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  #41  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 2:35 PM
Nowhereman1280 Nowhereman1280 is offline
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Originally Posted by simms3_redux View Post
Bottom line is the place isn't all bad and there is hope. I really equate Jacksonville to Milwaukee. Both cities give me similar vibes, and both are sort of "forgotten." Granted Milwaukee is larger and denser and kept its core, the vibe there is similar. It's a city than can really give you the wrong impression unless you know someone there who can show you around and show you a good time. Both are cities where everyone knows everyone, literally. It's fascinating.

I'll have more pictures to come.
I understand what you are getting at, but Milwaukee is on a whole different plain than Jacksonville. As you mentioned Milwaukee's core is still largely intact due to a major revolt against the freeways which resulted in several failed freeway spurs (Park East, US 41, I-794, 145/Fond du Lac Ave) where the master plan was foiled. Since the 1990's the central core of the city has been on a massive upswing that has included the destruction of the most offensive of those spurs, the Park East and now the potential reconfiguration of the lakefront interchange on 794.

There has been a massive ongoing boom in the city over the past 20 years that I have had the fortune to watch. It is amazing to me to see places like the 3rd ward go from abandoned to almost completely occupied (with nearly all vacant lots built out) over the course of my short life time. The healing process of the Park East scar is beginning to pick up momentum as more and more of the lots are picked off by new developments. Eventually a section of development will make it all the way across the wasteland and connect the North side of the City to downtown again and whatever lots are remaining will be filled in in quick succession.

As much as it pains me to see things like the aftermath of the Park East or the wastelands on the south side of Chicago, I never quite realize how fortunate these cities have been compared to a lot of other American cities. Both Chicago and Milwaukee have a signifigant base of sturdy building stock that remain like the elder trees after a wildfire and can act as seeds for revitalization. I'm always just shocked when I see places like Jacksonville where seemingly irreversible damage has been done to the urban fabric.


This Picture really shows how lucky Milwaukee was to get away with only one completed major freeway slashing through its core. Milwaukee was fortunate to have rejected the slash and burn that Jacksonville was subjected to:


ryersonaircraft.com

If you look at the neighborhood in the foreground surrounded by river on two sides and freeway on two sides, that is the Third Ward. Most of the open lots in that area are now filled in with the exception of the massive lots along the East party of the freeway which are kinda necessary due to the Summerfest Grounds. I would love to see the city build a huge garage right across the freeway from the Summerfest Grounds and then sell off the remaining vacant lots to developers to create a "Summerfest Village" type retail environment. For those of you familiar with Milwaukee, I think this would be an awesome place for a pedestrian oriented "Bayshore" style mall development that just melds in with the Thrid Ward and has all auto access to the garage (which would serve Summerfest as well) limited to new ramps off of 794.

Anyhow, the point is Milwaukee got real lucky as you can see from that photo.

Last edited by Nowhereman1280; Apr 16, 2012 at 2:48 PM.
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  #42  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 3:55 PM
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Undoubtedly, downtown Jax is in far, far worse shape than the Beer city. To me, downtown Jacksonville appears to be the least attractive urban fabric of any metro over 250K that I have personally witnessed.
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  #43  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 4:11 PM
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It also has one of the largest geographical city limits in the U.S., 800 square miles or so.
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  #44  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 5:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 View Post
I understand what you are getting at, but Milwaukee is on a whole different plain than Jacksonville. As you mentioned Milwaukee's core is still largely intact due to a major revolt against the freeways which resulted in several failed freeway spurs (Park East, US 41, I-794, 145/Fond du Lac Ave) where the master plan was foiled. Since the 1990's the central core of the city has been on a massive upswing that has included the destruction of the most offensive of those spurs, the Park East and now the potential reconfiguration of the lakefront interchange on 794.
I know about Milwaukee, having been there (you can practically see my friend's house in that aerial, LoL). I love that city, but my point was more about vibe than anything else. Also, in both cities everyone knows everyone. Milwaukee is quite a bit friendlier, though. Love the 3rd Ward, btw, very impressive what the city has done there. It's a shame that Milwaukee is tucked up in a corner and kind of gets forgotten (similarly to how Jacksonville is completely neglected and forgotten in the state of Florida).
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  #45  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 5:44 PM
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^ i would argue that milwaukee isn't so much forgotten due its location, rather it gets overshadowed by the urban juggernaut to its south.
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  #46  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 5:58 PM
Nowhereman1280 Nowhereman1280 is offline
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^^^ Probably true, Milwaukee actually has a similar feel to Kansas City or Minneapolis, but is overshadowed because it doesn't have a large rural region to dominate all by itself like those cities do. For example, when you look at a map you've got Kansas City and Minneapolis emblazoned in large block letters across entire states, but Milwaukee has to be spelled out in smaller font to make room for the word "CHICAGO" to be stamped in enouroumous letters to the south of it.

