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At the Jacksonville Historical Society, we’re making history every day. Our monthly Speakers Series offers in-depth information on surprising and diverse aspects of our city’s past, and our fun Pop Up events are designed to bring attention to the forgotten history buried in our own back yard. Throughout the year, we also lead countless school groups on “insider tours” of our city’s most significant landmarks and events. Why don’t you join us?

Digging for our history: The Jacksonville Wall Project
Apr 19 @ 7:00 pm

April’s Lecture Series event at the Jacksonville Historical Society will feature George R. Burns, Vice-President of the Cowford Archaeological Research Society (CARS), speaking on the Jacksonville Wall Project.

CARS has been at work on locating and identifying evidence of the security wall built by the U.S. Army around Jacksonville during the U.S. Civil War. Recently CARS and the Jacksonville Historical Society collaborated in the establishment of an historical marker at the site of Ft. Hatch, a strongpoint in the Jacksonville Wall.

Mr. Burns, of Jacksonville, holds an MA in anthropology, and is a member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists.

Social half-hour with light refreshments begins at 6:30, and the program begins at 7:00 PM.
*This event is free for members, we ask non-members for a donation of $5

May’s Annual Membership Meeting & Lecture: Preserving Historic Jacksonville
May 22 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Please join us on the evening of May 22 at Old St. Andrews Church for our annual membership meeting and program. Note that the program presentation will be somewhat shortened.

The evening begins at 6:30 with our customary social half-hour. At 7:00 PM, JHS members will hear the report of the nominating committee for next year’s board members, followed by a vote on the candidates.

Upon conclusion of the membership vote, our program will highlight local historic preservation challenges, with examples from Jacksonville neighborhoods. Speakers include Alan Bliss, JHS interim executive director and adjunct professor of history at the University of North Florida, joined by preservation veterans. What better place to discuss historic preservation opportunities and challenges than Old St. Andrews, itself a major example of saving one of Jacksonville’s landmarks?

Following the discussion , we will hear announcements from JHS board president Pat Andrews. We’ll then adjourn for a social gathering to acknowledge and enjoy some special social time with “emerita” executive director, Emily Lisska. She is now ninety days into a very active “retirement” that has her doing research, conducting oral history interviews, leading tours, public speaking and more! On May 3, the City of Jacksonville’s Historic Preservation Commission honored Emily for her achievements in the preservation movement. Congratulations and thank you, Emily!

Social half-hour with light refreshments begins at 6:30, and the program begins at 7:00 PM.
*This event is free for members, we ask non-members for a donation of $5

Memorial Day – Office Closed
May 28 all-day

Federal Holiday. All JHS offices and locations closed.

June Lecture Series The Melting Pot: The Diverse Cultures of Northeast Florida
Jun 21 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

“Early twenty century immigrant owners Catherine and Anthony Depasquale with daughter Carmelina at grocery, Tony’s Place at Houston and Lee streets. Photo circa 1938.”

Don’t miss the June program, at Old St. Andrews, of the Jacksonville Historical Society!

Who were early immigrants to the North Florida area and who are they today?
The Jacksonville Historical Society’s June program features three speakers who offer insight on North Florida’s immigrant history. Included are Kathleen Cohen, with an overview of immigration in Jacksonville from 1880 through 1920; Giselle Carson, Attorney with the Marks Gray Law Firm, presenting the area’s immigration story from a legal point of view; and World Relief Director Jose Vega, offering a portrait of 21st century North Florida immigrants.

Executive Director Emeritus Emily Lisska, who started “The Melting Pot” project, will describe the project that captured the record-ed stories of North Florida immigrants from more than a dozen countries. The evening also includes an exhibit featuring the individuals who participated in the oral history series. “The Melting Pot” oral histories can be found at

6:30 pm
Reception With the “The Melting Pot” exhibit featuring local immigrant stories
7:00 pm Presentation

The event is open to the public with a suggested donation of $5 for non-members.

Free parking is available in behind Old St. Andrew’s along Duval Street.

For information, (904) 665-0064.

