|City of Jacksonville|
|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
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|Named for||Andrew Jackson|
|• Type||Strong Mayor–Council|
|• Body||Jacksonville City Council|
|• Mayor||Lenny Curry (R)|
|• Total||874.6 sq mi (2,265 km2)|
|• Land||747.0 sq mi (1,935 km2)|
|• Water||127.6 sq mi (330 km2)|
|Elevation||16 ft (5 m)|
|• Estimate (2014)||853,382|
|• Rank||US: 13th|
|• Density||1,100.1/sq mi (424.8/km2)|
|• Urban||1,065,219 (US: 40th)|
|• Metro||1,394,624 (US: 40th)|
|• CSA||1,502,515 (US: 34th)|
|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|
|GNIS feature ID||0295003|
|Major State Routes|
|Waterways||St. Johns River, Fall Creek, Arlington River|
|Website||City of Jacksonville|
Jacksonville is the largest city by population in the U.S. state of Florida, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968. Consolidation gave Jacksonville its great size and placed most of its metropolitan population within the city limits; with an estimated population of 853,382 in 2014, it is the most populous city proper in Florida and the Southeast, and the 12th most populous in the United States. Jacksonville is the principal city in the Jacksonville metropolitan area, with a population of 1,345,596 in 2010.
Jacksonville is in the First Coast region of northeast Florida and is centered on the banks of the St. Johns River, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the Georgia state line and about 340 miles (550 km) north of Miami. The Jacksonville Beaches communities are along the adjacent Atlantic coast. The area was originally inhabited by the Timucua people, and in 1564 was the site of the French colony of Fort Caroline, one of the earliest European settlements in what is now the continental United States. Under British rule, settlement grew at the narrow point in the river where cattle crossed, known as Wacca Pilatka to the Seminole and the Cow Ford to the British. A platted town was established there in 1822, a year after the United States gained Florida from Spain; it was named after Andrew Jackson, the first military governor of the Florida Territory and seventh President of the United States.
Harbor improvements since the late 19th century have made Jacksonville a major military and civilian deep-water port. Its riverine location facilitates two United States Navy bases and the Port of Jacksonville, Florida's third largest seaport. 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. Significant factors in the local economy include services such as banking, insurance, healthcare and logistics. As with much of Florida, tourism is also important to the Jacksonville area, particularly tourism related to golf. People from Jacksonville may be called "Jacksonvillians" or "Jaxsons" (also spelled "Jaxons").
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Culture
- 6 Sports
- 7 Parks and gardens
- 8 Law and government
- 9 Education
- 10 Media
- 11 Infrastructure
- 12 Notable people
- 13 Sister cities
- 14 See also
- 15 Notes
- 16 References
- 17 Further reading
- 18 External links
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. 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. 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.
European explorers first arrived in the area 1562, when French Huguenot explorer Jean Ribault charted the St. Johns River. In 1564, René Goulaine de Laudonnière established the first European settlement, Fort Caroline, on the St. Johns near the main village of the Saturiwa. 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. 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.
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 or Cowford; these names ostensibly reflect the fact that cattle were brought across the river there. 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. 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
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. In 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. Warfare and the long occupation left the city disrupted after the war.
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. 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.
The Great Fire of 1901
On May 3, 1901, downtown Jacksonville was ravaged by a fire that started at a fiber factory in LaVilla. 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. 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. It is said the glow from the flames could be seen in Savannah, Georgia, and the smoke plumes seen in Raleigh, North Carolina. Architect Henry John Klutho was a primary figure in the reconstruction of the city.
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.
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, declined from 75.8% in 1970 to 55.1% by 2010.
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.
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. 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.
Jacksonville is located at (30.3194, −81.6600).
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 completely encircles 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. 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. Soil composition is primarily sand and clay rather than limestone, so very few sinkholes develop; however deep, large diameter sinkholes do occur.
