Bay And Davis Street Intersection, 1951

November 13th, 2013, 12:30H · Topics: Around Town, Business · Print

“Here is a section of town that is gone.  Davis and Bay Streets.  This is torn down now.  In fact the overhead (Skyway) is built here, on the way to the Prime Osborn Building.  1951.”  LS

This intersection of South Davis Street and West Bay Street was in the heart of the La Villa neighborhood’s business district. In the photograph you can see Johnson’s Confectionery, the Imperial Tavern, Jax. Venetian Blind Mfg. Co. and St. Johns Floor Covering Co.,   Atlantic Bag and Paper Co. and a truck from Meyer Fish & Produce Co.  There is also a great billboard for “Cooling” Ballantine Ale.

The predominantly black neighborhood grew around the railroad which had a major presence there dating before the Civil War.  The neighborhood was incorporated into the city of Jacksonville in 1887 and by the end of the 1800’s La Villa was home to many businesses and employees serving the railroads as well as bars and bordellos that served the transient visitors passing through the area (as well as the locals from town). The prominent red-light district on Houston Street that flourished in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was just two blocks North of this intersection.  The still standing Union Terminal that opened in 1919 was the hub of the region’s rail service and is one of the few remaining structures with ties to the neighborhood’s history still standing.  The fire of 1901 that destroyed most of Jacksonville started on the North Eastern edge of La Villa but little of the neighborhood was damaged by the historic blaze.  It was not until the urban renewal efforts by the City of Jacksonville in the 1990’s that the majority of the remaining structures in the neighborhood were bulldozed.


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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