09 Feb 2016

The Many Incarnations of 1037 Park Street

11:01H

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Show in this 1950′s image with the single longest running tenant, F.W. Woolworth Co., this building at 1037 Park Street in the historic 5-Points shopping district of Jacksonville has been the home of numerous businesses since it first showed up in the city directory listings in 1928. Prior to that time the area was listed as residential and the particular address was not listed. With the assistance of the always helpful staff that maintains the Florida Collection in the Jacksonville Public Library’s main building downtown I was able to track down a fairly comprehensive list of the occupants of the building from the last 9 decades.

1928-1931  Great A&P Tea Company (first listing of the address in city directories)

1932-1936  Towers Hardware Company

1937-1938  listed as vacant

1939-1967  F.W. Woolworth Company

1968  No listings for this year at that address

1969-1972  Economy Five & Dime Department Store

1973-1976  United Five & Dime Inc.

1977-1983  Peterson Five & Ten

1984-1999  listed as both Peterson’s Variety Store and Peterson’s 5 & 10 & Flower Shop

2000-09  Fuel Coffeehouse Inc.

2010-2014  There were no listings for this address

2015  Fitz Pullins Inventory Room is listed with the current owner

After sitting empty a number of years since Fuel Coffeehouse was in operation there, local businessman and artist Steve Williams has purchased the building and is in the process of bringing new life to the 88 year old structure. According to Williams the street level portion of the building will house Hoptinger, a German/American beer garden. There are also plans for a rooftop beer garden. The second floor is currently in the planning phase but Williams foresees it as a mixed use office space.

 

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03 Feb 2016

Lobster House Skyline View

10:53H

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This view of the downtown Jacksonville skyline was shot through the window of The Lobster House Restaurant in the 1950’s. The structure was built on the South bank of the St. Johns River, originally as a boat repair shop and in 1944 it was converted into The Lobster House Restaurant, standing on pilings over the St Johns River. It was destroyed in a fire in 1962 and due to code issues, was not rebuilt. This previous post shows the window this was photographed through, taken from the outside.

 

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19 Jan 2016

Crossing The Acosta Bridge

8:30H

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“I get intrigued with bridges. I don’t know how all that steel is put together and it will stand for years. Here is the Acosta Bridge named after St. Elmo W. Acosta. Built in 1921. At one time the streetcar ran down the middle of the bridge and each side was for car traffic.”  LS

Originally named the St. Johns River Bridge, it was the first bridge across the Saint Johns river built for automobile traffic and started life a toll bridge when the only other option was to take the downtown ferry across the river. The yellow colored steelwork bridge had a center lift section like the Main Street bridge which opened 20 years later. The Acosta originally had two lanes for car traffic and a center streetcar lane which later changed to three lanes for traffic, the center lane being reversible depending on the traffic needs at different times of day. St. Elmo W. Acosta was the Jacksonville City commissioner who led the efforts to have the St. Johns River Bridge built and the bridge was named after him two years after his death in 1947. The narrow bridge was replaced by the current Acosta bridge in 1991.

 

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05 Jan 2016

The Barnett National Bank Building, 1949

13:40H

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“Here is a unusual view of the Barnett Bank Building taken in 1949. Note my old 1939 Mercury Convertible car in front of bank. Adams Street side.”  LS

The Barnett National Bank Building on 112 West Adams Street was constructed in 1926 for a cost of $1,500,000 and for almost thirty years the 18 story tall building was the tallest building in Jacksonville. When Barnett built the 42 story Barnett Center (now known as the Bank of America Financial Center) in 1993 they moved their operations into the new building and the 1926 building building found a new owner. Renovations were begun but halted after much of the building was gutted. The building sat vacant for over a decade until it changed hands again and new plans were made to renovate the building which is on the National Register of Historic Places. After a series of plans, announcements and financing problems the building still stands empty, awaiting its next incarnation.

 

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24 Dec 2015

Loyd Sandgren’s Christmas Present, 1953

8:00H

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“In 1953 my friends gave me this photo for Christmas, my daughter Carolyn helped me display it.”  LS

If you don’t get everything you want for Christmas, may you at least get what you really need. Merry Christmas from Vintage Jacksonville and best wishes for the new year.  Bob Self/Vintage Jacksonville

 

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15 Dec 2015

The New 1952 Federal Reserve Bank Building

14:54H

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“The Federal Reserve Bank Building after it was completed. The old bank building was just one block away, Church and Hogan Streets. The day they moved into the new building they moved about 10 billion dollars in all kinds of papers and money. There were men with machine guns on all the buildings around, plus, the streets were blocked off.”  LS

The companion photo to the previous post showing the house that had occupied this site. This photo would have been taken around 1952 just before or shortly after the building was opened.

