Author Topic: Then and Now - Progress in Downtown Jacksonville  (Read 10770 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Then and Now - Progress in Downtown Jacksonville
« on: May 10, 2007, 12:00:00 AM »
Then and Now - Progress in Downtown Jacksonville



Preserving history - such a simple concept, apparently so difficult to execute.When a historic building is demolished, some people say,  That's progress .  Yes, that's true, but is all progress good?   Progress  has shown us that it is possible to see the horizon from parts of LaVilla.   Progress  has shown us that it's silly to maintain an older building that one might own, when it's much more cost effective to dynamite it and plant grass. Most importantly,  Progress  has shown us that while people might like looking at older buildings, they would much rather park on it's foundation.Today, MetroJacksonville.com takes a look at some of the  Progress  that we have made over the last 30 years.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/396

mtraininjax

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Original city hall and old post office
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2007, 06:12:46 AM »
Where are they in your diatribe? The original city hall is located where the old library sits, 122 N Ocean. It was fashioned after all of the old county city hall/courthouses, with entry points at all 4 corners of the site. A beautiful building, demolished in the 50s to make way for the library, which I am thankful we still have, at least! The old post office on Forsyth was unlike any building, was more like a lighthouse in its tall composition. Now it too is gone, replaced by a "bank building".

Downtown only falls down because people have left the core. Imagine the number of buildings that would fall in Chicago or New York City if people moved out of the city to the suburbs in mass droves. But the opposite may be said about Atlanta, where historic buildings have been kept in the downtown area and incorporated into the new development. It all depends on the mindset of the particular city. So far, our city has shown tolerance for demolishing and rebuilding. We will need more than letter writing to save old buildings, if we are to change our ways in Jacksonville.

thelakelander

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Jax demolition derby mentality
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2007, 07:12:50 AM »
Great before and after shots.  It is true that sometimes "progress" can be a bad thing.

Post Office (once stood on the corner of Forsyth & Hogan)


Post Office (coming down for Furghgotts Department Store on Adams & Hogan)


Old City Hall Building (demolished for the Haydon Burns)


Haydon Burns Library (shortly after it opened in the late 60s)



Mtraininjax, interesting enough, people did leave the heart of places, like Chicago in droves, just as fast as they left inner city Jax.  Yet, the difference is we continue to have a mentality that demolishes structures, not for new buildings, but for surface parking lots.  That act negatively affects the public tax dollar push to revitalize the core, because the lots are pockets of visual blight that must be overcome if you really want people walking around and enjoying the core.

I agree that to change things, you'll need to do more than writing letters.  So what would you suggest?  A change in policy, like banning surface parking lots in the heart of the core?  Or forming an official historic district in areas of downtown, that still has a high concentration of them?  Please elaborate.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

JJ

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Old Post Office
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2007, 09:12:02 AM »
Out of all of the buildings that have come down, the old Post Office hurts the most. Imagine what could have been.  :(

Steve

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mtraininjax
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2007, 09:28:10 AM »
The reason I left the buildings you mentioned out was because of the fact that I included buildings that were either replaced with vacant/surface parking, or in a few cases, a hideous parking garage.

Obviously, I could have shown damn near every block of LaVilla, but I think with the five above, you get the point.

John Almland

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What to do?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2007, 09:46:16 AM »
My experience has been that real reward rarely comes without real risk. Find a project you are passionate about and go all in. You don't have to be a millionaire to effect change downtown. That's one of the great things about Jacksonville right now. Anyone with a vision can do it. 13 minute productions is proving that.

I don't think there is anything wrong with writing letters either. Keeping those who a more concerned with the bottom line than Jacksonville in check is everyone's duty. This way we don't end up with another Berkman plaza or jail downtown.

Daniel

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(No subject)
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2007, 09:54:34 AM »
Man, whatever happened to bold architecture, like the old post office? The thing is, all these buidligns seem to be replaced by bland, or even downright ugly substitues. It is a shame.

JJ

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Bold Architecture??
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2007, 10:09:02 AM »
What happened to the bold architecture? It was torn down and replaced with garbage. This city has been run by people with zero vision for many, many years. The current occupant at city hall is a man-boy without a clue. He want ferris wheels, hot dogs and water slides. Other cities give incentives for people to move to the core. Our city allows companies to tear down old buildings and build parking lots.

vicupstate

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The bleeding needs to stop ...
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2007, 10:26:45 AM »
Quote

My experience has been that real reward rarely comes without real risk. Find a project you are passionate about and go all in. You don't have to be a millionaire to effect change downtown. That's one of the great things about Jacksonville right now. Anyone with a vision can do it. 13 minute productions is proving that.


The problem is, for me to invest my limited resources, and take on considerable risk, I need to see evidence that the community and it's leadership 'gets it'.  Fortunately, the grass roots do, but no one above that level does.

I don't want to put my ass on the line to ADD to the urban fabric, when the city and the supposed 'pillars' of the community are three blocks away SUBTRACTING from the urban fabric.    

