06 Oct 2015

American Art Week Window Display, 1950′s



“Here is a picture of the Florida National Bank when they were on the corner of Forsyth and Laura. 50’s. It was advertising the Art Week here in Jacksonville, FL.”  LS

Upon closer inspection the signage in the widow gives us a little more information about the reason for the display. The banner of one poster says American Art Week and Florida, The Italy of the New World. It lists Permanent collections in the state including the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Norton Gallery in West Palm Beach, Clearwater Art Museum at Belleair and the Morse Gallery in Winter Park. It then goes on to list Art Centers and Galleries in Clearwater, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Miami Beach, Palm Beach, St. Augustine, St. Petersburg and Sarasota.

Another label in the window reads, These pictures were chosen as the five most outstanding by popular vote of visitors at the recent exhibition of work by students at the Harold Hilton Studio. I started researching Harold Hilton and discovered that he has a significant place in Florida Art History. I came across work by Dr. Alfred Frankel, an emergency room physician in St. Petersburg, Florida who has extensively researched Florida artists prior to 1960 and he has allowed me to share a portion of his findings on Hilton.

“An Englishman, Harold Hilton worked as a store clerk while studying art at London’s Polytechnic School. He later immigrated to the United States and continued his studies at the Art Institute of Chicago. During the First World War Hilton was chief designer for the Federal Sign System and worked as a painter for the U.S. Army camouflage unit. He moved to Jacksonville in 1925 and began cruising Florida waters from his home on the St. John’s River. In 1930 Hilton was elected president of the Florida Watercolor Society and from 1937-1938 and 1947-1948 president of the Florida Federation of Art. His work in Jacksonville included murals for the George Washington Hotel auditorium, the Indian Room of the Seminole Hotel, and the Peacock Club. Hilton did murals in Miami for the ceilings of the Florida National Bank and the Du Pont Building in Miami, and in Key West for the La Concha Hotel. The Du Pont ceiling mural was a Florida tarpon fishing scene, The Silver King. He was known in Jacksonville for his decorations for the annual “Ye Mystic Revellers” Coronation Balls.”

Hilton is listed in the Jacksonville City Directory as a portrait artist in 1929 with a studio at 420 Main Street. In the 40’s to 1950 he had a studio on 9 East State Street. I spoke with Holly Keris, the chief curator at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens who said the museum has several pieces of his work in their collection. Harold Walter Hilton died in 1959.


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29 Sep 2015

From High Atop The Main Street Bridge, 1951



“A scene taken from the Main Street Bridge when it was up.  The tall building on the left side is the Lynch Building. The building on the right with the water tower is the Florida Theatre.  About the middle of the picture was the City Hall. The street on the left is Main Street. 1951.” LS

Great view of downtown Jacksonville East of Main Street. Everything from the Florida Hardware Co. building to the bottom of the frame has since been torn down as the waterfront area was bulkheaded, filled and redeveloped. Behind the Florida Hardware Co. building is the back of the Dyal-Upchurch building, it and the small building attached to it are still standing although many of the buildings in this image no longer exist. Main Street still had two way traffic when this image was taken. A similar view of the buildings to the West of Main Street can be found here.


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22 Sep 2015

Free Muntz TV With Every Henry J Purchase



“Alexander Motors, 2037 Main Street. They sold the Henry J and the Kaiser Frazer.  Notice the sign, it says they will give away a Muntz TV.  1950.”  LS

The banner hanging on the front of the dealership advertises a Free 20 inch Muntz TV with every Henry J purchase and there is a row of TV’s in the showroom window. This location was just North of 10th. Street on the East side of Main Street in Jacksonville’s Springfield neighborhood. The business was located on what is now an empty lot that is part of the Kirby-Smith Middle School campus.  The corner of the roof of one of the still standing Kirby-Smith buildings can be seen in the right of the photograph behind the Alexander Motors building. For additional information about the Henry J line of cars you can view this previous post, and a previous post on Muntz TV’s can be found here.


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03 Sep 2015

WJAX On Main Street



“This building was on Main Street between Orange and First Streets.  It was owned by the city of Jacksonville and the radio station WJAX was here and so was the water works.  1954.”  LS

The City of Jacksonville started radio station WJAX and it’s first broadcast was on Thanksgiving, 1925. According to one source, the building used to shelter horses and was later renovated into a radio station for the municipal station. The station moved is operations from the building in the 1970′s and in the 1980′s the city sold the station to private owners.


