The Courier October 2016Vol. II, Issue VII ~ MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR ~ Department store newsletter offers insight to local presidential election


The Courier


October 2016

Vol. II, Issue VII




Department store newsletter offers insight to local presidential election coverage

Numerous references to U.S. presidential elections are found in the Jacksonville Historical Society Archives. In one of the society’s most exciting collections, the Cohen Brother’s Department Store and the St. James Building Collection (today’s City Hall), more than 200 photographs and other items pertinent to the store or building are found.

An array of employee newsletters from the 1920’s offers insight to employee activities and beyond. Of particular interest is a newsletter that invites employees to view the November 2, 1920, national election results from the department store’s Laura Street windows.

At the time, a radio station was still three years in the city’s future. So, not just employees, but citizens would head down to "the Big Store" to watch results reported in the store window.

The big race that night focused on the U.S. presidency. The Republican nominee, Warren G. Harding, won in a landslide against Democrat nominee, James M. Cox. Perhaps, more interesting were the V.P. running mates, Republican Calvin Coolidge and Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt. Also interesting, the presidential candidates, while politicos in their own right— Harding was a U.S. Senator and Cox, a former Ohio Governor— were both from Ohio, and both men enjoyed a background as newspaper publishers.

Today’s presidential election coverage is available 24/7, and most of us will be quietly at home watching or not watching the November 8, election results or simply referencing some electronic device in our hand!

Reading about the nation’s past election history is fascinating, including the election process in Colonial America. I even ran across a source that discussed the popularity of providing “gingerbread for votes” in these early colonial elections. While you probably won’t get an offer of gingerbread for your vote this election season, we invite you to participate in the Jacksonville Historical Society’s Gingerbread Extravaganza, where we’ll offer some delicious gingerbread November 30 through December 23. The society’s only annual fundraiser, I ask for your underwriting support in any amount, your vintage or gently used holiday décor, or volunteer assistance for the event. Phone 665-0064, to learn more.



Photo Oct 30  07 22 29

It takes a large JHS team for the Annual Evergreen Pumpkin Run

The ultimate “Meet the Team” column is presented this month featuring the hearty volunteers who showed up from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., Sunday, October 30, at Evergreen Cemetery Pumpkin Run to set up and manage the Jacksonville Historical Society water tables for the ever-growing annual event. The 5K and ten mile race with 2,200 runners twists and turns through the historic cemetery passing the grave-sites of thousands of the city’s citizens.

Since the race’s inception 16 years ago, the Jacksonville Historical Society has been the event’s selected ...[Read more...]



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River City Live, click here to watch the interview.

Old St. Luke’s Hospital featured on River City Live:

The Spooky History of Jacksonville from JHS

Jacksonville Historical Society’s Old St. Luke’s Hospital was the subject of a special segment last week on the year-old television show, River City Live, seen from 11 a.m. to noon on Ch. 4 WJXT. The popular weekday talk show explored some of the city’s more mysterious structures, and Old St. Luke’s, now the JHS Archives, was part of the series.

The segment can be accessed at the River City Live website. Executive Director Emily Lisska offered the stories and the history of Old St. Luke’s for the Ch. 4 show. Eden Kendall, former radio morning talk show personality...[Read more...]



letter from Strickland to Broward

First page of the March 23, 1908 letter from Shade Strickland. Jacksonville Historical Society Collection.

Early 20th century campaign method: Old fashioned letter writing!

In many Christian traditions, November 1st is celebrated as All Saint’s Day. This is a day in which the living remember all those who have died. Probably the best known celebration of All Saint’s Day happens in Mexico, where the living take food and offerings to the graves of their loved ones, and dress in costumes and have great parties. At the archives, we celebrate the lives of those that have passed on by taking care of the papers that document their lives and times.

Recently, while reviewing collections at the archives, we found a cache of letters that were written between 1899 and 1908. These letters were said to have come from the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward House and were given to the society’s ... [Read more...]




When: November 30th - December 23rd

Time: Mon. - Fri., 11am - 5pm

Saturdays, 10am-5pm; Closed Sundays.

Where: Old St. Andrews, headquarters of the Jacksonville Historical Society, 317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd.

DBWEvent-logo 2016

The JHS is proud to present this beloved holiday tradition for three weeks each December.