I've actually seen a lot of maps where Chicago, Minneapolis, and KC are all on the map, but they don't even mark Milwaukee because the top of the "C" in Chicago runs over where the dot for Milwaukee would lie. And as if Chicago weren't enough, Milwaukee isn't the state capitol either. Madison is just an hour west of Milwaukee and is often more likely to be marked than Chicago since a lot of map makers want to show places of political and major economic importance first.
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  #47  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 6:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 View Post
I've actually seen a lot of maps where Chicago, Minneapolis, and KC are all on the map, but they don't even mark Milwaukee because the top of the "C" in Chicago runs over where the dot for Milwaukee would lie.
Chicago is a pretty double edged sword. On the one hand, they are (and have been for years) trying to become a tourist destination with summer home condos.. though those are probably going nowhere (it has been decades since anyone talked about that. They've also got lots of economic support and a larger pool of applicants for jobs simply because of the short commuting times. But, the example you gave is a great example how the relationship between Chicago and Milwaukee also hurts Milwaukee's ego.
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  #48  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 7:54 PM
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Chicago is a pretty double edged sword. On the one hand, they are (and have been for years) trying to become a tourist destination with summer home condos.. though those are probably going nowhere (it has been decades since anyone talked about that. They've also got lots of economic support and a larger pool of applicants for jobs simply because of the short commuting times. But, the example you gave is a great example how the relationship between Chicago and Milwaukee also hurts Milwaukee's ego.
Once again very similar to Jacksonville. How do you think Jacksonvillians feel being 2 hours from Orlando, 3 from Tampa, and 4-5 from Palm Beach-Miami? And FL is a low tax, but high growth state. Competing for funding for ports and political power is very difficult. Hell, half of Jax just drives down to Orlando to fly direct rather than connect through a hub.

Though having Miami is a double-edged sword as sooo many south Floridians are leaving the area, and because they would rather stay in FL or go to another low-tax state (TN and NC, called half-backs), Jacksonville sees its largest share of net migration coming from Dade County, followed by Broward County.

Anyway, enough about the comparisons, I just really think the two cities are similar, and treated similarly. Jacksonville's core is nothing compared to Milwaukee's, but its neighborhoods and its vibe are actually incredibly similar. Both cities also have remnants of very old money families and industrial/finance dominated economies. And like I said, in both cities EVERYONE knows everyone, and that is kind of a rare thing nowadays (or maybe I'm just used to living in Atlanta where everyone is kind of just 1 in 6 million anonymous individuals).
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  #49  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 8:19 PM
Nowhereman1280 Nowhereman1280 is offline
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^^^ What you said about old money remnants is definately true. Milwaukee seems to have a TON of old money around. As a percent of the rich population I would say the old money is far more prevelant than in Chicago where it seems most of the rich are "self made" in some capacity. When you take a drive up Lake Drive in Milwaukee, it's not just old money, but archaic money. I went to high school with a lot of old money kids and some of them are 4th or 5th generation grads of my school who are expected to take over the same industrial business their great great grandfather started in 1880.

