Jacksonville’s Original Central Park

Famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted said every city should have a large park for 'unbending of the faculties.' Notable urban parks across the country offering respite from the hustle and bustle of the city include Law’s massive Central Park in New York City (843 acres), Savannah’s Forsythe Park (30 acres), and Boston’s Common (40 acres). If you can look beyond the decaying infrastructure and prison-like fences that keep residents out, then you’ll discover Jacksonville has a space that was once worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence with some of the country’s most revered urban recreational grounds. Read More

The Historic Gas Stations of Jacksonville

Gas stations may be one of our most common commercial building types and one of our most ignored. However, they may be one of our most valuable resources illustrating the evolution of our city during the 20th century. Read More

Writers of the First Coast: James Weldon Johnson

James Weldon Johnson (1871 – 1938) is, without exaggeration, the single most accomplished person ever to come from Jacksonville or Florida. Among other things, the LaVilla native was Florida’s first African-American lawyer after Reconstruction; the principal of Stanton, which he converted into Florida’s first black public high school; a U.S. Consul to Venezuela and Nicaragua; the first African-American head of the NAACP; and a respected university professor. But even without these accomplishments, Johnson would have secured a place in history for his literary output. Read More

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