Jacksonville, Florida

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Jacksonville, Florida
Consolidated city–county
City of Jacksonville
Top, left to right: Downtown Jacksonville, Riverplace Tower, statue in Memorial Park, Jacksonville Skyway, Florida Theatre, Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, Hemming Park
Flag of Jacksonville, Florida
Flag
Official seal of Jacksonville, Florida
Seal
Nickname(s): "Jax", "The River City", "J-ville", "The Bold New City of the South"
Motto: Where Florida Begins
Location in Duval County and the state of Florida
Location in Duval County and the state of Florida
Jacksonville is located in Florida
Jacksonville
Jacksonville
Jacksonville is located in the US
Jacksonville
Jacksonville
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 30°20′13″N 81°39′41″W / 30.33694°N 81.66139°W / 30.33694; -81.66139Coordinates: 30°20′13″N 81°39′41″W / 30.33694°N 81.66139°W / 30.33694; -81.66139[1]
Country United States
State Florida
County Duval
Founded 1791
Incorporated 1832
Named for Andrew Jackson
Government
 • Type Strong Mayor–Council
 • Body Jacksonville City Council
 • Mayor Lenny Curry (R)
Area[2]
 • Total 874.6 sq mi (2,265 km2)
 • Land 747.0 sq mi (1,935 km2)
 • Water 127.6 sq mi (330 km2)
Elevation[1] 16 ft (5 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 821,784
 • Estimate (2015)[4] 868,031
 • Rank US: 12th
 • Density 1,142/sq mi (441/km2)
 • Urban 1,065,219 (US: 40th)
 • Metro 1,449,481 (US: 41st)
 • CSA 1,573,606 (US: 34th)
Demonym(s) Jacksonvillian, Jaxson[5][6]
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code(s) 32099, 32201–32212, 32214–32241, 32244–32247, 32250, 32254–32260, 32266, 32267, 32277, 32290
Area code(s) 904
FIPS code 12-35000
GNIS feature ID 0295003[2]
Interstates I-10.svg I-95.svg
Interstate Spurs I-295.svg
U.S. Routes US 1.svg US 17.svg US 23.svg US 90.svg US 301.svg
Major State Routes Florida 9.svg Florida 10.svg Florida 13.svg Florida 15.svg Florida 21.svg Florida 23.svg Florida A1A.svg Florida 202.svg
Waterways St. Johns River, Fall Creek, Arlington River
Airports Jacksonville International Airport
Website City of Jacksonville

Jacksonville is a seaport city and the seat of Duval County, Florida, United States. With an estimated 868,031 residents as of 2015, Jacksonville is the most populous city in both the state of Florida[7] and the southeastern United States.[8] As of 2015, it is estimated to be the 12th most populous city in the United States and largest city by area in the contiguous United States.[9] The Jacksonville metropolitan area has a population of 1,573,606 and is the 40th largest in the United States and fourth largest in the state of Florida. [10] The city is situated on the banks of the St. Johns River, in the First Coast region of North Florida, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the Georgia state line and 340 miles (550 km) north of Miami.

Prior to European settlement the Jacksonville area was inhabited by Native American people known as the Timucua. In 1564, the French established the short-lived colony of Fort Caroline at the mouth of the St. Johns River, becoming one of the earliest European settlements in the continental United States. In 1822, a year after the United States gained Florida from Spain, the town of Jacksonville was platted along the St. Johns River. Established at a narrow point in the river known as Wacca Pilatka to the Seminole and the Cow Ford to the British, the enduring name derives from the first military governor of the Florida Territory and seventh President of the United States, Andrew Jackson.

Jacksonville is the cultural, commercial and financial center of North Florida. A major military and civilian deep-water port, the city's riverine location supports two United States Navy bases and the Port of Jacksonville, Florida's third largest seaport.[11] The two US Navy bases, Blount Island Command and the nearby Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, form the third largest military presence in the United States.[12] Jacksonville serves as the headquarters of various banking, insurance, healthcare, logistics, and other institutions such as CSX Corporation, Fidelity National Financial, FIS, Landstar System, Ameris Bancorp, Atlantic Coast Financial, Black Knight Financial Services, EverBank, Rayonier Advanced Materials, Regency Centers, Stein Mart, Web.com, Fanatics, Gate Petroleum, Haskell Company, Interline Brands, Sally Corporation, and Southeastern Grocers. Jacksonville is also home to several colleges and universities, most notably the University of North Florida, located southeast of downtown.

