The Courier August 2016Vol. II, Issue V ~ MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR ~ It’s a busy fall and we invite you to get involved A busy fall is underway


The Courier


August 2016

Vol. II, Issue V




It’s a busy fall and we invite you to get involved

A busy fall is underway for the Jacksonville Historical Society. With an active speaker series, volunteer program, night and daytime speaker series, along with on-going restoration work and maintenance at our four sites, work is non-stop. Also dynamic offsite programming for schools, clubs and organizations continues, along with active intake of items and collections of Jacksonville history.

You never know what will show up on the doorstep on any given day. A collection of early photos, often unseen for decades, may arrive. More often, collections with a variety of items show up. Volunteers and staff then actively work to organize the exciting arrivals for eventual public use. The JHS website offers wonderful examples of these collections (view the collection here).Thousands of items will continue to be added to this important online electronic record. These treasures of Jacksonville history are important now and as part of the society’s invaluable legacy. Yes, the work we do is significant.

All of this essential work is made possible through your support as a member, along with a variety of grants and donations, and the society’s only fundraiser, the Gingerbread Extravaganza, chaired by JHS treasurer and board member, Robert Hennigar.

The Gingerbread Extravaganza, a major event we’ll stage this December, is in progress. We’re actively seeking the gingerbread houses (creations) and event sponsors. Without revenue from the Extravaganza, the society would, at best, struggle. We ask you to consider participating as a sponsor, a builder or a volunteer. And, of course, we ask during the month of December you rally your friends and family to attend what has now become one of the city’s best loved holiday events.

To get involved with the Gingerbread Extravaganza, as a docent or in our archival repository, please phone 665-0064. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you at the society’s September 29th program, 6:30 p.m. at Old St. Andrew's, Banned in Jacksonville: What books are you missing?



JHS receives grant from The Woman's Club

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Seen left to right in the photo is JHS student intern Anna Verney; Laura Crooks, President of the Woman’s Club of Jacksonville; Emily Lisska, JHS Executive Director; Katherine Naugle, Heritage Committee Chair; and Taryn Rodriguez-Boette, JHS Associate Director and Archivist.

On Tuesday, August 30, The Woman’s Club of Jacksonville presented the Jacksonville Historical Society a $10,000 grant to process the archival records of The Woman’s Club of Jacksonville. The JHS Archives has maintained this important collection for nearly a decade. The grant supports work to create a more usable collection and funds a student intern to organize and process the collection. In addition, the grant allows review for additional collection stabilization.

The grant also assists the JHS with equipment and supply purchases necessary to process the collection.

“This generous grant assists with one of the most important collections in the JHS Archives. The Woman’s Club of Jacksonville has impacted the city throughout the past century with important social and civic initiatives. This collection showcases the club’s countless contributions, “ said Emily Lisska, JHS Executive Director.

The Woman’s Club of Jacksonville is accepting members. An October membership event is planned. “The Woman’s Club is for you if you are interested in being involved in the community and making Jacksonville a better place,” said President Laura Crooks. (For more information on membership, contact

Doug Milne speaks at MENINAK

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JHS Board member Doug Milne spoke on Jacksonville history for the Meninak Club on Monday, August 29. Doug has long been a popular presenter on local history.

The JHS, through both board and staff, offers presentations to clubs, organizations, schools and other groups throughout the city on a variety of area history topics. For information, 904.665.0064.


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JHS volunteer is Supervisor of local treasure—

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

Victoria Ann Albright, known to the staff and volunteers at the Jacksonville Historical Society as Viki, is a vibrant “twenty-something” volunteer in the society’s archival repository where her exceptional abilities and her work ethic endear her to all.

As a history major, who graduated in 2012 from University of North Florida, Viki was also an experienced retail manager and continued in a retail career after graduation. But a friend’s inquiry to volunteer at the JHS led Viki to our doors. After she began volunteering at the JHS, the experience reinforced her love for history and preservation and ignited a dedication to work permanently in the field. It was clear the search would soon lead to success. She was hired by the City of Jacksonville as a part-time library associate in November 2015. In May 2016, the city offered her a position as a Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park Ranger...[Read more...]



report card 1927


R is for resolutions you make anew
E is for everybody who intends to do better
S is for study we promise to do,
O is for orders you are to administer
L is for “Look out” when teachers come ‘round,
U is for useful which we want to be,
T is for tears we shed over our E’s,
I is for intentions we intend to fulfill,
O is for orderliness in class rooms and halls
N is for nice boys and girls that we do admire,
S is for silence which the teachers desire.

--Ernest McRae, 8B1, Kirby-Smith Middle School, The Echo, Volume VI, no. 5
Jacksonville, Florida, January 17, 1929

A 1927 report card of a junior high school student and a school newspaper from 1929 become treasures in the archives because of the social commentary they provide for the period. These and various other items relating to Kirby Smith Junior High School were send to the Archives... [Read more...]



1938 waterfront 8x10 picmonkey

Downtown Jacksonville from the St. Johns River. Jacksonville Historical Society Collection.

"Missing Downtown"

When: NOW!
Where: Old St. Luke's, JHS Archives

The Historical Society Archives is currently featuring images and objects from our collections. The two small exhibits, "Missing Downtown" and "Cabinets of Curriosities" are open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.



WH BannedBooks

Banned In Jacksonville:

What Book Are You Missing

When: September 29th
Reception 6:30pm
Program: 7pm
Location: Old St. Andrews, 317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd.

