During the last few days of the calendar year, Jacksonville Historical Society staff and volunteers could be found in City Hall’s Duval Street windows installing vignettes that showcase area history and history sites. City Council President Lori Boyer invited the society to coordinate the project for the five large windows facing Hemming Park. President Boyer wrote about the window exhibit and its goals for her constituents, and her article can be found here.
The window project offered some challenges. While reflective of the building’s early days as a department store, modern glazing interferes somewhat with daytime views, but at night, focused lighting allows the windows to “come alive.” Additionally, window depth was limited during the building’s 1996-97 restoration, but this challenge was more often used as an advantage when installing the displays.
You are encouraged to view the City Hall windows, available 24-7.
A special thank you to Associate Director and Archivist Taryn Rodriguez-Boette, President Jeff Graf, and board members Robin Robinson and Alan Bliss who worked on the project. Other individuals active with the project were Craig Hamilton, Jeff Gardner, Chris Farley, Pamela Singleton, Yownus Asami and Lloyd Washington. Widows were created through collaborations with San Marco Preservation, Mandarin Museum and Historical Society, Mandarin Community Club, Durkeeville Historical Society, and Springfield Improvement Association and Archive. Important object loans came from the Jacksonville Zoo and MOSH. It’s possible the project will expand to the building’s Hogan Street side with more history organizations participating. Jacksonville History Consortium members, consisting of area history organizations and formed more than 15 years ago by the JHS, have indicated an interest in the expansion.
In a column that City Council President, Lori Boyer wrote to her constituents she expressed the windows importance to the city by stating that,
“Jacksonville has such an interesting and important history! And while St. Augustine has claimed its history as its identity, our stories remain untold and unknown even to our residents. As a small step toward sharing several unique elements of our past, I asked the Jacksonville Historical Society to coordinate the placement of several historical exhibits in the St James building (City Hall) windows facing Hemming Park. The window displays were created by members of the Jacksonville History Consortium and each window interprets a different aspect of Jacksonville’s past.”
Mayor Lenny Cury praised the window exhibit explaining, “our history is a part of who we are as a community, and a foundation for our future. I am thrilled that City Hall, in partnership with the Jacksonville Historical Society, is sharing some of our history with Jacksonville citizens through the window exhibits currently on display.”