Visitors enjoy creative gingerbread houses built by chefs, bakers, architects, engineers, culinary school students, families, young people and other individuals. These tasty creations are placed on display at the Jacksonville Historical Society headquarters, historic Old St. Andrews, immediately across the street from the Veteran’s Memorial Arena.

The Gingerbread House Extravaganza showcases some of the most creative art exhibited during the year in Jacksonville. Gingerbread and confection creations from traditional houses to historic structures to fairy tale themes offer holiday magic. Hundreds of hours are required for the construction of these edible structures – amazing sights to behold!



Old YMCA Building


YMCA, Jacksonville, c. 1910s, after completion. It still stands at the northeast corner of Laura and Duval Streets and the Jake M. Godbold City Hall Annex. Jacksonville Historical Society [Chapin Collection, 2003.001.038].

407-9 N Laura Street
Architect: Henry J. Klutho

The first Jacksonville's YMCA was founded in 1870. Thirty-seven years later, in 1907, members commissioned Henry John Klutho to design a seven-story headquarters building. This building marked the beginning of his commitment to an architectural movement that later became known as the "Prairie School". Klutho's own description of the building detailed the style's architectural significance: "the new building represents a style of architecture which is neither classic or Renaissance...[Read more...]




October 1,1968: Operation of City-County consolidated government formally begins. Consolidation of the Jacksonville and Duval County government created 841 square miles, the largest city in land mass in the contiguous United States. In the photo to the right, actress Lee Meredith and Mayor Hans Tanzler help emphasize the expansion for the "Bold New City of the South."


Henry Aaron and Ben Geraghty of the Jacksonville Tars, 1953.

October 2, 1953: South Atlantic League (also known as the Sally League) batting crown is won by Henry "Hank" Aaron of the Jacksonville Tars. Aaron's batting average was .362. He was also named the Leagues' MVP. One Jacksonville Journal columnist wrote, "I seriously believe Aaron may have started Jacksonville down the road to racial understanding."


Dr. James Hall's gravestone in Plummer's Cove near Mandarin, Florida.

October 8, 1804: Dr. James Hall, the first American physician to practice medicine in Florida for an extended period of time, settled near Mandarin.

Dr. Hall was born in 1760 in Keene, New Hampshire and he served during the Revolutionary War as a sergeant in the 3rd Regiment, New Hampshire Line.

Dr. Hall arrived in Florida around 1798 and married Eleanor Pritchard, widow to the late Robert Pritchard who was the first settler on land which later became Jacksonville proper, in 1804.

--A Century of Medicine in Jacksonville and Duval County by Webster Merritt

Spanish slaughtering French Huguenots

Pedro Menendez de Aviles men slaughtered approximately 200 hurricane shipwrecked French Huguenots brought to Florida by Jean Ribaut at an inlet 15 miles south of St. Augustine in 1565.

October 12, 1565: After they were shipwrecked by a storm, Jean Ribault, leader of the French Huegunots, and most of his men, were executed on orders given by Pedro Menendez de Aviles. The Spanish then began 198 years of uninterrupted Florida ownership.


October 16, 1873: On this day members of the Relief Association of Jacksonville re-established as the St. Luke's Hospital Association to create "an association of ladies for the benefit of those who come within its charities" and to provide for an institution to "be known as St. Luke's Hospital."

Three women, Mrs. J.D. Mitchell, Mrs. Susan Hartridge, and Mrs. Anna T. Doggett are considered the founders of the St. Luke's Hospital Association.

To read more about the history of Old St. Luke's, please visit our website or click here.

T.Frederick Davis

October 17, 1946: Thomas Frederick Davis, Jacksonville historian, died on this day.

Born in 1877 in Virginia, he moved with his parents to Florida in 1886. Davis attended the East Florida Seminary at Gainesville (now University of Florida); entered the United States Weather Bureau, and served at Galveston (1899), Jacksonville (1899-1901); Curaco, West Indies (1901-2); Washington, D.C. (1902-5); and again at Jacksonville (1905-1914). He wrote that "while searching for weather data in the old records, the Florida history bug bit me". He resigned from government service and established his own Fire Insurance Company in Jacksonville. He was a member of the Duval County militia during World War I.

In 1954, on the floor of the Florida House of Representatives, the Honorable Charles E. Bennett quoted the Florida Historical Society's editor, Julien C. Yonge: "Thomas Frederick Davis will always be remembered as Jacksonville's historian especially, but those who write of any period of Florida's history are in debt to him, for much of his work was research which brought to light little-known facts of every era of Florida's more than four centuries."

