Our History Disappearing Right Before Our Eyes

May 20, 2013 63 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

One by one, elements of Jacksonville's history and cultural heritage continue to disappear. Here's a look at three properties currently facing the wrath of the wrecking ball.

1. The Thomas Myers Residence
1481 West 6th Street
Neighborhood: Durkeeville

1481 West 6th Street was the residence of Thomas F. Myers. Thomas was a switchman employed at the nearby Jacksonville Terminal. Thomas built this house for his bride Nannie. An example of early 20th century black folk art, the 1,900 square foot house is completely embellished with hand-carved trim.  In contrast to fine art, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic.

According to Lynette Myers, "Grandpa carved his finger prints to remind everyone that this was his house." This structure is much more than the remaining legacy of the Myers family.  It represents the early 20th century growth of an urban black middle class community during an era where black's were restricted from living in certain areas of Jacksonville.  This neighborhood's cultural history dies with each random structure code enforcement demolishes against the owner's will with taxpayer funds.

The house has already been awarded to a demolition contractor for $8,600, despite the family's wishes to mothball the structure and restore it in the future.  In a last minute effort to help the family and preserve a piece of Jacksonville's disrespected black history, the house will be considered for landmark status at this week's Historic Preservation Commission meeting.

NEXT: The Zora Neale Hurston Residence

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