07 Jun 2017

Treaty Oak, 1960′s

9:00H

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This 200 plus year old Live Oak on the Southbank of the St. Johns River sits on land that in the early 1900’s was home to Jacksonville’s Dixieland Park. The tree was named Treaty Oak in the 1930’s after a fictitious story was written by The Florida Times-Union writer Pat Moran about settlers and indians signing peace treaties under it. It was part of an effort by Moran and the Garden Club of Jacksonville to discourage it’s removal for development. The property containing the tree was purchased around 1934 by Jessie duPont and the Alfred I. duPont Foundation which donated it to the city of Jacksonville in 1964, around the time this photograph was taken. The 7 acres of land with the tree as it’s centerpiece is now Jessie Ball duPont Park, a green space surrounded by commercial buildings, parking lots and the approach to the Main Street Bridge.

 

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16 May 2017

Leo Fitzpatrick Florist on Laura Street

8:00H

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“The Leo Fitzpatrick Building on 515 Laura Street.  This is where the Ivey’s building is today.  Fitzpatrick Florist’s became famous here.”  LS

Leo Fitzpatrick Florist was one of the big players in Jacksonville’s flower business until the mid 1950’s when the business was bought in 1956 by competitor Robert Kuhn who founded Kuhn Flowers in 1947. I could not find the date when the building was demolished but after a search of the city directories, Fitzpatrick Florist was listed at this address until 1957. From 1958 to 1961 the property address was listed as vacant and starting 1962, 501 to 523 Laura Street was listed as under construction. Starting 1963 the address was listed as the side of Ivey’s.

 

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12 Apr 2017

Rebound

11:33H

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This is a wonderful photograph of women’s basketball but photographer Loyd Sandgren left no clue as to the identities of the teams, the location or the date of the photograph. The image probably dates from the mid 1940’s to the early1950’s since the pants still have a belt which went out in the early 50’s. I can’t identify the teams, there are no markings on the uniforms and only a small sign on the gym wall marked Taylor. There is a Taylor, Florida in Volusia County but If anyone recognizes the gym or the players please help Vintage Jacksonville fill in the information gap.

 

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28 Mar 2017

Downtown Jacksonville Skyline from Memorial Park

14:46H

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“A view of downtown Jacksonville from West, From the Riverside High Rise on a gray day But it is a Interesting view.” LS

According to photographer Loyd Sandgrens’ note accompanying this print the photograph was taken from the Park Lane apartment building on the West edge of Memorial Park and looking toward the Northeast. The Main Street Bridge can be seen with the downtown Jacksonville skyline so it places the photograph after 1941 but before 1954 when the original Fuller Warren Bridge was completed. It is interesting to see the view of the neighborhood that used to be located along the St Johns River in that part of Riverside.

 

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08 Mar 2017

Golden Gloves Boxing Match in the old Armory

8:55H

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“In 1948 I took all the sports pictures for The Jacksonville Journal, the afternoon paper. This was taken in the old Armory on the corner of State and Market Streets. Three speed lights were used, one at the camera, one at each corner of the two sides, the stronger light was at the corner on my left. I think the man on the right is holding the other man’s head. The man on the left won.” LS

This information is from two different prints of the same image with two slightly varying captions written by photographer Loyd Sandgen. There was a conflict in the location but by looking at the background, this is definitely the old Armory Building which is still standing on the edge of downtown Jacksonville. In the 1940′s and 1950′s there was boxing held at both the Armory and the old Main Street Gym.

 

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09 Feb 2017

On The Range at Yellow Water Gunnery School, 1944

8:30H

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“Turrets at the Yellow Water Gunnery School. July 8, 1944. I think the range used over 3,000,000 rounds of 50mm bullets.”  LS

Training turret gunners on trailers fitted with aircraft machine gun turrets at one of the practice ranges at the Yellow Water Gunnery School. The WWII base was located on land North of the former Cecil Field Naval Air Station near the current Equestrian Center off Normandy Blvd. I would imagine that being inside one of those bubbles in the middle of the summer was no treat. The back of the print is is stamped “Restricted, Official Photograph,  Not to be used for publication by order of the Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics”. Then there is a handwritten note saying “Please Release” with someone’s initials beside that. A sharp viewer brought to my attention that the rounds would have been 50 caliber not 50 mm as was written in Photographer Loyd Sandgren’s note that was attached to the print. Can any of Vintage Jacksonville’s veteran followers enlighten us on the type of aircraft that would have used this particular gun turret?

 

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22 Dec 2016

Season’s Greetings, 1958

12:52H

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Christmas decorations on an unidentified Jacksonville building from 1958, according to the dates on the license plates on the cars in the parking lot. Anyone have a guess where this might have been?

