“The Florida State Theatres Inc. Maintenance & Supply Departments plus the Concession department on 323-325 E. Bay Street as it looked in 1954.” LS
After contacting Tisha Shelden with the League of Historic American Theatres, she made contact with Numa Saisselin, the President of the Florida Theatre Performing Arts Center in Jacksonville who provided some background on the company. According to Saisselin, “The Florida Theatre was the headquarters of the Florida State Theatres chain, also known as ABC Florida Theatres. Their offices were in the office building above the lobby of the current Florida Theatre, and included a screening room. All the managers of all the other theatres in the chain would come here for previews of new releases.”
I then spoke with Will Henley, the publisher of EU magazine and he filled in the final piece of the puzzle regarding this building. It was used as a warehouse for supplies and maintenance for the theatre chain. “I went to work for them (ABC Florida Theatres) in 1972. In the early 70’s there were around 78 theaters in the chain around the state and we would service them. We bought everything in bulk and we would send them out to theaters. 1979 we moved out of the Florida State Theatre building and in the early 80’s we moved out of the warehouse.
The building, built in 1904, is now being converted into a restaurant by former New York Jets wide receiver Laveranues Coles, Jr.
To the right of the Florida State Theatres building is the home of Bartley’s Coffee Company. The business was purchased by Martin Coffee Company in 1957 and the company is still doing business in Jacksonville from another location.
Tags: Bartleys Coffee Company, building, downtown, East Bay Street, Florida State Theatres, Florida Theatre, historic photograph, Laveranues Coles, Loyd Sandgren, Martin Coffee Company, vintage photography, warehouse