Jacksonville Historical Society: Twelve Worth Saving

May 22, 2012 30 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville shares the Jacksonville Historic Society's recently released a list of twelve significant endangered historical sites for 2012.

St. Johns River Ferry

In operation since at least 1948, the St. Johns River Ferry provides motorists a break from the traffic and saves 38 miles of driving using the alternative route to the other side.  The Ferry is endangered due to a half million or greater annual operating deficit, and the unwillingness of the State of Florida and/or the City of Jacksonville to maintain this vital transportation link.  Also a historic tourist attraction, the current vessel is named in honor of French Explorer Jean Ribault.

Haydon Burns Library
122 North Ocean Street

Built in 1965 on the site of the 1903 Jacksonville City Hall, the modern design replaced the 1905 Carnegie Library across the street. Local Architect Taylor Hardwick made a bold statement with the design of a library that served Jacksonville for forty years. The unique modern era structure could easily be adapted to a number of uses.

LaVilla “Shotgun” Houses
Intersection of N. Jefferson and W. Duval Streets

Built between 1890 and 1930, the LaVilla "Shotgun" houses are three survivors of a distinctive style stored for future restoration, yet rapidly deteriorating beyond economical repair. Working people lived in these practical one story homes in which one could shoot a shotgun straight down the long interior hallway and out the front door.

Seminole Club
400 North Hogan Street

Built in 1902-03, this was Jacksonville's oldest social club for men and the seventh oldest in the United States. Teddy Roosevelt made a campaign speech from the front porch. The privately owned, vacant building is across from Hemming Plaza, City Hall and the new U.S. Federal Courthouse.

Dr. Horace Drew Residence
Third and Silver Streets

The eclectic design of this 1909 structure borrows elements from the Tudor Revival, Queen Anne, and Spanish Colonial Revival styles. Its base is elevated more than adjacent residences, adding to the vertical projection of the multi-planed roofline, gables, and three-story tower. The composition is enriched by harmonious colors found in the gables with half-timbering over stucco, the clay tile roof, and concrete walls.

Annie Lytle School-Public School #4
1011 Peninsular Place

Built in 1917 at a cost of over $ 250,000 and originally known as Public School Number Four, it was renamed Annie Lytle School in honor of its former principal. Architect Rutledge Holmes designed a Neo-Classic portico that is now seen daily by motorists passing by on the three levels of the new I-10/I-95 Interchange.
Vandals frequently trespass inside the structure; drawn by rumors the building is haunted. They spray graffiti, and contribute to the deterioration of the building. The building remains structurally sound, and could be put to a number of uses.

Guaranty Trust and Savings Bank
101 East Bay Street

An excellent example of early twentieth-century bank architecture, the Guaranty Trust and Savings Bank incorporates the use of classical style to convey a sense of security and prosperity. The 1902 structure was skillfully doubled in size in 1919. The pressed grey Roman brick structure features limestone trim and finely detailed arches.
Known in recent years for its jaguar themed boarded-up windows, it points the way to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on game day. A collapsed roof has led to significant water damage to the structure. A demolition permit for the structure is allegedly being sought.

Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant
Wambolt Street at the St. Johns River

One of over 1,000 buildings designed for Henry Ford by Albert Kahn (no relation to Jaguars owner Shahid Kahn) , an internationally recognized industrial architect. The building may be seen when driving westbound over the Mathews Bridge and looking east near the north end of the bridge. The 200 foot wide by 800 foot long building was an assembly plant for Model-T Fords. In its heyday Ford employed 800 people at the plant, and built 200 cars per day.

Atlantic Coast Line Locomotive #1504
1100 Block of West Bay Street

This P-5 design, 4-6-2 wheel arrangement coal-burning steam engine was built by the American Locomotive Company in Richmond, Virginia. It spent most of its working life pulling passenger trains between Richmond and Jacksonville, and was capable of speeds of nearly eighty miles per hour. Retired in 1952, it has been on display outdoors for fifty years.
Designated in 1990 as a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, the engine survives in its original condition. Last refurbished in 1989, Number #1504 is rapidly deteriorating and should be restored and displayed indoors.

Barnett National Bank Building
112 West Adams Street

The design of the 1926 Barnett National Bank reflects the eclectic influences of commercial architectural styles of the 1920’s. At Eighteen stories, it remained the tallest building in Jacksonville for over 28 years.      A failed attempt at renovation has further damaged this historic building.

The Laure Street Trio

Bisbee Building
47 West Forsyth Street

Built in 1909, this ten-story reinforced concrete building was designed by H.J. Klutho. The Bisbee Building is an excellent example of the high-rise architectural concepts that were pioneered in Chicago. Jacksonville’s first “skyscraper” faces an uncertain future.

Florida Life Building
117 North Laura Street

This narrow eleven-story tower built in 1912 was and is Jacksonville’s purest expression of a “skyscraper”. The H.J. Klutho design featured terra-cotta ornamentation, much of it removed and in storage.  

Old Florida National Bank
51 West Forsyth Street

The entire façade of this 1902 Neo-Classical Revival style bank building is sheathed in marble. A 1916 modification added a spectacular skylight, later covered by a dropped ceiling. A 1978 restoration restored its 1916 splendor.  Thirty years later, “the Marble Bank” is in need of attention if it is to survive long into its second century.

Fire Station #5
347 Riverside Avenue

Built to accommodate two fire wagons, five horses and 14 firemen in 1910, Station #5 served Jacksonville for nearly one hundred years. A 2003 economic incentive package to lure a “Fortune 100” company to relocate nearby included the City of Jacksonville deeding the property to this company. The City retained the right to relocate #5, but has not seen fit to do so. The building that housed generations of firefighters, and was a “working” fire station as recently as 2008, is in danger of demolition.

Source: Jacksonville Historical Society