There are more than 500 neighborhoods within Jacksonville's vast area. These include Downtown Jacksonville and its surrounding neighborhoods, including LaVilla, Brooklyn, Riverside and Avondale, Springfield, Eastside, and San Marco. 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.
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. 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.
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. Other notable structures include the 37-story Wells Fargo Center (with its distinctive flared base making it the defining building in the Jacksonville skyline), 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.
feet / meters
|1||Bank of America Tower||50 North Laura Street||617 / 188||42||1990|
|2||Wells Fargo Center||1 Independent Drive||535 / 163||37||1974|
|3||EverBank Center||301 West Bay Street||447 / 136||32||1983|
|4||The Peninsula at St. Johns Center||1401 Riverplace Boulevard||437 / 133||36||2008|
|5||Riverplace Tower||1301 Riverplace Boulevard||432 / 132||28||1967|
Bank of America (1990)
Wells Fargo Center (1974)
EverBank Center (1983)
Riverplace Tower (1967)
The Carling (1925)
121 Atlantic Place (1909)
Jacksonville is interesting from an architectural view with fourteen buildings on the document, "Florida Architecture: 100 places, 100 years", compiled by the Florida chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
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. Due to Jacksonville's low latitude and coastal location, the city sees very little cold weather, and winters are typically mild and sunny. Summers can be hot and wet, and summer thunderstorms with torrential but brief downpours are common.
Mean monthly temperatures range from around 53 F in January to 82 F in July. High temperatures average 64 to 92 °F (18 to 33 °C) throughout the year. 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. 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). 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.
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. 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. 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.
Rainfall averages around 52 inches (1,300 mm) a year, with the wettest months being June through September.
|Climate data for Jacksonville, Florida (Jacksonville Int'l), 1981−2010 normals, extremes 1871−present[a]|
|Record high °F (°C)||85
|Average high °F (°C)||64.8
|Average low °F (°C)||41.4
|Record low °F (°C)||7
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.30
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||8.3||7.6||8.2||5.7||6.4||13.9||13.8||15.0||12.2||8.2||6.8||7.4||113.5|
|Average relative humidity (%)||74.9||72.2||71.2||69.5||72.7||76.8||77.7||80.3||80.8||78.6||77.7||76.7||75.8|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||189.4||193.8||257.9||286.4||303.9||283.6||282.0||262.4||228.2||214.6||193.9||183.6||2,879.7|
|Percent possible sunshine||59||62||69||74||72||67||65||64||62||61||61||58||65|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961−1990)|
|U.S. Decennial Census
|Black or African American||30.7%||29.0%||25.2%||22.3%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||7.7%||4.2%||2.6%||1.3%|
Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, and the twelfth most populous city in the United States. As of 2010, there were 821,784 people and 366,273 households in the city. Jacksonville has the country's tenth-largest Arab population, with a total population of 5,751 according to the 2000 United States Census. Jacksonville has Florida's largest Filipino American community, with 25,033 in the metropolitan area as of the 2010 Census. Much of Jacksonville's Filipino community served in or has ties to the United States Navy. Jacksonville also has a large and growing Puerto Rican population.
As of 2010, there were 366,273 households out of which 11.8% were vacant. As of 2000, 33.9% of households had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 26.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.07. In the city, the population was spread out with 26.7% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.
In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $40,316, and the median income for a family was $47,243. Males had a median income of $32,547 versus $25,886 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,337. About 9.4% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.7% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2006–2008 American Community Survey, 88.1% of Jacksonville's population age five and over spoke only English at home while 5.2% of the population spoke Spanish at home. About 3.2% spoke other Indo-European languages at home. About 2.5% spoke an Asian language at home. The remaining 0.9% of the population spoke other languages at home.
