Tag Archives: Tim Gilmore

The Story of Lord Ranch, Old Kings Road

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People say the old meatpacking plant and farmhouse is haunted. Lavaughn Lord worked as hard in the slaughterhouse as Charlie and there was no ranch work her husband did that she wouldn’t do. It was, in part, the pain that drove them out to Old Kings Road. It seems strange that Charles, Jr. never knew the ranch that people associated with his family for 40 years.

Vote, 2020, against the Terrorist Tactics of 1920

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It’s been 100 years. Since women got the right to vote. Since Eartha White ran that registration drive. Since the Ku Klux Klan marched in intimidation parades all over Florida. Tiny Eartha White stood up against a terrorist giant. Klan members hid behind patriotism and appeals to “law and order.” Local newspapers wrote of the Klan with reverence and mystery. Across Florida, people died for wanting to vote. Across the United States, people wrote of what happened in Jacksonville. If you find yourself intimidated this election year, think of Eartha White. This story ends on an up note. Click below for it.

The Oldest House at Atlantic Beach: The Christopher / Bull / Hionides House

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It’s the oldest house at Atlantic Beach, its original owner’s “party house,” home to the family of the town’s first mayor for seven decades, to the Hionides family for three. Here the fate of black Manhattan Beach played out and the mysterious Jax blues musician Sugar Underwood played at dances. Inside, bright sunlight coruscates across golden heartwood pine. Outside, grandchildren run up from the ocean.

New Story: Community Loaves / Rosenberger House

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The Rosenberger House stands still, but its lives have circuited great distances. Now it’s the new home for Community Loaves. This old brick Murray Hill house would never have been built but for those immigrants from Germany and that Pittsburgh streetcar tragedy. Community Loaves would never have revived this former boarding house but for Meredith’s environmentalism and her “woofing” on farms across the ocean. From the Rosenbergers’ pets and “the best mouser in Murray Hill” to the best birthday cake in town, click here for the full story.

New Story: Casa Marina Hotel at Jacksonville Beach

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The other beach hotels all burned. Whichever presidents stayed here, and whether or not Jean Harlow and Al Capone did, the history of the Casa Marina at Jacksonville Beach includes an organ grinder and monkey, a vanished penthouse octagon bedroom, Victorian lace blouses and kolinsky furs. Here, Rachel and Dan shared wedding vows with their six year old son, a thousand ambitious business plans expanded and deflated, and the old building’s savior had his ashes spread into the ocean by surfboard.

Wesley Plott’s Downtown Bottlescape

The Purple Petunia Goes Postmodern

New Story: Three Oaks Plaza, FBI Headquarters, Offshore Power Systems

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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.

Springfield’s Florence Court Apartments

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Cyara likes to imagine herself “Queen Florence.” More than a century before, the builder of the Florence Court named these apartments for his wife. On the sidewalk, you’d buy linen spats and a ham and beef tongue sandwich. So why was the architect’s name an open secret for 50 years? Mushrooms grow downward from ceilings. This building’s declined almost all its life. Who’s ready to step forward and save it?