Some, but not all, of the books, monographs, and articles Davis has written include, History of Early Jacksonville, Florida (1911); History of Jacksonville, Florida, and Vicinity, 1513-1924 (1925); A Narrative History of the Orange in the Floridian Peninsula (1941); U.S. Troops in Spanish East Florida, 1812-1913 (1931); First Landing Place of Ponce de Leon in Florida (1933); Fort Caroline, Huguenot Settlement on the St. Johns (1933); Florida's Part in the War with Mexico (1942); Climatology of Jacksonville, Florida, and Vicinity (1907); The West Indian Hurricane (1908); and Inception and Growth of Jacksonville's Post Office (1930).


Announcements of President Theodore Roosevelt's visit to Jacksonville was first mentioned in The Metropolis on August 22, 1905. His initial visit date was October 17, but that quickly changed to October 21 after some scheduling conflicts. Jacksonville Historical Society Collection.

October 21, 1905: The 24th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt arrived in Jacksonville on this day during his tour of the South. President Roosevelt was “seeking to nurture the sense of unity and a common heritage wherever he could,” especially in the south.

Despite some previous Yellow Fever quarantine restrictions and the Jacksonville Board of Trade’s slight procrastination, members representing the City of Jacksonville arrived at Union station at 10:30am on the morning of Saturday, October 21. Roosevelt had departed Washington, D.C. on October 18, and traveled to Richmond, Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, High Point, Charlotte, Roswell (in Georgia, his mother’s home), Atlanta, Macon and Jesup. In Jesup, he switched trains from Southern to the Atlantic Coast Line to arrive in Jacksonville.

Roosevelt was met at the state line by a representative of Governor Napoleon Broward and a committee representing Jacksonville, and the Jacksonville Board of Trade met the President in Callahan. A Presidential salute of twenty-one guns by the First Battery and Field Artillery led the carriage ride through Jacksonville with Governor Broward and his staff, Mayor George Nolan and President of the Board of Trade, Captain C.E. Garner. The carriage ride to the Seminole Club with Governor Broward was met with a continuous ovation of cheers and approval. The President had long expressed a desire to see the rebuilt Jacksonville after the devastating Fire of 1901. He stated admiration for the Carnegie Library, City Hall and the National Guard.

At 1pm, Roosevelt arrived at the Seminole Club and made a speech from a platform across the street from the club. After his speech, he went on to a luncheon hosted by the Jacksonville Board of Trade where he spoke about country unity and the Panama Canal.

After the luncheon, he was led in a parade to the Florida Baptist Academy where he spoke to African-American students. He spoke to the high importance of education stating, “we need to have our people of every race reeducated … which makes the foundation of our good citizens.”

The parade also passed by Central Grammar School where many school children from Riverside, Springfield, LaVilla and East Jacksonville gathered to see the President.

After Roosevelt’s six and half hours in Jacksonville, he boarded the train to head south to St. Augustine. From there he went to Alabama to visit with Booker T. Washington in Tuskegee, then Birmingham, Montgomery, New Orleans and then back north to West Virginia and back to Washington, D.C.

In the end, the Jacksonville newspaper, The Metropolis stated that President Roosevelt was the “most striking figure in America today” and he “expressed admiration for the spirit shown by [Jacksonville’s] progressive citizens rebuilding such a beautiful and substantial city so quickly” after the Great Fire of 1901.

“The President declared he was delighted with Jacksonville", and Jacksonville was delighted with Teddy.

-The Metropolis


October 23, 1960: Today, in 1960, the city celebrated Jacksonville's newest skyscraper: the modern, fifteen story City Hall Building at 220 East Bay Street. According to the dedication program, the "magnificent building stands as an emblem dedicating its achievement to the dreams and aspirations, the ambitions and determinations of hundreds of our political and civic leaders and thousands of our citizens, living and dead."

The building was built of fireproof construction, completely air-conditioned with four high speed elevators. It featured a mural on the Bay Street side, two stories high and 80 feet long depicting Jacksonville's strategic location and the settlement of Florida. The date, 1564, appeared on the mural commemorating the settlement at Fort Caroline.

In December 1997, City Hall was relocated to the St. James Building at 117 Duval Street.


City of Jacksonville

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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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