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Eye-Catching Shoe Shop

(Source of picture: Online Florida Photographic Collection, Florida State Archives)

A BUSINESS WITH “SOLE” — During the 1930s, many people made tracks to this interesting Jacksonville business. This “artistic” service for repairing & rebuilding shoes was run by Carl Schevitz, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, native of Russian Jewish origins. Mr. Schevitz came to Jacksonville as a boy and eventually worked as a shoe salesman.

Is Mr. Schevitz the man posing next to the car? After spotting this photo online in May 2003, Chuck Schevitz wrote to, “Carl Schevitz was my grandfather, and yes that is him standing next to the car in the picture… My father used to ride with the delivery man in the car that is pictured next to my grandfather.” (Many thanks to Mr. Schevitz for this information.)

The photo dates from the Great Depression, judging by the vehicle’s style and the National Recovery Association placards in the windows. The shoe shop operated at 116-120 West Bay Street, between a barber shop and a fruit store. It was located across from the long-gone Casino Theater and just several doors from where the bus station once stood at the southwest corner of Bay & Hogan. A parking lot near the Bank of America building now occupies the site of the old Schevitz shop.

Notice the sign with the craftsman laboring at what appears to be a lathe-like machine. Carl Schevitz designed much of his own equipment, according to the 1927 guide Sketches of Jacksonville. “There is no other factory just like it to be found anywhere.” Established 35 years before the publication of Sketches, the Schevitz operation could boast of 15 employees and proved “one of the largest enterprises of its kind the entire South.” You could drop off tended your shoes for repair, or as Sketches noted, “Work is also done while you wait and there are attractively fitted up separate parlors for ladies and gentlemen.”

-written by Glenn Emery


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