Tag Archives: jaxpsychogeo

New Story: Sloan / McQueen House

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William has lived his whole life here on Spearing Street on the Eastside. Mable lived here almost half a century. Then tragedy struck. The letters on the pantry door spell, “Mable’s kitchen.” The Reverend McQueen took in boarders, but when a choir member couldn’t make rent, the pastor still paid the community’s mortgage.

New Story: Jacksonville Velodrome

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Finally, Wallace McGregor was ready for business. He’d spent more than a million dollars on the facility and bought ads in the newspaper. But they’d come to call it “Wally’s Folly.”

It’s still out here, like a mysterious sign from a buried and lost civilization. It’s not too late. Cast your dreams in concrete.

New Story: Bexley House / Plaza Hotel

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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.

 

Bebe Deluxe, Storybook Pride Prom, and the History of Gay Pride at Willowbranch Park and Library

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It’s the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, and at Willowbranch Library, an epicenter of gay rights history in Jacksonville, hundreds of supporters of gender and sexual minority young people rally in their defense after Jacksonville Public Libraries Director Tim Rogers canceled their sold-out Pride Prom.

Now there are two teen pride events, instead of one. The prom still takes place, at a now undisclosed location, a local church, and hundreds of supporters rally at Willowbranch Library to express their solidarity and love.

Wild Bill of Jax and His Leprosy

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“Will Bill of Jacksonville” had come back home, but outside a small circle of family and friends, he kept his diagnosis a secret. Not only did the disease frighten people, but in this Bible Belt town, it resonated as the plague of the Old Testament.

The Board of Health moved to quarantine his mother’s home on Rural Route 5 in the small western Duval County community of Hart Haven. “In closing,” he wrote, “let me give your readers, each and every one, a personal invitation. I assure you that when you leave, your outlook and perspective on life will be different.”

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.”

New Story: Old St. Johns River Lighthouse

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When I climbed the lighthouse in the year 2000, we found, in place of the light, the nest of a great night bird of prey. The Old St. Johns Lighthouse should stand for hundreds of years, perhaps a thousand, says Herschel Shepard, the architect who restored it. The door’s long buried in the risen ground. Wanton S. Webb called it a “pretty romance,” the story of a retired maritime sergeant who locked his daughter in the lighthouse a century and a half ago.

Curry-Thomas: A taxidermied specimen for every year of business

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70 years from the founding of Curry-Thomas Hardware and Gun Shop, two men in their 70s stare at each other. They’re both retired cops. Roger’s father Everett Curry worried about the death of the hardware trade, but Charles Thomas’s son Steve says gun sales have kept the store thriving. Big-game trophies of physicians and philanthropists take starring roles in the hardware store menagerie.

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.

Ethiopian Timkat / Baptism / Resurrection in Jacksonville

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Today, all four of Jacksonville’s Eritrean and Ethiopian churches come together to celebrate Jesus’s baptism in the River Jordan, his destruction of Satan’s letters of possession of humans as slaves, and the reunion of Eritreans and Ethiopians.