Tag Archives: Southern Gothic

Harry Crews’s Childhood Nightmare Northside

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The novelist Harry Crews chronicled how Jacksonville imported desperation from half the state of Georgia. It offered hope, but required human sacrifice. First coming to Jax when his stepfather-uncle aimed a rifle at his mother’s head, Harry lived in half a dozen houses across the Northside, all of which his family called “the Springfield Section.” When Harper Lee read Crews’s second novel, she said William Faulkner had come back to life.

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: Geodesica

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Here, Charles died in Drew’s arms. Here in the rotunda, at the bottom of the ocean, though Santa Monica demolished this amusement park the year I was born, it thrives. Gilbert Spindel drew up his “Roundhouse” blueprints and promoted them in newspapers across the country in 1956. This particular Geodesica served as “exhibit house” three years later. All the rest comes forward like tides, historical patterns, ghosts. “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio…”

The 500th Story

Lovett’s / Winn & Lovett / Winn-Dixie & my Grandfather

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“When I was a little girl,” my mother wrote, “before we had money, my father liked to tease me and loved to laugh.”

Architectural critics who saw the voluptuous curves of Art Deco as “effete” credited Art Moderne with streamlined manliness.

He gave her “strict instructions to be patient and not to wiggle at the window, or the birds wouldn’t come. So I followed his instructions and stood by the window, looking out, watching him, and I was very still.”

New Story: Bayard Antique Village / Beautyrest Cabins

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Reports of the death of Bayard Antique Village from the fire just before Halloween were greatly exaggerated.

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The old Beautyrest Cabins in the rural outpost of Bayard became Bayard Antique Village in 1967. Between one-room cabins on the Village’s one-lane road loop: stories of murderous sawmills, century-old ghosts of prostitutes, eyeball candy, not “eye candy,” and clowns.

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