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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?

Oct
31
Thu
2013
Malice Aforethought: A Century of Murder in Jacksonville
Oct 31 @ 5:30 am – 7:30 am

At the October program meeting, author and professor Tim Gilmore presents stories of some of Jacksonville’s most sensational murders and murderers.

From an 1890s murder trial of a well known young woman to a 1970s city jail break of a man later dubbed the “Casanova Killer,” Gilmore covers these fascinating cases and more, including the 1930s “Citrus King” trial and the 1964 Johnnie Mae Chappell murder. He’ll also discuss convicted murderer Ottis Toole, the subject of his recently released book, Stalking Ottis Toole, who Gilmore says is “either one of the worst serial killers in history or a dimwitted arsonist.”

Among Gilmore’s published works is a 2012 book that offers Jacksonville’s psycho-geographical stories, This Kind of City: Ghost Stories and Psychological Landscapes. He received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida and teaches at Florida State College at Jacksonville.

Jul
1
Tue
2014
America’s First Thanksgiving: The 450th Anniversary of North Florida’s La Caroline
Jul 1 @ 5:30 am – 7:30 am
America's First Thanksgiving: The 450th Anniversary of North Florida's La Caroline @ Old St. Andrews | Jacksonville | Florida | United States

For this acknowledged Firest Thanksgiving, hear the actual words of the colonists at La Caroline, the individuals who were eyewitness more than four centuries ago to this remarkable short-lived episode in Florida history. Yes, more than a half century before the “invented” Pilgrim story of Thanksgiving, the real Thanksgiving was on North Florida soil! Join the June Thanksgiving program for a special look at the first colonty of men and women seeking religious freedom on U.S. soil–you’ll be thankful you did.

Feb
26
Thu
2015
Spies, Schemes and the Sons of Liberty: The Shadier Side of East and West Florida
Feb 26 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Spies, Schemes and the Sons of Liberty: The Shadier Side of East and West Florida @ 317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd. | Jacksonville | Florida | United States

During the critical days, months and years of the American Revolution, Florida was no longer under Spanish control. From 1763 to 1783, Florida was British-owned, and yet, it was more than a site for loyalist to the crown. Did you know that the British royal governor of East Florida accused prominent colonists of holding a Sons of Liberty meeting? Or that during the American Revolution the British put plans in motion to literally steal the Mississippi River? Throughout the Revolutionary War period, these and other wild escapades of treason, revolutionary land schemes, spies, and espionage fill the annals of East and West Florida history. This program introduces you to the shadier side of British occupation in Florida and how those instances impacted the nation’s fight for independence.

About the speaker: Roger Smith, Ph.D., received his Bachelor’s Degree in History in 2006, a Master’s Degree in American History in 2008, and a Ph.D. in Early American History and Atlantic World Studies, with a certificate of scholarship in Museum Studies, in 2011 – all from the University of Florida. His work on the American Revolution in the South has received the Aschoff Fellowship Dissertation Award and the Jack and Celia Proctor Award in Southern History. Dr. Smith now represents the firm of Colonial Research Associates, Inc., and speaks across the South on his Revolutionary War research.

Sep
21
Mon
2015
It Came To Pass on the Banks of this River
Sep 21 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Meta Slider - HTML Overlay - September2015Join the Jacksonville Historical Society and Players by the Sea for a dramatic reading performance of “It Came to Pass on the Banks of this River” by Matt Colaciello with Barbara Colaciello. This is an an adaptation of “NEXT DAY IN THE MORNING” by Kermit Hunter written for Jacksonville’s Ribault Quadricentennial Commission in 1962. That half-century old production was written for Jacksonville’s Ribault Quadricentennial Commission commemorating the Frenchman John Ribault’s arrival at the St. Johns River, a river Ribault called the River May. For the 400th anniversary in 1962, a massive assembly with trumpets and troops filled the city’s “new three million dollar air-conditioned Jacksonville coliseum”. The show ran for 15 days with two performances on Sundays with ticket prices ranging between $1 and $3.50.

The society’s upcoming evening features this early St. Johns River story told through the eyes of some of the world’s most powerful 16th century European women. The production also presents the Florida natives’ perspective and the viewpoint of explorers, Ribault, Laudonnière and Menendez.

The production includes trained actors in a dramatic reading of this uniquely North Florida story. It’s the ultimate story in this Year of the River. The La Caroline Colony on the St. Johns is distinguished as the first colony of European men and women seeking religious freedom on land that became U.S. soil. It is also is the event that set in motion the founding of St. Augustine and more than two centuries of Spanish occupation in Florida.

The Historical Society will host two performances. The first is to begin with a 5:30 pm reception, followed by the production at 6pm. The second performance will begin with a 7:30pm reception and 8pm performance. Please be sure to RSVP to one of the performances by signing up online using the link above or phoning the Historical Society, 904.665.0064.

