1. Matthew Gilbert High School in 1968. Once a high school for African-American students, the Franklin Street Public School #146 was reclassified as a junior high school after integration. The school opened in 1927 as a replacement for the Florida Baptist Academy. Florida Baptist Academy opened in 1892 with 22 teachers and 600 students. In 1918, the school relocated to St. Augustine (now Florida Memorial University in Miami). In 1944, Public School #146 was named in honor of Matthew William Gilbert, the President of the Old Florida Baptist Academy and pastor of Bethel Baptist Institutional Church.
Now known as Matthew Gilbert Middle School, notable alumni include Henry Lee Adams, Jr., the first black judge in the middle district of Florida, and Robert Lee “Bullet Bob” Hayes, the only athlete to win both an Olympic gold metal and a Super Bowl ring.l
2. 1073 Florida Avenue in 1968. Known as “The Avenue”, Florida Avenue was once served by a streetcar line and eventually grew into the Eastside’s premier pedestrian friendly commercial corridor.
Today, this block is occupied by the Jacksonville Children’s Commission building.
3. A view of the southeast corner of Van Buren and Beaver streets in 1968.
This site is now occupied by the Greater Jacksonville Fair Association.
4. The intersection of Florida Avenue and Church Street in 1968. Built in 1904, this building was the site of Atze R. Schuiling’s OK Grocery store from 1904 to 1934.
A parking garage in the Sports and Entertainment District now occupies this section of Florida Avenue, which is now known as A. Philip Randolph Boulevard.
5. An apartment complex at the southwest corner of First and Van Buren streets in 1968.
In 1974, the city acquired this property and the surrounding blocks from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Several streets were closed and buildings razed for the construction of Flossie Brunson Eastside Park. Flossie Brunson was an Eastside resident that organized the Lower Eastside Neighborhood Development Corporation to improve and stabilize the neighborhood after her retirement from Naval Air Station Jacksonville in 1976.