There has to be an  understanding of what needs to be accomplished.  There has to be a vision.  And most of all, there has to be the intestinal fortitude to make the hard decisons required to bring it about.  I can 'pretty up' my little corner of the core, but I can't prevent someone else with far deeper pockets and influence from underming that which I (and many others) are trying to accomplish.  That is were DVI, JEDC, the Historical Commission, DRC, the City Council and the Mayor all come in.  They have to be on board, and understand that getting DT to where it needs to be ,is going to mean saying NO sometimes.    
"The problem with quotes on the internet is you can never be certain they're authentic." - Abraham Lincoln

thelakelander

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Bold Architecture? Want to see more?
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2007, 10:42:29 AM »
Downtown aerial before parking became king

In an atmosphere like that, there's bound to be a few well designed structures...right.


Duval County Courthouse - torn down for the parking garage on the corner of Forysth & Market

By the way, the midrise prairie school building in the background was also torn down for the same garage.  Only the old Courthouse Annex remains in the middle of the block.

Drew Company - this block came down for One Independent Square (MODIS)

The Lionheads from this building remain on the corner of Main and Bay.

Board of Trade Building / Main Street - entire building fabric has been replaced by garages and surface lots


Main Street in its last years as a place with pedestrians and buildings lining it.


St Charles Avenue in New Orleans?  No this is Main Street, near Confederate Park in 1904


Don't let anyone tell you..."Jax didn't develop the way that places like Savannah, Charleston or New Orleans did".  The major difference between architecturally rich places like that and Jax is that we discovered how to use dynamite. :'(

While groups like Urban South, Main Branch and 13 Minute Productions are great, their infill projects are only as successful as the neighborhoods and surrounding urban context they're being integrated into.  Until we figure out a way to stop the loss of unique urban building fabric (even if the spaces are vacant) for inferior designed architectural projects or blighted uses, such as parking lots (all the shrubs in the world don't change the fact its a parking lot), then it won't really matter what specific projects rise in sea of waste.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

JJ

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Lakelander..stop!
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2007, 10:47:31 AM »
You are literally making me cry. This is so sad. You would think we were talking about Rome or Alexandria. This isn't ancient history. Those structures were up and functional in my grandparents and parents lifetimes. If even half of those structures had been saved and main street still looked like that, Jacksonville might still have , you know CHARM!

Lunican

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beware
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2007, 11:00:16 AM »
Some of the same people that are responsible for all of this are still pulling the strings. They blame it on the fact that people left the core of the city many years ago. Now, people are actively trying to return and they are doing the same crap.

Part of the current problem is that the City Council, which is uneducated and not qualified to do pretty much anything, keeps overruling the people that are supposed to be the professionals on the subject.

If the city council is not going to heed the advice of the Planning Department and Historic Commission, why do they even exist?

The city council is making decision that they are in no way qualified to make.

thelakelander

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Its not to late, but we really need to wake up and take a stand
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2007, 11:07:54 AM »


Although still in the process of being raped of the treasures it was once loaded with, the core, although on life support, still has pockets that retain their charm.  We've already lost enough, that will have to be replaced with infill development.  When will we get on board, protect what's left, get off the treadmill and really move forward?
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Lunican

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it's JEA's fault
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2007, 11:20:29 AM »
They need to stop adding stupid to the water supply.

Ocklawaha

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NEANDERTHAL LEADERSHIP!
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2007, 12:06:12 PM »
I would offer that part of the solution to the ever
expanding parking lots is to buy a sign for each city
officials desk. It would read:

"IT'S MASS TRANSIT STUPID!"

Maybe, just maybe, someone would get the idea. By the
way, we left off the old Streetcar Barns in Riverside
which "HAD TO BE TORN DOWN FOR THE BRIDGE APPROACH"
then the bridge approach completely missed the oldest
part of the lot! Me suspects it was torn down for the
purposes of NOT building a historic trolley, long
before any other City even thought of the idea... Of
course our leaders don't lead they follow, so when
Orange Park, Baldwin, St. Augustine, Fernandina Beach,
and Callahan all have Heritage Trolley lines, then,
and only then will we "NEED" one.

http://www.familyoldphotos.com/5c/images/apr5/FLjacksonvilledepot3.jpg
Original Union Station

Another area of mass destruction is Union Station,
where we tore out everything but the 1919 building,
the tracks, platforms and subways for a Convention
Center that we now can't use! Oh and that older
portion of the Terminal on Bay, we let some fool store
paint chemicals in there until a hobo set it on fire.
North of the Station, there is an early Version of
Fairfield, where we plowed up every building in site.
Do trolleys count too? They also tore up that
beautiful old Turtleback Streetcar just West of the
viaduct off Beaver Street! Two more off St. Augustine
Road near University too. IDIOTS one and all.

HELL BELOW, WE'RE ALL GONNA GO
By Curtis Mayfield
But they don't know
There can be no show
And there's Hell below
We're all gonna go

Lord, what we're gonna do
Tell me what we're gonna do
If everything I say is true
This ain't no way it oughta be
If only all the mass could see

But they keep talking 'bout don't worry
They say don't worry
They say don't worry
They say don't worry

Our officials (Alley-Oop, the Mayor, and Ogg the JTA
director) have made a career of filming GEICO
COMMERCIALS for television, but it's time these damn
Neanderthals pulled their heads out into the Sunshine.

Ocklawaha >:(