Tag Archives: jaxpsychogeo

The Balis House / the Herbert Swisher House

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Herbert Swisher was a “trust fund baby.” His grandfather built him a house. Sheffield and Abla Balis left the Franco-Syrian War in the Middle East and made Herbert’s house their home. When Sheffield died, Abla built him a tower.

Old Philips, w/o Boundaries, Beheadings, the Last Hall-and-Parlor

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Someone stole their heads. Their bodies had been burnt. Police found two axes in the scorched desolation of the shack. Just before Christmas. 1913.

Most of the residents of Philips were the children or grandchildren of former slaves, or were former slaves themselves. Sunken ground in the slope and swale of Philips Cemetery at Craig Swamp might mark older unrecorded graves.

Her husband lived to be 97. She was born in the house in 1922. Surely he’d heard the story when he was young.

The Trials and Tribulations of Mount Vernon Motor Lodge

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Click below for the full story. Why did police Taser the naked man in the middle of Philips Highway? What would George Washington think of a motel modeled after his plantation house? And where did that peace dove fly off to?

San Marco’s Swisher House (John H.) and Villa Alexandria

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All big houses harbor the loneliness of unpeopled space. When Heather was a little girl, she didn’t understand the elevator went up and down. She thought it somehow “swapped the rooms around.”

Christina says, “I don’t think Mrs. Mitchell liked that they tore her house down.”

Carl Swisher always carried jokes in his pocket. Workers rolled 600 to 700 cigars a day.

Ending 2017 by Looking Back at the Crooms and Mahmoud Murals

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Most of the talk of Connell Crooms, standing 150 feet tall on one cement silo, and Sara Mahmoud, standing back to back with him on the silo adjoining, concerns unity and solidarity, but Connell mentions the “power of irony.”

Van Helten turned these concrete ciphers into pillars of unity and community. The mural festival that brought him to town, ArtRepublic, alienated and angered much of the city’s art community, but Van Helten successfully soaked up the city and gave it back.

Two Christmas Stories

Read one JaxPsychoGeo Christmas story, and get the other free.

Click below for the story of the James E. Merrill House.

And is the toy gun that lies on the child’s bed really Arthur’s? Was it too a Christmas present? And is it really Arthur’s bed? Did Arthur lie here looking through the window onto the sleeping-porch on the second-story back of the house in his last year, his eighth year, 1906?

And / Or … Click below… “Oh ho ho / Who wouldn’t go? / Up on the housetop, click, click, click, / Down through the chimney” to old St. Nick’s Lounge on Atlantic Boulevard?

“May we invite you to enjoy our hospitality?”

 

Gilmore Settlement and Homes Built into Burial Mounds

I try not to wince at the street sign that warns me this road’s a “dead end.” It dead-ends at Grant Mound.

When UNF archaeologists and students were able to scan the Petherbridge site after bulldozing, they “found thousands of pieces of pottery, and pieces of human remains”.

French colonial artist Jacques Le Moyne called them “hermaphrodites.” 

New Story: Kona Skatepark

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Local kids who felt bummed about their swamp-dreary working-class hometown in the late 1970s were surprised by the arrival of Kona, but skateboarding’s the blue-collar ballet of concrete Jax.

Oak Lynde, Home of Jacksonville’s Own Miss Havisham

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Jacksonville’s own Miss Havisham, Addie lived alone with her servants in the vast echoes of Oak Lynde, her 32-bedroom house.

As her inheritance ran out, she took in boarders. Some of her wealthiest boarders would eventually own the house.

Today, only eight bedrooms remain.

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.