Tag Archives: Robert Broward

The Life and Multiple Deaths of the Drew Building

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The story of the building at 45 West Bay Street concerns a bear, Jacksonville’s first bookstore, Ottis Toole, the tragic deaths of construction workers, multiple demolition plans, the ghost of a third floor and the love of an architect who refused to let this building die. Now Urban Grind Coffee, Folio Weekly and other businesses call the Drew Building home. Click below for the story.

New Story: Thomas Porter House

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Last week’s JaxPsychoGeo story was about a crossroads once the most prestigious in the city. This week’s story centers on the one house that remains. Its future is uncertain. Half a century ago, Bess Porter Keely remembered what it was like, half a century before, to get married in her childhood home.

The Crossroads: One House Still Stands

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It was the most prestigious crossroads in the city. Two senators lived here. Anna Fletcher said her house was haunted, that a grandfather clock had thrown itself upon a young woman. She wrote about it in her 1929 book Death Unveiled. Now only the Porter House remains. Click below for the full story.

Black Masonic Temple

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What these walls have seen! Architects Mark and Sheftall began their own firm in 1912 and with a commission for the grandest building in black Jacksonville. The Black Masonic Temple formed the brick foundation of the black community.

Princess Laura Adorkor Kofi preached her “back to Africa” message here in the 1920s. Future Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Leander Shaw had his offices here in the 1960s. And the tunnels beneath Broad Street would offer protection if Florida’s massacres of black communities at Ocoee, Perry, and Rosewood should spread to Jacksonville. 

Craig Creek: From River Oaks to Oriental Gardens to Jax Ghats

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Craig Creek floods herons and frogs and oak roots. William Craig prepared to lead his army for the Republic of East Florida against the Spanish Empire. “Oriental Gardens” overflowed from George W. Clark’s Riverside residence across the St. Johns River to just south of San Marco.

The cypress trees along Craig Creek rise yet, love letters still molder in a particular attic, and the gardens still descend stone steps, Jax ghats, into the ancient river.