Hogans House, Downtown

by Tim Gilmore, 6/17/2012

Lewis and Maria took down the longleaf pines and the massive oak and the palmetto scrub, and they put up the house. They moved into it just before Christmas. Lewis cleared a field at the east of the house and planted it with everything he had at hand to sustain themselves and to sell left over. He put up a fence at the edge of the crops, the other side of which was swamp. The swamp became Laura Street. The log cabin Lewis Zachariah and Maria Hogans built in 1816 on the northwest corner of Hogan and Forsyth Streets was the first house built in what would become Jacksonville’s city limits. The cabin lasted for about 40 years, until a wood frame house replaced it before the Civil War. Hogans himself lasted another 21 years until he was killed down the river somewhere in one of the Seminole wars. The old Hogans well lasted almost 100 years, became a landmark from the settlers. In 1875, a three-story brick hotel called the Nichols

photo courtesy Jacksonville Historical Society

House went up on the site, changed its name to the Duval Hotel, and burned to the ground in 1892. All the guests were evacuated and no one was hurt. A new Duval Hotel was built in 1893 and the Great Fire of 1901 missed it by one city block. The Duval was a wide wooden hotel decked with

photo courtesy Jacksonville Historical Society

two stories of sweeping verandas trimmed in gingerbread filigree on both street fronts. It stood across the street from the Post Office Tower. What stands there now is a parking garage surrounded with yellow wire mesh over a ground-floor copy center. The building bears the misnomer “Center Square at Forsyth.”