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Great White Way

THE GREAT WHITE WAY — Here’s what you would’ve seen during the late 1940s if you looked west on Forsyth Street in the front of the Florida Theater. The photo was taken after a rain storm. According to the Florida State Archives, the picture dates from 1949. The marquee & street sign, though, advertise the Walter Pidgeon movie “Holiday in Mexico,” which was first released in 1946.

During the mid-1900s, this stretch of Forsyth was called “The Great White Way.” Of course, this was taken from the nickname for Broadway in New York. Forsyth Street lit up with several movie theaters, including the Florida Theater, the Palace, the Center, and the Imperial. All are gone, except for the Florida. It still draws movie & concert crowds downtown.

In the second, postcard picture, about the only thing left from this 1930s picture is the Lynch Building, the tall, brownish structure on the right.  The former office building has been turned into an apartment highrise.  The Palace Theater and the Imperial Theater made up part of Forsyth Street’s Great White Way.  They have been replaced by a parking garage.  Located on the right corner was the Henry Klutho-designed City Hall, the white, orangish-brown building with the palm trees.  During the Sixties, the old Main Public Library was erected on this site.

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