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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?

Historic Jacksonville Theatre Palaces, Drive-Ins and Movie Houses
Jan 25 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Lights, camera, action!

Join the Jacksonville Historical Society Monday, January 25 for a reception and program on Jacksonville’s theatre and performance history. The evening will begin with a reception at 6:30pm with the program to follow at 7pm. Author and speaker Dorothy K. Fletcher will present the theatres, drive-ins and movie houses that brought entertainment to Jacksonville citizens. FletcherBookSome have passed into memory. The Dixie Theatre, originally part of Dixieland Park, began to fade in 1909. The Palace Theatre, home to vaudeville acts, was torn down in the ’50s. The Alhambra has been everyone’s favorite dinner theatre since 1967’s debut of Come Blow Your Horn.

Local author Dorothy K. Fletcher revives the history of Jacksonville’s theatres in her new book Historic Jacksonville Theatre Palaces, Drive-Ins and Movie Houses,dorothyfletcher published in 2015. Mrs. Fletcher retired from the Duval County Public School System in 2007 after thirty-five years of teaching English classes. She was then able to  embrace her passion – writing. Her monthly column, “By the Wayside,” which she wrote for the Florida Times-Union, led to a series of history books she has written about her beloved home, Jacksonville, Florida. She and her husband, Hardy, love traveling and hanging out with their grandchildren.


** Due to illness, the original program scheduled for January 25th, “The History of Jacksonville’s Jewish Community” with Marcia Jo Zerivitz will be rescheduled for a later date.**

This program and the 2015-16 JHS program series is generously sponsored by Retina Associates, P.A. Dr. Fred H. Lambrou, Jr.

Ribault to the Revolution
Feb 29 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Shipwreck Archaeology at the St. Augustine Lighthouse


Chuck Meide, Director of the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP), offers updates o the search for the lost ships in Jean Ribault’s fleet. He’ll also focus on a major underwater wreck dating to Revolutionary War years that has yielded extraordinary finds — everything except the ships name! Near the end of the American Revolution, the ship out of Charleston was on its way to St. Augustine filled with fleeing loyalist escaping to British East Florida. Meide believes the ship stopped in route to St. Augustine at St. Johns Town, a town of British loyalist located at St. Johns Bluff about six miles from the St. Johns River mouth. Later, the ship sunk as it approached St. Augustine’s treacherous inlet.

An Atlantic Beach, Florida native, Chuck Meide attended Florida State University, receiving both his bachelor and master degrees in anthropology with a focus on underwater archaeology. He is currently Chuckcompleting his PhD through the College of William and Mary. Meide has participated in and supervised a wide variety of maritime archaeological projects, including investigations of submerged prehistoric hunting and occupation sites; 16th and 17th century Spanish galleon wrecks; Confederate ironclad and Union supply ship wrecks; the earliest Western river steamboat excavation by archaeologists; and La Salle’s ship la Belle lost in 1686.


This event is open to the public. A suggested donation for non-members is $5, unless a student with an I.D.


This program and the 2015-16 JHS program series is generously sponsored by Retina Associates, P.A. Dr. Fred H. Lambrou, Jr.


Banned in Jacksonville: What book are you missing?
Sep 29 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom(OIF), “hundreds of books are challenged in schools and libraries in the United States each year. A challenge is an WH_BannedBooksattempt to remove or restrict materials, while a banning reflects the actual removal of those materials”. 275 challenges were recorded nationally during 2015. The OIF staff believes far more challenges occur, however, because reporting is not mandatory in all states.

In the Duval County School System alone, 300 book challenges have been reported from 1978 – 2012. The Jacksonville Public Library reports 70 challenges to materials (books, DVDs, etc.) since 2000.

Leslie Kirkwood, Chair of  Banned: A Community Conversation about Censorship and Free Speech will present crucial history and background and Barbara A. B. Gubbin, Director of Jacksonville Public Library in this important conversation.  The presentation also incorporates performances by Jason Woods, actor/director. The presentation will also highlight the history of the Nazi-era censorship and its relevance today; Banned Books Week; a review of national, local public school and public library challenges; and a discussion of First Amendment rights.