History[edit]

Historical affiliations

Kingdom of France 1562–1565
Spanish Empire 1565–1763
Great Britain 1763–1783
Spanish Empire 1783-1821
 United States 1821-1861
Confederate States of America 1861-1862
 United States 1862-Present

Early history[edit]

The area of the modern city of Jacksonville has been inhabited for thousands of years. On Black Hammock Island in the national Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, a University of North Florida team discovered some of the oldest remnants of pottery in the United States, dating to 2500 BC.[13] In the 16th century, the beginning of the historical era, the region was inhabited by the Mocama, a coastal subgroup of the Timucua people. At the time of contact with Europeans, all Mocama villages in present-day Jacksonville were part of the powerful chiefdom known as the Saturiwa, centered around the mouth of the St. Johns River.[14] One early map shows a village called Ossachite at the site of what is now downtown Jacksonville; this may be the earliest recorded name for that area.[15]

Replica of Jean Ribault's column claiming Florida for France in 1562.

French Huguenot explorer Jean Ribault charted the St. Johns River in 1562 calling it the River of May because he discovered it in May. Ribault erected a stone column near present-day Jacksonville claiming the newly discovered land for France.[16] In 1564, René Goulaine de Laudonnière established the first European settlement, Fort Caroline, on the St. Johns near the main village of the Saturiwa. Philip II of Spain ordered Pedro Menéndez de Avilés to protect the interest of Spain by attacking the French presence at Fort Caroline. On September 20, 1565, a Spanish force from the nearby Spanish settlement of St. Augustine attacked Fort Caroline, and killed nearly all the French soldiers defending it.[17] The Spanish renamed the fort San Mateo, and following the ejection of the French, St. Augustine's position as the most important settlement in Florida was solidified. The location of Fort Caroline is subject to debate but a reconstruction of the fort was established on the St. Johns River in 1964.[18]

Spain ceded Florida to the British in 1763 after the French and Indian War, and the British soon constructed the King's Road connecting St. Augustine to Georgia. The road crossed the St. Johns River at a narrow point, which the Seminole called Wacca Pilatka and the British called the Cow Ford; these names ostensibly reflect the fact that cattle were brought across the river there.[19][20][21] The British introduced the cultivation of sugar cane, indigo and fruits as well the export of lumber. As a result, the northeastern Florida area prospered economically more than it had under the Spanish.[22] Britain ceded control of the territory back to Spain in 1783, after its defeat in the American Revolutionary War, and the settlement at the Cow Ford continued to grow. After Spain ceded the Florida Territory to the United States in 1821, American settlers on the north side of the Cow Ford decided to plan a town, laying out the streets and plats. They soon named the town Jacksonville, after Andrew Jackson. Led by Isaiah D. Hart, residents wrote a charter for a town government, which was approved by the Florida Legislative Council on February 9, 1832.

Civil War and the Gilded Age[edit]

Union Army guard house on Bay Street in December 1864.

During the American Civil War, Jacksonville was a key supply point for hogs and cattle being shipped from Florida to aid the Confederate cause. The city was blockaded by Union forces, who gained control of the nearby Fort Clinch. Though no battles were fought in Jacksonville proper, the city changed hands several times between Union and Confederate forces. The Skirmish of the Brick Church in 1862 just outside Jacksonville proper resulted in the first Confederate victory in Florida.[23] However, Union forces captured a Confederate position at the Battle of St. Johns Bluff leading to the Union occupation of Jacksonville in 1862. In February 1864 Union forces left Jacksonville and confronted a Confederate Army at the Battle of Olustee resulting in a Confederate victory. Union forces then retreated to Jacksonville and held the city for the remainder of the war. In March 1864 a Confederate cavalry confronted a Union expedition resulting in the Battle of Cedar Creek. Warfare and the long occupation left the city disrupted after the war.[24]

During Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, Jacksonville and nearby St. Augustine became popular winter resorts for the rich and famous. Visitors arrived by steamboat and later by railroad. President Grover Cleveland attended the Sub-Tropical Exposition in the city on February 22, 1888 during his trip to Florida.[25] This highlighted the visibility of the state as a worthy place for tourism. The city's tourism, however, was dealt major blows in the late 19th century by yellow fever outbreaks. In addition, extension of the Florida East Coast Railway further south drew visitors to other areas. From 1893 to 1938 Jacksonville was the site of the Florida Old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Home with a nearby cemetery.[26]

Great Fire of 1901[edit]

Ruins of the courthouse and armory from the Great Fire of 1901.