Oral History Workshop at the Jacksonville Historical Society
Aug 4 @ 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

Workshop participants will learn how to plan oral history projects, how to choose individuals or groups for interviewing, how to research and prepare for the interview by drafting effective interview questions as well as organizing the interview. Discussion will include recording technology, the interview setting, and other aspects of oral history methods. We will discuss best practices in archiving interviews so that they have value to future researchers.

The workshop cost is $35.00 for the public, or $10.00 for members of the Jacksonville Historical Society. Payments will be collected at the door. (You may join the JHS on the day of the workshop)!

Reservations are necessary, so that we will have sufficient informational handouts for everyone. Please contact the JHS during normal business hours at (904) 665-0064 or email to RSVP.

August Lecture Series “Goat Island Hermit: The State of Florida versus Rollians Christopher”
Aug 23 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

On Thursday evening, August 23, the JHS Speaker Series presents Dr. Timothy Gilmore, on “The Goat Island Hermit: The State of Florida versus Rollians Christopher.” In 1955, Rollians Christopher, an illiterate goatherd who’d claimed squatter’s rights on Goat Island, across from the fishing village of New Berlin in the St. Johns River, found himself in a battle between multiple governmental authorities. Duval County wanted to develop the rattlesnake-infested island for industrial shipping purposes; the Florida Ship Canal Authority wanted the island for barge terminals for the Cross Florida Barge Canal.

Christopher’s opponents complained of his ethnic ambiguity and claimed he’d killed someone, while defenders from around the state wrote letters to Congressman Charles Bennett, Governor LeRoy Collins, and the heads of the entities who wanted him gone.

Duval County won the fight. What happened to Goat Island, and to Rollians Christopher? Where did he come from? If he wasn’t connected to the Christophers, one of the largest and most diverse pioneer families in Northeast Florida, who was he? And what happened to his 1100 goats? Learn more on August 23.

“The Jacksonville Historical Society’s 2018-2019 Speaker Series is underwritten by Retina Associates.”

Date: Thursday, August 23, 2018
Social half-hour with light refreshments begins at 6:30 PM.
The program begins at 7:00 PM.

Location: Old St. Andrews, 317 A. Philip Randolph Boulevard
Free parking on site and security will be on duty

This event is free for members, we ask non-members for a donation of $10
For more information, contact or call 904.665.0064

September Lecture Series “Jacksonville’s City / County Consolidation: A Perspective at Fifty Years”
Sep 20 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

September’s Lecture Series at the Jacksonville Historical Society will feature Dr. James Crooks, author and historian, speaking on “Fifty Years of Jacksonville’s Consolidated Government”.

On September 20, the Jacksonville Historical Society’s Speaker Series Program will host James Crooks, speaking on the 50th Anniversary of Jacksonville’s consolidated local government. In the 1960s, other Florida cities tried to adopt the model used here in Jacksonville. Why did they fail? Consolidation is one of Jacksonville’s most distinctive characteristics, setting it apart from most cities of a similar size. At fifty years in, what can be said about its record and its prospects?

Dr. James B. Crooks is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of North Florida. He is the author of two scholarly books about modern Jacksonville, one of which, Jacksonville: The Consolidation Story, From Civil Rights to the Jaguars, will be available for purchase at this month’s event. Dr. Crooks’ record of community engagement is known throughout Jacksonville, and this year he is serving as a key member of the Consolidation Anniversary Task Force, convened by the Jacksonville Historical Society.

Date & Time: Thursday, September 20, 2018
Social half-hour with light refreshments begins at 6:30 PM.
The program begins at 7:00 PM.

Location: Old St. Andrews, 317 A. Philip Randolph Boulevard
Free parking on site and security will be on duty.

The JHS Speaker Series is underwritten by Retina Associates – Fred H. Lambrou, Jr., M.D. and H. Alexander Leder, M.D.

2018 Gingerbread Extravaganza Builder’s Workshop
Sep 29 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Calling All Gingerbread Builders!