This is the final post of 2016 for Vintage Jacksonville. Enjoy the holidays with family and friends as you reflect on the past and look to the future. Thanks to all of you who have continued to follow the work of Jacksonville photographer Loyd Sandgren on Vintage Jacksonville over the last six years. More to come in 2017!

 

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29 Nov 2016

The Ribault Drive-in Theatre, 1950′s

9:42H

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“The building of a Drive-In Theatre. I guess that’s a thing of the past. It was built in the late 1950’s”  LS

It took a bit of legwork to find any information on the Ribault Drive-In but I finally found one great source. In Aug 11, 1977 Jacksonville Journal Staff Writer Nancy McAlister had the job of reviewing and critiquing the 10 drive-in theaters in Jacksonville, Florida. It was no doubt the highlight of her journalism career. The drive-In theaters in the story were the Blanding, Fox Twin on Normandy Blvd., Lake Forest on Rowe Avenue, Main Street, Midway on Beach Blvd., Pine on Eastport Road, Playtime on Blanding Blvd., Ribault on Soutel Drive, Southside on Philips Highway and the University on University Blvd. North.

The following is the review of the Ribault Drive-In,

Type of Movies: Predominantly R

Admission: $2.00 per person, children under 11 Free.

Playground: Yes.

Concession Stand: Centrally located building with large patio which needs additional lighting. Interior quite small made even worse by the pinball machines that have been squeezed in.

Food: Small selection but reasonably priced. Plain popcorn is 30 cents, buttered is 50 cents. A hot dog is 50 cents, a hamburger 60 cents and drinks are 35 and 50 cents.

Rest Rooms: Among the worst. No toilet paper in stalls and paper all over the floor and in toilets. Dirty.

General Condition: Lighting is poor and better maintenance is needed. Also, during our visit the second movie began and soon after cut off, with a voice coming over the loud speaker telling patrons to proceed to the box office for a refund. No explanation was given.

The theatre is listed as having 1 screen and a 400 car capacity. It was located at 4819 Soutel Drive in Jacksonville.  At some point in the late 1970′s the Ribault Drive-In Theatre closed. It reopened in 1981 showing R rated movies on the weekends but that was short lived. Looking at current photographs of the area the surrounding woods have all been replaced by houses and there has been some commercial building on the drive-in property but you can still see the faint outlines of the parking areas that are now overgrown with trees.

Unrelated but interesting, there was also a legal case involving the City of Jacksonville and drive-in theaters that went before the Supreme Court in the 1970’s. The manager of the University Drive-In was charged with a violation of the city ordinance that banned the showing of movies revealing bare breasts and buttocks in drive-in theaters which can be seen from the street. The manager was charged with showing the movie “Class of ’74” which included pictures of female buttocks and bare breasts. The charge said the anatomical scenes were visible from the Resurrection Catholic Church near the drive-in. Jacksonville’s ordinance was found to be unconstitutional.

 

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25 Nov 2016

Hemming Park 1950′s

10:25H

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“A closeup of Hemming Park with the St. James Building (Cohen Brothers) in upper center. They were just building the Woolworth Store. About 1953.”  LS

Looking down on the heart of downtown Jacksonville with Hemming Park in one of it’s earlier incarnations with paver paths, grass and a bandshell. The St. James Building was still a department store. The cleared lot to the left was the early phase of construction for the downtown Woolworth’s building which opened in 1955. Many of the buildings in this photograph still exist but have been repurposed over the years such as the St. James Building which after years of sitting empty was renovated into Jacksonville’s City Hall building. The Woolworth’s was demolished and became the site of the current Federal Courthouse.

 

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15 Nov 2016

Montgomery Ward Grand Opening

10:48H

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“Here is the opening of the new Wards Store at Normandy Mall. It was a high school band playing but I don’t remember which.” LS

It must have been quite the big deal. The Montgomery Ward opening was preceded by Jacksonville’s first three malls, the Gateway Center in 1958, the Philips Highway Plaza in 1960 and the Roosevelt Square in 1961. The information that I have found varies but the 107,400 square foot Montgomery Ward appears to have opened around 1964 as a stand-alone store followed by the fully enclosed Normandy Mall opening a number of years later.  Montgomery Ward changed it’s name to Jefferson Ward in 1980 then back to Montgomery Ward in 1986, closing for good in 1988. In 1996 the former Ward space was purchased and renovated into a Winn-Dixie Marketplace with storefronts for eight businesses. The new shopping center was renamed the Normandy Village.

 

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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