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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?

Nov
19
Tue
2013
Escape from Castro’s Cuba: Jacksonville’s Refuge for Cuban Children, 1961-1962
Nov 19 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Escape from Castro's Cuba: Jacksonville's Refuge for Cuban Children, 1961-1962 @ Old St. Andrews | Jacksonville | Florida | United States

When Castro took power in Cuba people became very nervous and wanted to leave the country, but were unable to leave.  It did become possible for unaccompanied children to leave and many parents made the agonizing decision to send their children to the United States alone.  In the end, 14,048 children came and their flight to this country became known as Operation Pedro Pan (Peter Pan.)  Father Walsh met these children in Miami and coordinated camps to care for the children all over the country. One such camp was Camp St. Johns near Switzerland, Florida, today known as Marywood.

Our speaker, Jose Ramirez, was one of the boys who lived there and attended Bishop Kenny High School, graduating in 1963.  He will be discussing his experience as a Pedro Pan and life at Camp St. Johns.

Nov
20
Wed
2013
Quarantined from the World: Reflections on the City’s Yellow Fever Epidemic
Nov 20 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Quarantined from the World: Reflections on the City's Yellow Fever Epidemic @ Old St. Andrews | Jacksonville | Florida | United States

In February 1888, President Grover Cleveland traveled to Jacksonville with his new bride, half his age, to view an extraordinary undertaking, the Subtropical Exposition. The city’s citizens were so excited, a carriage was recreated to match the president’s Washington, D.C. rig. For months, visitors flocked to the city to view the largest undertaking at that time in Florida history. But late in 1888, a Yellow Fever Epidemic swept the city. Suddenly, Jacksonville was quarantined from the world, and the city plunged from its highest high, including a Presidential visit, to its lowest low, terrorized by “Yellow Jack,” with nearly 5,000 citizens stricken by the often fatal fever.

[The trains] were packed to the limit, even the roofs of the cars [were] crowded with terrified citizens…Some people in their haste left their homes with fires burning, food in preparation for the noonday meal, and doors wide open.

May
28
Thu
2015
Mining for Florida History: All Buried Treasure Is Not Owned By Pirates!
May 28 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

with Fred Pirckle, PhD

Buckman & Pritchard, c. 1915

Buckman & Pritchard at Mineral City c. 1915

Reception 6:30pm | Program 7pm

“If it can’t be grown, it must be mined.” While today Florida ranks among the top-producing mining states in the nation, Florida’s mining history can be traced thousands of years. Some of Florida’s mining activities are obvious. For example, St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos was built from coquina mined at the north end of Anastasia Island. But did you know that some of the world’s finest china is made from Florida clay? Or did you know that the nation’s top kitty litter brands are produced from Florida mined products? It’s a part of the Florida story you rarely hear, but will hear at the society’s annual meeting and program.

Fredric L. Pirkle, PhD, a Principal Geologist in Gannett Fleming, Inc.’s Jacksonville office and an expert on Florida’s mining history, began his career working for E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co. while attending graduate school (1972-1977) and as a contract geologist (1977-78). A highly published author in his field, Dr. Pirkle is a sought after speaker nationally and internationally. He graduated from Florida State University with a BS, from the University of Florida with a Master’s Degree, and from Penn State with a Ph.D., all in Geology. He is a Registered Member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc. (SME). He currently represents the SME on the International Mineral Valuation Committee and serves on its Valuation Standards Committee. He also belongs to the Florida Section of the American Water Resources Association, the Southeastern Geological Society where he has served as Vice President and President. He is immediate Past President of the International Institute of Minerals Appraisers.

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.

Jun
23
Thu
2016
Florida Founder William P. DuVal: Frontier Bon Vivant
Jun 23 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

In Florida Founder William P. DuVal, James Denham provides the first full-length biography of the well-connected but nearly forgotten frontier politician of antebellum America. The scion of a well-to-do Richmond, Virginia, family, William Pope DuVal (1784–1854) migrated to the Kentucky frontier as a youth in 1800. Settling in Bardstown, DuVal read law, served in Congress, and fought in the War of 1812.

7466
In 1822, largely because of the influence of DuVal’s lifelong friend John C. Calhoun, President James Monroe appointed him the first civil governor of the newly acquired Territory of Florida. Enjoying successive appointments from the John Adams and Andrew Jackson administrations, DuVal founded Tallahassee and presided over the territory’s first twelve territorial legislative sessions, years that witnessed Middle Florida’s development into one of the Old Southwest’s most prosperous slave-based economies. Beginning with his personal confrontation with Miccosukee chief Neamathla in 1824, DuVal worked closely with Washington officials and oversaw the initial negotiations with the Seminoles.
A perennial political appointee, DuVal was closely linked to national and territorial politics in antebellum America. Like other “Calhounites” who supported Andrew Jackson’s rise to the White House, DuVal became a casualty of the Peggy Eaton Affair and the Nullification Crisis. After leaving the governor’s chair, DuVal migrated to Kentucky, lent his efforts to the cause of Texas independence from Mexico, and eventually returned to practice law and local politics in Florida. Throughout his career DuVal cultivated the arts of oratory and story-telling—skills essential to success in the courtrooms and free-for-all politics of the American South. Part frontiersman and part sophisticate, DuVal was at home in Kentucky, Florida, Texas, and Washington, D.C. He delighted in telling tall tales, jests, and anecdotes that epitomized America’s expansive, democratic vistas. Among those captivated by DuVal’s life and yarns were Washington Irving, who used DuVal’s tall tales as inspiration for his “The Early Experiences of Ralph Ringwood,” and James Kirke Paulding, whose “Nimrod Wildfire” shared DuVal’s brashness and bon-homie.

About the Author

James M. Denham is a professor of history and director of the Lawton M. Chiles Jr. Center for Florida History at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. He is the author of A Rogue’s Paradise: Crime and Punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821–1861, and coauthor of Florida Sheriffs: A History, 1821–1945, as well as two University of South Carolina Press books— Cracker Times and Pioneer Lives: The Florida Reminiscences of George Gillette Keen and Sarah Pamela Williams and Echoes from a Distant Frontier: The Brown Sisters’ Correspondence in Antebellum Florida.

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

 

Oct
23
Sun
2016
Norman Studios’ Silent Sundays: The Hands of Orlac
Oct 23 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Prepare to be scared…and intrigued!

In the spirit of Halloween, please join Norman Studios for their quarterly Silent Sundays screening at the Hotel Indigo – Jacksonville, 9840 Tapestry Park silentsundaysCircle on Jacksonville’s Southside. The movie will feature The Hands of Orlac on Sunday, October 23, 4pm.

In this 1924 silent horror, Conrad Veidt plays Paul Orlac, a world-famous pianist who loses both hands in a devastating railway accident and turns to gifted surgeon for help. But hopes of reviving his musical career instead give way to obsession when Orlac learns that his new hands once belonged to a man executed for murder. Soon after, the discovery Orlac’s own father, violently slain, begs the question: Is it the mind or the hands that will to do evil.

Nearly a century after its original release, The Hands of Orlac remains one of Austria’s most critically acclaimed. But not everyone agreed early on. Berlin’s censorship authority banned the film soon after its release, as Saxon police claimed that certain scenes could both inspire potential criminals and impede current police investigations. The film ultimately was cleared for general release.

Jacksonville University’s Tony Steve and the Silver Synchro Sounds will provide live musical accompaniment. Refreshments and snacks will be provided at the bar. Tickets are $5 and available at the door (cash or credit) and online.

May
31
Wed
2017
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.

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.

Copyright © 2019 by Jacksonville Historical Society

THE JACKSONVILLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY