12 Apr 2016

Downtown Parking at Adams and Pearl Street



Looking Northeast from across West Adams Street at the intersection of Pearl Street in downtown Jacksonville. To the left in the background is the St. Johns apartment building which is still standing and renamed the Residences at City Place. The Federal Courthouse building built in 1933,  which also contained a post office, can be seen in front of that and now functions as the State Attorney’s Offices. Across the street on the portion of the block not occupied by a parking lot is the Hotel George Washington which was built in 1926 and demolished in 1973. That lot is now completely cleared. The photograph would have been taken from a building that was located where a parking garage across Adams Street from the new Duval County Courthouse now stands.

The note that Loyd Sandgren left with this image dated it as 1950 which should be correct. Often the cars in the photographs can give the best clues as to the year that the photographs are taken. In this case there are only a couple of cars in the entire image that don’t have split windshields and around 1950 was when the first wraparound glass windshields started to appear. By the mid 1950’s, with a few exceptions, split windshields were history in new cars.


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29 Mar 2016

Jacksonville’s Transforming Waterfront, 1957



This is an image of the East side of the downtown Jacksonville waterfront as the area was making the transition from a working waterfront covered with piers and warehouses over the St. Johns River to the one we have today with bulkheaded banks and infill. Here the section of the river bank just East of the Main Street Bridge appears to be in the final phase of being bulkheaded and filled. the Duval County Courthouse on East Bay Street is to the far right and still under construction. It opened in 1958. Warehouses on docks remain between the newly created bulkhead and the Courthouse. The dome of the old Courthouse which was built after the 1901 fire can still be seen in the background. That building was demolished in 1960. This would have been photographed from the Main Street Bridge and according to the note on the back of the print, the photograph was taken March 7, 1957. The original print is in rough condition and the image is not terribly sharp but the moment in Jacksonville’s history captured by photographer Loyd Sandgren overrides those shortcomings.


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09 Mar 2016

1950 Grapefruit League Pennant in Hemming Park



“1950, This picture was taken in Hemming Park downtown. The banner was given to the Major League Baseball team that won the most games in Florida.  Mr. Harold Colee was president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.” LS

Cross referencing photographs in the Florida State Archives it appears that the gentleman on the right was Mr. Colee. I’m at a bit of a loss as to why this pennant was brought to Jacksonville. I contacted Nick Gandy with the Florida Sports Foundation hoping he could shed a little light on this. According to Gandy, in 1950 there were 10 of the 16 Major League Baseball teams holding their spring training in Florida. They were the Boston Braves (Bradenton); Boston Red Sox (Sarasota); Detroit Tigers (Lakeland); Washington Senators (Orlando); New York Yankees (St. Petersburg); Philadelphia Phillies (Clearwater); St. Louis Cardinals (St. Petersburg); Philadelphia Athletics (West Palm Beach); Cincinnati Reds (Tampa); Brooklyn Dodgers (Vero Beach). The other six teams, St. Louis Browns, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Giants, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs were elsewhere. He speculated that it was simply a promotional stop to bring attention to the teams holding their training in the state. Jacksonville did not host any teams in 1950 and the only team in town was the Jacksonville Tars, an unaffiliated minor league club with a loosing record. It was not until 1953 that Samuel Wolfson bought the Tars and replaced them with the Jacksonville Braves, the Class A affiliate of the newly relocated Milwaukee Braves.

Jacksonville does have the distinction of being the first Florida town to host spring training for Major League Baseball. In 1888 the Washington Nationals came to Jacksonville, traveling the farthest south any team had previously traveled, to prepare for the upcoming season. After the 48-86 season that followed, it was another 15 years before Major League Baseball returned to the state of Florida. An extended history of the Grapefruit League can be found at the Florida Grapefruit League website.

I have not found any record of who won the Grapefruit League Pennant in 1950 but later that year the New York Yankees won the World Series.


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23 Feb 2016

1960’s Harlem Globetrotters Visit To Jacksonville



With the Harlem Globetrotters coming to Jacksonville this week I thought this might be a good time to post this image from the Loyd Sandgren collection. There was no information attached to the print but I would date it from the early 1960’s and say it was shot in the old Jacksonville Coliseum. It looks like members of the team were having a meet and greet with local children. I contacted Scott Johnson, the Director of Public Relations for the Harlem Globetrotters International, Inc. and shared this image with him to see if he could shed a little light on the photograph shortly after the death of Globetrotter legend Meadowlark Lemon. He was able to tell me that Lemon was not in the photograph and that the fourth player from the left is most likely Geese Ausbie who signed with the team in 1961 and played over 10,000 games with the Globetrotters in addition to holding different positions within the organization during his tenure with the team.

I also stumbled across a recent editorial by retired Globetrotter Curley Neal that appeared in USA Today this week, reflecting on the 90 year history of the team. He had a particularly poignant Jacksonville story which is worth sharing.

I can still remember hearing the story from the great Tex Harrison. Fifty-nine years ago, the Harlem Globetrotters had just played in front of 18,000 fans in northern Florida — most of them white — and tried to grab a bite to eat at a restaurant. The restaurant wouldn’t let the team in. Wouldn’t serve them. They went to a hotel next. They were turned away. Later, they found out that a performing chimpanzee sponsored by a local bowling alley got a big fancy suite.

