The Courier August 2015Vol. I, Issue VI ~ MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR ~ The Spirit of '45 is among us! This month was busy for the Jacksonville His


The Courier


August 2015

Vol. I, Issue VI




The Spirit of '45 is among us!

This month was busy for the Jacksonville Historical Society with the August 13th opening of the exhibit, The Spirit of ’45: A Home-Front Retrospective. Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, the local story takes center-stage in this exhibit at the society’s Old St. Luke’s Hospital, our archival repository.

The exhibit opening was highlighted by the attendance of two JHS members, George Zellner, Jr. and Rufus McClure. Both are devoted members of the Jacksonville Historical Society and WWII veterans. You’ll be reading more about these special members in an upcoming newsletter.

Stephen Cargile, the exhibit’s guest curator, generously provided his large collection of WWII items showcasing the North Florida story. He’s writing a book on the subject that has already topped 500 pages! An outstanding speaker who has uncovered rare information, Stephen promises to present a program to the Historical Society as soon as his book is published.

As typical of these exhibits, society collections were also showcased, including images of Merrill Family Liberty Ships. The free exhibit is open Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until November 11, at 314 Palmetto Street. This exhibit and the JHS annual program series is generously underwritten by Retina Associates, P.A., Dr. Fred H. Lambrou, Jr.

By the way, please mark your calendar for the next program, Monday, September 21, a “dramatic performance.” It’s sure to be exciting. It’s free, but you’ll be asked to reserve a space at either a 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. “curtain.” See the story below. I’ll hope to see you in September!



The Ultimate Year of the River Account


Official Program of "Next Day in the Morning", c. 1962. Jacksonville Historical Society Collection.

450 Year-Old Story Kicks off Program Season September 21

As the fall nears, the agenda turns to an active program season. It all kicks off with a unique September program offering on Monday, September 21. In fact, so unique, the JHS will offer two performances of It Came to Pass on the Banks of this River during one evening! The event recalls one of the St. Johns River’s most extraordinary stories.

The script written by Matt Colaciello and Barbara Colaciello, is an adapted work of the 1962 local production, Next Day in the Morning by Kermit Hunter. That half-century old production was written for Jacksonville’s Ribault Quadricentennial Commission commemorating the Frenchman John Ribault’s arrival at the St. Johns River, a river he called the River May. For the 400th anniversary in 1962, a massive assembly with trumpets and troops filled the city’s "new three million dollar air-conditioned Jacksonville coliseum". The show ran for 15 days with two performances on Sundays with ticket prices ranging between $1 and $3.50.

The society’s upcoming evening features this early St. Johns River story told through the eyes of the world’s most powerful 16th century European women. The production also presents the Florida natives’ perspective and the viewpoint of explorers, Ribault, Laudonnière and Menendez.

The production includes trained actors in a dramatic reading of this uniquely North Florida story. It’s the ultimate story in this Year of the River. The La Caroline Colony on the St. Johns is distinguished as the first colony of European men and women seeking religious freedom on land that became U.S. soil. It is also the event that set in motion the founding of St. Augustine and more than two centuries of Spanish occupation in Florida.



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Danielle Kendrick, intern, volunteer and employee extrordinare, and volunteer Natalie Rooks.

Volunteer, Intern, Employee: Lover of all things history

“Start listening to music from the ‘70's”, that is Danielle” according to fellow volunteer Susan Brodersen. “Why would you say that?” I asked. “Music triggers a feeling and the 1970s is evocative of the historical periods she likes. Danielle is interested in the social revolution and social change.” “Including digital history”, I add, “and that is certainly revolutionary…”

Danielle arrived as an intern at JHS two years ago, when she was still an undergraduate history student at the University of North Florida. Her interest in Florida History is only surpassed by her interest in technology. She became familiar with the collection and the digital catalogs. By the time I arrived at the archives last fall, Danielle was so familiar with the collections that she taught me how the collections were stored and organized.

This summer Danielle was hired to help Emily run the archives and the office while Meghan and I sojourned in Italy – at different weeks and for different reasons – all very coincidental – but that is another story!!

Danielle served as office assistant and archival assistant while working with members and volunteers alike to promote the mission of the society. Danielle is now a graduate history student at UNF. She will be back to volunteer as she is able. And she will bring her friends and their enthusiasm to the historical society, and for that we will always be thankful!

--by Assoc. Director and Archivist Taryn Rodriguez-Boette




Jacksonville Historical Society Collection.

