The Courier July 2015Vol. I, Issue V ~ MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR ~ Saving and sharing the city’s history is exciting work One of the more rewardi


The Courier


July 2015

Vol. I, Issue V




Executive Director: Emily Lisska

Saving and sharing the city’s history is exciting work

One of the more rewarding aspects of the Jacksonville Historical Society’s mission is collecting city history. We rely on the generosity of individuals for these donated treasures. For the staff and archive volunteers, it’s repeatedly “Christmas morning” as we celebrate the arrival of documents, photos and objects. It’s particularly thrilling to receive these pieces of history that otherwise might end up tossed aside.

Friends, supporters and complete strangers, feeling a sense of duty, take the time and trouble to find a good home for items they discover in their closets, attics and family safes. The Jacksonville Historical Society is that good home.

Researchers the world over use and access this material—some on-line. This past week, individual researchers, the media, the government and more used information and objects carefully maintained in our archives. Particularly exciting was the out of town “walk-in” visitor who was researching his ties to the area’s Spanish period and Florida’s earliest days as a U.S. territory. He connected his family tree to Jacksonville founder Isaiah Hart and to the Richard family.

We ask you, our supporters, to remain vigilant to this “all important” cause to collect area history. Do you have an old piece of local film footage in your closet? Someone must have film of a Jacksonville presidential visit or two! What about some photos of downtown street scenes, your neighborhood or the zoo? Have you tucked away Jacksonville menus, programs, maps or campaign pieces? Polk City Directories for Duval County are real treasures. Please let us know what years you’re willing to provide. What about objects? We’re currently seeking hats, helmets, hatboxes and other paraphernalia with a Jacksonville relationship. And we actively seek area school yearbooks that we don’t have. All of these items and objects build strong and meaningful archives.

Please phone, 665-0064, if you have an item or a collection to donate. As always, thank you for your support in this all-important mission.




The Landonian - Landon Junior High School yearbook cover, c. 1972.

JHS receives local school spirit

Recently, the archives received a collection of “time capsules.” Yet, these are not the type of time capsules that most would think of. These time capsules are full of memories, signatures, and school spirit; and most memorable of all, are the senior pictures.

In the past, the archives has housed a number important school yearbooks, but never as vast a chronology. The archives was contacted by a former band director about a collection of yearbooks from Robert E. Lee Senior High School and Lakeshore Junior High School. These yearbooks came with a story; his in-laws were administrators at these schools, and the yearbooks, dating from the 1930’s to the 1950’s, were a family treasure for a number of years.

Yearbooks are cherished by those who have them, but most do not see their historical significance. These yearbooks are a treasured resource for researchers; they are used for family histories; they are cross referenced with city directories; and they provide photos not seen before! Yearbooks get just as much research mileage as our city directories.

We invite you to come in and take a look at these rare gems, but we also encourage you to donate your Jacksonville-area yearbooks!



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Georgia Pribanic: Archival Volunteer

Georgia Pribanic: A Renaissance Woman

Georgia Pribanic has moved fourteen times during her adult life. She has lived in South Carolina, Ohio, New York, Iowa, and the Netherlands where she received a Distinguished Citizen Award from the American Community Council. Georgia has enjoyed working at all levels of public education, including a teaching position at the University of Rotterdam. She’s also worked in all types of libraries, including law libraries and scientific and technical libraries. In every city she has been involved with local art, civic and cultural institutions, and it’s no different since her arrival in Jacksonville six years ago.

Georgia came to the JHS in the spring. Originally she was interested in becoming a docent at the Merrill House, but after a conversation with the archivist, she volunteered to help catalogue the JHS rare books collection. As it happens, Georgia has a master’s degree in Library Science from Rutgers University, and a bachelor’s in history from Pennsylvania State and various other certifications.

At the JHS, Georgia has catalogued books and updated cataloging software for the archives and library collections. Recently, Georgia offered a staff and volunteer workshop on the Library of Congress system—a much needed workshop since most participants were more familiar with the Dewey Decimal System! Georgia also researched the history of the 1845 Bounetheau painting owned by the JHS (see story below) and presented a “history mystery” workshop on the painting and its artist.

In recent years, Georgia, a true “Renaissance” woman, helped start a family business, Corporate Caterers Jacksonville. She’s also an active volunteer at the Cummer Museum. We are grateful for the many gifts Georgia brings to the JHS Team!



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It's a real history mystery!

On Thursday July 2nd, researcher extraordinaire Georgia Pribanic presented a docent and staff workshop on the society’s Bounetheau painting that hangs on permanent exhibit in the north parlor of the Merrill Museum House. According to previous research, the painting that dates to 1845 was attributed to mid-19th century miniaturist Henry Bounetheau or his wife, Julia. It was owned by their son, Henry Jr., who lived in Jacksonville at the time of the Great Fire of 1901. Henry, determined to save what he referred to as his “mother’s painting,” as flames roared toward his home, retrieved the painting, but lost his life in the process.

