1. Main Street’s Auto Row
Auto rows developed in numerous cities in the mid-20th century as car companies sought to create districts where the sale and repair of cars could become an easy urban shopping experience. Springfield’s Main Street was Jacksonville’s first major auto row. Major dealerships on Main Street included Claude Nolan Cadillac, Downtown Chevrolet, Brumos Porsche and Massey Motors.
Gateway Motors near Main and State in the 1950s. Gateway was replaced with the Heart of Jacksonville hotel (Parkview Inn) a few years after this image was taken. Courtesy of the Jacksonville Public Library Special Collections Department.
2. Meatpacking on West Bay
The majority of downtown’s meat packing companies were clustered along Bay Street, between Hogan and Broad Streets. Courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.
The meat packing industry handles the slaughtering, processing, packaging, and distribution of animals such as cattle, pigs, sheep and other livestock. While slaughterhouses and stockyards were located on the outskirts of the city, West Bay Street, between Julia and Broad Streets, served as early Jacksonville’s meatpacking district. Meatpacking companies here included Morris & Company, Swift & Company, Wilson & Company, Cudahy Packing Company, Smith Richardson & Conroy Wholesale Meats, and Armour & Company. This slice of industry and the rail yards that served it were all demolished during the city’s 1950s paving of the Northbank riverfront.
3. Hogan Street: A Shopper’s Paradise
JCPenney and F.W. Woolworth shared a three story structure at Hogan and Monroe Streets. This building was demolished and replaced with the federal courthouse building in the early 2000s. Courtesy of the Jacksonville Public Library Special Collections Department.
For decades, no mall in Jacksonville could compete with the four blocks of Hogan Street between Bay and Duval Streets. Anchored by May-Cohens’ flagship department store and Sear’s largest store in the South, the strip also was home to JCPenney, Levy-Wolf, Furchgott’s, Rosenblums, and F.W. Woolworth. In fact, if these stores would have survived the 1980s, no shopping center in town would compete with Hogan Street either. Unfortunately, six of these stores closed between 1981 and 1987, taking downtown’s retail heart right along with them to the suburbs.