The Courier March 2015Vol. I, Issue I ~ MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR ~ Welcome The Courier—Jacksonville Historical Society newsletter! Spring inspir


The Courier


March 2015

Vol. I, Issue I




Welcome The Courier—Jacksonville Historical Society newsletter!

Spring inspires growth, renewal, and change. To that end, the Jacksonville Historical Society is an active participant. In fact, the society’s first monthly e-newsletter, appropriately named The Courier, for Jacksonville’s first newspaper, established in 1835, is an example of growth and change. The Courier allows members and followers the opportunity to keep up with what’s happening at the Jacksonville Historical Society and on the local history scene. We hope you will enjoy hearing more about our activities and area history.

Other changes include staff relocation to Old St. Luke’s, the society’s archival repository at 314 Palmetto St., two blocks from JHS headquarters, Old St. Andrew’s. The move offers the opportunity for all staff and volunteers to work primarily at one site. It’s productive and exciting to experience increased face to face interaction with staff, volunteers, researchers and members.

An article you’ll read in this edition of The Courier welcomes new Associate Director and Archivist Taryn Rodriguez-Boette. Taryn brings a wealth of experience. Among her many duties is volunteer management. She’d enjoy having you as part of the local history team. Please phone the office, 904.665.0064, to volunteer.

Financial growth is necessary to carry out the society’s important mission. To that end, Delores Barr Weaver has stepped forward with a grant in perpetuity that I know will inspire all who embrace the JHS mission. You’ll read more on her extraordinary gift in this newsletter.

I hope to see you at the March 26 program, and until then, welcome spring and welcome to The Courier!




“A remarkable gift to JHS”

Delores Barr Weaver recently announced a remarkable gift to the Jacksonville Historical Society and 19 other area organizations. Beginning in 2015, the society along with the other non-profit groups will receive an annual $10,000 grant in perpetuity. For the Historical Society, the grant punctuates two decades of generous support by Mrs. Weaver.

The innovative grant for the hand selected organizations is known as the “Endowed $10,000 Event Grant Fund est. 2015 by Delores Barr Weaver,” and is administered by the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. The Weaver grant will fund the society’s annual Gingerbread Extravaganza.

“Mrs. Weaver’s grant and her confidence in our mission hold incalculable meaning,” said society Executive Director Emily Lisska. “Her support with the Historical Society already spans decades and now is slated to cross centuries.”

“Mrs. Weaver’s grant emphasizes the importance of supporting local history and the rich cultural rewards for a community that funds these activities. It is hoped the grant will inspire others to support the Historical Society", said Lisska. “It’s imperative in order to preserve our rich heritage.”




Welcome to the newest member of the JHS team!

Taryn Rodriguez-Boette was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in history and eduction from the University of Puerto Rico. After she moved to Massachusetts she was certified to teach in the state's bilingual program at the middle and high school levels. She began coursework in Archival Methods at the University of Massachusetts, then studied Systems Analysis and Library Science at Florida State University.

From 1987 to 2003, Mrs. Rodriguez-Boette worked with the St. Augustine Historical Society - as Archivist, Curator, Library Director, and finally Executive Director. She returned to the museum and archives field after a two-year hiatus as Youth Ministry Coordinator at St. Mark by the Sea Lutheran Church in Palm Coast. Mrs. Rodriguez-Boette worked at the Beaches Museum & History Park as archivist, collections manager and curator from 2005 to 2014.

She joined the staff at the Jacksonville Historical Society in late October as Associate Director and Archivist. "The Society's collections are a fantastic resource", states Rodriguez-Boette. With the help of staff and volunteers, Rodriguez-Boette hopes to standardize the cataloging of the collections so they will be easily accessibly for residents, students, visitors and scholars.



Worley trophy1

The trophy recently given by Sister Elizabeth Worley reads," Presented by Jacksonville Board of Trade Atlantic Boulevard Celebration Atlantic Beach, FLA July 12th, 1910 for five mile event won by Hupmobile Entered by W.A.B. Worley Driven by E.B. Sinkler."

