Tag Archives: jax psycho geo

Reposting the Story of the Plague Year

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New Story: St. Mary’s Liquors, Riverside Motel and the Boat Ramp Where They Pulled Nellie from the River

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Long abandoned, the Riverside Motel, by the Florida-Georgia state line at the St. Mary’s River, still takes lodgers. St. Mary’s Liquors serves up favors to legend trippers. Whether murder, whether suspicious prior divorce, Nellie and Knud lived most of their 60 year marriage here. Jill watched the car raised up from the river, six years after Nellie drowned. My sister and I find more than a dozen bird’s nests in motel rooms.

Jefferson Davis Junior High School

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My father and I were the only white people on the basketball court. He was 40 years older, at least, than everybody else. I’m writing this story on his 96th. He died six months ago tomorrow. 

Of what beloved Jacksonville architect Taylor Hardwick thought of designing new schools with the names of Confederate leaders, there’s no record. The only black faces in 1960s Jeff Davis yearbooks are those of the custodial staff. And the school principal, Wilber C. Johnson, standing beside a Confederate flag and wearing blackface.

“We will hang Jeff Davis to a sour apple tree. / We will hang Jeff Davis to a sour apple tree. / We will hang Jeff Davis to a sour apple tree, / As we march along!”

New Story: Geodesica

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Here, Charles died in Drew’s arms. Here in the rotunda, at the bottom of the ocean, though Santa Monica demolished this amusement park the year I was born, it thrives. Gilbert Spindel drew up his “Roundhouse” blueprints and promoted them in newspapers across the country in 1956. This particular Geodesica served as “exhibit house” three years later. All the rest comes forward like tides, historical patterns, ghosts. “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio…”

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.

El Modelo, Part II

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Part Two of the three-part series on El Modelo Cigar Factory features the Dying Declaration of Marie Louise Gato, her possible romantic entanglements with  young Cuban revolutionaries, and the “Jacksonville Junta,” who organized both clandestinely and not so secretly for the war in Havana.

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

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.

New Story: Jacksonville University Apartment District: French Quarter Apartments / University Townhomes

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It was an optimistic time. 50 years ago this Christmas. Today Richard Minor stands where he first learned to walk. His father taught astronomy at Jacksonville University, across the street from this then-new apartment district. His mother, a stenographer, played the ukele, read thick novels and made the martinis at 5. The ’60s promised a younger, more prosperous and more educated America.

The 500th Story