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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09 Dec 2015

Site of the 1952 Federal Reserve Bank Building



“This is the old house that stood on the corner of Julia and Church Streets. They then built the Federal Reserve Bank Building. The  picture was taken from the Ambassador Hotel. Now they have closed this bank and built a new one.”  LS

The 1924 Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta building still stands at the corner of Hogan and Church Streets, across the street from the St. James Building in downtown Jacksonville. The replacement for the building opened in 1952 on this corner and was in use until the current Federal Reserve Bank Building location on Water Street was opened in 1987. Loyd Sandgren shot a number of photographs inside and out of the 1952 building when it first opened. The building now houses the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue headquarters.

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01 Dec 2015

Driver Bill Bencker With Porsche 904



This photo is another gem from the Loyd Sandgren collection. This is driver Bill Bencker, who drove for Brundage Motor Cars which later became Brumos with a rare Porsche 904. Just over 100 904’s were made specifically for racing in 1964-1965, Porsche’s first car with a fiberglass body. I wanted to know if there was more to learn about this specific vehicle so I contacted Patti Tantillo who oversees the Brumos Driving Experience and has worked with the Brumos racing team, and she helped provide additional history on this particular car.

“I think the one in your photo is 904-043, (043 being the chassis number of the car) it was listed as being raced at the Sebring 12 Hour race in March of 1964 under the #39 as shown in your shot. The photo was obviously taken pre-Sebring, as my other go-to research site (Racing Sport Cars.com) had some cool facts. It came in 39th as a DNF due to an accident, and was raced by John Ryan and Brundage friend Bill Bencker. It was listed on the registry as orange, and that site had a couple of race photos of it. The number on the side looks like the same font as your shot, but it sustained heavy damage, as evidenced in the photos. I think it’s a pretty safe bet that this is a photo of that particular race car.”  PT

A photo of the accident at the 1964 12 Hours of Sebring race can be found here.

As is often the case with the Loyd Sandgren photographic collection, this photograph had no information connected to the print so I worked to fill in the blanks in order to share the image. Much of the research that went into this post focused on finding out the details on this particular Porsche. The information that I had gathered from a number of sources indicated that the gentleman in the photograph was Hubert Brundage, the owner of Brundage Motors which later became Brumos. After posting the image on Vintage Jacksonville I was contacted by Bill Warner, the founder and chairman of the world class car show, The Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance, an award winning automobile collector and a well published automotive photographer with deep roots in Jacksonville and he simply said, “The man in the photo, I believe, is the driver, Bill Bencker, not Hubert Brundage.” I pressed Bill for more information as I could find few photographs of Bencker from that era to confirm what he had told me and Bill sent me this photograph of Bencker standing with another Brumos Porsche at a race in Fernandina Beach, Florida looking much like the man in the Loyd Sandgren photograph, including wearing the same sunglasses.


I then talked with Bill and he gave me the background on the photograph. In 1960 when he was 16 years old he shot some photos for Brundage and was paid $1 a negative. Many decades later a friend came across his negatives and returned them to him. Bill was well acquainted with Bill Bencker, who was a salesman for Brumos and drove cars for Brumos at the races on the weekends. He had a driving career from the late 50’s to the late 60’s driving a number of different Porsche models. According to Bill Warner Bill Bencker is still living in Jacksonville but is in frail health. Thank you Bill for making a good backstory even better.

When this car was new they sold for a little over $7000.00. The most recent auction sales of Porsche 904’s have been in the $1.25-1.5 million dollar range.


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23 Nov 2015

Dark and Foggy Night



“Here is a picture of me standing in front of my 1957 Plymouth in a foggy night, with the headlights and streetlights on. This was on Laura and Waterfront, now where the landing is today.”  LS

During a recent session of scanning images from Loyd Sandgren’s collection I came across this print that I didn’t remember seeing before. It is somewhat atypical of his normal style of shooting and i’m sure it is the result of just having fun but he created a wonderful film noir style image of one of the things he loved the most, one of several convertibles he owned over the years.


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11 Nov 2015

Corsairs At The Ready, Mayport 1944



“U.S. Naval Air Station, Mayport, Florida.  September 1944. This photo is looking North-East where the new base had a name change and was now an Airbase.  Most of the airplanes were Corsairs, as many as 17 pilots were killed in one afternoon there.  My job was to photograph the wrecks.” LS

Loyd Sandgren first came to Jacksonville as a Navy photographer in 1942 and was stationed at what was then known as U.S. Naval Frontier Base, Mayport, Florida. This previously posted aerial photograph of the Mayport basin was probably taken around the same time as the photograph above as the graded runways can be seen between the basin and the St. Johns River. The base initially served as a port for small Navy ships before the addition of the airfields.


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13 Oct 2015

Pearl Plaza, 1950’s



“This was one of the new and big shopping malls in Jacksonville during the early 50’s. As you can see the A&P store was the major store.  The Place is still there but it doesn’t look like that today.  This is on Pearl and 42nd. Streets.”  LS

The Pearl Plaza is still standing on the 5200 Block of North Pearl Street between West 42nd. St and West 44th. Street. In its day the A&P grocery store was the anchor tenant with a laundromat, drug store, dress store, shoe store, barber shop and others there to provide the necessities of daily life. I don’t think there are many commercial businesses left in the strip mall at this point with most of the storefronts being used by government agency offices and health clinics. The photograph below shows a builders architectural model that photographer Loyd Sandgren identifies as the same plaza above but one of the model’s labels appears to place the location on Edgewood Avenue. It looks very similar and perhaps it had a twin on Edgewood at one point or the proposed location was changed.



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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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About Photographer Loyd Sandgren

I first met Loyd Sandgren in 1997 as I was putting photo gear back into my car after... Learn More