Tag Archives: Tim Gilmore

The Evolution of Broward’s Butterfly House

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When Robert Broward designed his famous Mid-Century Modern “Butterfly House” in 1957, he used rainwater and sunlight as materials. In the early ’60s, Fred Nachman added pecky cypress and clad the house in Gothic iron. When Kathryn Stater purchased it in 2016, it was on the verge of demolition. Now it’s more itself than it’s ever been.

The Story of Storyland U.S.A.

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More than a decade before Disney came to Florida, Storyland U.S.A. occupied 10 acres along the Arlington Expressway, featuring static exhibits of nursery rhymes along dirt trails. Storyland didn’t last long, but it influenced Marc Suttle’s earliest remembered dreams and Cheryl Joseph can still see the witch from Hansel and Gretel. 

Senator John Mathews and the Bridge to Nowhere

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When the Mathews Bridge was new, it was “the Bridge to Nowhere,” but it heralded the growth of Arlington east of the river and Downtown Jax. The city painted it “garnet” to celebrate its United States Football League team in 1984. It was named for the Florida senator best known for his proposed legislation to limit black voting rights. Opposing those bills got Harry T. Moore and his wife killed on their 25th anniversary.

From Warhol’s Factory to Babs’ Lab

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It’s the story of her open-heart surgery, how Barbara Colaciello opened her heart and built Jax a stage there. She moved from Factory to Lab, from that most famous art scene in America, Andy Warhol’s NY, to creating Babs’ Lab in NE FL. Here’s what happens now at this cultural crossroads.

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.

the Robert Burns Monument in Springfield Park

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So why is there a monument to the Scottish national poet, Robert Burns, in Springfield Park, in the middle of Jax? It was the last of many such monuments placed around the country. And how is Rabbie Burns’s fandom different from that of Sir Walter Scott, whom Mark Twain blamed for the American Civil War?

The Graveyard by the Front Porch on West 17th Street

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The cemetery lies in the front yard. The side of the house faces the street. The earliest grave is from 1879. The farmland that Elder Eugene Lindsley once fertilized with ash from the city crematorium is gone. So is the Adventist church. Who lies in three of the 10 graves beneath the ancient oak, no one knows.

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!

The Hidden House, by Ted Pappas, a Mediterranean Revival Revival

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This house hidden behind a house on the river, is both classical and contemporary. Ted Pappas designed it when he was restoring the Mediterranean Revival mansion called Epping Forest. Indeed, you could call this house Mediterranean Revival Revival. Its current occupant must go unnamed. He does not speak into his shoe, though he did once have a STU-III.

When the City Dumped Sewage Sludge on the Regency Dunes

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National headlines announced fecal matter raining across the city. Sewage lines collapsed without being replaced. Treatment facilities were overwhelmed. Tankers dumped sewage sludge on the sand dunes behind Regency Square Mall where kids had jumped their dune buggies and dads shot World War II rifles. The mayor jumped into the sludge wars.