Leslie Kirkwood is is a current chair of Banned: Censorship and Free Speech (a series of public programs—community conversations—that examines the delicate balance between censorship and free speech) and Remembering for the Future Community Holocaust Initiative (an organization that focuses attention on Holocaust education and remembrance through educational resources, teacher training, major exhibitions and community programs.). She is also the Vice-President of Urban Dynamics Corporation, a member of the Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library and the former Executive Director of the Jacksonville Public Libraries Foundation.

The reception begins at 6:30pm with the program to follow at 7pm. Both events will be held at Old St. Andrew’s, 317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32202.

Free parking is available in the lot behind the Merrill House and Old St. Andrew’s, along Duval Street.
Security will be on duty.
Your guests are welcome.
A suggested donation for non-members is $5, students free with proper ID.

This program and the 2016-17 JHS program series is generously sponsored by Retina Associates, P.A. Dr. Fred H. Lambrou, Jr.

Towers in the Sand: The History of Florida Broadcasting
Jan 18 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

The January program at Old St. Andrew’s features former broadcaster Donn R. Colee, Jr., author of Towers in the Sand: The History of Florida Broadcasting. Towers in the Sand is the only comprehensive history of Florida’s broadcasting industry 1922-2016. The book explores the people, over eighty Florida broadcasting pioneers and current leaders, who brought Florida broadcast stations to life, and the events that saw Florida grow from boom to bust and back again to now, the nation’s third most populous state.
A celebration of broadcasting’s proudest moments through hard-hitting journalism and editorials, lifesaving moments through decades of hurricanes, and lighthearted moments with favorite personalities and promotions, Towers in the Sand also laments the loss of a national treasure, as most stations were transformed from local community partners to lines on corporate balance sheets.

This program is presented by in partnership with the Jacksonville Historical Society, Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library, and Jacksonville Public Library.

About the author

A seventh-generation Floridian whose family settled in St. Augustine in 1820, Donn R. Colee Jr. is a second-generation Florida broadcaster, starting as a teenage disc jockey playing rock ‘n’ roll music at WLOF-AM in Orlando. His broadcasting career was interrupted by service in the U.S. Navy and 13 years in the advertising and public relations business in South Florida. He returned to broadcasting at West Palm Beach’s CBS affiliate, WPEC Channel 12, in 1988, serving in marketing and programming roles before being promoted to station manager. He retired in 2009.

Colee is a member of the Florida Association of Broadcasters, the Florida Historical Society, Historical Society of Palm Beach County, and Fort Lauderdale Historical Society. He lives in Palm Beach Gardens with his wife, Martha. They have three grown children, and six grandchildren. Donn is an avid boater and fisherman and serves on the board of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club.

Civil Rights Struggles, from the Beach to the Courthouse
Feb 23 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Marching at Morrison’s, 1964. Florida-Times Union.

This observation of Black History Month connects Jacksonville to some of the Civil Rights era’s most pivotal events, which took place in Northeast Florida. Demonstrations in St. Augustine, led by giants of history such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Andrew Young, were forcefully suppressed by local authorities. Legal appeals by the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were decided in the Jacksonville courtroom of federal judge Bryan Simpson, whose rulings defied heavy community resistance and personal criticism. Worldwide attention to local events helped move Congress to act on civil rights legislation. In 2008, Jacksonville’s United States Courthouse at 300 North Hogan Street was named in honor of Judge Simpson.

Program speakers will describe local civil rights conflicts, and the judicial process that critically upheld the right to public demonstrations.

Co-sponsors: the Jacksonville Historical Society, the Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and the Daniel Webster Perkins Bar Association of Jacksonville.

Please note the time change:

Reception: 6pm
Program: 630pm

This event is open to the public. A suggested donation for non-members is $5.
We ask that you register for the event online, by following this link,
by emailing or phoning 904.665.0064.
Free parking is available behind Old St. Andrews along Duval Street. Security will be on duty. Your guests are welcome.

This program and the 2016-17 JHS program series is generously sponsored by Retina Associates, P.A., Dr. Fred Lanbrou, Jr.