As of 2000, speakers of English as a first language accounted for 90.60% of all residents, while those who spoke Spanish made up 4.13%, Tagalog 1.00%, French 0.47%, Arabic 0.44%, German 0.43%, Vietnamese at 0.31%, Russian was 0.21% and Italian made up 0.17% of the population.
|2010 Census||Jacksonville||Duval County||Florida|
|Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010||+11.7%||+11.0%||+17.6%|
|Population density||1,100.1/sq mi||1,133.9/sq mi||350.6/sq mi|
|White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic)||59.4%||60.9%||75.0%|
|(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian)||55.1%||56.6%||57.9%|
|Black or African-American||30.7%||29.5%||16.0%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||7.7%||7.6%||22.5%|
|Native American or Native Alaskan||0.4%||0.4%||0.4%|
|Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian||0.1%||0.1%||0.1%|
|Two or more races (Multiracial)||2.9%||2.9%||2.5%|
|Some Other Race||5.2%||3.9%||3.6%|
Jacksonville has a diverse religious population. The largest religious group is Protestant. According to the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA), in 2010 the Jacksonville metropolitan area had an estimated 365,267 Evangelical Protestants, 76,100 Mainline Protestants, and 56,769 Black Protestants, though figures for the latter were incomplete. There were around 1200 Protestant congregations in various denominations. Notable Protestant churches include Bethel Baptist Institutional Church and First Baptist Church, the city's oldest Baptist churches. The Episcopal Diocese of Florida has its see at St. John's Cathedral, the current building dating to 1906.
Jacksonville is part of the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine, which covers seventeen counties in North Florida. ARDA estimated 133,155 Catholics attending 25 parishes in the Jacksonville metropolitan area in 2010. One notable Catholic church in Jacksonville is the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, a minor basilica added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. There are also two Eastern Catholic parishes, one of the Syriac Catholic Church and one of the Maronite Church. According to ARDA, in 2010 there were 2520 Eastern Orthodox Christians representing four churches in the Eastern Orthodox communion, as well as congregations of Syriac Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Ethiopian Orthodox, and Coptic Orthodox Christians.
ARDA also estimated 14,886 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and 511 Unitarian Universalists in 2010. There were an estimated 8,581 Muslims attending seven mosques, the largest being the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida. The Jewish community, which numbered 6,028 in 2010, is largely centered in the neighborhood of Mandarin. There are five Orthodox, two Reform, two Conservative, and one Reconstructionist synagogues. ARDA also estimated 4,595 Hindus, 3,530 Buddhists and 650 Bahá'ís in the Jacksonville area in 2010.
For more details on this topic, see List of companies based in the Jacksonville area.
Jacksonville's location on the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean proved providential in the growth of the city and its industry. Jacksonville has the largest deepwater port in the South (as well as the second-largest port on the U.S. East coast) and a leading port in the U.S. for automobile imports, as well as the leading transportation and distribution hub in the state. However, the strength of the city's economy lies in its broad diversification. While the area once had many thriving dairies such as Gustafson's Farm and Skinner Dairy, this aspect of the economy has declined over time. The area's economy is balanced among distribution, financial services, biomedical technology, consumer goods, information services, manufacturing, insurance and other industries.
Jacksonville is a rail, air, and highway focal point and a busy port of entry, with Jacksonville International Airport, ship repair yards and extensive freight-handling facilities. Lumber, phosphate, paper, cigars and wood pulp are the principal exports; automobiles and coffee are among imports. The city's manufacturing base provides just 4.5% of local jobs, versus 8.5% nationally. According to Forbes in 2007, Jacksonville, Florida ranked 3rd in the top ten U.S. cities to relocate to find a job. Jacksonville was also the 10th fastest growing city in the U.S.
Jacksonville is home to many prominent corporations and organizations, including the headquarters of four Fortune 500 companies: CSX Corporation, Fidelity National Financial, Fidelity National Information Services and Southeastern Grocers. In addition to CSX, the Florida East Coast Railway as well as Swisher International Group and the large short line railroad holding company RailAmerica are also based in Jacksonville.
In 2008, Jacksonville had approximately 2.8 million visitors who stayed overnight, spending nearly $1 billion. Research Data Services of Tampa was commissioned to undertake the study, which quantified the importance of tourism. The total economic impact was $1.6 billion and supported nearly 43,000 jobs, 10% of the local workforce.