Georgia took great interest in the painting and volunteered to conduct research on its provenance. After contacting the Frick Museum and various museums and archives in Charleston, S.C. where the Bounetheau’s had resided, Georgia was able to weave a more complete story of the painting.

Mr. Bounetheau was an accountant by trade and also a talented miniaturist. There are over eighty of his paintings documented, most of them watercolor miniatures painted on ivory. None of the documented paintings attributed to him are as large as the one in the Merrill House.

His wife, Julia DuPree was a trained artist. They probably met in France where Julia had been sent with her sister to study at the Académie Julian in Paris. During Julia’s time in Paris she met Alfred-Victor, Count de Vigny, the well known French Romantic writer. According to Count de Vigny’s “secret” journal, he and Julia had a short love affair that must have blossomed into a long friendship, since the Count sent Julia and Henry a wedding gift when they married.

Although most of Julia’s paintings have not survived, the style and subject matter of the painting owned by JHS is similar to her style. The painting that hangs in the Merrill House drawing room portrays a girl’s school in Aiken, S.C. Julia and Henry both worked at a school in Aiken. Evidence leans toward Julia as the painter. And the words of Henry Bountheau Jr., “mother’s painting,” echo loudly and Georgia’s research reinforces this conclusion.

We invite you to visit the painting, complete with burn holes, on exhibit at the Merrill House. The Merrill House is open for tours most Thursdays and Friday’s from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Please phone for confirmation or to book a tour, 665-0064.

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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.



The Spirit of '45: A Home-front Retrospective

Opening Reception: Thursday August 13, 2015 5:30pm to 7:30pm

WWII newspaper

The Jacksonville Historical Society pauses to reflect on this 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 and from collections at the Jacksonville Historical Society. Brief remarks will be presented by Mr. Cargile at 6:15pm.

The exhibit opens on August 13th and runs through November 3rd. It will be housed at Old St. Luke’s Hospital, 314 Palmetto Street. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Next Day in the Morning

Next Day in the Morning:

September 21st- Curtain time: TBA
A production in collaboration with Players by the Sea features the three most powerful women in the 16th century 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 River, explorers are imprisoned and spies are employed. The production also commemorates the La Caroline Colony’s demise 450 years ago this September.

The program, at Old St. Andrew's, 317 A. Philip Randolph. Blvd., is free and open to all.For more information, please visit the JHS website:



Remembering our members

“Bud” Hayden was a devoted member who "made all the difference"

Calvin Earl “Bud” Hayden, a native of Jacksonville, died May 2, at age 72. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Mary Branch Hayden. Bud was a devoted member of the Jacksonville Historical Society, and, in fact, provided a generous gift to the society in recent years that truly “made all the difference.” He served on the boards and as President of numerous area organizations, including, among others, Goodwill and the Rotary Club of North Jacksonville, where he was a member with over 40 years of service.

His passion for life extended even further to his love of antiques and collectible Lionel trains. Bud was a founding member of The Toy Train Collectors of Jacksonville. He cared deeply about Jacksonville and its people, and proudly held a perfect voting record in local, state, and national elections, once driving more than 200 miles to cast a ballot.

He was a graduate of West Riverside Elementary, John Gorrie Junior High, Robert E. Lee High, the University of Florida and University of Florida Law School. While attending law school, he served as a page for Congressman Charles E. Bennett, and after graduation clerked in Pensacola for The Honorable Judge Carroll. He returned to Jacksonville where he joined the law firm of Jennings, Watts, Clarke, Hamilton & Corrigan. Of his many legal accomplishments, the one most significant to him took place during his tenure with Smith & Hayden representing the heirs of the musical “Chicago” in a landmark royalties case with the American Play Company. At the time it was the largest royalties agreement ever negotiated.

Bud will be deeply missed. On behalf of the society’s Directors, our deepest sympathy is extended to his wife, Mary.

A scholar and visionary who left a rich legacy for the history community

A native of Jacksonville, Robert C. Broward, died June 28, at age 89. He was part of an old and well known Jacksonville family that included Florida legend, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward.

A longtime member of the Jacksonville Historical Society, Bob worked with the society in the publication of two books he authored. “The Architecture of Henry John Klutho: The Prairie School in Jacksonville,” is a masterwork of area architecture; the book also reveals Bob’s inimitable foresight to befriend the aging architect Henry Klutho. The other major work is, “The Broward Family: From France to Florida, 1764-2011.” His books, great treasures of North Florida history, are beautifully researched and written, presenting a bounty of North Florida stories.