Cast of Characters:

The Historian: Matthew Colaciello

The French Court
Queen Catherine de Medici:  Barbara Colaciello
King Charles IX:  Joshua Taylor
Admiral de Coligny: Robert Arleigh White
Captain Jean Ribault: David Gile
Captain René de Laudonnière: Jason Collins
Jacques Le Moyne: Joshua Taylor

The Spanish Court
Queen Elizabeth Valois: Rikki Southworth
King Felipe II: Jim Alabiso
Admiral Pedro Menendez:  Robert Arleigh White

The English Court
Queen Elizabeth of England: Hope McMath
Admiral Sir John Hawkins: Jim Alabiso

 The Saturiwa
Chief Saturiwa:  DeWitt Cooper

 

FAQs

What does my ticket get me?

Your ticket is your admission to see the performance at the Jacksonville Historical Society. Harkening back the original admission of Next Day in the Morning in 1962, we welcome your donations of $1 – $3.50 the night of the performance. The Jacksonville Historical Society is a non-profit organization and all donations will support the collection and preservation of Jacksonville history.

What are my parking options getting to the event?

Free parking is available in the lot behind the Merrill House, or park along Duval Street, east of the Merrill House. Security will be on duty.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

Your printed reservation ticket is not required, but if you would like to bring it we would be happy to collect/scan them at the door. It will be beneficial to the Historical Society to get an accurate count at the door.

 

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

It Came To Pass on the Banks of this River
Sep 21 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Meta Slider - HTML Overlay - September2015Join the Jacksonville Historical Society and Players by the Sea for a dramatic reading performance of “It Came to Pass on the Banks of this River” by Matt Colaciello with Barbara Colaciello. This is an an adaptation of “NEXT DAY IN THE MORNING” by Kermit Hunter written for Jacksonville’s Ribault Quadricentennial Commission in 1962. That half-century old production was written for Jacksonville’s Ribault Quadricentennial Commission commemorating the Frenchman John Ribault’s arrival at the St. Johns River, a river Ribault called the River May. For the 400th anniversary in 1962, a massive assembly with trumpets and troops filled the city’s “new three million dollar air-conditioned Jacksonville coliseum”. The show ran for 15 days with two performances on Sundays with ticket prices ranging between $1 and $3.50.

The society’s upcoming evening features this early St. Johns River story told through the eyes of some of the world’s most powerful 16th century European women. The production also presents the Florida natives’ perspective and the viewpoint of explorers, Ribault, Laudonnière and Menendez.

The production includes trained actors in a dramatic reading of this uniquely North Florida story. It’s the ultimate story in this Year of the River. The La Caroline Colony on the St. Johns is distinguished as the first colony of European men and women seeking religious freedom on land that became U.S. soil. It is also is the event that set in motion the founding of St. Augustine and more than two centuries of Spanish occupation in Florida.

The Historical Society will host two performances. The first is to begin with a 5:30 pm reception, followed by the production at 6pm. The second performance will begin with a 7:30pm reception and 8pm performance. Please be sure to RSVP to one of the performances by signing up online using the link above or phoning the Historical Society, 904.665.0064.

Cast of Characters:

The Historian: Matthew Colaciello

The French Court
Queen Catherine de Medici:  Barbara Colaciello
King Charles IX:  Joshua Taylor
Admiral de Coligny: Robert Arleigh White
Captain Jean Ribault: David Gile
Captain René de Laudonnière: Jason Collins
Jacques Le Moyne: Joshua Taylor

The Spanish Court
Queen Elizabeth Valois: Rikki Southworth
King Felipe II: Jim Alabiso
Admiral Pedro Menendez:  Robert Arleigh White

The English Court
Queen Elizabeth of England: Hope McMath
Admiral Sir John Hawkins: Jim Alabiso

 The Saturiwa
Chief Saturiwa:  DeWitt Cooper

FAQs

What does my ticket get me?

Your ticket is your admission to see the performance at the Jacksonville Historical Society. Harkening back the original admission of Next Day in the Morning in 1962, we welcome your donations of $1 – $3.50 the night of the performance. The Jacksonville Historical Society is a non-profit organization and all donations will support the collection and preservation of Jacksonville history.

What are my parking options getting to the event?

Free parking is available in the lot behind the Merrill House, or park along Duval Street, east of the Merrill House. Security will be on duty.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

Your printed reservation ticket is not required, but if you would like to bring it we would be happy to collect/scan them at the door. It will be beneficial to the Historical Society to get an accurate count at the door.

 

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

Oct
8
Thu
2015
The Mad Atlas of Virginia King
Oct 8 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

The Mad Atlas of Virginia KingBook Launching and Signing at Old St. Andrews!

The Mad Atlas of Virginia King  by Tim Gilmore

with Hurley Winkler and Kiley Secrest

 

 Listen to Tim Gilmore’s interview with WJCT’s Jessica Palombo as they walk through Riverside and discuss Virginia King.

Virginia King wrote an 8,448-page highly inaccurate book about her hometown of Jacksonville. The title was almost as long. She said her brother was dead. He said he’d never heard of her. Always dirt poor, she called the wealthiest people in the city “my little friends.” From 1915 to 2001, Virginia lived in 18 different residences, mostly in Riverside, and residents who remember her call her a “Riverside character.”

Virginia King in front of the Carnegie Library as the Hayden Burns Library is under construction.

