Tag Archives: LaVilla

Scholastics Award entry, Skeletons in the Closet

Scholastics Awards Awake Joy in Student Creative Imagination

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.” – Albert Einstein Imagination. Say it out loud. Imagination! Even just the phonetic makeup of the word itself is somewhat magical sounding, isn’t it? Einstein, who is known for his findings in math and science and physics and all things brainy, valued the power of imagination above the security of knowledge. He said that he never actually thought in logical symbols or mathematical equations, but in images, feelings, and even musical architectures. He has been …

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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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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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NEIGHBORHOOD: Hemming Park

Laid out in the early 1820s, a public square was created by , considered to be the founder of Jacksonville. After his death, his heirs sold the piece of land to the city for $10, maintaining the vision of this square, originally called , to be a public square. The Civil War left Jacksonville decimated, but those northern troops returned as tourists. By 1869, Jacksonville had become a hot destination for visitors. Great hotels were built to accommodate, and Jacksonville had over a dozen; the biggest and fanciest two faced onto  (another one of Hemming Park’s former names). “You could …

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JAX NEIGHBORHOODS – Murray Hill

Jax Neighborhoods From to , to , the  to the Southside, each one of Jacksonville’s over 500 neighborhoods has its own distinct character, history, and amenities. In the upcoming issues of , our team of writers and photographers will take you along on a journey of discovery, introducing you to stories, residents, and merchants in our myriad community pockets, as well as highlighting the many public facilities at our disposal. Did you know there are 27 parks in , or that the largest neighborhood land mass is in the Northside? Let’s learn what’s in our own backyards. You just might …

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october, 2021

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