Tag Archives: Jacksonville

I AM Sanctuary

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The “I AM” Sanctuary on Kings Avenue…

…the Wandering Jew

…and the time Benjamin Franklin was Lady Master Lotus.

Anna Fletcher’s Final Home

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Photographs of ghosts, of ectoplasm. She died here, in her final home, on Riverside Avenue.

The wife of the Jacksonville mayor and longest-serving U.S. senator from Florida testified before Congress, against Houdini, on behalf of Spiritualism.

 

Who Was Chopstick Charley?

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It rains through the ceiling on the front corner booth. Everyone’s favorite is the woo dip harr, shrimp wrapped in bacon with sweet and sour sauce. It’s the oldest Chinese restaurant in the city.

“Charley” was “tiny” and “spoke very little English.” His wife, whose name Susan can’t recall, was a broad-shouldered white woman with dark curly hair who stood a head taller than Charley.

 

Part One of a New Series: What Ever Happened to Beverly June?

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Every day, he replayed the Wednesday he’d come home from work at 6 pm—February 24, 1960—to find his wife gone, the baby crying alone in her crib.

Neighbors said the stranger had been parking a blue 1958 Ford across the street from the Cochrans’ for three weeks and reading a newspaper for hours at a time.

New Story: Farris and Company Slaughterhouse

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Built in 1921, the Farris and Company Slaughterhouse stands both cavernous and labyrinthine. We could easily lose ourselves inside.

Early Arabic business success in Jacksonville occurred in the face of vicious racism. City directories and census forms often recorded Syrian immigrants as “Negro” in the middle of the Jim Crow Era.

Sister Mary Ann at the Church of the Immaculate Conception

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Sister Mary Ann braved the jails, whispered with the condemned. She nurtured soldiers shot, stabbed, battered and dismembered in Civil War Jacksonville. She raised the funds to open the orphanage, and St. Mary’s Home opened on August 15th, the Feast of Assumption, 1886. 

Daily, she’d made her rounds among those dying of Yellow Fever, their yellow eyes and the vomiting of blood, the seizures that mocked demonic possession.

By the time she died in January 1914, “Jacksonville’s Angel of Mercy” had selflessly served the sick, the dying, the condemned, the homeless, the lost, and the orphaned in Jacksonville for 50 years.

Blinded by the Lighthouse Replica / First Baptist Church

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Just before Christmas, 1998, several homeowners downtown and just to the north in Springfield said they’d “seen the light” and the light made them mad as hell.

One Springfield resident called the new First Baptist Church parking-garage lighthouse replica “extremely obnoxious, just this blinding glare flashing in our windows.” It seemed like the church had stationed “a spotlight […] right outside the house.”

New Story: Brooklyn: Avon Apartments / Sam’s Grocery (After the Fire)

I’d just written the 111 year old Avon Apartment Building’s story two weeks ago.

Headlines about a Brooklyn, New York fire on the porch of an old house that just burned in Brooklyn in Jacksonville, Florida?

Arlington and Lillian Roads: No ID Required

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Respectfully, Devonte Shipman asks, “What was it that we did wrong, Officer?” This kind of thing has happened to him before. This time, he’s recording it.

Officer J.S. Bolen says, “You crossed the crosswalk! Against the red hand!” He threatens to put him in jail, calls for backup, and tells Vonte that Florida requires its residents to carry an ID at all times.

As though Bolen understands time in neighborhoods deemed not worth time. As though Bolen understands his position as Vonte Shipman’s public servant.

New story: Sawyers Addition and Ritchieville

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The dogs would eat her and her brothers alive, she was sure, but their fear didn’t keep them off their roller skates.

Marian has done some digging into the city’s ugly history. She found that her childhood home was built in 1914, the same year Jacksonville hosted a major Confederate veterans’ reunion, which brought more than 48,000 Confederate veterans to the city’s celebrations.

While the sun room became her grandmother’s room, the “washer and dryer room” became her mother’s. This smallest space opened to the back yard directly.