Author Topic: When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be  (Read 9043 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be
« on: March 29, 2013, 03:23:46 AM »
When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be



During the mid-20th century, the Northbank street scene was quite different from what one would experience today. During the 1950's Downtown Jacksonville was the epicenter of life on the First Coast.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2013-mar-when-downtown-jacksonville-was-the-place-to-be

Starbuck

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Re: When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2013, 10:34:27 AM »
Wow. There used to really be a town here.

Too bad that "they" decided to kill it off.

Flcookie

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Re: When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2013, 10:45:18 AM »
I moved to Jacksonville in 1955 at age 18, and loved it.  Retired and left Jax in 1992.  I hardly recognize the
place when I go back.  Have many fond memories, married there, saw Elvis several times, and enjoyed
a nice job and good retirement.  Jax was very good to my husband and I...
Thanks for the memories....

tlemans

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Re: When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2013, 02:03:06 PM »
I am not from Jacksonville. I am from central Florida. It seems like Jacksonville was headed towards becoming more of a metropolitan area than it is today. Can someone explain to me what happened? How could Tampa and Orlando outgrow Jax? Please give me the details.

sheclown

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Re: When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2013, 10:00:49 AM »
I live in a the midst of a disaster flick -- aftermath of the alien invasion.  Can the survivors rebuild?  Where's Stallone?

ladypoimen

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Re: When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2013, 11:24:29 AM »
Why are there only pictures of 'white areas' of downtown Jacksonville in the 50s'? I notice there is not one picture of Ashley Street or of any of the black areas of downtown Jacksonville. Racism was and is so deeply inbedded in Jacksonville that blacks are omitted from a lot of Jacksonville history except of course negative portrails of blacks. Blacks in the 50s' worked hard and prospered in spite of segregation and 'jim crow' laws and attitutes that continue in the hearts and minds of whites and other ethnic groups today.

thelakelander

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Re: When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2013, 12:12:37 PM »
This article was put together to show building density and activity in the heart of the central business district during its heyday. Personally, I didn't even notice the color of people until it was just mentioned. Nevertheless, we have photo threads and history tours of just about every neighborhood in urban Jax on this site. LaVilla was one of the most interesting communities in town, when it was around, however it was its own neighborhood and deserves its own threads (which we have several).
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Ocklawaha

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Re: When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2013, 06:34:15 PM »

I've got to confess in spite of an almost eternal optimism, I was in a state of shock when I came back here from my Andean perch. 'Home' is less then half the size that it was 40 years ago.

The photo above could just as easily be Denver, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, St. Louis etc., just stir in some fantastic modern high rises. NONE of those cities achieved incredible vibrant downtown's by imploding entire urban neighborhoods. Having grown up at Jacksonville Terminal (The Prime Osborn to the unwashed masses) I missed some of my old haunts in downtown.

LaVilla = GONE, Brooklyn = GONE, Sugar Hill = GONE, Fairfield = GONE, Springfield Warehouse District = SLIPPING AWAY.

BTW ladypoimen, As a largely unknown historical note, my father was Navy Exchange Officer for the Southeast Region in NEX services - Barbers, Beauty Shops, Tailors, Watch Makers, etc. He took the 'porters' and went to war training them as professional barbers. No doubt he faced some battles, but in the end he prevailed for the betterment of all.




WmNussbaum

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Re: When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2013, 07:44:54 PM »
You could argue that the sale of Atlantic National, Florida National and Barnett Banks didn't hurt downtown because the banks that gobbled them up retained a presence there - and still do. But I don't think you can say the same for the sales of Gulf Life, Independent Life, Peninsular Life, American Heritage, and probably others I've forgotten. True it is that downtown isn't what it once was, but that doesn't mean that we're not a huge metropolitan area. We are. It's just that we' spread out to what once were suburbs. In the 50s even something as close in as Southoint didn't exist. Orange Park and Middleburg were really small bedroom communities - not considered a part of Jacksonville. Mandarin was only sparsely developed, and almost all was west of State Road 13 which was a two-lane road all the way from what is now the Southbank. And the Southbank was the home of only Baptist Hospital - not yet a medical center - and the original Prudential Building. Not much else was there.

Why did Orlando pass Jacksonville? C'mon. In a word, Disney World. Tampa? A bigger, better port, accessible without navigating tricky currents of a river for a few miles, and a few hundred miles closer to the Panama Canal than we are.

Speaking of Independent Life and Peninsular Life, why is it that after jilting Jacksonville we still have streets named after them. I'd change those in a NY minute if I got to make the rules.

thelakelander

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Re: When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2013, 08:18:08 PM »
Quote
Why did Orlando pass Jacksonville? C'mon. In a word, Disney World. Tampa? A bigger, better port, accessible without navigating tricky currents of a river for a few miles, and a few hundred miles closer to the Panama Canal than we are.

