History

The Dark History of Gossip 

  Words by Carmen Macri and Ambar Ramirez  We’ll just start by saying that we love to gossip. Most people do, and if you claim otherwise, you’re probably lying because believe it or not, gossiping was (and is) a very normal, acceptable, social interaction.    In today’s world, gossiping refers to casual or unconstrained conversations or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true, but that wasn’t always the case. Gossip wasn’t always viewed negatively. Surprisingly, back in the 12th century, medieval churches saw gossiping as morally neutral, even mentioning it in sermons. Some …

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Florida Once Upon a Time…

Stogie-Cigar Capital of the World Words by Ted Hunt   In the land of sunshine, oranges, tourism, retirees, alligators and pythons, there exists a rich tradition that goes far beyond the theme parks and countless rows of condominiums. Florida’s cigar industry, often overshadowed by more prominent industries and attractions, has quietly thrived, and the tradition of cigar making holds a significant place in the state’s history, culture and economy. So grab a stogie and let’s embark on a journey through the fascinating history of Florida’s cigar industry where hand rolling cigars is more than just a craft, it’s practically a …

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Tapping into Nature’s Liquid Gold

By Ted Hunt Florida is renowned for its picturesque beaches, tropical climate, theme parks and citrus industry. However, beneath this vacation paradise lies a lesser-known historical treasure — the early turpentine industry. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Florida played a major role in this booming industry, tapping into the liquid gold of its vast pine forests. The foundation of Florida’s turpentine industry lay in the abundant Longleaf Pine forests that covered much of the state. These majestic trees stood as tall sentinels, their trunks harboring a valuable resource known as gum resin/sap or crude turpentine. Turpentine was a …

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Pencils from Florida’s Cedar Trees

Pencils from Florida’s Cedar Trees By Ted Hunt It’s the end of summer and school is starting in a couple of weeks, and finally, the little ones will be out of the house. But first the school supplies — crayons, glue, folders, a new lunch box and most importantly, those pencils.   The pencil is a simple instrument the creates marks that adheres to a sheet of paper. It has a core of graphite surrounded by two wooden halves glued together, usually with an eraser on one end. Contrary to a common misconception, lead has never been used in pencils. …

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Weird Wild Stuff: Queen Elizabeth II Edition

The year’s weirdest and wildest news story so far was actually not so weird and wild, after all. It speaks to the perpetual perdurability of Queen Elizabeth II (April 21, 1926-September 8, 2022) that a 96 year-old woman who’d just beaten covid in February could die in September, and the entire world was shocked, legit. Lucky for us, the queen did all the prep-work, well in advance, allowing her loved the world at large to just sit back, relax, and play their part in the spectacle of her exit, stage-managed to the finest details.  “London Bridge Is Falling Down” was …

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Be Very Afraid: Top 10 Haunted Hangouts on the First Coast

Annie Lytle Elementary School, Be Very Afraid: Top 10 Haunted Hangouts on the First Coast

Nestled between the famously haunted cities of Savannah and St. Augustine, Jacksonville is not well known as a spooky destination. Yet our city has plenty of its own ghost stories and urban legends. If you’re looking for a scare this October, here are the top 10 haunted hangouts on the First Coast: The Florida Theatre 128 East Forsyth Street, Suite 300, Jacksonville, 32202 Since it opened its doors in 1927, Jacksonville’s Florida Theatre has hosted thousands of performances. The theater draws about 250,000 guests annually and Elvis Presley famously wowed the crowds here in 1956. Performances are so epic, some …

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Archive Follow-Up

Archive Follow-Up Words by Rain Henderson & Kerry Speckman In 1995, Folio spoke with Cindy Mosling, co-founder of B.E.A.K.S. (Bird Emergency Aid and Kare Sanctuary) on Big Talbot Island, about pelicans. “Here we go again,” Mosling said about reports from concerned local workers in Mayport regarding pelicans dying in the St. Johns River. But something was different this time. Instead of being caused by an oil spill, Mosling insisted, a massive petroleum fire occurring two years prior was the culprit. After she learned 600,000 gallons of fire retardant, known as Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), were dumped in the St. …

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Behind the Lens: Looking back on the golden era of Folio with longtime photojournalist Walter Coker

“This isn’t any of my best or favorite work,” Walter Coker joked as he pulled a quite impressive stack of Folio Weekly issues out from under the bottom shelf of his bookshelf. The other shelves, lined with photography books authored by some of the most impressive photographers of all time, photojournalism textbooks, stories by local novelists and a beachcombing collection, stood as a sort of ingredient list for what Coker created within the pages of those copies of Folio humbly stashed on the bottom rack. Coker’s 21 years with Folio is one of the only reasons we still have a …

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It’s My Body and I’ll Do What I Want To

Content warning: This is a story about abortion. It includes descriptions of medical procedures. *I am in no way encouraging the procedures described in this piece, nor am I condoning self-administered medical care in general.* Let’s take a step back to the 1960s, a pre-Roe v. Wade era. Abortion is illegal in 30 states, legal only under specific circumstances in the 20 others. Difficult to imagine a time like that, huh? Carol Downer, mother of six and Los Angeles resident, starts hearing of protests. This is the second-wave feminist movement, focused heavily on reproductive rights. She learns of the pushback …

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The Timucua Aren’t Extinct

Shell rock crushed underfoot as we stepped out of my car into the Big Talbot jungle. The backroad we just followed for miles ended in seemingly nowhere with the thicket too dense to even see a few feet off the road. The sun was at its peak yet was barely peeking through the canopy above us, no-see-ums buzzed at our faces, and sweat was already running down my neck. A wiry middle-aged man appeared in a narrow clearing and motioned for us to follow him. The man in question was Keith Ashley, professor of archaeology at the University of North …

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