Tag Archives: coquina gates

Stories 4 and 5 of Coquina Gates: Last Chance and The Gates

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For Coquina Gates story no. 4: First House, Last Chance–

Anna died just shy of her 94th birthday, on April Fools’ Day. 2009.

Andrea’s is the original house and the only one the Russells never named. Andrea moved into Anna’s first house while Anna lived in her last house.

For Coquina Gates story no. 5: The Gates–

Barbara knew Jim only at the end of his life. He was frustrated, depressed.

“This is the miraculous site,” Barbara says, “of Jim Russell’s artistry and Anna Russell’s love and care for that vision.”

Coquina Gates, Part 3: Riots of the Fall and Nor’east

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“I remember Coquina Gates as a place filled always with music,” she says. Riots of the Fall was a folk festival Jim and Anna Russell held at Coquina Gates for three years in the mid-1960s.

“And my dad was very tender. He’d go out there in the mornings and find these little frogs had drowned in the pool. So he got up earlier. And every morning he was out there trying to get the frogs and all the insects that had landed in the pool, because he didn’t want any of them to drown.”

Inside the house called Nor’east, the legendary door, which I’ve heard is cypress and I’ve heard is oak, which I’ve heard weighs 300 pounds and I’ve heard weighs 700 pounds, once opened to the breeze.

Coquina Gates, Part 2: Redemption at Chinquapin

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The house doesn’t just welcome you. It harbors you. It’s there for you. It’s the earth formed up from itself for the sole purpose of taking care of you.

Destructive forces so often tempered and made stronger the softer forms of the forest.

No creator creates the creation. Humility and awe were materials as integral as wood and stone.

Coquina Gates, Part 1: Death at Wild Cherry

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“Coquina brings you close to the sea,” Jim said. It also resists the summers and provides a stone sponge texture for the humidity and the clinging of hysterical Floridian lushness. Jacksonville is sea and swamp. So is Coquina Gates.

Anna immediately began to take her clothes off and said, “What’s the point of living in the country if you can’t take your clothes off outside?”