Top Navigation


Events banner

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?

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.

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.

Jacksonville: Florida’s Tourist Mecca and Its Grand Hotels – 1869 to 1926
May 21 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Please note – this event is being held at St. John’s Cathedral, Taliaferro Hall, 256 East Church Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202

6:00pm Reception

6:30pm JHS Annual Meeting

6:45pm JHS Announcement of 2019 Endangered Historic Sites

7:00pm Jacksonville: Florida’s Tourist Mecca and Its Grand Hotels – 1869 to 1926

Following the Civil War, Jacksonville became the most attractive winter vacation destination on the nation’s east coast. Throughout America, Jacksonville was known as “The Winter City in a Summer Land.” During the season, the town was filled to capacity with its population doubling. Along with the tourists came great hotels, which were remarkable for their architecture and amenities. Mild winter evenings were filled with orchestra music pouring from the windows of these grand hotels, wafting through streets as visitors promenaded in moonlight.

Well-known historian, civic advocate and JHS board member, Dr. Wayne Wood, will take us on a trip back through time to revisit this amazing era in Jacksonville’s history. Dr. Wood is known for his entertaining insights into Jacksonville’s architecture and history. His program will be heavily illustrated with rarely seen images of the era when our city reigned supreme as the nation’s winter playground. The presentation will also include stories of the large downtown hotels built after the Fire of 1901, such as the Mayflower, George Washington, and Seminole, which still existed until recent decades.

JHS members receive free admissions. Suggested donation of $10 for non-members. Become a JHS member here.

The JHS Speakers Series is underwritten through the generous support of Retina Associates, Fred H. Lambrou, M.D. and H. Alexander Leder, M.D.

Copyright © 2019 by Jacksonville Historical Society