On May 3, 1901, downtown Jacksonville was ravaged by a fire that started as a kitchen fire. Spanish moss at a nearby mattress factory was quickly engulfed in flames and enabled the fire to spread rapidly. In just eight hours, it swept through 146 city blocks, destroyed over 2,000 buildings, left about 10,000 homeless and killed 7 residents. The Confederate Monument in Hemming Park was one of the only landmarks to survive the fire. Governor Jennings declare martial law and sent the state militia to maintain order. On May 17 municipal authority resumed in Jacksonville.[27] It is said the glow from the flames could be seen in Savannah, Georgia, and the smoke plumes seen in Raleigh, North Carolina. Known as the "Great Fire of 1901", it was one of the worst disasters in Florida history and the largest urban fire in the southeastern United States. Architect Henry John Klutho was a primary figure in the reconstruction of the city. The first multi-story structure built by Klutho was the Dyal-Upchurch Building in 1902.[28][29] The St. James Building, built on the previous site of the St. James Hotel that burned down, was built in 1912 as Klutho's crowning achievement.[30]

Modern Jacksonville[edit]

Downtown Jacksonville in 1914

In the 1910s, New York–based filmmakers were attracted to Jacksonville's warm climate, exotic locations, excellent rail access, and cheap labor. Over the course of the decade, more than 30 silent film studios were established, earning Jacksonville the title of "Winter Film Capital of the World". However, the emergence of Hollywood as a major film production center ended the city's film industry. One converted movie studio site, Norman Studios, remains in Arlington; It has been converted to the Jacksonville Silent Film Museum at Norman Studios.[31]

During this time, Jacksonville also became a banking and insurance center, with companies such as Barnett Bank, Atlantic National Bank, Florida National Bank, Prudential, Gulf Life, Afro-American Insurance, Independent Life and American Heritage Life thriving in the business district. The U.S. Navy also became a major employer and economic force during the 1940s, with the construction of three naval bases in the city.

Jacksonville, like most large cities in the United States, suffered from negative effects of rapid urban sprawl after World War II. The construction of highways led residents to move to newer housing in the suburbs. After World War II, the government of the city of Jacksonville began to increase spending to fund new public building projects in the boom that occurred after the war. Mayor W. Haydon Burns' Jacksonville Story resulted in the construction of a new city hall, civic auditorium, public library and other projects that created a dynamic sense of civic pride. However, the development of suburbs and a subsequent wave of middle class "white flight" left Jacksonville with a much poorer population than before. The city's most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic white,[32] declined from 75.8% in 1970 to 55.1% by 2010.[33]

Much of the city's tax base dissipated, leading to problems with funding education, sanitation, and traffic control within the city limits. In addition, residents in unincorporated suburbs had difficulty obtaining municipal services, such as sewage and building code enforcement. In 1958, a study recommended that the city of Jacksonville begin annexing outlying communities in order to create the needed tax base to improve services throughout the county. Voters outside the city limits rejected annexation plans in six referendums between 1960 and 1965.

News of Jacksonville's consolidation from The Florida Times-Union.

On December 29, 1963 the Hotel Roosevelt fire killed 22 people making it the highest one-day death toll in Jacksonville.[34] One year later on September 10, 1964 Hurricane Dora made landfall near St. Augustine causing major damage to buildings in North Florida. Hurricane Dora was the first hurricane to make a direct hit to North Florida.[35] In the mid-1960s, corruption scandals began to arise among many of the city's officials, who were mainly elected through the traditional old boy network. After a grand jury was convened to investigate, 11 officials were indicted and more were forced to resign. Jacksonville Consolidation, led by J. J. Daniel and Claude Yates, began to win more support during this period, from both inner city blacks, who wanted more involvement in government, and whites in the suburbs, who wanted more services and more control over the central city. In 1964 all 15 of Duval County's public high schools lost their accreditation. This added momentum to proposals for government reform. Lower taxes, increased economic development, unification of the community, better public spending and effective administration by a more central authority were all cited as reasons for a new consolidated government.

