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If you want to be historically accurate this holiday, serve alligator

In the autumn of 1621, in celebration of their first successful corn harvest, the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony hunted wildfowl and held a feast that was attended by local members of the Wampanoag Tribe, which contributed five deer. History books and countless American schoolchildren know this communal meal as the famous “First Thanksgiving.” Except that […]

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Is This the Most Famous Photo in Jacksonville History?

It was interesting to watch people’s reactions as they looked up at the photo on the banner hanging outside The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens touting a current exhibit: “Picturing Jacksonville: 150 Years of Photography” back in July 2005. Some people smiled almost sheepishly, as if they had just been told a joke that […]

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In Search of Eartha White

Born in Jacksonville in 1876, Eartha Mary Magdalene White is among the city’s most notable citizens. Highly talented, entrepreneurial and industrious, she delivered crucial social services to North Florida’s black community. Her projects, to name a few, included an old folk’s home, an orphanage, a home for unwed mothers, a WWII USO, and the Clara […]

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Liberty Ships

The circumstances were grim. The year was 1941. War raged only an ocean away. The country and the citizens rallied in an unparalleled effort. In a four-year span, at eighteen U.S. cities, 2,710 identical Liberty Ships were constructed in record setting time; Jacksonville, Florida, and the St. Johns River Shipbuilding Company were an essential part […]

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The Patriot War of 1812

The first permanent settlement in what is now Jacksonville was founded at “The Cowford” in 1791, at a narrow point in the St. Johns River where cattlemen could ford their livestock across. This was some 3000 feet west of the Spanish Fort San Nicolas. Spain controlled Florida peninsula. This was a major concern for leaders […]

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The Forgotten Village of Silvertown

Silvertown was a curious real estate development, appearing on the 1887 LeBaron Map of Jacksonville as a small rectangular subdivision immediately to the west of Riverside, which at that time ended at Barrs Street. The most unusual aspect of Silvertown was that it was bisected by a swamp, which separated the east and west portions […]

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Red Bank Plantation, an enduring symbol of the Old South

On February 4th, 1939, Rose Shepherd, a writer with the Federal Writer’s Project (an economic recovery program that paid writers to record oral histories during the Great Depression), sat down with Mrs. Thomas Ellington, a kindergarten teacher whose “considerable personal inheritance” had enabled her to purchase one of Jacksonville’s oldest residences, the Red Bank Plantation. […]

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Martha Reed Mitchell: Putting the D in Doyenne

A doyenne is a woman considered to be the senior, or most prominent, member of a group. In the highest social echelons of late nineteenth-century Jacksonville, that woman was Martha Reed Mitchell, a tall, well-built woman with brilliant blue eyes who lived largely, built largely, and left one of Jacksonville’s most lasting legacies. According to […]

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Jacksonville’s own Blue Angels

At the end of World War II, Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, the Chief of Naval Operations, ordered the formation of a flight demonstration team to keep the public interested in Naval Aviation and boost Navy morale. Lt. Cmdr. Roy “Butch” Voris, a veteran flying ace with eight air victories to his credit, was chosen as […]

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Riverside Baptist Church

In the 1920s, Addison Mizner was the best known and most-discussed architect in America. Perhaps more than any other architect of his day, Addison Cairns Mizner shaped the architectural flavor of South Florida. Although he lacked formal training as an architect, Mizner’s eclectic reinterpretations of Spanish architecture, as showcased in such famous buildings as the […]

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