Tag Archives: Riverside Avondale

The Ernest & Catherine Ricker House & All Its Many Lives

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The Queen Anne-style Ricker House, with its third-story tower and draped gingerbread, looks like something from a fairy tale. After the Rickers raised their eight children, the house moved from Oak Street to Post Street and back again. Having housed deaths and births, fire and termites, restaurants and school principals, the Ricker House has collected at least 1,001 stories. 

How the Gale House Replaced the House of the Seven Gables

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The house was meant to be a new start, but Emanuel died here just four years later. It was quite the life the couple left behind in Ohio. For half a century, Louise Gale, Emanuel’s widow, made the house home for her daughter, siblings and grandkids, carving the Colonial Revival Jax mansion into the Gale Apartments. Along the way, the old house’s story includes the one-man fraternity “Foo Beta Goo,” stuffed emperor penguins and “Riverside characters.”

Silvertown and My Mother’s Early Childhood Home

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Here’s the story of my mother’s early childhood home in what had been Silvertown, a neighborhood built for black residents after the Civil War and then swallowed up by Riverside. The house is gone now, except for in a few old photos and secondhand memories, and in the letter she dictated in 1940, when she was four years old.

The Sudden Discovery of My Mother’s First Apartment, 70 Years Ago

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I never knew she’d lived here. Never noticed this side address. Until the old pack of photos surfaced, 1954. And here is my mother, who died when I was 12. Here she is, 20 years before I was born. I’m 30 years her elder. And I meet her on that cold February night when she was young and the present promised the future was bright.

New Story: Architect Ted Pappas’s Design for St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church

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The first solo design for architect Ted Pappas, son of Greek immigrants, was the new home of the city’s Greek Orthodox church. The history of St. John the Divine reflects the history of the Greek community in Jacksonville. The icon screen, built by George Doro a century ago, moved to Pappas’s postmodern design from the original church, a historic landmark demolished for a parking lot. Now, a new congregation has saved this sanctuary for another generation.

The Purple Petunia Goes Postmodern

Story #509: Riverdale Inn / Brazile House / Kelly House

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Walter Brazile founded B & B Exterminating Co. in his rambling old boarding house. He nurtured the business and nurtured people, including Rufus King, Jr., brother of Virginia, author of that 8,448-page book about Jax. William Kelly, turpentine magnate, built the house 115 years ago. Albert O’Neall, though a Quaker, took a job here building bombing ranges. Now the former HQ of B & B has been restored as a bed-and-breakfast. One of my favorite writers stayed here just last week.

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.

St. Johns Flower Market’s Long Strange Trip

From Moonies to “flower pimps” to midcentury modern architecture, Click here for the strange and wondrous story of St. Johns Flower Market.

The Beerbower House: Prehistoric Avondale

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The house will ever be imbued with the story of its strange genesis. Casper and Ida ferried coquina to the woods where Riverside ended. When the president called Elsie “predestined to be a star and kissed [her] on the brow,” she told her mother, “You kiss me too. I may never be kissed in the White House again.” Then Tilly had occasion to chat with Lynn Beerbower, to find out “how small boys used to earn their pleasures.”