When a consolidation referendum was held in 1967, voters approved the plan. On October 1, 1968, the governments merged to create the Consolidated City of Jacksonville. Fire, police, health & welfare, recreation, public works, and housing & urban development were all combined under the new government. In honor of the occasion, then-Mayor Hans Tanzler posed with actress Lee Meredith behind a sign marking the new border of the "Bold New City of the South" at Florida 13 and Julington Creek.[36] The consolidation created a 900 square mile entity.

The Better Jacksonville Plan, promoted as a blueprint for Jacksonville's future and approved by Jacksonville voters in 2000, authorized a half-penny sales tax. This would generate most of the revenue required for the $2.25 billion package of major projects that included road & infrastructure improvements, environmental preservation, targeted economic development and new or improved public facilities.[37]

The NFL awarded Jacksonville an NFL franchise called the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 30, 1993.[38] In 2005, Jacksonville hosted Super Bowl XXXIX that was seen by an estimated 86 million viewers.[39]

In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew caused major flooding and damage to Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach, the first such damage in the area since 2004.[40]

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 874.3 square miles (2,264 km2), making Jacksonville the largest city in land area in the contiguous United States; of this, 86.66% (757.7 sq mi or 1,962 km2) is land and ; 13.34% (116.7 sq mi or 302 km2) is water. Jacksonville surrounds the town of Baldwin. Nassau County lies to the north, Baker County lies to the west, and Clay and St. Johns County lie to the south; the Atlantic Ocean lies to the east, along with the Jacksonville Beaches. The St. Johns River divides the city. The Trout River, a major tributary of the St. Johns River, is located entirely within Jacksonville.

The state of Florida, including Jacksonville, is a huge flat plateau with a high water table, and surface lakes are very shallow.[41] The United States Geological Survey states that the highest point in Jacksonville is only 40 feet (12.2 meters) above sea level, making the area susceptible to flooding and storm surge.[42] Soil composition is primarily sand and clay rather than limestone, so very few sinkholes develop; however deep, large diameter sinkholes do occur.[43]

Cityscape[edit]

Architecture[edit]

The architecture of Jacksonville varies in style and principle, and is not defined by any one characteristic. Few structures in the city center predate the Great Fire of 1901.[44] The city is home to one of the largest collections of Prairie School style buildings outside of the Midwest.[45] following the Great Fire of 1901, Henry John Klutho would come to influence generations of local designers with his works by both the Chicago School, championed by Louis Sullivan, and the Prairie School of architecture, popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright. Jacksonville is also home to a notable collection of Mid-Century modern architecture.[46] Local architects Robert C. Broward, Taylor Hardwick, and William Morgan adapted a range design principles, including International style, Brutalism, Futurism and Organicism, all applied with an American interpretation generally referred to today as Mid-century modern design.[46] The architecture firms of Reynolds, Smith & Hills (RS&H)[47] and Kemp, Bunch & Jackson (KBJ) have also contributed a number of important works to the city's modern architectural movement.

Jacksonville's early predominant position as a regional center of business left an indelibly mark on the city's skyline. Many of the earliest skyscrapers in the state were constructed in Jacksonville, dating as far back as 1902.,[48] The city last held the state height record from 1974 to 1981.[49] The tallest building in Downtown Jacksonville's skyline is the Bank of America Tower, constructed in 1990 as the Barnett Center. It has a height of 617 ft (188 m) and includes 42 floors.[50][51] Other notable structures include the 37-story Wells Fargo Center (with its distinctive flared base making it the defining building in the Jacksonville skyline),[52][53] originally built in 1972-74 by the Independent Life and Accident Insurance Company, and the 28 floor Riverplace Tower which, when completed in 1967, was the tallest precast, post-tensioned concrete structure in the world.[54][55]

Neighborhoods[edit]

There are more than 500 neighborhoods within Jacksonville's vast area.[56] These include Downtown Jacksonville and its surrounding neighborhoods, including LaVilla, Brooklyn, Riverside and Avondale, Springfield, Eastside, and San Marco.[57] Additionally, greater Jacksonville is traditionally divided into several amorphous areas, comprising large parts of Duval County. These are Northside, Westside, Southside, and Arlington, as well as the Jacksonville Beaches.[58]

There are four municipalities that have retained their own governments since consolidation; these are Baldwin and the three Jacksonville Beaches towns of Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Jacksonville Beach.[59] Four of Jacksonville's neighborhoods, Avondale, Ortega, Springfield, and Riverside, have been identified as U.S. historic districts and are in the National Register of Historic Places.[60]