 

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09 Dec 2015

Site of the 1952 Federal Reserve Bank Building

8:00H

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“This is the old house that stood on the corner of Julia and Church Streets. They then built the Federal Reserve Bank Building. The  picture was taken from the Ambassador Hotel. Now they have closed this bank and built a new one.”  LS

The 1924 Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta building still stands at the corner of Hogan and Church Streets, across the street from the St. James Building in downtown Jacksonville. The replacement for the building opened in 1952 on this corner and was in use until the current Federal Reserve Bank Building location on Water Street was opened in 1987. Loyd Sandgren shot a number of photographs inside and out of the 1952 building when it first opened. The building now houses the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue headquarters.

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01 Dec 2015

Driver Bill Bencker With Porsche 904

9:48H

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This photo is another gem from the Loyd Sandgren collection. This is driver Bill Bencker, who drove for Brundage Motor Cars which later became Brumos with a rare Porsche 904. Just over 100 904′s were made specifically for racing in 1964-1965, Porsche’s first car with a fiberglass body. I wanted to know if there was more to learn about this specific vehicle so I contacted Patti Tantillo who oversees the Brumos Driving Experience and has worked with the Brumos racing team, and she helped provide additional history on this particular car.

“I think the one in your photo is 904-043, (043 being the chassis number of the car) it was listed as being raced at the Sebring 12 Hour race in March of 1964 under the #39 as shown in your shot. The photo was obviously taken pre-Sebring, as my other go-to research site (Racing Sport Cars.com) had some cool facts. It came in 39th as a DNF due to an accident, and was raced by John Ryan and Brundage friend Bill Bencker. It was listed on the registry as orange, and that site had a couple of race photos of it. The number on the side looks like the same font as your shot, but it sustained heavy damage, as evidenced in the photos. I think it’s a pretty safe bet that this is a photo of that particular race car.”  PT

A photo of the accident at the 1964 12 Hours of Sebring race can be found here.

As is often the case with the Loyd Sandgren photographic collection, this photograph had no information connected to the print so I worked to fill in the blanks in order to share the image. Much of the research that went into this post focused on finding out the details on this particular Porsche. The information that I had gathered from a number of sources indicated that the gentleman in the photograph was Hubert Brundage, the owner of Brundage Motors which later became Brumos. After posting the image on Vintage Jacksonville I was contacted by Bill Warner, the founder and chairman of the world class car show, The Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance, an award winning automobile collector and a well published automotive photographer with deep roots in Jacksonville and he simply said, “The man in the photo, I believe, is the driver, Bill Bencker, not Hubert Brundage.” I pressed Bill for more information as I could find few photographs of Bencker from that era to confirm what he had told me and Bill sent me this photograph of Bencker standing with another Brumos Porsche at a race in Fernandina Beach, Florida looking much like the man in the Loyd Sandgren photograph, including wearing the same sunglasses.

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I then talked with Bill and he gave me the background on the photograph. In 1960 when he was 16 years old he shot some photos for Brundage and was paid $1 a negative. Many decades later a friend came across his negatives and returned them to him. Bill was well acquainted with Bill Bencker, who was a salesman for Brumos and drove cars for Brumos at the races on the weekends. He had a driving career from the late 50’s to the late 60’s driving a number of different Porsche models. According to Bill Warner Bill Bencker is still living in Jacksonville but is in frail health. Thank you Bill for making a good backstory even better.

When this car was new they sold for a little over $7000.00. The most recent auction sales of Porsche 904’s have been in the $1.25-1.5 million dollar range.

 

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23 Nov 2015

Dark and Foggy Night

13:35H

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“Here is a picture of me standing in front of my 1957 Plymouth in a foggy night, with the headlights and streetlights on. This was on Laura and Waterfront, now where the landing is today.”  LS

During a recent session of scanning images from Loyd Sandgren’s collection I came across this print that I didn’t remember seeing before. It is somewhat atypical of his normal style of shooting and i’m sure it is the result of just having fun but he created a wonderful film noir style image of one of the things he loved the most, one of several convertibles he owned over the years.

 

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11 Nov 2015

Corsairs At The Ready, Mayport 1944

8:00H

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“U.S. Naval Air Station, Mayport, Florida.  September 1944. This photo is looking North-East where the new base had a name change and was now an Airbase.  Most of the airplanes were Corsairs, as many as 17 pilots were killed in one afternoon there.  My job was to photograph the wrecks.” LS

Loyd Sandgren first came to Jacksonville as a Navy photographer in 1942 and was stationed at what was then known as U.S. Naval Frontier Base, Mayport, Florida. This previously posted aerial photograph of the Mayport basin was probably taken around the same time as the photograph above as the graded runways can be seen between the basin and the St. Johns River. The base initially served as a port for small Navy ships before the addition of the airfields.

 

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About Photographer Loyd Sandgren

I first met Loyd Sandgren in 1997 as I was putting photo gear back into my car after... Learn More