White Waiting Room

March 13th, 2018, 8:30H · Topics: Around Town, Getting Around, Girls, Guys · Print

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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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  1. 1 William Foley Sr September 2nd, 2018 10:04H

    Jan 8, 1951: As a young 18 year old Sailor sent to Jacksonville right out of Boot Camp for Navy Schooling at NAS Jacksonville we came into the Train Station on Bay Street on the way to “Yukon Florida”. Being raised in Boston I had no Idea that the segregation in the South was like it was, Culture shock to see two water fountains next to each other, one with a sign “White” and the other “Colored”~~~I did get to love Jacksonville and spent my life here.

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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