Tag Archives: downtown

Foto Friday

Did you know that Jacksonville once had a system of underground tunnels connecting the downtown Banks?

This immense vault is located under the Atlantic National Bank Building.

Vault

Jacksonville Fair

There’s something for everyone at the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair and Expo.  Livestock shows, exhibits, concerts, food and midway rides all offer family friendly entertainment.

Midway at the Jacksonville Fair

Midway at the Jacksonville Fair

Midway rides offer thrills and chills

Midway rides offer thrills and chills

The Fair runs through November 15th and is located in the sports complex downtown at the fairgrounds adjacent to Everbank football stadium.

Historic Springfield Tour Of Homes

154 East 4th Street in Historic Springfield

154 East 4th Street in Historic Springfield

The Springfield Historic District, located just North of downtown Jacksonville, was the living area for the wealthy and famous at the turn of the century.  But later, the area fell into disrepair and neglect, as families moved further away from town.

Thanks to an active group of urban pioneers, the community survived, and that sense of pride is strong as homeowners are restoring the historic homes and returning to live in the city.

154 West 5th Street

154 West 5th Street

Springfield is blessed with unique homes and architecture, plentiful parks, tree-lined streets and sidewalks, and proximity to Downtown amenities.  Each year, select homeowners open their homes for the tour.  This year marked the 37th year of the Historic Tour of Homes, and eight properties were featured.

Foto Friday – Wisdom

Wisdom” , a 25 ft bronze owl sculpture overlooks Hemming Plaza from its perch on the corner of the Jacksonville Downtown Library.  Created by Washington-based artist Larry Kirkland and installed in March 2005, the sculpture is part of Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places.

Library mascot

Foto Friday – Snyder Memorial Building

Snyder Memorial ChurchThe One Spark Event last week provided a rare opportunity to see the inside of the former Snyder Memorial Church, located in  downtown Jacksonville just across from Hemming Park.

Snyder Memorial Building Renovation is seeking funds to “Renovate, Re-purpose, and Renew” this beautiful, historic building.

 

As you can see, the interior is gorgeous with its hardwood floors and stained glass windows.  I hope there will be a way to bring this historic building and others downtown back to life!

Snyder Church interior

See a Performance at the Florida Theater

Jake Shimakuburo at the Florida TheaterThe downtown Florida Theater is one of Jacksonville’s treasures.  Built in 1927 as Jacksonville’s largest movie theater, this Mediterranean Revival style building is one of only four remaining movie “palaces” in Florida.  The main lobby is designed as a Moorish  courtyard, complete with glittering stars, balconies and fountains.  Longtime Jacksonville residents remember fondly hearing the Mighty Wurlitzer Opus 1569 pipe organ played at most events.

One of the most famous artists to perform at the Florida Theater was Elvis Presley in 1956.  It is said that Judge Court Judge Marian Gooding sat through the entire performance to make sure Elvis’s body movements were not too suggestive!

Interior of the Florida TheaterAs our population deserted downtown and moved to the suburbs, the Florida Theater fell into disrepair.  A major renovation in 1983 restored the building to its original splendor.  Sadly, the renovation did not include the Mighty Wurlitzer, now adorning  Grace Baptist church in Sarasota.

Today, the Florida Theater seats 1,900 and offers an incredible variety of over 200 events each year.  From Merle Haggard (country), to Pat Metheny (jazz), Beach Boys (60s rock), Jake Shimakuburo (ukulele), the Temptations (do-wop), magicians, Chinese acrobats, and more, there is truly something for everyone.  Check out their schedule at FloridaTheatre.com.

Gingerbread Extravaganza

A Gingerbread Extravaganza was recently held at the former St Andrews Church, now home to the Jacksonville Historical Society.  Here are some pictures of the event:

Historical St Andrews ChurchGingerbread Extravaganza

 

 

 

 

 

The meticulous detail given to each home was so impressive.  One of my favorites was a rendition of the former home of author Harriet Beecher Stowe, created by the Mandarin Historical Society.  This historical building is now the home of the Mandarin Community Club.  Note the Mandarin orange trees in the yard!

Gingerbread House

Cat Show this Weekend

Cat ShowFlorida Sun Cats is hosting a cat show this weekend,  January 17 – 19 at the Wyndham Jacksonville Riverwalk downtown.  More than 200 cats will be competing in 7 rings.   A cat show offers a wonderful opportunity to see and learn about many different breeds.  There are Bengals,  Sphinx, Ragdolls, Persians, Siamese, and more. There’s even a special category for  housecats!

Cat Show in Jacksonville, Florida

Lucas has brought his cat all the way from South Carolina to be in the show.

Vendors will have booths with cat-related items for sale.  And if all these kitties make you want to add a new member to your family, Lucky Cat Adoptions will be on hand with homeless cats and kittens seeking forever homes.

 

Hours are from 4:00 to 9:00 pm Friday and 9:00 am to 4:00pm Saturday and Sunday.  Admission is $6 for adults, and $5 for seniors, children and military. More information and photos are at FloridaSunCats.org.

Read a Good Book about Jacksonville’s Past

Freezing days – rare for our fair city and drizzly, rainy weather – not so unusual.  What better time to stay home and curl up with a good book!  Here are two that I have enjoyed recently:

Books about Jacksonville, FLDorothy Fletcher is a long-time Jacksonville resident, retired school teacher, Florida Times-Union columnist and  author.  Her books bring fond memories of our city back to life.

Remembering Jacksonville By the Wayside captures life in Jacksonville in the 50s and 60s; it includes letters and recollections from locals.  Lost Restaurants of Jacksonville highlights some of our finest restaurants that now exist only in memory.  Remember dining and dancing at the George Washington Hotel?  World-class entertainers at The Thunderbird?  Morrison’s Cafeteria downtown where there was “no waitin’ on the main floor”?

If you are younger or newer to our city, I believe you will find Dorothy Fletcher’s writing both interesting and entertaining.  If you’ve been here a while, as I have, these books will bring back fond memories long forgotten!

July 4th Weekend Activities

Happy July 4th!  There’s lots of activities, starting this evening.  Tonight, the River City Band Satin Swing will perform an outdoor patriotic concert in the Cummer Museum Gardens.  Bring a chair or blanket.  Admission is $10 for members; $20 non-members.  To make a reservation (required), call 904-899-6004.

This Saturday from 10-4, enjoy free Cummer admission, compliments of the Weaver family.  While you’re there, take a moment to walk next door to the Riverside Arts Market, or check out Community First Saturday downtown.

Family-friendly activities begin downtown at 4:00 July 4th at at Jacksonville Landing and continue along the Northbank and Southbank Riverwalks.  At 9:45 a spectacular fireworks show will light up downtown.  For more information, visit the City of Jacksonville website.

Fireworks also return to the beach! Stars and Stripes at the Seawalk feature fireworks and a free concert by Craig Campbell.  For more information, visit JacksonvilleBeach.org.