Tag Archives: Henry John Klutho

Springfield’s Florence Court Apartments

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Cyara likes to imagine herself “Queen Florence.” More than a century before, the builder of the Florence Court named these apartments for his wife. On the sidewalk, you’d buy linen spats and a ham and beef tongue sandwich. So why was the architect’s name an open secret for 50 years? Mushrooms grow downward from ceilings. This building’s declined almost all its life. Who’s ready to step forward and save it? 

Walking the Vanished Old Panama Road

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The Old Panama Road disappeared beneath the Northside of the city 120 years ago. This story tracks it. It heads north from the murder of Marie Gato, past Club Steppin’ Out, through the diary of a black Civil War soldier reading Lord Byron, a Spanish American War camp teeming with Typhoid Fever and the burning of a sawmill the size of a small town. 

Story #509: Riverdale Inn / Brazile House / Kelly House

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Walter Brazile founded B & B Exterminating Co. in his rambling old boarding house. He nurtured the business and nurtured people, including Rufus King, Jr., brother of Virginia, author of that 8,448-page book about Jax. William Kelly, turpentine magnate, built the house 115 years ago. Albert O’Neall, though a Quaker, took a job here building bombing ranges. Now the former HQ of B & B has been restored as a bed-and-breakfast. One of my favorite writers stayed here just last week.

Ellenelle: An Architectural Tribute and Shrine to a Great Writer

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The house called Ellenelle is a tribute to the architecture of Henry John Klutho. It’s also a sacred space, a private literary and family temple. Ed had hoped that perhaps in his aunt’s last years, the great writer might come to live here. The bedroom to the side of the library is hers, even if she never inhabited it.

The Life and Multiple Deaths of the Drew Building

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The story of the building at 45 West Bay Street concerns a bear, Jacksonville’s first bookstore, Ottis Toole, the tragic deaths of construction workers, multiple demolition plans, the ghost of a third floor and the love of an architect who refused to let this building die. Now Urban Grind Coffee, Folio Weekly and other businesses call the Drew Building home. Click below for the story.

New Story: First Baptist Church

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First Baptist Church has perhaps received more love and more hate than any other entity in Jacksonville. It dates to a ca.-Civil War split with black church members who retained the original name, Bethel Baptist. In 1923, Pastor W.A. Hobson welcomed 200 Klansmen in full regalia into his farewell sermon. In the 1980s, Pastors Homer Lindsay and Jerry Vines ignited a showdown with more “liberal” members of the Southern Baptist Convention. In 2019, what once seemed unthinkable occurs: the church plans to sell 90 percent of its downtown campus.

New Story: Thomas Porter House

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Last week’s JaxPsychoGeo story was about a crossroads once the most prestigious in the city. This week’s story centers on the one house that remains. Its future is uncertain. Half a century ago, Bess Porter Keely remembered what it was like, half a century before, to get married in her childhood home.

The Crossroads: One House Still Stands

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It was the most prestigious crossroads in the city. Two senators lived here. Anna Fletcher said her house was haunted, that a grandfather clock had thrown itself upon a young woman. She wrote about it in her 1929 book Death Unveiled. Now only the Porter House remains. Click below for the full story.

The Long Strange History of the Moulton and Kyle Funeral Home

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The history of the Moulton and Kyle Funeral Home graphs itself across the center of the city. It includes an undertaker who sold whiskey flasks and rifles, insurance agents who stole a corpse, and a couple who married in an ambulance; an associated funeral home became a movie theater. The new owners left behind a century of personal records and cremated remains. 

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.”