Tag Archives: Marsh and Saxelbye

Leaving the Carl Swisher Mansion

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Lori Boyer has called the old Carl Swisher mansion in San Marco home for 35 years. She mourned one husband here, married another. John Swisher, manufacturer of King Edward Cigars, built this house for his son right beside his own in 1930. Boyer says she’s a period in the house’s history and now it’s time for another family.

Hove Hall and the Sacrifice the House Demands

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It’s not just that John Hove, Florida businessman and former Swedish judge, has spent a decade renovating this 1920s riverfront mansion that his renaming the house makes a necessary romantic sense. He never knew what strange Christmas pasts the house harbored and couldn’t have predicted the scale of personal tragedy. Still, this renovation will mark the achievement of a lifetime!

New Story: Epping Forest

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Epping Forest is the grandest historic estate in Jacksonville. Well known, the summits of world leaders here. Well known, its original owner’s personal manipulation of banking in the Great Depression. Why, however, did Alfred Dent believe his grandmother, Jessie Ball duPont, and her brother, Edward Ball, had murdered his grandfather, Alfred duPont? Also, what’s up with the pelicans and squirrels and vampire faces?

Against All Odds: The Survival of Edward Waters College

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It’s the oldest educational institution in Jacksonville. I wander Edward Waters College with Professor David Jamison. He points to buildings long ago destroyed by fire and we discuss R.L. Brown, Jacksonville’s first black architect. Against unbelievably great odds, what’s now the oldest historically black college in Florida survived. 

New Story: Poisoning Durkeeville: Fairfax Street Wood Treaters / Howard Feed Mills / American Motors Export Company

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It’s a story of an automobile empire that never was, of a “Mediterranean-style” town vetoed by the Great Depression, of a wood treatment facility that poisoned a black neighborhood for 30 years. The multiple lives of the old American Motors Export Building still haunt these 12 acres in the middle of Durkeeville.

This Week’s Story: Coca-Cola Bottling Co.

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Helen’s mother could take a sip and tell which city had bottled the Coke. When the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant opened in New Springfield, Charles Guth–“ruthless rascal,” murderer, future president of Pepsi–opened a bottling plant across the street. In later years, William played hide-and-seek amidst abandoned equipment while his parents cleaned at night.