LaVilla

BEFORE THE MUSIC DIED: LaVilla – ”The Great Black Way”

“West Ashley Street,” sang the in 1927, was the only place you could “ever lose these awful Jacksonville Blues.” That same year,  recorded a mysterious ragtime blues guitarist named playing “Ashley Street Blues,” with singing, “I’m a heartbroken woman with the Ashley Street Blues.”  recorded another version of “Jacksonville Blues” in 1928. She was “red hot” in Atlanta, she sang, “But the man I love lives down in Jacksonville.” West Ashley was the central thoroughfare for , a mostly black town after the , a slave plantation earlier in the 19th century, and during Jacksonville’s brutal Jim Crow years, one …

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Public Magnet School LaVilla School of the Arts Repulses Mediocrity

honors its location on hallowed ground once filled with musicians, artists, and countless performance venues hosting the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and so many others. Their middle school students transform the significance of this space into the inspiration for their own dreams, artistic and academic. Serving a diverse population of 1100 students from all over the city, LaVilla offers 9 arts areas in addition to excellent instruction in core academic areas of study. LaVilla has always been an “A” school since opening its doors in 2000. They have presented student performances all over the world and hosted world …

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Home of Jacksonville’s Unique Meeting and Event Venue – 927 Events

is one of Jacksonville’s most distinctive meeting and event venues. The two-floor venue features many custom details that any guest will appreciate. The exposed brick walls and loft-style windows are accented with hardwood flooring and custom tile designs. Both floors of this historic building feature unique décor including antiques, one-of-a-kind sculptures, custom motorcycles and other unusual memorabilia. Originally a feed store and warehouse when it opened 100 years ago, all the floors have been refinished, the original brick walls have been restored and 21st-century plumbing and electrical service has been installed. Many of the current fixtures in 927 were salvaged …

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All Tracks Lead To THE PRIME OSBORN CONVENTION CENTER

prime osborn train terminal, jacksonville, fl

The Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center is a unique venue that offers unconventional beauty in a setting of grand, historic architecture. The building is the only southern railroad station that has been converted into a state-of-the-art convention center. With 265,000 square feet of space, the is large enough and versatile enough to accommodate gatherings of virtually any size. Many rail passengers used to make tracks through Jacksonville via the . Modeled after New York’s , Jacksonville Terminal actually ranked as the South’s largest station when completed in 1919. The facility hummed with activity during the Florida Land Boom of …

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Ever Wonder What Goes On Behind This Door on Forsyth Street? Sally Corporation

“Nothing is as frightening as your imagination suggests it may be.” That’s how designer describes , an attraction that just opened at Gröna Lund, a historic seaside amusement park in Stockholm, Sweden. Implementing state-of-the-art technology to elicit visceral emotional responses — fright and delight — is the heart of what Sally does. Established in 1977, Sally Corporation bills itself as “The Great American Dark Ride Company.” From their first two sales for attractions close to home, Kennedy Space Center and St. Augustine’s Old Wooden School House, Sally Corporation today counts products in over 20 different nations around the world. They …

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Viva LaVilla: It’s Ours for the Taking

LaVilla has an incredibly rich and interesting history, and there are many who are passionate about sharing that and making the neighborhood everything it could once again be. One of those individuals is , the CEO of , a custom sign fabrication company with a prominent list of national clients. Steve is “obsessed with the neighborhood and its history” and has put his money where his mouth is, purchasing property that he envisions being a multistory mix of art, retail, dining and residential spaces. He wants it to be an incubator of sorts for young businesses that share a vision …

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Mothering Eartha: The Gift of Loving from the Clara White Mission’s 111 Years

In 1993, the City of Jacksonville had the Clara White Mission in its crosshairs. Mayor Ed Austin’s River City Renaissance plan sought to demolish the Clara White Mission along with the nearly 50 square blocks of  it bulldozed, but a young leader named Ju’Coby Pittman, the Mission’s fourth president, got in the way. Today, the , located at 613 West Ashley Street in the heart of LaVilla, is 111 years old. Its founder, , ran the Mission for 70 years. Along the way, people compared her to Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Jane Addams and Jesus. She wasn’t quite five feet tall, …

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A Place of Creative Marvels – The Whetstonian

The first time I met Walter Whetstone, he invited me into his home and told me to look around, while he sat in a chair on the sidewalk and watched traffic. Though it was the middle of summer and unbearably hot, Walter wore a suit and tie. I’d wondered countless times what this strange block in Northern  could possibly be. From a balcony hung mannequin arms, and the innards of a piano adorned a brick wall. An adjacent building bore barber poles and brightly colored masks, while tall tin sheets emblazoned with quotes from famous architects rose in the yard that …

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The Glitz of the Ritz Theatre and Museum in LaVilla

The Ritz Theatre and Museum has a rich history full of amazing stories, but it wasn’t always the Ritz we know today. Back in 1929, The Ritz was exclusively a movie theatre where people came to watch their favorite movies and Saturday cartoons. I was able to sit down and interview the Ritz’s marketing director and host of amateur night, . He told me, “The in 1929 was the Harlem of the South, the heart of . In 1929, The Ritz Theatre was exclusively one of the few predominantly black movie theatres in the south.” He then spoke about how, …

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THEATRE: RED MOON THEATRE FESTIVAL REVIEW “OUR TOWN”

            The made its North Florida debut February 27 to March 1 2015, at the in downtown Jacksonville. This brand new festival, which hopes to grow into an annual event, was the collaboration of Jacksonville playwright and the Ritz Theatre.             A full stage production of ’s Pulitzer Prize winning ground breaking play, “”, was an excellent choice to launch this new adventure in theatre. Wilder also won a Pulitzer for his “” (1942), and wrote the “” in 1954. The latter was to be transformed into one of the most popular musicals of all time, “”.             I attended …

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