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  #21  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 5:48 PM
simms3_redux simms3_redux is online now
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Merrill Stevens Shipyards:

Once one of the largest shipyards in the city and a major shipyard on the east coast. In the 1980s and mid-90s the Shipyards were still repairing massive oil tankers and large yachts. Now the company's only operations are yacht repair on the Miami River in Miami.







Today:


From Metrojacksonville.com


Many of these large buildings occupying prime riverfront land are civic buildings - the jail, a police station, a courthouse and the City Hall Annex. All replaced a thriving waterfront in the 60s-90s.


Some renderings of one of the several billion dollar plans for the site in the last decade that didn't pan out, but still ended up costing the city tens of millions and lining a few pockets:








Maxwell still operates its largest plant nearby, and it could be a great tourist stop and a boon to the area, but Maxwell's fortress is not very inviting...




A little bit what the area looks like now - this railing is part of a rail spur that once served the area (the UC building is derelict):

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  #22  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 6:13 PM
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Jacksonville is an urban tragedy in the true meaning of the word.
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  #23  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 6:16 PM
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Swisher plant, still standing and also constitutes an opportunity as a tourist stop, potentially. It is also in a warehouse district that could be something very cool and unique for Florida.







Today:






The other Swisher warehouse still standing:

upper right hand corner -





And the Springfield warehouse district as it stands and ideas from local grassroots planners for what it could be:




This could be one of 3 warehouse areas: Springfield, Beaver St or Dennis St












Plans and ideas as presented by the editors and contributors of Metrojacksonville.com, article below:

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/art...revitalization


This S-Line rail hits 3 warehouse districts and several dense neighborhoods that are trying to gentrify, but also contain low-income workers who rely on Jacksonville's poor public transit.




What the are could look like - in similar fashion to Denver, Kansas City, Atlanta and virtually any other city with old brick warehouses.
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  #24  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 6:18 PM
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Paul Davis Restorations - this is an Albert Kahn designed building.

A few years ago:




Today:





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  #25  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 6:32 PM
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Back to the crater that is downtown:

The Brooklyn neighborhood:




LaVilla:







A block right downtown that had 2 of the city's theaters (Palace and Imperial) and what it is today:

















The block and the area as it is today:






For an interesting read and more pictures on the Theater District (once 20-25 theaters, now 1):

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/art...eater-district


A picture I took of the last remaining theater downtown - the 1926 Roy Benjamin designed Florida Theater:









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  #26  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 6:48 PM
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Jacksonville's Jewish Quarter:

Jacksonville is overlooked as a place where Jews live, but considering the city served as America's Miami for 50 years before there was a Miami, it amassed a large Jewish population that is still active in the city today, though 15-20 miles outside of town.

There was an area near downtown that was about 10 square blocks that was the Jewish quarter. Today the area is very unsafe, mostly grass lots, and the city's longest running deli Worman's has officially closed. The area is truly a shell of its former self. Mandarin is the city's Jewish neighborhood today - very suburban and car-oriented, 15-20 miles away, has about 15 Synagogues of typical large-scale brutalist or contemporary format, versus the beautiful temples that once existed in the city.











Wormans is now closed.












Pictures from the following article:

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/art...jewish-enclave



***An interesting note is that outside of Detroit, Jacksonville has the largest percentage of Arab Americans. They run ALL the city's delis, and a cultural and unique staple of the city is its Rider sandwiches (Desert Rider, Camel Rider, Steak 'n Sack Rider, Tabouleh Rider, etc). It's very unusual why Jacksonville has so many Arabs and Lebanese, but Christians from the Middle East have been settling here in mass for generations.

Recently more Muslims have also been settling in the city, and just a couple years ago a mosque on the Southside was bombed in a very notorious incidence of religious persecution. Still, Jacksonville has had Arab mayors, its largest developer is Arab, and Arabs nearly run the city and are part of the GOB (Good Old Boy network).

