16 Nov 2018

Loyd Sandgren at the Boca Raton Museum of Art

8:30H

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The work of Loyd Sandgren currently hangs on a gallery wall with internationally known photographers such as Robert Frank, Henry Cartier-Bresson, Gordon Parks and a host of others who photographed Florida from the late 1800’s through the 1960’s as part of “Imagining Florida: History and Myth in the Sunshine State”. The new show at the Boca Raton Museum of Art borrowed paintings, prints and photography representing the state of Florida from major museums and private collections and examples of Loyd’s work, thanks to Gary Monroe who curated the photography portion of the show, were selected from their home in the Jacksonville Public Library’s Florida Collection, to be included. I drove down for the patron’s opening and it was such a great experience to see Loyd’s photographs in the context of the work of other photographer’s I admire. I’ve always felt his photography was significant to Jacksonville’s history but it was humbling to see it have a place documenting Florida’s history as well. I would like to sincerely thank the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s staff for being so gracious to me during my visit. They have put together a uniquely original show that won’t be seen elsewhere and I highly recommend making the trip to Boca Raton to see it.

I know Loyd is looking down with a big grin on his face. His work was displayed beside pinup photos of Bettie Page taken by legendary Miami photographer Bunny Yeager who he greatly admired.

12 Nov 2018

Perspicacious People Listen to WMBR Radio

14:17H

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This image was in a binder of of radio station photographs in the Loyd Sandgren collection simply entitled WMBR, WPDQ, WFGA, WJXT. No information about the particular photograph was attached so all I know for sure was that this was the Northeast corner of Hemming Park looking East with the Haverty’s furniture store, now the Jake M. Godbold City Hall Annex and the Western Union building, with retail stores on the ground level in the background. The Western Union building now houses the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville. It was obviously a promotion for WMBR which had a long history in Jacksonville (learn more from this previous post). The woman is dressed as a flapper is carrying a portable radio along with her sign promoting the station. What I find most fascinating is the group of men passing the time on the benches. Most are elderly, several have canes the youngest looking member of the group in the white shirt and ball cap is using two crutches and is missing his left leg. I’m sure there is a story but only the image exists, not the context. I’d guess by the dress this is the late 1940’s or early 1950’s. Hemming Park looks like a park with lots of trees and lots of places to sit and pass the time.

I’ll save you the time looking up Perspicacious. According to Merriam-Webster it means “Of acute mental vision or discernment: Keen”.

 

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11 Sep 2018

Mosler Vault Door at the Federal Reserve Bank

8:00H

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There was no note with this print from the Loyd Sandgren collection but it was located among a binder of photographs clearly marked and captioned as images of the “New” Federal Reserve Bank which opened in the early 1950’s at Church and Hogan Streets in downtown Jacksonville. I checked with a contact at the newer Federal Reserve Bank in Jacksonville and they found former employees who worked in the 1950’s building who confirmed that this was indeed one of the Mosler Safe Company vault doors there. I also spoke with a contact who currently works in the the building, which is now the City of Jacksonville Emergency Operations Center and they confirmed that this was one of several vaults still located inside.

The Mosler Safe Company has quite a story. The company started in Cincinnati as the Mosler, Bahmann & Company in 1867 making safes and bank vaults. After some ownership changes and growth the company relocated to Hamilton, Ohio in 1891. In the 1930’s they built the vaults for Fort Knox in Kentucky where the United States stores the countries gold bullion. In checking to see if the Mosler Safe Company was still in business I came across a fascinating article connecting the company to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. After the 1945 atomic bombing of the city, one of the three buildings still standing after the blast was the Teikoku Bank building which was located less than a quarter mile from the center of the blast. Although the building was gutted in the blast and the reinforced concrete shell of the building was badly damaged, the two Mosler Safes inside, dating from the 1920’s survived the blast with the contents intact. A year after the blast Mosler began using this in their company advertising. The survivability of the company’s safes got them contracts to build the vaults for the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of rights in Washington, D.C. and blast doors for missile silos among the many government contracts during the cold war. The Hamilton, Ohio based company went out of business in 2001. The full article can be found here.

 

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21 Aug 2018

Mosaic Wall with Bikini Model, 1960′s

8:00H

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“This shows some detail work on the Reynolds, Smith & Hill building in Koger Park, about 1964.” LS

This is one of a small number of color prints in the Loyd Sandgren collection. The note gave me a little information about the subject matter but I’ve run into a lot of dead ends trying to establish the exact location, if the mosaic still exists or who the young lady in the photograph is. I did confirm that Reynolds, Smith & Hill was located in the old Koger Center but the new management group was unable to pin down which buildings it might have been. Some of my more learned contacts on Jacksonville architecture were also stumped but gave it a good try. Now i’m reaching out to the Vintage Jacksonville audience to see if some of you can shed a little more light on the details of this photograph.

