wealth. When Barnett began the Bank of Jacksonville in 1877, he couldn’t have known it would grow into one of the largest banks in the South. After Herbert Hoover, Alfred’s wife, Jessie Ball duPont, changed direction. Her hair was graying, but her eyes still sparkled.

Barnett’s personification of its first Automatic Teller Machine frightened Southern working class families. Charles Rice said he’d never sell “Bion Barnett’s bank.” Then he checked into rehab. Then he sold. Then he drowned in his own swimming pool. Now UNF is making the Barnett “the front door to the startup community in Jacksonville.”

New Stories: Barnett Mansion and Springfield Tunnels

Two stories. Scroll down for both.

Click below for the full story about Barnett Mansion:

“There are so many stories in this house,” he says.


In the 1970s, the police saw William Barnett, 1824-1903, standing in the shadows and drew their guns.


Click below for the full story about Springfield Tunnels:

Billy says he and his friends slipped through an aperture into a system of extensive tunnels beneath the Barnett Mansion in Springfield.


The great strength of conspiracy theories and urban legends is that you can’t prove a negative.