10 of Jax's Most Endangered Historic Places

December 10, 2015 19 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

9. American Motor Exports Company

Once dominated with a 370-foot-long clerestory, all windows have been removed.

The American Motors Export Company was a short lived automobile assembly plant in Durkeeville. American Motors opened at 801 West 15th Street in 1921 to manufacture the Innes Automobile.  The Innes was an American Automobile built in 1921 by Henry L. Innes in Jacksonville, Florida. It was an attempted revival of the Simms automobile made in Atlanta, GA only in 1920. Henry L. Innes was production manager for The Simms Motor Car Co.  As the company name implied, the Innes was intended mainly for export.  The Innes was an assembled car meaning all parts were purchased elsewhere and assembled in Jacksonville.  Unfortunately, no more than 6 automobiles were built when Henry L. Innes died suddenly at the age of 46.

Between 1980 to 2010, Wood Treaters pressure treated utility poles, pilings, heavy timber, and plywood products using the wood treating preservative chromated copper arsenate (CCA).  Wood was pressure treated with CCA and allowed to drip dry on site. Around the time arsenic contamination had been discovered Wood Treaters, LLC. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Now 90 years old, in poor physical condition and labled as an contaminated EPA site, this historic property faces an uncertain future.

10. Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce Building
404 North Julia Street

While the Ambassador Hotel is the major focus of this block, its next door neighbor is a beauty that has been altered beyond recognition.  Completed in 1927, this Mediterranean Revival structure was the home of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and then the Merck Drug Company before its facade was radically altered by the Marine National Bank in 1957. Of interesting note, in 2001, First Alliance Bank purchased Marine National Bank. Two years later, it acquired EverBank, an online bank with $250 million in deposits at the time. The company later adopted the EverBank name and the rest is history. While EverBank has gone on the bigger things, the old Chamber of Commerce building has become a poster child of Northbank despair.

The original facade of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce building at the intersection of Julia and Duval Streets.

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at edavis@moderncities.com

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