However, I have to point out that Chicago is only about 1.5 hours (downtown to downtown) from Milwaukee. You can get from the South edge of the City of Milwaukee to the North edge of Chicago in an hour without traffic. That is extremely proximity even compared to Jax/Orlando.
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  #50  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 9:31 PM
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^^^My friend lives on Terrace (actually has 2 houses on Terrace). One faces the lake and the other is across the street. They are beautiful, but I might point out that the nicest houses in Milwaukee are actually quite cheap by big city standards, and most require a substantial amount of work. There are surprisingly neighborhoods in Jacksonville that look exactly like that with gridded streets, waterfront homes from the late 1800s through the 1920s, etc etc. Of course, once again the core of the two cities are completely different. Milwaukee's is very impressive and the view of all the church steeples from the highway heading south to the airport is amazingly beautiful (looks European almost).

Still, even with Milwaukee's intact core, it is so old it does feel a little like it is still decaying, which adds to the kind of unique Midwestern ambiance of the place (much like Chicago in that regard). Totally different feel and different culture than St. Louis, another beer town. I wish Jacksonville had kept its building stock so that in the case it was never gentrified anyway, it would have that cool, gritty crumbling appearance and the opportunity to gentrify at a later point. Instead the core is less than crumbling; it is dead completely. There are still outlying crumbling industrial wastelands that could conceivably be turned into something.
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  #51  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 9:36 PM
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Wow great thread Simms. While other cities may have had big time damage done to them it looks like Jax basically killed its core so badly that it can never come back. Such a shame, thanks for your hard work to document this.
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  #52  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2012, 12:32 AM
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Didn't know that Jacksonville was that sizesable early-ish on.
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  #53  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2012, 2:00 AM
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Yes, thanks for the very informative thread.

The abandonment looks pretty epic, and intentional.
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  #54  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2012, 4:21 AM
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When talking about Jacksonville and would could have been...
They were early on the Winter Film Capital of the World. When filming was still being done in New York they would come down to Jax for the winter. Eventually the whole industry moved out to LA and Jacksonville became a footnote.


And then there's Lynyrd skynyrd, Allman Brothers, 38 special, Molly Hatchet... the place basically defined southern rock in the 80s.
(we'll ignore the fact that they also produced limp bizcuit).

But we can't forget that Jax is a southern town. It's no excuse, but you can't overlook the role of white flight and race relations when looking at what happened there. You can see how segregated the place still is.


Race and ethnicity 2010: Jacksonville by Eric Fischer, on Flickr
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  #55  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2012, 12:08 PM
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^^^Well part of my point was that the city actually at one point was one of the most liberal in America and was originally a melting pot and a stew for black leaders and women's suffrage movement leaders. Lots of famous people came out of Jacksonville pre-war and lots of famous and gilded socialites moved to Jacksonville. There are still remnants of that money and those families. We have some furniture in my childhood home from Andrew Carnegie's nearby winter home because my great great grandmother and great great grandfather had a home next door and were friends. Both Henry Bacon and Machine Gun Kelly lived down the street from my home growing up (the former more permanently than the latter, who escaped through an underground tunnel to the river when the FBI came knocking). There are remnants of the duPonts everywhere in town, and my grandfather was a commodore at the same club founded by William Astor two generations earlier.

It only became a southern town in 1948, literally that specific year. Robert Moses' right hand man in the south was Haydon Burns, who essentially is the lead culprit for planning Jacksonville for white flight, racial tension, suburbs, and destroying downtown and the core neighborhoods. He was 35th governor of FL and mayor of Jacksonville from 1949 to 1965. One of his largest friends in city business was Ed Ball, who "inherited" the role of running Alfred duPont's trusts and companies. Alfred duPont was kind of the lead figure of the famous duPont family for his generation, and he lived in Jacksonville, but Ed Ball was a racist. To top it off, the guy who masterminded the Interstate System for the US, created Jacksonville's transportation plan, too. Alan Voorhees. Below is a transcript from Voorhees explaining that Jacksonville should not have busses until it reaches a million people.

