News & Notes

In May 2022 the decades-old fire and intrusion detection system in the Jacksonville Historical Society’s office in the 145-year-old Old St. Luke’s Hospital building failed in an unstoppable cacophony of alarms. Replacing both fire and intrusion detection systems in the landmarked three-story building was an unbudgeted project that had to be deferred.   

In October 2022, the Historical Society installed perimeter fencing and security gates, preparing for construction on the Florida Casket Company building. This security enhancement allowed us to change the system requirements in the building, and we reached out to Tim Tickle, Jacksonville general manager of Sciens Building Solutions, and Nandu Paryani, former owner of W.W. Gay Fire & Integrated Systems, which is now a division of Sciens.

     Sciens has served Jacksonville-area businesses for decades and we’re proud to call them friends of the Jacksonville Historical Society. We appreciate their generous donation of a new life safety system to keep occupants and the Society’s valuable assets safe.

     Two Sciens technicians spent a week installing smoke detectors, sprinkler heads, and alarms from the basement to the attic of this structure, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The new state-of-the art fire detection/alarm system answers one of the JHS’s most urgent needs. The peace of mind that it brings is owing to the generosity and great corporate citizenship of Sciens Building Solutions. The JHS Board of Directors and staff are deeply appreciative!

Family donates copies of Westside newspaper

The Breeze, a family-run newspaper, once catered to Duval County’s Westside, including the Lake Shore, Westconnett, Murray Hill, Avondale, Riverside, Ortega, St. Johns Park, and Timuquana neighborhoods. The 8-page, biweekly paper was produced from 1945 to 1968, when it was renamed “Clay Today” and primarily served Orange Park.

     The tabloid-size paper was published by Warner Hull, Sr.; his wife, Sara Hull, served as editor and columnist, and his sons, Warner, Jr. and Michael addressed, mailed and delivered the papers.

     Michael Hull recently donated copies of The Breeze, 1945-1960, to the Jacksonville Historical Society with the provision “that they be used for public history of this area. I would like them openly researched and not stuck in a box somewhere or in the basement of the library.”

     The Jacksonville Historical Society is grateful for the donation and has added the papers to its research library. Calling itself “Jacksonville’s only independent newspaper,” this front page is from the August 11, 1960 issue, which sold for 10 cents.

Book of the Year: Jacksonville’s Architectural Heritage Wins Preservation Award

The Jacksonville Historical Society is pleased to be recognized by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation along with author/Historian at Large Wayne W. Wood, O.D., and photographer Mark Krancer. Wood and Krancer were honored at the Florida Preservation Awards ceremony July 19 in Ocala for their work to produce the Bicentennial Edition of “Jacksonville’s Architectural Heritage: Landmarks for the Future.”   

 The Jacksonville Historical Society said its goal for the book is to inspire citizens to acquire an appreciation for Jacksonville’s dwindling inventory of historic buildings, educate its citizens about the ethnic diversity of the city’s architecture, and instill a passion to ensure these structures’ longevity through restoration, renovation and/or adaptive re-use.