Yeah, Orlando has passed several metros in population growth due to Disney and the other theme parks.  However, we tend to overlook this fact but Jacksonville was never significantly larger than Tampa or Miami in the early 20th century.  For example:

1920:

91,558 - Jacksonville
51,608 - Tampa
29,549 - Miami

1930:

129,549 - Jacksonville
110,637 - Miami
101,161 - Tampa

What these numbers don't show is the population of the cities that were adjacent to Miami and Tampa.  For example, in 1930, St. Petersburg had 40,425. Combine these two bay area neighbors together and that area was already larger than Northeast Florida after the roaring 20s.

Quote
True it is that downtown isn't what it once was, but that doesn't mean that we're not a huge metropolitan area. We are. It's just that we' spread out to what once were suburbs.

In the grand scheme of these, we're not a huge metropolitan area.  We're a second or third tier area, when lined up against places like NYC, LA, Miami and Atlanta.  We're not even that spread out compared to most places.  We just tend to think we're larger than what we really are because of consolidation. The spread out factor becomes a bigger issue because our city and county are roughly the same.  In essence, Jacksonville is a city, suburbs and rural area all rolled into one.  In reality, we're roughly the same size as a Memphis, Salt Lake City or Providence and notch below places like St. Louis, San Diego and Denver.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

fsujax

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Re: When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2013, 09:27:53 AM »
Love the night picture of Forsyth St, look at all the lights and signs. It shows a city on the move. Now that same shot at night is almost pitch black as is most of the downtown, no pride from most building managers to not even light their buildings anymore.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 10:05:59 AM by fsujax »

ChriswUfGator

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Re: When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2013, 10:04:40 AM »
That article makes me ill, so much wasted by stupendously bad planning.


Tacachale

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Re: When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2013, 11:18:02 AM »
Quote
Why did Orlando pass Jacksonville? C'mon. In a word, Disney World. Tampa? A bigger, better port, accessible without navigating tricky currents of a river for a few miles, and a few hundred miles closer to the Panama Canal than we are.

Yeah, Orlando has passed several metros in population growth due to Disney and the other theme parks.  However, we tend to overlook this fact but Jacksonville was never significantly larger than Tampa or Miami in the early 20th century.  For example:

1920:

91,558 - Jacksonville
51,608 - Tampa
29,549 - Miami

1930:

129,549 - Jacksonville
110,637 - Miami
101,161 - Tampa

What these numbers don't show is the population of the cities that were adjacent to Miami and Tampa.  For example, in 1930, St. Petersburg had 40,425. Combine these two bay area neighbors together and that area was already larger than Northeast Florida after the roaring 20s.

Quote
True it is that downtown isn't what it once was, but that doesn't mean that we're not a huge metropolitan area. We are. It's just that we' spread out to what once were suburbs.

In the grand scheme of these, we're not a huge metropolitan area.  We're a second or third tier area, when lined up against places like NYC, LA, Miami and Atlanta.  We're not even that spread out compared to most places.  We just tend to think we're larger than what we really are because of consolidation. The spread out factor becomes a bigger issue because our city and county are roughly the same.  In essence, Jacksonville is a city, suburbs and rural area all rolled into one.  In reality, we're roughly the same size as a Memphis, Salt Lake City or Providence and notch below places like St. Louis, San Diego and Denver.

It's also worth noting that in the early 20th century and before, Jacksonville wasn't substantially larger than Pensacola, Tallahassee and other areas that have long been surpassed. Additionally, at the time Florida was a much smaller state. Jax has continued to grow but so have other areas, some more quickly. Jax gets knocked for the sprawl but it's not any worse than Tampa or Miami and it's no where near as bad as Orlando. The takeaway isn't that Jacksonville hasn't fallen from some glorious past, but that we haven't found a way to overcome problems in our downtown that every other city suffered, and that many have overcome.
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PATSY/AUTUMN

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Re: When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2013, 06:29:25 PM »
LBJ at Hemming Park...I was there.  Roosevelt Hotel, tragic fire.  Ferrell Jewelers, silver dollars embedded in the concrete in front.  So many memories, good and bad of Jacksonville, mostly good.

PATSY/AUTUMN

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Re: When Downtown Jacksonville Was The Place to Be
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2013, 07:29:37 PM »
To fsujax:  As a child, my father shrimped at the end Of Holmesdale Road on the Southside.  One of my favorite things to do was to look across the river at all the lights....especially the lights atop the roofs of all the big hotels.  It was an awesome display beneath the stars.