Tag Archives: Ed Austin

Brewster Hospital in Jim Crow Jax

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The year the old house was built is carved into its porch posts: 1885. It birthed the only hospital for black patients in Jim Crow Jax. Nursing student Lakeshia Sutton stayed with her aunt and uncle in the old building when it was a boarding house and she was a little girl. She feels nursing was a calling, but hadn’t known the “mansion” her aunt called home was “Old Brewster Hospital.”

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Two Stories for Mother’s Day

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Two weird little stories for Mother’s Day. About two memorials to Patricia Ann Lynch Austin, former Jax first lady, one memorial missing a tree, the other accidentally raising hard questions about motherhood. My mother always encouraged my writing. She died three quarters of my life ago. Hopefully she’d like these two weird little stories.

Here’s the first: https://jaxpsychogeo.com/the-center-of-the-city/mother-and-child-sculpture-downtown/

& here’s the second: https://jaxpsychogeo.com/west-riverside-avondale/willowbranch-park-and-cenotaph-for-dogwood/

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The Adams Building: from the Vice Wars to “Rehumanizing the Broken Man”

New Story: Lawton Pratt Funeral Home

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Even today, architectural historians often fail to give Joseph Blodgett his due. Architecture, like everything else in the South, was segregated.

Anyone ready to make a joke about conflicts of interest in funeral homes running ambulance services should also know that Lawton Pratt operated a life insurance office in the building while workers built caskets upstairs in the back.

The Pickettville Serial Killer: Patrick Allen Herald’s Old Stomping Grounds

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In 1990, she was tired of living in a West Beaver Street trailer park. Her father had given Pat Herald permission to drive her, a minor, home to New Jersey.

He probably hadn’t yet murdered prostitutes. One victim who survived him said, “He was real nice.” His former sister-in-law says, “Pat had mommy issues,” but was “a hard worker.” When he murdered the women he picked up for sex, he also posed them. Samantha got to know them first. She was one of the few cops they trusted.

Pedrica Mendez’s House

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When Padrica was a little girl in the 1940s, the Cuban community in Jacksonville surrounded her and her family with love and a yet larger sense of family.

One night as she left the opera in Rome, a photographer snapped her picture, wrote, “in omaggio alla sua bellezza,” or “in homage of your beauty,” on the back of the photograph, and gave it to her.

The fire that consumed the great two-story house next door jumped sparks at Padrica’s house.

Still what most struck Padrica were the cadences she heard in the Orthodox music of ancient Ethiopia that reminded her dearly, tearfully, of rhymes and end-lines from old “Negro spirituals.”