When downtown was the place to be

December 1, 2017 9 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Sixty years ago, the Northbank street scene was quite different from what one experiences today. During the 1950's Downtown Jacksonville was the epicenter of life on the First Coast.

During the 1950's, Jacksonville was Florida's second largest city with 204,517 residents.  With a population density of 6,772, Jacksonville was equal to or denser than cities such as Cincinnati, Seattle, Denver, and Portland and it was significantly larger than others such as Tampa, Orlando, Sacramento, Austin and Phoenix.

Downtown was a major banking and insurance center with companies like Barnett Bank, Atlantic National Bank, Florida National Bank, Prudential, Gulf Life, Afro-American Insurance, Independent Life and American Heritage Life all with major locations in the core.  This decade would also be the one where urban core growth reached its peak before feeling the effects of white flight, urban renewal, race riots, and suburban sprawl.

Photographs courtesy of the State Archives of Florida

 Intersection of Main & Monroe Streets

Intersection of Laura & Adams Streets

Intersection of Bay & Newnan Streets

Intersection of Adams & Hogan Streets

Duval County Courthouse on the St. Johns River

Intersection of Adams and Jefferson Streets

Intersection of Main and Forsyth Streets

Main Street Bridge, looking north

Bird's eye view of Forsyth Street

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