Tag Archives: John C. Christian

New Story: Wandering the Ruins of the Thunderbird Motor Hotel

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The Thunderbird Motor Hotel lies in ruins on 19 acres. We wander through it. It was “one of the brightest jewels in the Florida Crown,” created to “give Jacksonville a Las Vegas, New York, big-city type of night club atmosphere.” It featured multiple lounges like The Zodiac Room and The Wonderfall, dinner theatre and convention space. The stars came. For a while. Few realized its full history of financial troubles. Now a hawk flies over the abandoned swimming pool. Click below for the story.

The Independent Life Building / Wells Fargo Center

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From lightning strikes to the locomotive buried in its foundation, from loyalty to President Nixon to overtures to the National Football League, from the architectural sketches of Wah Yo Eng to the immigrant family of Bulgarians, Haitians and Jamaicans, the Independent Life Building (now the Wells Fargo Center) has reflected Jacksonville back to itself since 1974.

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

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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.