Florida’s Fleet: A Shrimping Legacy from the First Coast
Mar 30 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Shrimp boats in Jacksonville, Florida. © Florida Memory

The Jacksonville Historical Society and Brendan Burke, author and underwater archaeologist with the St. Augustine Historical Society and Museum‘s research center LAMP, will present a program on Florida’s Fleet: A Shrimping Legacy from the First Coast on Thursday, March 30th beginning with a reception at 6:30pm followed by the program at 7pm.

During the early 20th century, a new type of boat was born in Northeast Florida. Forged from Greek, Italian, Norwegian, African-American, and native Floridian hands, the Florida-style trawler became one of the most important boats in the state’s history. From 1919 until the mid-1980’s, Florida supplied the world with shrimp trawlers and commercial fishing boats of all types. In Northeast Florida, the enterprise grew into a multi-billion dollar industry that contributed to over 23 foreign fishing fleets. Ultimately, Florida would be responsible for the largest purpose-built wooden fishing fleet ever assembled.

We ask that you register for the event via Eventbrite. Please click the ticket icon above to register for you seat. You may also email or phone the society to make your reservation.

About the speaker

Brendan Burke, Archaeologist and Logistical Coordinator with LAMP.

Brendan Burke is a maritime archaeologist at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum in the museum’s research wing, the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP). Since 2007, he has researched the commercial shrimping history of Florida, and in 2013 co-authored Shrimp Boat City with Ed Long, a St. Augustine native. When he is not researching commercial fishing, Brendan may be found underwater or onboard the research vessel ROPER, diving and excavating a shipwreck from the American Revolution off St. Augustine’s beach. He holds a B.A. in history/anthropology from Longwood University and an MA in historical archaeology from The College of William and Mary.

Andrew Jackson in Florida
Apr 20 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Join the Jacksonville Historical Society and co-sponsor, The Hermitage, on April 20th for a 6:30pm reception and book signing, followed by a 7pm program with authors and speakers, Sherry Johnson and James G. Cusick.

Andrew Jackson is one of the most controversial figures in Florida history. He invaded Pensacola, the capital of Spanish-controlled Florida, during the War of 1812. He was commander of military operations during the First Seminole War, and his Indian Removal policies sparked the Second Seminole War. He briefly served as the first territorial governor of Florida.

No other person is more closely associated with the Americanization of Florida and its transformation from Spanish borderland to Deep South frontier. Jackson’s military expeditions ended both Spanish and Native American control over Florida’s Big Bend and Panhandle areas. From his own time to the present, opinion is divided on whether he deserves praise or condemnation for his actions.

This book includes scholarly perspectives previously published in the Florida Historical Quarterly, important primary source documents from Jackson’s time, and new original analysis from contemporary scholars reflecting upon Jackson’s legacy.

About the authors

James G. Cusick is curator of the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History at the University of Florida Library and author of The Other War of 1812: The Patriot War and the American Invasion of Spanish East Florida. His interests in Florida history focus primarily on its colonial and 19th century past. Since 2004 he has also worked closely with the Florida Humanities Council to bring knowledge of Florida’s colonial history to primary, middle school, and high school teachers around the state. In addition to his duties at the university, he serves on the boards of the Florida Historical Society and the Gulf South History and Humanities Conference; he is a research associate of the St. Augustine Historical Society and the Historical St. Augustine Research Institute; a former board member and officer of the Seminole Wars Historic Foundation and the St. Augustine Archaeological Association; and a judge for the Florida Book Awards administered through the State of Florida.

Sherry Johnson is assistant professor of history and Cuban studies at Florida International University. She is the author of articles on Cuban and Florida history in such journals as Florida Historical Quarterly, Hispanic American Historical Review, Cuban Studies, and Colonial Latin American Historical Review.

Jacksonville’s Greatest Landmarks — Past, Present, Preserved and Endangered
May 31 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

In honor of National Preservation Month, Wayne W. Wood, the “godfather of Jacksonville History,” is speaker for the Jacksonville Historical Society annual meeting. Dr. Wood’s presentation explores Jacksonville’s greatest architectural gems, including amazing landmarks that are long gone, and his 25 favorite buildings existing in Northeast Florida. You” hear dramatic stories of local significant structures that have been rescued and preserved. Also covered during the presentation are Jacksonville’s most endangered buildings, which include some big surprises!



