Downtown: The Hotels of an era gone byAugust 18, 2006 3 comments Print Article
In the early 20th century, downtown was Florida?s premier urban center. The Silent Film industry was booming, jazz and blues joints lined Ashley, the Jacksonville Terminal was the destination point to over 100 passenger trains a day, and Forsyth Street was the home to a large theater district.
There was so much activity that it even had its own red light district along Houston Street. With so many people in the city and no malls or expressways to disperse them, many grand hotels sprang up to serve those wishing to visit the area. Today, Metro Jacksonville takes a moment to share some photographs and brief descriptions of some of the city’s most famous hotels from yesteryear.
GEORGE WASHINGTON HOTEL
Located on the corner of Adams & Julia and constructed in 1925, the Hotel George Washington was the epicenter of the city’s cultural activities for nearly 50 years. In its heyday, the hotel housed a steak house, cocktail lounge, dance hall, barber shop, and a Rexell drugstore.
Famous guests included Charles Lindberg and the Beatles. The hotel eventually fell on hard times as the city’s growth shifted to the suburbs. It finally closed in 1971 and was torn down two years later. Today the site is the southeast corner of what will eventually become the new County Courthouse.
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