Downtown Woolworth’s, 1954

December 28th, 2012, 12:00H · Topics: Business · Print

“This is the way the Woolworth Store looked like just before it opened (note the sign in the windows).  The J.C. Penny store had not moved in.  This was on the corner of Monroe and Hogan Streets.  This was 1954.”  LS

The window signs advertise for the Grand Opening, Wednesday 9 O’Clock, March 23rd.  The building was completed in 1955 and Woolworth’s and Penney’s operated until the mid 1980’s when they both closed at this location.  In the 30 years in between they functioned as part of the core downtown shopping experience.  The Woolworth store was also the site of Civil Rights sit-in’s in the 1960’s.

The Federal Courthouse now occupies this block of downtown Jacksonville.

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  1. 1 Marc Tyler March 17th, 2013 22:04H

    I used to ride the bus from Lakewood with my mom to Hemming park. That was in the mid 60s. I remember the Woolworth’s toy department in the basement.
    I almost remembered the number of the bus line, but no… #41?

  2. 2 Roderick Bryant November 14th, 2014 22:13H

    This was the store where the infamous “Ax-Handle Saturday” took place. Several young Black protesters engaging in a sit-in were set upon by White men wielding ax handles handed out by the proprietor of a downtown hardware store. The teenagers would have been even more wounded had not a platoon of Black toughs called the Boomerangs from nearby LaVilla not intervened on their behalf. Several Blacks were arrested and charged. Not one White man saw jail.

  3. 3 Don Webb January 22nd, 2015 19:41H

    When we look back on it, how could we Whites be so biased toward Blacks simply wanted they to sit down at the Soda Fountain and have a Coco-Cola? If fact, I’ surprised the Blacks took this discrimination as long as they did. Would we Whites have tolerated it had the shoe been on the other foot? I seriously doubt it.

  4. 4 Rev,Mathis October 26th, 2017 23:52H

    ,I am reminded of an account while with my mother,,we entered the store,from the back or side door by.the kitchen,,, not allowed to sit or eat at the counter or.sit at the tables ,,but to oder and go,,,,yes the toy department underground ,,basement,,,, as for the restroom for Black’s it to was inside the park under ground,,, Jacksonville has not changed,,, justice remains the same for the aforementioned colored people,,,controlled environment,, subjected to laws that produce the same Jim Crow laws

  5. 5 bob October 31st, 2017 9:34H

    Rev. Mathis, thank you for sharing your memories. Personal accounts humanize history better than any history text. Bob Self/Vintage Jacksonville

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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