Virginia King in front of the Carnegie Library as the Hayden Burns Library is under construction.

This new nonfiction novel about Virginia King includes reminiscences from local residents Helen Lane, Wayne Wood, Sarah Van Cleve, Pokey Towers Lyerly, Elizabeth Towers, Charlie Towers, Jerry Ferguson, Joel McEachin, and many others. The book celebrates the strange treasures of the Jacksonville Historical Society archives.

The book includes meaningful musings by Hurley Winkler, of Perversion Magazine and Swamp Radio, and hand-drawn maps by Springfield resident and architectural portraitist Kiley Secrest. Though she got so much of Jacksonville’s history wrong, her work touches innumerable aspects of it, and her devotion and commitment are perhaps unmatched. When Reverend Tom Are gave Virginia’s eulogy, he said, “It seems to me that Virginia King served as something of a prophet in our town.”

The reception and book signing will begin at 6:30pm. Dr. Gilmore will present his findings on Jacksonville’s unique character, Virginia King, at 7pm.

Dr. Gilmore is the author of several books, including In Search of Eartha White, Storehouse for the People (2014), Stalking Ottis Toole: A Southern Gothic (2013) and This Kind of City: Ghost Stories and Psychological Landscapes (2012). He’s the creator of Jax Psycho Geo, which features nearly 250 stories about significant places across Jacksonville, Florida. He teaches Literature and Composition at Florida State College at Jacksonville.

 

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

Feb
29
Mon
2016
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.

 

Mar
14
Mon
2016
Florida’s War: The Untold Story of Northeast Florida’s Role in the Spanish American War
Mar 14 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
5LA_0007

Troops Marching on Forsyth Street: Spanish-American War troops are shown on parade marching past the National Bank of Jacksonville (later, Barnett Bank) at Forsyth and Laura streets.

Join the Jacksonville Historical Society and authors and historians Dr. Wayne Wood and Dr. Berta Arias on Monday, March 14th, to discuss Northeast Florida’s unknown role in the Spanish-American War.

The Spanish American War had a major impact on the life and times of Jacksonville, FL. Residents witnessed astounding events leading up to the war. In 1898, Jacksonville became a major staging ground for troops. In fact, for a time, there were more soldiers in Jacksonville than residents! Fortifications were built at St. Johns Bluff when word spread that the Spanish might attack by sea. Today, the fort and surronding property are privately held, but the Florida Land Trust holds a contract until November 2016 to acquire this historic property with plans to transfer the land to the National Park Service for perpetual use by the public.

Wayne Wood is a frequent presenter at the JHS. He founded Riverside Avondale Preservation and counts decades on the JHS Board and former Jacksonville Landmarks Commission. Dr Wood has authored many books on North Florida history and is a leader in citywide projects, including the development of the Riverside Arts Market and Hemming Park revitalization. Among his many talents, he holds a Doctorate of Optometry.

Berta Arias, Ed.D., enjoyed a career as a professor in world languages and international education in the CHicago area. She collaborated with Dave Shestokas, on his book, Constitutional Sound Bites, creating a translation in Spanish, Capsulas Infrmativas Constitucionales. She now lives in Amelia ISland and recently published her first novel, Mango Rain. Its prequel, Mimi’s Path, is due out the summer 2016.

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

Mar
30
Thu
2017
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.

Aug
17
Thu
2017
Charles Weston: Jacksonville’s Forgotten Star of Stage and Screen
Aug 17 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Jacksonville Historical Society and Jeff Gardner present Charles Weston: Jacksonville’s Forgotten Star of Stage and Screen on Thursday, August 17 at noon  at Old St. Andrew’s.

Charles Weston’s 1915 passport photo.

Jacksonville’s late 19th and early 20th century urban neighborhoods are the initial backdrop for this on-going investigation of Charles H. Weston. Born in Brooklyn, later a resident of LaVilla and then Springfield, Weston seemed to have lived an average, middle-class life. But Jeff Gardner moved beyond typical research sources to fill in the blank spaces, expanding his search to reveal the full story. Jeff has pieced together the saga of a Jacksonville native who, as a very young man, rose to the top of

1985 photo of the Springfield apartment building where Charles Weston lived in 1917. This is where this research story begins…

several entertainment fields, including the circus, live theater, and early motion pictures. After an initial childhood stint as a circus performer, he became an actor on the Broadway stage and with national and international touring companies. Later, he trained with one of the best-known movie producers of the period, then became an internationally-known film director and producer. During his relatively short film career (1912 to 1917), he acted in, directed, or produced more than 65 feature length and short films in the United States and England.

Desserts and drinks available, feel free to bring a brown bag lunch.

About the author

Jeff Gardner spent most of his working life as a consulting archaeologist for a cultural resources management company. Since his retirement two years ago, he has been happily pursuing his favorite pastime, historical research. When not conducting genealogical research, he assists his Springfield neighbors in discovering the histories and previous residents of their historic homes. Jeff is a board member of the Springfield Improvement Association and Archives (SIAA) and a volunteer at the Jacksonville Historical Society.

 

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

Copyright © 2019 by Jacksonville Historical Society

THE JACKSONVILLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY