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jacksonvillian

Lost Architectural Treasures

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Downtown, Suburbs, or the Beaches... If you've got pics of our lost architectural treasures, please post them. I think it would make for a great new tread to see them all together.

Thanks - J

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^ It's really amazing how many we had. Downtown Jax/Lavilla could have been another Savannah or Charleston if only we had preserved the buildings that were demolished for parking lots.

I completely understand their logic for tearning down crumbling 2-story warehouses for office buildings and skyscrapers. But so many of them were demolished for nothing more than surface parking.

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rc11601.jpg

There's to many to name, so I'll just list some "districts".

1. Main Street Corridor (from Bay St. to 8th St. in Springfield).

The closest thing that comes to mind is St. Charles Avenue, from downtown to the Garden District, in New Orleans.

2. The Row - Riverside Avenue (downtown to Riverside Memorial Park)

Once lined with stately mansions, but destroyed by road widenings, I-95 and bland office buildings. Would have been one of the most beautiful streets in the South had it survived.

3. Ashley/Davis Street -Lavilla

Once known as the the Great Black way and the Harlem of the South, this black entertainment district was a big player in the early Jazz and Blues music scenes. Think Beale Street in Memphis, or Harlem in NYC because that's what we lost.

4. Riverfront Wharfs

I know many look down on old warehouses, but some of the most interesting urban areas in the country are former turn of the century warehouse districts (ex. SoHo in NYC). Naturally you can't save them all, but a few would have been nice for conversions into lofts and waterfront marketplaces (ex. Pier 39 in San Fransico).

5. The Great White Way

Like Ashley Street was to the blacks, Forsyth was the entertainment district for the Whites. It was lined with a number of large theaters. Today, only the Florida Theater survives. Just think, Jax once had a true theater district, something you know only find in older dense cities like Pittsburgh, Chicago and Cleveland.

In the end, Captain O is right, this place could have been a big city version of Savannah or Charleston, if we would have taken preseravtion serious during the 60s, 70s & 80s.

This brings up something that I found pretty unique in Birmingham. As we all know Birmingham, AL was known as the Pittsburgh of the South, because of its steel industry. Leaders there have transformed a 100 year old Steel mill (Sloss Furnances) just east of downtown, into a history museum. All of the machinery has been preserved and tours explain the steel making process and how this industry and mill lead to the city that exists there today. It got me thinking about Jax and the old Jefferson Smurfit paper mill in Tallyrand. Its played a similar role in the development of Jax. After 100 years in operation here, I'm sure it has an interesting story to tell as well.

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I'd really love to see pictures of those areas in their former glory. It really is sad, and shocking, to see what we have done to our southern cities since WWII. The character of the buildings that remain in downtown Jax definitely make one wonder about what it was like before the urban renewers did their damage.

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It's so true, some of what we have lost could have rivaled some of the best of Charleston, Savanah, etc.

Lake, you have such a wealth of info and pics, is most of it from the Historic Society? I'm thinkin of inquiring about membership or at least support... I wasn't familiar with the "Row", it sounds intriguing. I was just driving down Riverside Ave. yesterday thinking how wonderful it would be to have a mix of developments fronting Riverside Ave. helping connect Downtown to Riverside formal!

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It's so true, some of what we have lost could have rivaled some of the best of Charleston, Savanah, etc.

Lake, you have such a wealth of info and pics, is most of it from the Historic Society? I'm thinkin of inquiring about membership or at least support... I wasn't familiar with the "Row", it sounds intriguing. I was just driving down Riverside Ave. yesterday thinking how wonderful it would be to have a mix of developments fronting Riverside Ave. helping connect Downtown to Riverside formal!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Most of my information comes from the Florida Photographic Archives and visiting the historical documents section at the library, over the past year and a half.

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