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18 Aug 2015

Bathing Beauty On The Beach



As the summer winds down and the days at the beach become more limited it seems like a nice time to post this image by photographer Loyd Sandgren. This undated photograph, probably dating from the 1950’s of a stylish young lady on the beach has no information about the location or the identity of the model included with the print but the timeless beauty of the image has held up well in the 50 plus years since it was taken.


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14 Aug 2015

Swisher Gym At Jacksonville University, 1957



“The Swisher Gym, donated by Mr. Swisher of the cigar company.  One of the first big buildings built at Jacksonville University  1957.”  LS

According to the Jacksonville University timeline, JU started as William J. Porter University in 1934, meeting in the 3rd. floor auditorium of the First Baptist Educational building. In 1935 the school changed its name to Jacksonville Junior College and moved classes to the Haddock Business University’s classrooms on Laura Street. In 1936 the school occupied the second floor of the Florida Theater building. They moved to one additional downtown location before starting classes in the Founders building, the first permanent building on the Arlington campus in 1950. The Swisher Gymnasium was built in 1953, and dedicated along with the Nelms Science building in 1956. Of musical note, in 1979 K.C. and the Sunshine Band recorded a live performance for an album in the Swisher Gym.


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04 Aug 2015

Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1960′s



The Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which was located just behind where the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Wall stands today, was across the parking lot of what was then known as the Gator Bowl, the City of Jacksonville’s football stadium. It was designed in the late 1950’s and dedicated in November of 1960. Built at a cost of $3 million, the venue seated 11,000 and sported a 100 foot-tall domed roof. The first event held there was the first ever hockey game played n Jacksonville. The facility hosted numerous indoor sporting events and although designed with inadequate acrostics due to budget restraints according to the building’s designer George Fisher, the facility was a venue for most of the big concert tours of the day from Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley to Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Photographer Loyd Sandgren was hired to document the construction of the building as well as interior and exterior shots of the completed facility. After a 43 year run, the building was imploded in 2003 to make way for the new Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.



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16 Jul 2015

Mid-Century Modern Motel



This image from the Loyd Sandgren collection has no information attached to the print and I can find no signage or address to help identify this 1950′s vintage Mid-Century modern motel but if this looks familiar to anyone, please share your knowledge. Despite the lack of information, the photo is too nice not to share.



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09 Jul 2015

Future Site Of The Ed Ball Building



“This picture shows a parking lot where the Ball Building is today.  Streets are Julia, Monroe, Hogan and Adams Streets.  About 1956.”  LS

Seems like every transitional space in downtown Jacksonville was a parking lot at one time or another. This image was taken from the corner of Julia Street and West Adams Street looking toward Hemming Park and the St. James Building, most likely taken from the roof of the Hildebrant Building at 300 West Adams Street.  The parking lot would become the site of the Ed Ball Building.  The 11 story structure began construction on the site in 1960 as the new headquarters for the Florida National Bank. The building was purchased by the City of Jacksonville to house a number of its departments in 2006. In the upper left of this image is a sign announcing the construction of the new Hotel Robert Meyer  which was being built on the lot behind the F.W. Woolworth Company building. Both the Hotel Robert Meyer and the Woolworth building would later be demolished to make way for the new Federal Courthouse building which now fills that block of downtown.


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03 Jul 2015

Hope Haven Chocolate Bunny



“Here was a great display and very tasty.  This was a 50 pound bunny rabbit, given to the children at the hospital.  It was very hot that day so we got all the people in place, and then rushed the candy in the sun.  The few minutes it took to take the picture, it was already started to melt.  People?  1971.”  LS

Hope Haven has a history in Jacksonville dating to the 1800’s when the Hope Haven Association was formed to help children with Tuberculosis. The original Hope Haven Children’s Hospital was built in 1926 on the Trout River to help “nutritionally and medically deprived children.” In 1939 this facility was built on Atlantic Boulevard, West of the intersection with University Boulevard. It served as the primary polio treatment hospital for children in the 1950’s. It continued to function as a full service children’s hospital until 1980 when the inpatient services were purchased by the Nemours Foundation and the hospital was closed.  Hope Haven opened its new facility on Beach Boulevard in 1989 where it offers a wide range of children’s resources including outpatient treatment, therapy, and tutoring. It now operates under the name of Hope Haven Children’s Clinic and Family Center. (I would like to extend a special thank you to Anne Wall, the director of communications at Hope Haven for her help with the history of the facility.)

Here is a previous post from Hope Haven of New York Giants pitcher Carl Hubbell signing autographs for children in the hospital.


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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