After graduating from Landon High School in 1944, Bob piloted B-17’s in the Army
Air Corps before enrolling at Georgia Tech where he studied architecture. During his studies, he picked up a journal featuring the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, who espoused the philosophy of designing structures in harmony with the environment. Broward later studied under Wright, serving apprenticeships at Taliesin East and Taliesin West. Bob also worked on Wright’s largest complex at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.

Only a few of his noted local buildings include the Unitarian Universalist Church of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Art Museum and Koger Gallery of Oriental Art, the Sawgrass Deer Run Condominiums and the Sawgrass Racquet Club, Wesley Manor Retirement Village and his own riverfront home in St. Nicholas.

Bob was most generous to the Historical Society through the years. He leaves a resounding gift to people near and far with his extraordinary art and research— it is a profound legacy.



The Bostwick Building reinvented!

bostwick building

The Bostwick Building courtesy of : State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,

Seen by all commuters who exit into downtown from the Main Street Bridge (John T. Alsop Bridge), the Bostwick building is an iconic staple of the area. Located at 101 East Bay Street, the Bostwick building has a 113 year history worth reading.

Built in 1902, later expanded in 1919, the Bostwick building is remembered by many in a variety of ways. Most might remember that it once showcased the city’s NFL spirit with its Jaguar spotted windows. Older residents remember the days when it housed the offices of architect Henry J. Klutho. Yet, it was in the building’s earliest days that it housed three different banks and received its name.

In 1880, this site was home to First National Bank. Founded in 1874, it was one of the earliest national banks in Florida. One of First National’s first directors was Dr. William M. Bostwick, who later served as the Mayor of Jacksonville. The original structure perished in the Great Fire of 1901, was re-established by 1902, but failed in 1903. In the same year, the bank and the building were purchased by Guaranty Trust and Savings Bank. The reorganized bank’s first vice president was William M. Bostwick Jr., Dr. Bostwick’s son. Guaranty Trust expanded the building to its present size in 1919, and closed in 1922. Another bank, Brotherhood State Bank, quickly took Guaranty’s place, but failed in 1924. The building’s banking days ended, but it housed a number of other businesses, including Henry Klutho’s offices from 1944 to 1960.

The building, vacant and in fragile condition for many decades, is now undergoing an extensive restoration/renovation and will open next summer as a restaurant, The Cowford Chophouse. Preservationists, rejoice!



opening of the acosta 561

Photo credit: JHS Archives, Photograph by William Elsner

July 1, 1921: The St. Johns River Bridge, later known as the St. Elmo W. Acosta Bridge opened on this date. In 1904, St. Elmo "Chic" Acosta began an active campaign to build a bridge. His efforts were opposed by many—the railroads, and the ferry boat companies, to name a few. After many years, Acosta and his allies prevailed. In 1917, Jacksonville citizens approved a $950,000 bond issue to build the bridge. When it opened, it was billed as “Jacksonville’s gift to Florida.” On August 17, 1949, two years after “Chic” Acosta’s death, the bridge was renamed in his honor. The bridge was demolished and replaced by a new Acosta Bridge in 1994.


Photo credit: JHS Archives, Photograph from the Merrill Collection

July 4, 1943: The S.S. John Philip Sousa, the eighth Liberty Ship constructed by the St. Johns River Ship Building Company, launched on this date. At the Independence Day Ceremony, the docks were filled with the sounds of "Stars and Stripes Forever," "Hail to the Spirit of Liberty," "Hands Across the Sea," and "Liberty Bell." All musical works were composed by the ship's namesake. Sousa, known as the “March King” played thousands of concerts in his life, including a concert near the “Treaty Oak.”

July 28th 1888: On this date, a traveler from Tampa, R.D. McCormick, was reported ill in Jacksonville with Yellow Fever. The Board of Health assured the general public that the case was spontaneous. Yet, in the months that followed, Yellow Fever swept Jacksonville, with an astounding 4,704 cases recorded and 427 deaths. For months, the city was quarantined from the world as the populace struggle to rid the plague. With the first frost in December, the epidemic ended, but the city would take years to recover.

opening of atlantic

Opening of Atlantic Blvd. Left to Right: Ruby Porter, Julia Cranford, Marie Hyde, & Ellen Foster

July 28, 1910: This date marked the formal opening of Atlantic Boulevard. The "Beach Road" provided city dwellers a route from South Jacksonville to the beaches. It’s reported that more than 100 decorated cars gathered in South Jacksonville to make the trip to the beach. Historian T. Frederick Davis later wrote that the road’s construction “marked the beginning of highway development in Florida.” In 1910, the population of Pablo Beach (renamed Jacksonville Beach in 1925) was only 249 people! Jacksonville’s population was nearing 60,000.


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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