Tag Archives: downtown Jacksonville

New Story: Bexley House / Plaza Hotel

Click below for this week’s story, or navigate the city through the direction buttons at the top of the page:

For trial attorney Glenn Allen, it was love at first sight. He called the old house, the old hotel, his “castle.” It’s because of Glenn it still exists at all.

The Plaza Hotel had stayed in the Bexley family for a century. Though Glenn’s bid wasn’t the highest, Dr. Bexley’s granddaughter Sara accepted it because other bidders wanted to tear down her childhood home and lifelong abode and replace it with a parking lot. Sara was dying and she wanted the house brought back to life.

 

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

Click below for the full story:

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.”

Remembering When Lightning Knocked Out CSX’s Rail Service

Click below for the full story:

One strike from the sky touches 200 trains across the Southeast and Midwest, reaching into Ontario and Quebec.

Callie remembers Y2K, how often lightning struck, and how the river below seemed hers from her vantage point at 3 a.m.

From the JaxPsychoGeo Archives: LaRose’s Shoes

Click below for the full story:

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.