 Here they were, the Harlem Globetrotters, America’s most famous basketball team, unable to eat a meal or stay in a hotel room in Jacksonville.”  

The complete editorial can be found here.  http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/02/22/harlem-globetrotters-black-history-month-racial-barriers-discrimination-column/80703798/


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09 Feb 2016

The Many Incarnations of 1037 Park Street



Show in this 1950’s image with the single longest running tenant, F.W. Woolworth Co., this building at 1037 Park Street in the historic 5-Points shopping district of Jacksonville has been the home of numerous businesses since it first showed up in the city directory listings in 1928. Prior to that time the area was listed as residential and the particular address was not listed. With the assistance of the always helpful staff that maintains the Florida Collection in the Jacksonville Public Library’s main building downtown I was able to track down a fairly comprehensive list of the occupants of the building from the last 9 decades.

1928-1931  Great A&P Tea Company (first listing of the address in city directories)

1932-1936  Towers Hardware Company

1937-1938  listed as vacant

1939-1967  F.W. Woolworth Company

1968  No listings for this year at that address

1969-1972  Economy Five & Dime Department Store

1973-1976  United Five & Dime Inc.

1977-1983  Peterson Five & Ten

1984-1999  listed as both Peterson’s Variety Store and Peterson’s 5 & 10 & Flower Shop

2000-2009  Fuel Coffeehouse Inc.

2010-2014  There were no listings for this address

2015  Fitz Pullins Inventory Room is listed with the current owner

After sitting empty a number of years since Fuel Coffeehouse was in operation there, local businessman and artist Steve Williams has purchased the building and is in the process of bringing new life to the 88 year old structure. According to Williams the street level portion of the building will house Hoptinger, a German/American beer garden. There are also plans for a rooftop beer garden. The second floor is currently in the planning phase but Williams foresees it as a mixed use office space.


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03 Feb 2016

Lobster House Skyline View



This view of the downtown Jacksonville skyline was shot through the window of The Lobster House Restaurant in the 1950’s. The structure was built on the South bank of the St. Johns River, originally as a boat repair shop and in 1944 it was converted into The Lobster House Restaurant, standing on pilings over the St Johns River. It was destroyed in a fire in 1962 and due to code issues, was not rebuilt. This previous post shows the window this was photographed through, taken from the outside.


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19 Jan 2016

Crossing The Acosta Bridge



“I get intrigued with bridges. I don’t know how all that steel is put together and it will stand for years. Here is the Acosta Bridge named after St. Elmo W. Acosta. Built in 1921. At one time the streetcar ran down the middle of the bridge and each side was for car traffic.”  LS

Originally named the St. Johns River Bridge, it was the first bridge across the Saint Johns river built for automobile traffic and started life a toll bridge when the only other option was to take the downtown ferry across the river. The yellow colored steelwork bridge had a center lift section like the Main Street bridge which opened 20 years later. The Acosta originally had two lanes for car traffic and a center streetcar lane which later changed to three lanes for traffic, the center lane being reversible depending on the traffic needs at different times of day. St. Elmo W. Acosta was the Jacksonville City commissioner who led the efforts to have the St. Johns River Bridge built and the bridge was named after him two years after his death in 1947. The narrow bridge was replaced by the current Acosta bridge in 1991.


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05 Jan 2016

The Barnett National Bank Building, 1949



“Here is a unusual view of the Barnett Bank Building taken in 1949. Note my old 1939 Mercury Convertible car in front of bank. Adams Street side.”  LS

The Barnett National Bank Building on 112 West Adams Street was constructed in 1926 for a cost of $1,500,000 and for almost thirty years the 18 story tall building was the tallest building in Jacksonville. When Barnett built the 42 story Barnett Center (now known as the Bank of America Financial Center) in 1993 they moved their operations into the new building and the 1926 building building found a new owner. Renovations were begun but halted after much of the building was gutted. The building sat vacant for over a decade until it changed hands again and new plans were made to renovate the building which is on the National Register of Historic Places. After a series of plans, announcements and financing problems the building still stands empty, awaiting its next incarnation.


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24 Dec 2015

Loyd Sandgren’s Christmas Present, 1953



“In 1953 my friends gave me this photo for Christmas, my daughter Carolyn helped me display it.”  LS

If you don’t get everything you want for Christmas, may you at least get what you really need. Merry Christmas from Vintage Jacksonville and best wishes for the new year.  Bob Self/Vintage Jacksonville


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15 Dec 2015

The New 1952 Federal Reserve Bank Building



“The Federal Reserve Bank Building after it was completed. The old bank building was just one block away, Church and Hogan Streets. The day they moved into the new building they moved about 10 billion dollars in all kinds of papers and money. There were men with machine guns on all the buildings around, plus, the streets were blocked off.”  LS

The companion photo to the previous post showing the house that had occupied this site. This photo would have been taken around 1952 just before or shortly after the building was opened.


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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