This week Jacksonville will celebrate Christmas for the 182nd time. Here's four major Christmas traditions that don't happen anymore in a city that continues to change.
30' Christmas Tree in Hemming Park
Image of Downtown Council Manager Jean Cook and a smaller version of Hemming Park's tree in 1964. Image courtesy of the Jacksonville Public Library Special Collections Department.
Once upon a time, celebrating Christmas in Jacksonville meant decorating Hemming Park. Hemming Park displays once included tinsel arches over the park's eight entrances, a Nativity scene, and a 30-foot Christmas tree. Made of 48 garlands of aluminum tinsel and installed on the bandstand, the tree was dotted with 105 small bulbs and topped with an 18" ball.
According to Councilman Mack Cates during the 1960s, "We wanted to see if we couldn't have a downtown area so attractive it could be a little Rockefeller Center."