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Urban Parks: Hemming Plaza

Located at 135 Monroe Street West, the 1.54 acre Hemming Plaza is the oldest public park in Jacksonville.

Published July 1, 2008 in Neighborhoods      9 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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Hemming Plaza is located across from City Hall in the heart of downtown Jacksonville. First established as a public square by the City’s founder Isaiah D. Hart around 1857, it is Jacksonville’s oldest park. Known first as City Park and then St. James Park, it was renamed Hemming Park in 1899 to honor Civil War veteran Charles C. Hemming, who donated the park’s Confederate monument (the City’s oldest and tallest) the previous year.

At various times the park contained bandstands, fountains, comfort stations, and Tourist and Convention Bureau buildings, along with many beautiful trees. In 1978, the City converted the park into a brick-paved plaza, and completed additional work in 1986 that transformed the area into a single-level, pedestrian-oriented mall. Due to its centralized location, the plaza has long been a part of the downtown experiences for both tourists and local citizens.

 

Hemming Plaza: Images From The Past







 





 

 

 Axe Handle Saturday - August 27, 1960





1960 was the year of the lunch counter sit-in. Determined to break the rule of Jim Crow custom that prevented them from using the same water fountains or rest rooms or restaurants as white folk, blacks began staging nonviolent protests at lunch counters in various Southern cities.

In Jacksonville, two weeks of sit-ins climaxed on Saturday, Aug. 27, when the Ku Klux Klan chose to invade the heart of the city armed with clubs.

Most of the kids found sanctuary in the Historic Snyder Memorial, then a Methodist church. The cops didn't move in until a gang of black youths who called themselves the Boomerangs counterattacked, Yates said.

As it turned out, some good may have come of Axe Handle Saturday. Yates said it was a turning point that "good people who had sat on the sidelines, got involved" in the Civil Rights movement.


Source: www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/082400/enc_3872835.html

 

 

Hemming Plaza: Today













 



 





















 

Hemming Plaza is located in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville on the block bounded by Laura, Duval, Hogan and Monroe Streets.








9 Comments

gradco2004

July 01, 2008, 09:31:39 AM
Wow! We actually look like a city with a beating heart.

Jason

July 01, 2008, 02:20:34 PM
Ditto that.

Great photo tour.

Coolyfett

July 01, 2008, 04:22:29 PM
Good Stuff!!! Man that Civil War Statue has seen ALOT!!! Fires, Riots, Presidents, you name it.

comncense

July 02, 2008, 03:06:21 PM
It's a shame that in the "Hemming Plaza Now" pictures, the only reason it seems alive there is because of that Thursday "Make a Scene Downtown" thing. Now that that event has moved to a different location, I'm sure it'll go back to being overrun with the homeless and the once a month traffic from Art Walk. It's depressing that the city doesn't actively use Hemming Plaza more.

BridgeTroll

July 02, 2008, 03:18:32 PM
Every Friday afternoon there are vendors selling food, a farmers market, and sometimes music...

roninvirginia

November 20, 2009, 12:19:24 PM
There used to be a booth on one corner where you went to purchase bus tokens. They were metal, about the size of a quarter. Then they went to thick paper, sold in long strings. As children, we rode the city bus to and from school, Englewood Elementary, each day. It was a monthly trip that we took downtown to purchase the tokens.

Tom Joad

March 06, 2010, 05:38:33 PM

Ocklawaha

March 06, 2010, 07:06:55 PM
There used to be a booth on one corner where you went to purchase bus tokens. They were metal, about the size of a quarter. Then they went to thick paper, sold in long strings. As children, we rode the city bus to and from school, Englewood Elementary, each day. It was a monthly trip that we took downtown to purchase the tokens.

YES! I remember that! I have some of those tokens, mine are closer to a dime in size and each is stamped "City Coach Lines". They are silver, with a high content of tin? to prevent them from tarnishing. We MJ types ought to keep our eyes open for ANY Florida-Georgia tokens. Tokens are cheap to purchase and collect but hard to find, they really should have a place in our Streetcar Museum. Shall I charge us with their capture, preservation and future loan for display?

CCL was the company that took over after Motor Transit Went "bust". It's really funny because the whole let's sell out the streetcars and replace them with "modern" flexible buses concept was built on their economy of operation. In every single case, in over 60 American Cities, the companies "Failed" and were hocked off to the public transit authorities. Of course the bus, tire, fuel, and highway divisions of the parent companies kept right on selling their goods to the municipal public, LONG after the "economical" operating arm of the same culprits vanished and left all 60+ of us holding the keys.

Anyone interested in this convoluted family tree it starts with:

General Motors, Firestone, Standard Oil, Phillips Petroleum and Greyhound Lines are the root or "Owners".
National City Lines, is the jointly held mass transit holding company.
Motor Transit Company, is the company held by NCL as an operating division (one of several)
City Coach Lines, is a "lesser owned" operating arm that appeared after the government sued for destruction of rail infrastructure, and jailed a handful of conspirators.


OCKLAWAHA

Ocklawaha

March 06, 2010, 07:59:00 PM
Does anyone else remember the old New York style news stand? I can't put a finger on where it was, but I remember looking at the apparent disorganized array of news papers.

OCKLAWAHA
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