Downtown Frankenstein: Remembering the Past

December 6, 2015 6 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Before we move on to the future, we have to remember and learn from the past. While, we wait for Stephen Dare's next installment on this series, Metro Jacksonville takes a look at downtown scene we destroyed in the name of progress. This photograph was taken in the late 1930s on the corner of Main and Forsyth. This block has now been replaced with a metal parking garage. originally published in 2006.

Hemming Plaza during its heyday.  Instead of building a new pocket park on Main, maybe we should take a serious look at taking that money and restoring Hemming back to its original state.


This photo shows how dense downtown was, prior to the age of surface parking lots.


During the early half of the 20th century, May Cohens (now city hall) was the epicenter of Jacksonville's retail scene.


Interesection of Adams and Hogan in 1950.  What will it take to get back to this level of pedestrian activity?


Intersection of Adams and Laura in 1950. 


Main Street was once an actual "Main" commercial street through downtown.  Unfortunately, the 1971 Master Plan forever changed this scene, with the creation of the downtown Loop system.


Another shot of Forysth in 1938.  The building on the left is the Lynch Building, now known as 11 East.


Adams Street, in front of the Carling.  A couple of things you can't help but notice is the signage of individual businesses and customers on the street.  During this era, on street parking was free.


Bay Street during the 1920s.  Several highrise downtown hotels like the Mason, were destroyed as a result of an administration that valued parking lots over "blighted" historic fabric.  This unwise move has led us down a path we didn't want to go, while cities like Savannah and Charleston turned their downtowns into booming tourist districts, because they valued and preserved their history.