Some say, Jacksonville is a diamond that wants to remain coal. What would it be like if Jacksonville were a city that didn't have such apathy for itself... led by people who acknowledged its achievements?
Here are a few things that possibly would have happened in New York, Rome, London Paris, Seattle, or San Francisco if the leaders that made them into Great Cities had been given our city and history.
The George Washington Hotel on Adams Street, would be the premier boutique hotel in downtown, instead of the surface parking lot it is today.
There would be a giant statue of Don Estridge, the creator of the IBM personal computer and the father of the idea of Open Source code. His product literally changed the planet in profound ways, he was a Jacksonville Native and a graduate of Bishop Kenny. There would be high schools and programs named after him. Every schoolchild in Jacksonville would know his name.
There would be a massive scholarship for theoretical physics and Science named after Jacksonville's son, John Archibald Wheeler, the physicist who coined the term 'Black Hole" and Worm Hole" and who guided an entire generation of some of the most brilliant minds in physics that America has ever known. There would be an institute named after him, and a wing of a local university.
The Southern Music Hall of Fame would be open and full to capacity somewhere in downtown. Molly Hatchet, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers would have exhibits there and all the music aficionados would know a history of the Southern music and the Jacksonville music scene.
A statue of Ray Charles would stand in the perfectly preserved and popular bar where he first played soul piano and blues in the South.
There would be another museum of Black Film commemorating the achievements of black filmmakers here in Jacksonville.
Peterbrookes, The Loop Pizza and Firehouse Subs would all have gigantic headquarters in the center of town that rivaled the marooned Cruise Ship of a Building that Preston Haskell's company erected to itself on Riverside Avenue. There would be standing lines for tours of Sally Industries.
Al Letson would have his own broadcast show and Jake Godbold would have a cookbook.