 

 

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26 Jun 2018

The Prudential Insurance Building Under Construction

14:51H

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“Here is a picture of the new Prudential Insurance Building on the Southbank of Jacksonville. Downtown is in the background.” LS

The original Prudential Building shown here in the final stages of construction was completed in 1955, the same year as the first Baptist Hospital building which was located nearby. The building housed 22 floors and at 309 feet tall, held the record as the tallest building in Jacksonville from 1954 to 1967. The building was later known as the Aetna Building and is now called One Prudential Plaza.

 

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22 Mar 2018

The New Independent Life Building, 1955

12:00H

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“Here is the Independent Insurance Building just after completion, about 1955. The parking lot in the foreground was the place where the Windsor Hotel was.” LS

This photograph is looking North on North Julia Street with West Duval Street crossing in front of the building from left to right. The parking lot in the right foreground of the photograph is now the location of the Federal Courthouse.

I found an article celebrating 50 years of the Independent Life company written in 1970 recounting the insurance company’s history and the numerous buildings that they outgrew after starting the business in 1920. According to this article, this building was designed to accommodate the needs of the company for the next 25 years. When it was opened in 1955 the business only occupied the first five floors of the 19-story building. By 1960 they occupied 9 stories and as of 1970 when this was written they were “bursting at the seams” and had acquired most of the block bordered by Bay, Main, Water and Julie Streets with plans to build what would become the Independent Square building.

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A contact sheet from 4X5 inch negatives showing different views of the architect’s model of the Independent Life building.

 

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13 Mar 2018

White Waiting Room

8:30H

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“The Greyhound Bus Co on Bay Street in the 50’s. Note sign, White waiting room.  Upstairs was the black restrooms and waiting room.”  LS

UPDATE: Thanks to sharp eyed visitors to Vintage Jacksonville who questioned the location attributed to this image by photographer Loyd Sandgren, the information is now updated and corrected. This is the waiting room of the Greyhound Station on Forsyth and Pearl streets which opened for business in 1947 and is currently in use today. During my visit, the helpful staff at the station also shared their insights and memories of the place. The space has undergone some significant remodeling over the years. The lockers are no longer there and the wood benches are gone. Drop ceilings and sheetrock have changed the look of the space. There is no longer a stairway to what used to be the location of the restrooms and the segregated waiting area for African-American customers. I’m told that is now a dorm facility for drivers to rest. The signage is gone as well as the line of pinball machines. The distinct transition from the tile to the linoleum is still there and I could stand in the spot that this photograph was taken from and make the comparisons.

I will risk of editorializing and say that I find a quiet melancholy in this image. Over fifty years before the days of cell phones, everyone is already focused on their newspapers and magazines, avoiding contact and conversation with each other. The row of pinball machines down the side wall sit idle. The sign makes it clear who is welcomed without having to say who is not. There is a stillness in this image that creates an unsettling tension which becomes even stronger when the viewer realizes the scene foreshadows the changes coming in the next decade.

 

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08 Jan 2018

The Old Gator Bowl

9:39H

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An undated photo with no caption information of a youth football team in the old Gator Bowl. It might be a Police Athletic League team with the police officer in the photo. It is kind of amazing to think about how much the old metal bleacher stadium has evolved since it was built in the late 1920’s as Fairfield Stadium. At the time it had a seating capacity of 7,600. In 1946 the stadium hosted the first Gator Bowl game. In 1948 the capacity was expanded to 16,000 seats and it was renamed the Gator Bowl with more seating added before the 1949 Gator Bowl game. The facility went from being known for hosting one bowl game a year and the Florida vs Georgia football game to being the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL football team with regular seating close to 64,000 which is expanded to over 80,000 once a year for the Florida vs Georgia game.

 

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31 Dec 2017

Blinging in the New Year

10:01H

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“Here is Miss Jacksonville of 1948, Miss Betty Lindquist. This all happened in a jewelry store on Adams Street. She was modeling the bracelet and broach. Other people unidentified. There were two guards, one at each side of us to make sure nothing was missing. I am proud of its sharpness, 4X5 camera was used.” LS

Thank you to everyone who visited Vintage Jacksonville in 2017. We have been involved in some fun projects this year and hope for more of the same in 2018. At least one big announcement will be coming in the new year with Loyd Sandgren’s work sharing a stage with some historic icons in photography. More details to follow so don’t go away. Happy New Year!

 

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19 Dec 2017

Not So Happy Place

13:33H

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“This shows an accident in the 200 block of West Bay Street. On the right is the Casino Theatre, price nine cents. Happy’s Place which was a beer joint, the next building not seen, was Clyde’s Bar. The cab was a Packard Car. The damage to both cars came to seventy dollars.”  LS

 

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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