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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?

Feb
19
Wed
2014
Shopping at its Best: Jacksonville’s Acclaimed Jewish Retail Community
Feb 19 @ 7:30 am – 9:30 am
Shopping at its Best: Jacksonville's Acclaimed Jewish Retail Community @ Old St. Andrews | Jacksonville | Florida | United States

Furchgott’s, Levy’s, French Novelty, Cohen Brothers, and the Vogue Shops were a few of the Jewish retail establishments that dotted Jacksonville’s landscape with fine retail shopping–in some instances, for more than a century. Hear the stories of the families that brought business and style to our city. It’s a fascinating look at  19th and 20th century Jacksonville through the businesses of the city’s most prominent families. Noted experts on Florida history provide the early Jacksonville account, and local families and their descendants involved in some of the businesses are special guests.

May
21
Wed
2014
Film Debut: Jacksonville History in 30 Minutes!
May 21 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Film Debut: Jacksonville History in 30 Minutes! @ Old St. Andrews | Jacksonville | Florida | United States

Debuting a Jacksonville Historical Society film–Jacksonville History in 30 Minutes! The history of the town in 30 minutes? Wll, the high points are covered: the French colony of La Caroline; the founding of Cowford; a town in ruins post Civil War; a winter tourist destination and movie making center; the Great Fire; a burgeoning skyline; the military presence; consolidation; overnight status as the largest city in the free world; and yes, even fleeting fame as a Super Bowl city! Following the film’s debut, scholars and arm chair historians will discuss what was left out.

Oct
15
Wed
2014
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens: 100 Years New
Oct 15 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens: 100 Years New @ Old St. Andrews | Jacksonville | Florida | United States

Join us October 15th for “The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens: 100 Years New” with Biological Programs Registrar Alan Rost. The program is free and open to the public, and will be held at the Old St. Andew’s Church, 318 A. Philip Randolph Blvd. The program beings with a reception at 6:30 p.m, followed by the presentation at 7 p.m.

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens got its start in Springfield near 3rd and Broad Streets with a single red deer. Within two years, the zoo included monkeys and black bears along with other species. In the same year, the Jacksonville City Council appropriated funds to purchase an axis deer, a llama, zebu cattle and a bison. In late December 1916, days of heavy rain brought near disaster. Although some animals were up to their necks in water, none were lost. A move to the zoo’s current location on Trout River came in 1924 following “odor” complaints from neighbors.

Today, more than 800,000 people visit the zoo annually and a staff of 250 runs the operation. As a public-private partnership, 600 volunteers assist at the zoo. The non-profit Jacksonville Zoological Society manages the zoo and contracts with the City of Jacksonville. Twenty-five year zoo staff member, Alan Rost, is the presenter.

  • Free parking is available in the lot behind the Merrill House, or you may park along A. Philip Randolph at the parking meters.
  • Security will be on duty.
  • Your guests are welcome!
Nov
17
Mon
2014
In Search of Eartha White, Storehouse for the People
Nov 17 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
In Search of Eartha White, Storehouse for the People @ Old St. Andrews  | Jacksonville | Florida | United States

Born in Jacksonville in 1876, Eartha Mary Magdalene White is among the city’s most notable citizens. Highly talented, entrepreneurial and industrious, she delivered crucial social services to North Florida’s black community. Her projects, to name a few, included an old folk’s home, an orphanage, a home for unwed mothers, a WWII USO, and the Clara White Mission, named for her adoptive mother. Former Jacksonville Mayor Hans Tanzler said in a 1982 Florida Times Union article, “At least once a month she’d come to my office at City Hall. She was irrepressible . . . she could not be denied.”

From her daring rescue of Afro-American insurance records during the Great Fire of 1901 to her 1970 White House meeting with President Nixon, Eartha’s 97 years placed her in the forefront of 20th century history at a critical juncture in race relations. The November program with Dr. Timothy Gilmore of Florida State College offers an account of one of the city’s most formidable residents. Dr. Gilmore is the author of numerous books, including the recently published, In Search of Eartha White, Storehouse for the People.

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.

Sep
14
Thu
2017
Emerging Florida and the Women Who Changed the World
Sep 14 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Join the Jacksonville Historical Society and speaker and JHS Past-President Susan Caven on Thursday, September 14th at noon at Old St. Andrew’s for Emerging Florida and the Women Who Changed the World.

Ximenz-Fatio House in the mid-1880s. Image belongs to the Ximenz-Fation House Museum.

In 1821, when Florida became part of the United States, northerners began traveling to St. Augustine to see the exotic new territory. Margaret Cook, an entrepreneurial widow, purchased the solidly built Ximenez building and operated it as an elegant inn. She was the first of several refined female owners who, with good household management skills, accommodated a sophisticated northern clientele. Speaker Susan Caven will talk about the women associated with the one-time inn, now a museum, who helped create the foundation of the hospitality industry and modern tourism—the backbone of Florida’s economy.

The property today, the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum, is proudly owned and operated as a museum by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Florida; Susan Caven is a Past President of the formidable and insightful group of women. Susan is also Past-President of the Jacksonville Historical Society, Greenscape and Scenic Jacksonville. She is a former Chair of the Jacksonville Landmarks Commission.

Desserts and drinks will be provided. Please feel free to bring a brown bag lunch.

Sep
26
Tue
2017
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.

Oct
10
Tue
2017
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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