Honoring Jacksonville's Fallen

Private First Class Rex R. McEachin, from Jacksonville's Andrew Jackson High School, was killed in action on January 17, 1945, in the Battle of the Bulge. The Jacksonville Historical Society Archives hold the telegrams and dog tags delivered to family members regarding his death. The telegram sent to his mother, Emma Kines, providing details on the “return of his remains” to Jacksonville and his dog tags are part of the items shown in the new exhibit in the archives titled The Spirit of ‘45: A Home-front Retrospective. If you would like to see this item and the new exhibit, please visit the archives 10:00am to 5:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.




Simulating Warfare in Northern Florida

The Spirit of '45:

A Home-front Retrospective

The Jacksonville Historical Society pauses to reflect on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, a war that forever changed our city, our nation and the world. The monumental local role in the effort is highlighted in an exhibit of photographs and objects from guest curator, Stephen Cargile.

Exhibit Open: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday | 10a.m. - 5p.m.
Where: Old St. Luke's, 314 Palmetto Street

The exhibit remains open through Veteran's Day, November 11th.

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James E. Merrill House

JHS Merrill Museum House open for tours!

Our new, excited and energetic volunteer docent team keeps the house open selected days each week.

Take a trip back to Victorian-era Jacksonville with your family, friends or co-workers and learn about one of the most important eras in city history.

Please check the website for available tour days and to reserve your spot.



Next Day in the Morning

The three most powerful women in the world -- Catherine de Medici, Elizabeth I and Elizabeth Valois.

Monday, September 21, 2015

It Came to Pass on the Banks of this River: A production in collaboration with Players by the Sea features the three most powerful women in the world—and their mutual focus—a plot of land in North Florida, today known as Jacksonville. As Europe's dominant countries -- France, Spain, and England vie for the little site on the St. Johns -- explorers are imprisoned and spies are employed. The production commemorates the colony's demise 450 years ago this September.

The JHS will host two free performances on September 21. The first performance will begin at 6p.m. with a reception at 5:30p.m. The second performance will begin at 8p.m. with a reception at 7:30p.m.

The Historical Society requests that you RSVP for a performance time by phone, 904.665.0064, or register online by clicking here.




LaVilla homes on Louisiana Street.

LaVilla "Shotgun" Houses

These "shotgun" houses were under construction near the Cleveland Fiber Factory when the Great Fire of May 3, 1901 broke out. They were damaged by the fire, but survived. These three survivors represent a distinctive architectural style and are stored for future restoration, yet they are rapidly deteriorating beyond economical repair. Working people lived in these practical one-story homes in which one could shoot a shotgun straight down the long interior hallway and out the front door.




Finished St. Luke's Hospital already occupied and awaiting landscaping, February 14,1914.

August 4, 1908: The site for a new St. Luke's Hospital was dedicated by City Council. The Hospital Association was deeded 8.5 acres of land on Boulevard between 8th and 10th Streets in Springfield. On January 26, 1914, all patients were transferred from the Palmetto Street hospital to the new hospital in Springfield.


The Florida Union. Jacksonville Historical Society Collection.

August 20,1864: Florida Union first published by J.K. Stickney and W.C. Morrill. The Florida Union and Daily Florida Times announced consolidation in 1883, to become the Florida Times-Union. The photo to the right is of the Florida Union newspaper dated December 31, 1864.


Maxwell House Plant Building.

August 28, 1928: Maxwell House Coffee Plant is bought by General Foods. The Jacksonville plant was opened in 1910 employing 30 people and producing about 40,000 pounds of coffee per day..."good to the last drop".


City of Jacksonville


Our Mission: The mission of the Jacksonville Historical Society is to foster and promote the appreciation of the history of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida by collecting, preserving, presenting, and interpreting that history for the benefit and education of its members, the public and future generations.

Staff: Emily Lisska, Executive Director| Taryn Rodriguez-Boette, Associate Director & Archivist| Meghan Powell, Office Manager & Event Coordinator| Danielle Kendrick, Archives and Office Assistant| Sherrard Ceglia, Archives Assistant| Robert Hughes, Facilities Manager

2015-16 JHS Board Ed Booth, President| Jeffrey Graf, Vice-President| Maggie Means, Secretary| Jeff Bryan, Treasurer | Pat Andrews| Elizabeth Hohl Asbury| Alan Bliss| Jennifer Brower| Jean Grimsley| Cora Hackley| Robert Hennigar| Zilla Hillin| Doug Milne| Christina Parrish| Harry Reagan| Robin Robinson| Lisa Sheppard| Reecy Thornton| Wayne W. Wood

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