Tag Archives: Wayne Wood

The Autobiography of the San Juline

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The story of the San Juline Apartments includes artists, historians and Congressmen; social introductions, deaths and secret loves. A great old building has a dense life story. The speaking tubes are still in the walls and on certain nights, perhaps the spectral tour buses from a century ago still make stops from the grand downtown hotels. 

New Story: Part Two–River House Apartments/Riverside House/Rochester House

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The only remaining hotel from when Jax was “Winter City in Summer Land,” it survives because it shipped on a barge up the river. The nephew of Walter Percy, the great Southern novelist, a cardiologist, has called the old hotel home for 40 years. Few neighbors have spoken with him, but they hear him play the piano. If this house played some small part in Mary Todd Lincoln’s losing her mind, Rachel recalls it as the house of love, art, warmth and creativity. 

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.

Mediterranean Southern Gothic

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It’s a Mediterranean yet Southern Gothic masterpiece set beside Little Pottsburg Creek. Drivers on Atlantic Boulevard have wondered at the house for decades. The legends proliferate.

It was Harry Moyer who made this 1920s architectural gem a true work of art. He drenched the original design in his masterful tilework. The house has survived decline before, but it needs you now more than ever.

The Barnett National Bank Building, Its Deep Roots and Tendrils through Time

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It was “the Year of the Skyscraper.” The 10 story building next door began to tilt. Alfred duPont raised Florida from the Great Depression, merely from infusions of his personal wealth. When Barnett began the Bank of Jacksonville in 1877, he couldn’t have known it would grow into one of the largest banks in the South. After Herbert Hoover, Alfred’s wife, Jessie Ball duPont, changed direction. Her hair was graying, but her eyes still sparkled.

Barnett’s personification of its first Automatic Teller Machine frightened Southern working class families. Charles Rice said he’d never sell “Bion Barnett’s bank.” Then he checked into rehab. Then he sold. Then he drowned in his own swimming pool. Now UNF is making the Barnett “the front door to the startup community in Jacksonville.”

Two Centuries of Creativity: William Morgan, McMurray Livery

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A complete architectural vision would seem to have assembled itself overnight. In William Morgan’s architectural offices, in the old livery and stables he’d renovated downtown, he drafted designs for homes and headquarters where Isaiah David Hart, the founder of the city, built his own first home.

There was a fire in 1850. There were fires in the Civil War. The Great Fire of 1901 was the third largest urban fire in United States history. In 2012, artist and photographer Tiffany Manning smelled smoke in her studio above where a blacksmith’s shop had stood 100 years before. Firefighters said if she hadn’t been there, the building would have burned down. She writes with light.

Where the Jacksonville Woman’s Club Stood

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It’s not a “demolition,” they say. It’s a “salvage.” Either way, the Jacksonville Woman’s Club building is gone. Causes seen as primarily “women’s” have encountered the same contradictory status of being both exalted and discounted that women themselves have historically experienced. The “Woman’s Club

Movement” owns an important place in the history of feminism, leading even to #metoo. The headline declaimed, “Quadruple Amputee to Get Degree and Bride this Week.” Mellen Greeley, the architect who built the Woman’s Club building, “said the secret to living a long life was being a peaceful person.” My daugthers will always identify by their own names. They’ll never be Mrs. Somebody-Else.

In the Heart of Riverside: JaxbyJax V and the Martha Washington

This Saturday, 10/13, JaxbyJax V, the fifth annual JaxbyJax Literary Arts Festival, takes place in 12 intimate venues around Park and King Streets in Riverside. See the event schedule and this year’s writers at www.jaxbyjax.com.

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So the folks hard at work deep in the bowels of the JaxPsychoGeo Detective Agency (!) thought this week’s post should concern that geographic center of Jacksonville’s Riverside Avondale, the largest historic district in Florida. 

Here, then, is an archived JaxPsychoGeo story from 2016 about the Martha Washington Hotel. Demolition had begun. Wayne Wood called the saving of the Martha Washington the most dramatic victory in Riverside Avondale Preservation’s history. The old building has lived many lives–those of Southern aristocrats, World War II servicemen, indigent elderly women, and 21st century hipsters. It has much more living to do.

Five Points’ Pioneer Funk: Edge City

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Edge City has inhabited 1017 Park Street for 43 years, and Gunnel Humphreys for 41. Pizza Italian at 1053 Park Street has operated for 41 years too, but Gunnel laughs that she and Tom were here first—by three or four months.

New Story: Brooklyn: The Last Buffalo Soldier’s House

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Twice during the Civil War, black Union soldiers occupied Confederate Jacksonville.

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Confederate veteran Miles Price platted this former plantation into lots and sold them to former slaves and Buffalo Soldiers.

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“A house can be boarded up for years,” Paul says, “and it seems uninhabitable. But all you have to do is live in the house and it returns to its human-shaped life.”