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/art...e-the-only-way


And below is a wikipedia on Haydon Burns.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Haydon_Burns

Alan Voorhees:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Voorhees

And a great article on the transformation of Jacksonville from a liberal, Hollywood, thriving metropolis to probably the nation's worst epitome of white flight and suburbia:

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/art...d-haydon-burns
Downtown Frankenstein: Robert Moses & Haydon Burns


Unfortunately Jacksonville had ALL the WRONG people running and influencing the city from 1948 onward, basically until the present day. It has suffered immensely at the hands of these people.

Between 1948 and 1950 the Burns administration, with the help of city figures such as Ed Ball soaked in, literally destroyed downtown in that short span. His first year in office he implemented parking meters downtown. His first 5 years in office he built 2 new bridges to the Southside and a massive expressway system cutting off downtown from surrounding neighborhoods and building highways to nowhere on the other side of the river. Between 1950 and 1955 he leveled the waterfront and filled it in for parking lots and built the ugliest civic buildings imaginable (all of which still stand). His next 5 years he leveled "slums" the Eastside (where the stadiums and massive parking lots now are). By 1960 he put tolls on the bridges to downtown, after enough people had "fled" the crime and density downtown, essentially cutting off the city from the new city. I-95 was built as a drawbridge, not unpurposely (remained a drawbridge until 2000).

He commissioned Alan Voorhees to design the transit system (which post-streetcar, Voorhees stated that there should not be busses until 1 million people, essentially preventing blacks from getting around or reaching the white southside). This is after he built his expressway system in the 1950s. Eventually the "slums" were replaced with highrise projects all over the Northside, and thus the Northside became the forgotten black side and the southside became the new "center" of town for all the whites. Today, the Southside of town is where most people still live and where the vast majority of all office space is. Industrial space is still scattered about on the Northside and Westside and Jacksonville is still the Murder Capital of FL, all concentrated on the Northside and Westside near the projects.

I have to remind you guys that UNF, a 20,000 student university, could have and should have gone downtown. Unfortunately 2 prominent families, one with massive southside landholdings, decided to collude in the late 1960s to put the university in the middle of nowhere. The Skinner family sold the land and profited, and the family of our prior mayor (the Peytons) used their concrete division to build the highways and roads out there and profited, of course with the administration's fervent support. Our prior mayor also supplied the concrete for our new wayyyy overbudget and oversize courthouse, which he presided over. Jacksonville is every bit as corrupt on the Good Old Boy (GOB/GOP) side as some northern cities are corrupt on the Democrat side. I have to point out, though, that Haydon Burns, Robert Moses, Alan Voorhees and all of those guys were big Democrats. Every administration of Jacksonville until the late 1990s was Democrat. So Democrats' version of "helping" blacks was all really a major double edged sword because their policies were some of the worst in human history and we are all paying now.

I would say that thousands of people have died at the hands of men such as Robert Moses and Haydon Burns.
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  #56  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2012, 2:36 AM
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So sad. A lot of the same happened to Detroit. So much of the downtown was demoed except for a few blocks of architectural gems and landmark skyscrapers. Other than that I'm close to writing Detroit off as a total architectural loss.
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  #57  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2012, 1:52 PM
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So sad. A lot of the same happened to Detroit. So much of the downtown was demoed except for a few blocks of architectural gems and landmark skyscrapers. Other than that I'm close to writing Detroit off as a total architectural loss.
Really? I find that there are many areas of Detroit that have amazing architecture. True, much has been lost over the years, but because of the lack of growth there over the decades, there are many gems that never got torn down for new development. It is exactly these great old treasures that are helping downtown Detroit become a desirable area ripe for growth and redevelopment.
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  #58  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2012, 2:47 PM
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Yep... the "Greatest Generation" had god awful taste. In everything.
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  #59  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2012, 4:48 PM
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Yep... the "Greatest Generation" had god awful taste. In everything.
like.
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  #60  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2012, 5:03 PM
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interesting. I didn't know much about jacksonville history

the South in general is not so good at this, outside of savannah and a few places
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