Climate[edit]

On October 7, 2016, Hurricane Matthew threatened the First Coast region.
Jacksonville
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
3.3
 
 
65
41
 
 
3.2
 
 
68
45
 
 
4
 
 
74
50
 
 
2.6
 
 
79
55
 
 
2.5
 
 
86
63
 
 
6.5
 
 
90
70
 
 
6.6
 
 
92
73
 
 
6.8
 
 
91
73
 
 
8.2
 
 
87
70
 
 
3.9
 
 
80
61
 
 
2.1
 
 
74
51
 
 
2.8
 
 
67
44
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches

Like much of the south Atlantic region of the United States, Jacksonville has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with mild weather during winters and hot and humid weather during summers. Seasonal rainfall is concentrated in the warmest months from May through September, while the driest months are from November through April. Rainfall averages around 52 inches (1,300 mm) a year.[61] Due to Jacksonville's low latitude and coastal location, the city sees very little cold weather, and winters are typically mild and sunny. Summer thunderstorms with torrential but brief downpours are common.

Mean monthly temperatures range from around 53 °F (12 °C) in January to 82 °F (28 °C) in July. High temperatures average 64 to 92 °F (18 to 33 °C) throughout the year.[62] High heat indices are common for the summer months in the area, with indices above 110 °F (43.3 °C) possible. The highest temperature recorded was 104 °F (40 °C) on July 11, 1879 and July 28, 1872.[63] It is common for thunderstorms to erupt during a typical summer afternoon. These are caused by the rapid heating of the land relative to the water, combined with extremely high humidity.

During winter, there can be hard freezes during the night. Such cold weather is usually short lived, as the city averages only 10 to 15 nights at or below freezing and around 5 days where the high does not rise above 50 °F (10 °C).[64] The coldest temperature recorded at Jacksonville International Airport was 7 °F (−14 °C) on January 21, 1985. Jacksonville has recorded three days with measurable snow since 1911, most recently a one-inch snowfall in December 1989[65] and flurries in December 2010.[66]

Jacksonville has suffered less damage from hurricanes than most other east coast cities, although the threat does exist for a direct hit by a major hurricane. The city has only received one direct hit from a hurricane since 1871; however, Jacksonville has experienced hurricane or near-hurricane conditions more than a dozen times due to storms crossing the state from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, or passing to the north or south in the Atlantic and brushing past the area.[67] The strongest effect on Jacksonville was from Hurricane Dora in 1964, the only recorded storm to hit the First Coast with sustained hurricane-force winds. The eye crossed St. Augustine with winds that had just barely diminished to 110 mph (180 km/h), making it a strong Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Jacksonville also suffered damage from 2008's Tropical Storm Fay which crisscrossed the state, bringing parts of Jacksonville under darkness for four days. Similarly, four years prior to this, Jacksonville was inundated by Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Jeanne, which made landfall south of the area. These tropical cyclones were the costliest indirect hits to Jacksonville. Hurricane Floyd in 1999 caused damage mainly to Jacksonville Beach. During Floyd, the Jacksonville Beach pier was severely damaged, and later demolished. The rebuilt pier was later damaged by Fay, but not destroyed. Tropical Storm Bonnie would cause minor damage in 2004, spawning a minor tornado in the process.[68] On May 28, 2012, Jacksonville was hit by Tropical Storm Beryl, packing winds up to 70 miles per hour (113 km/h) which made landfall near Jacksonville Beach.

Parks[edit]

The City of Jacksonville has a unique park system, with various lands operated by the National Park Service, Florida State Parks and the City of Jacksonville Department of Parks and Recreation. Jacksonville operates the largest urban park system in the United States, providing facilities and services at more than 337 locations on more than 80,000 acres (320 km2) located throughout the city.[72] Jacksonville enjoys natural beauty from the St. Johns River and Atlantic Ocean. Many parks provide access for people to boat, swim, fish, sail, jetski, surf and waterski. Several parks around the city have received international recognition.

National parks[edit]

Main article: National Park Service

The Timucuan Preserve is a U.S. National Preserve comprising over 46,000 acres (19,000 ha) of wetlands and waterways. It includes natural and historic areas such as the Fort Caroline National Memorial and the Kingsley Plantation, the oldest standing plantation in the state.