When Downtown Was The Place to Be

May 6, 2008 27 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Fifty years ago, the Northbank streetscene was quite different from what one would experience today. During the 1950's Downtown Jacksonville was the epicenter of life on the First Coast.

During the 1950's, Jacksonville was Florida's second largest city with 204,517 residents.  With a population density of 6,772, Jacksonville was equal to or denser than cities such as Cincinnati, Seattle, Denver, and Portland and it was significantly larger than others such as Tampa, Orlando, Sacramento, Austin and Phoenix.

Downtown was a major banking and insurance center with companies like Barnett Bank, Atlantic National Bank, Florida National Bank, Prudential, Gulf Life, Afro-American Insurance, Independent Life and American Heritage Life all with major locations in the core.  This decade would also be the one where urban core growth reached its peak before feeling the effects of white flight, urban renewal, race riots, and suburban sprawl.

 Intersection of Main & Monroe Streets

Intersection of Laura & Adams Streets

Intersection of Bay & Newnan Streets

Intersection of Adams & Hogan Streets

Duval County Courthouse on the St. Johns River

Intersection of Adams and Jefferson Streets

Intersection of Main and Forsyth Streets

Main Street Bridge, looking north

Bird's eye view of Forsyth Street

Richard Nixon at Hemming Park

Intersection of Adams and Hogan Streets

Intersection of Laura and Adams Streets

Intersection of Laura and Adams Streets

Intersection of Forsyth and Laura Streets

Lyndon B. Johnson at Hemming Plaza

Intersection of Forsyth and Main Streets

Aerial of massive railyards heading into the Jacksonville Terminal

Forsyth Street

Downtown riverfront

Intersection of Adams and Main Streets

Nightlife on Forsyth Street

Hemming Park from the intersection of Monroe and Hogan Streets

Bird's eye view of Hemming Park

An accident near the intersection of Main and Ashley Streets

Forsyth Street, looking west from Julia Street

Bird's eye view of the intersection of Bay and Laura Streets

Intersection of Main and Adams Streets

Forsyth Street, looking east towards Hogan Street

Article written by Ennis Davis