About the speaker

Dr. Wood, a retired optometrist, is author or editor of numerous books exploring Jacksonville’s history, including the best selling, Jacksonville’s Architectural Heritage: Landmarks for the Future (currently out-of-print). Other publications include, but are not limited to The Jacksonville Family Album: 150 Years of the Art of Photography, The Great Fire of 1901, The Architectural of Henry John Klutho: The Prairie School in Jacksonville, The Broward Family in Florida: From France to Florida, and The Living Heritage of Riverside and Avondale. A few remaining copies of The Jacksonville Family Album will be available for sale at the May 31 program along with other books by Dr. Wood, or purchase them online by clicking on the highlighted book name.

Winterling and Weather: A North Florida View
Sep 26 @ 6:30 pm – 8:15 pm

George Winterling, Channel 4 meteorologist, reports on Hurricane Dora’s maneuvers, 1964.

In 1962, when George Winterling began as a meteorologist with Channel 4 television, broadcasts were black and white and reporting was live—no video tape. Prior to his 47 year career at WJCT, Mr. Winterling worked as a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jacksonville. In 1964, he accurately predicted Hurricane Dora would hit North Florida. He’s also known for creating a humiture index—how hot it feels—today used nationwide and beyond as the”heat-index.” Rainfall predictability was another Winterling creation. He recalls television’s earliest Jacksonville broadcasts in 1949. So eager to see more, later as a student of Florida State University, he mounted an antenna on the chimney and watched Bill Grove’s “Eye on the News” from Tallahassee. By the time he retired from Channel 4 in 2009, he was a Jacksonville institution. In this presentation, you’ll learn more about Mr. WInterling-known to all as George-and more about North Florida’s weather history.

About the speaker

Born in New Jersey in 1931, George Winterling moved with his family to Jacksonville at age 10. He graduated from Lee High School. In 1949, he joined the United States Air Force and was sent to Weather Observers School at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois. He eventually trained at Shemya Air Force Base in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands where he observed the Pacific’s killer storms. In 1957, he earned a meteorology degree from Florida State University and was employed for five years by the U.S. Weather Bureau (now called the National Weather Service) until he was pivotal in convincing Channel 4, they needed a meteorologist. A Mandarin resident, he married his wife Virginia in 1956.

Charles Lindbergh in Jacksonville: The 90th Anniversary
Oct 10 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Charles Lindbergh Banquet Program at Hotel George Washington, 1927

He was the greatest celebrity on earth when he touched down in Jacksonville on October 27, 1927. Five months after Charles Lindbergh’s record setting transatlantic crossing, from New York to Paris, he landed in Jacksonville

to a hero’s welcome. He was piloting his famous plane, the Spirit of St. Louis. The local Lindbergh tribute “surpassed anything in state history,” said the city’s major newspaper, the Florida Times Union. It was all part of a victory tour, and Atlanta was his next stop, but not before more people than residents lined the city’s streets— just to get a glimpse of Lindbergh — as his motorcade was escorted from the new landing field on North Main Street to downtown. Jacksonville Historical Society Past-President Ed Booth, Jr., tells the little known stories of Lindbergh’s visit—and arguably the most dramatic “invitation delivery” in area history. Ninety years to the day, we examine an unforgettable moment in Jacksonville aviation.

About the speaker

Edward M. Booth Jr., is a partner at Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. He received his B. A. degree from Emory University in 1978, and was awarded his Juris Doctorate from Florida State University College of Law in 1981. He served as chairman of The Florida Bar Aviation Law Certification Committee and The Florida Bar Aviation Law Committee. He was the 2007-8 President of the Lawyer Pilots Bar Association, a 1,200 member international association. He served on the Jacksonville Aviation Authority Board of Directors (2013-2015) and oversaw the operation of four local airports having a combined annual budget in excess of 80 million dollars. An experienced pilot, he holds a multi engine Air Transport License issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. Mr. Booth is a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and a frequent guest commentator of Jacksonville’s WJXT Channel 4 on topics related to aviation and air safety. He has also appeared on the news magazine Inside Edition and the Chinese network SZMG TV on matters related to recent air disasters.


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