W.A.B. Worley Trophy presented to JHS

After twenty-six years of dreaming, scheming and building, the road from Jacksonville to the ocean finally became a reality. On June 28, 1910, over 100 decorated automobiles filled with the most prestigious families of Duval County paraded through the streets of downtown Jacksonville on their way to celebrate the opening of the "Beach Road". Miss Marie Hyde broke a bottle of champagne over the new concrete bridge at Little Pottsburg Creek and christened the road Atlantic Boulevard.

Thousands of people took the train to the beach to celebrate the opening of the road. Among the entertainment of the day were car races. The first race was won by W.A.B. Worley driving a Hupmobile with a final time of two minutes and fifty-five seconds.

In January 2015, Mr. Worley's granddaughter, Sister Elizabeth Worley, donated the trophy that her grandfather won on that day, to the JHS.

If you would like to see the trophy or learn more about Jacksonville's history, please visit the archives at 314 Palmetto St., Monday - Friday, 10am - 5pm or visit our new website at

To read more about the opening of Atlantic Blvd., please click here.



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Leah Mary Cox Collection provides intimate view in new exhibit

The exhibit, Leah Mary Cox: An Intimate Perspective opens at Jacksonville Historical Society’s Old St. Luke’s on Tuesday, April 14. The small, but powerful exhibit includes photographs taken by Leah found in a collection of 4,075 glass plate negatives in the JHS permanent collections. The glass plates were donated by Susan and Ron Massuci.

Also exhibited are objects reflective of the era’s lifestyle, including wearing apparel and Jacksonville manufactured or objects or items available in the city during the late 19th century and early 20th century.

“Leah’s story is reflective of many 19th century American stories,” said JHS Executive Director Emily Lisska. “In this exhibit, a more intimate side of Leah and her adopted city is revealed.”

The exhibit is open Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the society’s archival repository, Old St. Luke’s, 314 Palmetto Street. For a small group talk related to the collection, phone 665-0064. The exhibit runs through July.



Don't miss the March Program!

Join JHS and author Thomas Graham, PhD on March 26 at 6:30pm for a reception and book signing followed by the program, Mr. Flagler's St. Augustine at 7pm at Old St. Andrew's, 317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd.

Dr. Graham will tell “how one of the wealthiest men in America … transformed Florida …into the winter playground of America’s elite.” Dr. Graham also offers insight on Jacksonville at the time.



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James E. Merrill Museum House

The James E. Merrill Museum History House

About 1875 James E. Merrill started a small iron works in Jacksonville after learning the black-smithing trade from his father. Known as the Merrill-Stevens Engineering Co. by the late 1880’s, the iron works became one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the South. In 1879 Merrill built or purchased his house at 229 Lafayette Street, just a short walk from his iron works on East Bay Street.The 19th century Eastlake Victorian home is furnished as the Merrill's and other middle class Jacksonville families lived in 1903. The porch posts, brackets, and spindles reflect the Eastlake style. Turn-of-the-century lifestyle is showcased in this elaborately decorated family home that also highlights a lifestyle of limited electricity and plumbing. The Merill House was saved from demolition in 2000, by the Jacksonville Historical Society and City of Jacksonville.

JHS currently schedules tours for groups of six or more and plans to showcase the house every Thursday, beginning in late April of this year. Admission is free to Historical Society members and $5 for non-members.

Mark your calendars for docent training March 26

JHS will host another docent training at the Merrill House from 2:00pm to 4:00pm on Thursday, March 26.

You are invited to join in the training session and become part of the society's great volunteer team. Check us out and bring your friends to the training!

317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd.| Jacksonville, FL 32202


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| Sherrard Ceglia, Archives Assistant| Robert Hughes, Facilities Manager

2015 JHS Board Robin Robinson, President| Christina Parish, Vice-President| Joann Purdie, Secretary| Jeff Bryan, Treasurer| Pat Andrews| Beth Hohl Asbury| Ed Booth| Jennifer Brower| Carl Wood Brown| Matt Carlucci| Jeffrey Graf| Jean Grimsley| Cora Hackley| Zilla Hillin| Hazel Mack| Maggie Means| Doug Milne| Harry Reagan| Lisa Sheppard| Debra K. Tinsley| Reecy Thornton| Wayne W. Wood

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