One hundred years ago, July 1, 1921, the Acosta Bridge was opened as the first span over the St. Johns River to move automobile traffic from one bank to the other.
Known as the St. John’s River bridge, it was a toll bridge and an annual “pass” was available, which consisted of a tag or plate for the front of the vehicle. Tolls were taken up until 1940. The bridge was renamed the Acosta Bridge in 1947 in posthumous honor of St. Elmo W. Acosta, the city commissioner who championed the funding for the automobile and pedestrian bridge after World War I.
To commemorate the occasion, San Marco Preservation Society, in collaboration with the Jacksonville Historical Society, presented a program on June 24, at Southside Baptist Church located in San Marco Square.
Dr. Wayne W. Wood, JHS Historian At Large, spoke about the importance of spanning the river for automobile traffic at this particular time in history as well as the journey that was taken to get the bridge built.
On June 26, the celebration continued with a vintage automobile parade that began at the Museum of Science & History, entered the Acosta Bridge northbound, crossed the river, circled back on Bay Street and entered the bridge southbound, ending at San Marco Square, where comments were made by Dr. Alan Bliss, CEO of the Jacksonville Historical Society; Matt Carlucci, Jacksonville City Councilman; and Desiree Bailey, president of the San Marco Preservation Society.