Join the Jacksonville Historical Society Thursday, September 29th for a program with Leslie Kirkwood, Chair of Banned: A Community Conversation about Censorship and Free Speech. She will present crucial history and background on banned books. The program also includes Barbara A. B. Gubbin, Director of Jacksonville Public Library and incorporates a performance by Jason Woods, actor/director.




John Gorrie Junior High School, Riverside, Jacksonville, FL, 1929.

John Gorrie Junior High: A school, a home

In 1923, the Duval School System initiated a junior high school concept with the opening of John Gorrie Junior High, in the Riverside/Avondale area, and Kirby Smith Junior High, in Springfield. Duval's original plan included 8-4, that is, eight years of elementary school and four years of high school. This was changed to a 6-3-3 system in 1923, six years of elementary, three years of junior high and three years of high school.

John Gorrie Junior High School was built in 1923, by Roy Benjamin and Mellen C. Greely during...[Read more...]




St. Luke's Hospital Staff, 1910.

August 4, 1908: According to Dr. R.P. Daniel's Annual Report to the St. Luke's Hospital Directors for 1907-8, he "expressed his regret over the hospital's increasingly limited capacity in terms of growing demand, particularly as this affected the Training School of Nurses."

The first major step in the direction of a new building was taken on this day, August 4, 1908, when the City Council deeded to the Hospital Association a parcel of eight and a-half-acres of land on Boulevard between 8th and 10th Streets in Springfield.

At the time, the 1878 St. Luke's was located at 314 Palmetto -- where the JHS Archives is located today. The 'new' St. Luke's Hospital opened in 1914, and at that time St. Luke's on Palmetto closed.

--A Century of Service: St. Luke's Hospial, 1873-1973 by Richard A. Martin


Jacksonville-Duval County before and after consolidation.

August 8, 1967: The consolidation of the City of Jacksonville and Duval County governments was supported 2-1 by voters, 54,493 for and 29,768 against. Consolidation provided for a nineteen-member city council, of these, five members to run at-large; an optional vote for residents of the Beaches and Baldwin; elective sheriff, supervisor of election, tax assessor and tax collector; additional pension protection; and council salaries of $5,000, rather than the proposed $3,600.

Residents in Baldwin and the Beaches voted for consolidation, but to retain their own governments.

Officials of Jacksonville's new government were elected in the fall of 1967, and were invested in a Civic Auditorium ceremony on March 1, 1968.

--"A Summary of Consolidation: Jacksonville-Duval County; The Dynamics of Urban Political Reform", An unpublished review of of Richard A. Martin's book delivered at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (North Carolina) Charter Commission.


Judge Marion Gooding and Elvis Presley, 1956. Life Magazine.

August 10-11, 1956: Elvis performed in Jacksonville many times -- once as an opening act for country music singer, Hank Snow. But the Elvis appearances everyone still talks about sixty years later were August 10 and 11, 1956, when he headlined at the Florida Theatre. Judge Marion Gooding stood in the wings to insure Presley's movements excluded hip twisting and grinding.

Click here to view the program on the 60th anniversary of Elvis in Jacksonville, Elvis Has Left the Building recorded on August 9th at Old St. Andrews.


Duval County was named for the first territorial governor of Florida, William Pope DuVal. Governor DuVal was appointed governor by President James Monroe, who had sent him to the territory as a judge on the reccommendation of Secretary of War John C. Calhoun.

August 12, 1822: Duval County was created on this day. Prior to this time, only Escambia and St. Johns counties existed.

The eastern boundary of the county was the Atlantic Ocean, the northern the St. Mary's River, and the Georgia-Florida line, the western the Suwannee River from the state line to the Gulf of Mexico, and the southern, a line running from the mouth of the Suwannee to the foot of Liberty Street and from there along the St. Johns River to the ocean.

The county was about 5,000 square miles of land and was slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut. Jacksonville was selected as the county seat.

Duval County was named after Florida's first territorial governor, William P. DuVal. To learn more about Florida's first territorial governor, click here.


Jacksonville Jaguars Anniversay Logo, 1995.

August 18, 1995: The first Jacksonville Jaguar game (a pre-season game) was held at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on this day.

This game marked the first time in sports history that an expansion team had played its home game in its inaugural season in a new stadium. The stadium was also built faster than any other major-league stadium had ever been built in North America.

Birds Eye Map 1888

Jacksonville, 1888.

August 31, 1886: At 8:52pm, a very frightened Jacksonville community felt a tremor that lasted for eleven minutes. The first vibrations were slight for about a minute, followed by three or four minutes of heavy shocks in quick succession.

No material property damage in Jacksonville; however, in Charleston hundreds of buildings were destroyed and many people died. The property damage was estimated about $8 million. Jacksonville raised $3,400 for Charleston relief.

It was recorded as the largest earthquake ever in the United States(at that time). According to the record (up until 1924), there have been two other instances of 'tremors' in Jacksonville: January 12, 1879 and June 20, 1893.


City of Jacksonville

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Cultural Council of Greater 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| Jeremy Graf, Archives| Robert Hughes, Facilities Manager

2016-17 JHS Board Jeff Graf, President| Pat Andrews, Vice-President| Maggie Means, Secretary| Robert Hennigar, Treasurer | Alan Bliss| Ed Booth| Jeff Bryan| Michael Fackler| Drew Haramis| Cora Hackley| Doug Milne| Harry Reagan| Robin Robinson| Anzhelika Siloyan| Lisa Sheppard| Reecy Thornton| Wayne W. Wood

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