USA Today focus on Arabs in Jacksonville:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...mericans_x.htm
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  #27  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 6:59 PM
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Forgot, more on the Swisher brothers and their legacy:

The Swisher Brothers moved down from Ohio in 1924, built their 700,000 SF factory which produces 8.5 million cigars a day, and built 2 large mediterranean homes on the river in San Marco south of town:










As I have stated, there are some glorious intact neighborhoods in Jacksonville lined with so much history and stately mansions once inhabited by some of the most elite names in the country, and thriving commercial shopping areas, but downtown/the core/the industrial areas have been WIPED OUT completely.
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  #28  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 7:15 PM
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Main St Then and Now:

Pictures from -

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/art...le-main-street


1901 after the Great Fire, which destroyed 150 city blocks and 2,500 buildings (3rd largest behind Chicago 1871 and San Francisco 1906).






Now:















My own pics (I try to look for salvageable buildings remaining):







Old Waterworks:







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  #29  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 7:21 PM
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What was once a very dense and industrial city:


Disclosure, some buildings including a few large ones had already been demolished when that picture was taken in the early 50s, the decade that the whole waterfront would be filled in and paved over with parking lots.



State Archives of Florida
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  #30  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 7:22 PM
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Site of the 1888 Subtropical Exposition:







State Archives of Florida
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  #31  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 7:23 PM
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Started doing this:







State Archives of Florida
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  #32  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 7:38 PM
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Before and Afters courtesy of this article:

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/art...n-jacksonville

and State of Florida Archives


Hotel Flagler:






Hotel George Washington:







A random corner:







A stretch of Forsyth St:









The Old City Hall:




(At least it was replaced with something)



An all too common site in the city, even today:

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  #33  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 7:43 PM
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Remnants of an industrial bygone era:









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  #34  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 7:53 PM
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Some grit from my own collection:












































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  #35  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 11:06 PM
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That is a sad story, albeit a much too familiar one.

Downtown Houston used to be a dense, urban center complete with a vibrant mix of residential, office, retail, and a tremendous mass transit system. Unfortunately Mayor Holcombe's vision was to become a city of the future which meant a sprawling metropolis with a deteriorated emphasis on the dense city core.

Developers and speculators swept in, bought out the downtown buildings and demolished them and transformed them into surface parking lots with dreams of one day building a 'pedestal' skyscraper to serve the suburban residents.

I can't speak about Jacksonville, but I am so glad that Houstonians are trying to resurrected the hear of the city but we still have a long long way to go to equal the vibrancy of the 1920's.
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  #36  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 1:00 AM
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It seems amazing to me that J'ville has over 800,000 residents in the city limits. It must be pretty spread out because there is nothing to show for it downtown.
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  #37  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 1:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
I'm lucky to be a Chicagoan, but I've also witnessed a remarkable transformation as New Orleans has come back - not just from Katrina but from a massive streak of blight and abandonment that has dogged the city since the 80s. So I know for a fact that such turnarounds are indeed possible.

The only question is, what drives Jacksonville's economy? You can't rebuild a city without economic growth. To get that growth, you have to offer something unique, and there has to be some kind of way to attract business growth. Low taxes aren't really an option since large cities can never compete with suburban areas on that score - so cities need to offer something unique and market themselves.
I don't think your question was answered, and if it already was then I missed it. The economic drivers that I'm aware of are: the naval bases, the deepwater port, the financial/insurance industry, tourism/hospitality, manufacturing, and others that someone else could expand upon. If I'm not mistaken, the economy in Jacksonville isn't all that bad.
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  #38  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 2:23 AM
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I wouldn't fret, the US in general suffered some very good and bad urban transformations. When people think of massive loss of urban vitality, Jacksonville isn't the first city to come to mind, imo.
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  #39  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 2:48 AM
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Great thread! Jacksonville did not really enter my mind until it hosted the Super Bowl after all of the complaints of the City that poured in after I looked into and realized how bleek the place was. Jacksonville to me is the largest metro in America with no real City at its core. This thread is great because it gave insight into the history of the City I did not know much about. Its a shame because if the city would of kept its bones it would be prime for a revival.

Buffalo and Jacksonville had the axe swung at them the worst.
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  #40  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 3:03 AM
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Jacksonville didn't enter my mind until I came to this forum!
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