The Jacksonville Historical Society is holding the 2018 Gingerbread Builder Workshop Saturday, September 29th from 10:00am – 12:00am and the Old St. Andrew’s, 317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd. We highly recommend Builders to attend the workshop but are not required to attend the workshop in order to participate in the event. We are happy that our Gingerbread Builder Veterans E.J. McIntyre and Sara Aicher have agreed to lead this workshop, sharing their tips and tricks to creating a gingerbread entry that will last.

As a reminder, the Gingerbread Builder Permit form submissions are due Thursday, September 27th and the creations are to be delivered to the Old St. Andrews either Monday, November 26, 12:00pm – 4:00pm or Tuesday, November 27, 8:00am – 3:00pm. We hope that those of you who have shown an interest in participating in this event for 2018 have submitted your Builder Permit form and are busy planning your wonderful creations.

Please RSVP for the Builder Workshop with our office at (904) 665-0064 or email

2018 Volunteer For The Evergreen Pumpkin Run
Oct 28 @ 7:30 pm – 11:30 pm

The Annual Evergreen Pumpkin Run is taking place Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 8 AM – 11 AM. An estimated 2,200 runners take part in either the 5K or the 10-mile race that twists and turns through the historic cemetery passing the grave-site of thousands of the city’s citizens. Since the race’s inception 18 years ago, the Jacksonville Historical Society has been the event’s selected charity receiving a annual donation from Evergreen Cemetery Association.

The JHS is currently recruiting volunteers to man the water stations for this popular event. It is fun for everyone with a costume contest and enjoyable scenery at the historic location. If you would like to volunteer, please contact our office at (904) 665-0064 or email

* Bring your own bag chair
* We ask all volunteers through the JHS to wear a navy-blue shirt

Date: Sunday, October 28, 2018
Location: Evergreen Cemetery, Funeral Home and Crematory
4535 N Main St, Jacksonville, Florida 32206
Volunteer Times: 7:30 – 11:30am
Run Begins: 8:00am

The Evergreen Pumpkin Run is presented by 1st Place Sports

2018 Gingerbread Extravaganza
Nov 29 @ 11:00 am – Nov 30 @ 5:00 pm
2018 Gingerbread Extravaganza @ Old St. Andrews | Jacksonville | Florida | United States

JHS is proud to present this beloved holiday tradition from
November 29 – December 28, 2018

Benefiting the educational programs and archival repository of the Jacksonville Historical Society

Visitors enjoy gigantic, creative gingerbread creations 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’s Old St. Andrews, immediately across the street from the Veteran’s Memorial Arena.

The Gingerbread Extravaganza showcases some of the most creative art exhibited during the year in Jacksonville. The 2018 Gingerbread and confection creation theme encompasses Jacksonville Historic landmarks and the wonderful, whimsical spirit of the holidays. Hundreds of hours are required for the construction of these edible structures in order to make amazing sights to behold! Children love to play the scavenger hunt and find items throughout the display.

Joining the Extravaganza each year are Junior League of Jacksonville Sustainers, who create beautifully themed trees that are showcased throughout Old St. Andrews.

General Times
Monday through Friday 11:00am – 5:00pm
Saturdays 10:00am – 4:00pm
Closed Sundays

* Special Times *
Dec 09, 11:00am – 4:00pm (Sunday) New
Dec 13, Gingerbread by Candlelight 6:00pm – 8:00pm (special evening event)
Dec 17, 11:00am – 8:00pm New
Dec 24 & 25 Closed
Dec 26 & 27, 10:00am – 4:00pm
Dec 28, 10:00am – 2:00pm

Jacksonville Historical Society’s Old St. Andrews
317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32202
(across the street from Veterans Memorial Arena)
* JHS’s free parking lot is behind the church, and there’s also ample street parking.

Entry Fee:
$10.00 Adults
$3.00 Children 3 and up
* This includes admission to the Merrill House Museum Tour during running tour hours.


For more information regarding this event please see the Gingerbread Extravaganza page.

Copyright © 2019 by Jacksonville Historical Society