Tag Archives: Joel McEachin

Walking the Vanished Old Panama Road

Click below for this week’s story, or navigate the city through the direction buttons at the top of the page:

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. 

New Story: Chaseville “Colored Settlement” / Fort Caroline Club Estates

Click below for this week’s story, or navigate the city through the direction buttons at the top of the page:

Little remains of the old “Chaseville Colored Settlement,” where the 1920 census placed America’s first black presidential candidate. Fortunately for his bones, George Edwin Taylor was buried elsewhere, because developers dug up the skeletons of the old black cemetery. Where former slaves of the region’s most prominent plantation families once came to live their lives free, real estate developers built “midcentury modern” Arlington. Poultry farms gave way to Geodesica. Click below for the full story.

Pedrica Mendez’s House

Click below for the full story:

When Padrica was a little girl in the 1940s, the Cuban community in Jacksonville surrounded her and her family with love and a yet larger sense of family.

One night as she left the opera in Rome, a photographer snapped her picture, wrote, “in omaggio alla sua bellezza,” or “in homage of your beauty,” on the back of the photograph, and gave it to her.

The fire that consumed the great two-story house next door jumped sparks at Padrica’s house.

Still what most struck Padrica were the cadences she heard in the Orthodox music of ancient Ethiopia that reminded her dearly, tearfully, of rhymes and end-lines from old “Negro spirituals.”

New Stories: Barnett Mansion and Springfield Tunnels

Two stories. Scroll down for both.

Click below for the full story about Barnett Mansion:

“There are so many stories in this house,” he says.

barnett-6

In the 1970s, the police saw William Barnett, 1824-1903, standing in the shadows and drew their guns.

barnett-1

Click below for the full story about Springfield Tunnels:

Billy says he and his friends slipped through an aperture into a system of extensive tunnels beneath the Barnett Mansion in Springfield.

img_2085

The great strength of conspiracy theories and urban legends is that you can’t prove a negative.