Cecil Commerce Center is located on the site of the former Naval Air Station Cecil Field which closed in 1999 following the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decision. Covering a total area of 22,939 acres (92.83 km2), it was the largest military base in the Jacksonville area. The parcel contains more than 3% of the total land area in Duval County (17,000 acres (69 km2)). The industrial and commercial-zoned center offers mid to large-size parcels for development and boasts excellent transportation and utility infrastructure as well as the third-longest runway in Florida.
To emphasize the city's transportation business and capabilities, the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce filed Jacksonville America's Logistics Center as a trademark on November 9, 2007. It was formally registered on August 4, 2009. Cornerstone began promoting the city as "Jacksonville: America's Logistics Center" in 2009. Signs were added to the existing city limit markers on Interstate 95.
Jacksonville is home to multiple military facilities, and with Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay nearby gives Jacksonville the third largest naval presence in the country. Only Norfolk, Virginia and San Diego, California are bigger. The military is by far the largest employer in Jacksonville and its total economic impact is approximately $6.1 billion annually.
Naval Air Station Jacksonville is a military airport located 4 miles (6.4 km) south of the central business district. Approximately 23,000 civilian and active-duty personnel are employed on the base. There are 35 operational units/squadrons assigned there and support facilities include an airfield for pilot training, a maintenance depot capable of virtually any task, from changing a tire to intricate micro-electronics or total engine disassembly. Also on-site is a Naval Hospital, a Fleet Industrial Supply Center, a Navy Family Service Center, and recreational facilities.
Naval Station Mayport is a Navy Ship Base that is the third largest fleet concentration area in the United States. Mayport's operational composition is unique, with a busy harbor capable of accommodating 34 ships and an 8,000-foot (2,400 m) runway capable of handling any aircraft used by the Department of Defense. Until 2007, it was home to the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy, which locals called "Big John". In January 2009, the Navy committed to stationing a nuclear-powered carrier at Mayport when the official Record of Decision was signed. The port will require approximately $500 million in facility enhancements to support the larger vessel, which will take several years to complete. The carrier is projected to arrive in 2019, however an amphibious group is coming sooner.
Blount Island Command is a Marine Corps Logistics Base whose mission is to support the Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) which provides for rapid deployment of personnel to link up with prepositioned equipment and supplies embarked aboard forward deployed Maritime Prepositioning Ships (MPS).
Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville is located on the St. Johns River next to Naval Station Mayport. Sector Jacksonville controls operations from Kings Bay, GA south to Cape Canaveral, FL. The CGC Kingfisher, CGC Maria Bray, and CGC Hammer are stationed at the Sector. Station Mayport is co-located with Sector Jacksonville and includes 25-foot (7.6 m) Response Boats, and 47-foot (14 m) Motor Life Boats.
The Port of Jacksonville, a seaport on the St. Johns River, is a large component of the local economy. Approximately 50,000 jobs in Northeast Florida are related to port activity and the port has an economic impact of $2.7 billion in Northeast Florida:
The Florida Theatre, opened in 1927, is located in downtown Jacksonville and is one of only four remaining high-style movie palaces built in Florida during the Mediterranean Revival architectural boom of the 1920s.
Amity Turkish Cultural Center was established in 2006 as one of the major Dialogue and Cultural organizations in Jacksonville. Theatre Jacksonville was organized in 1919 as the Little Theatre and is one of the oldest continually producing community theatres in the United States.
Sun-Ray Cinema, formerly the 5 Points Theatre and Riverside Theatre, opened in 1927. It was the first theater equipped to show talking pictures in Florida and the third nationally. It is located in the Five Points section of town and was renamed the Five Points Theater in 1949.
The Ritz Theatre, opened in 1929, is located in the LaVilla neighborhood of the northern part of Jacksonville's downtown. The Jacksonville music scene was active in the 1930s in LaVilla, which was known as “Harlem of the South”. Black musicians from across the country visited Jacksonville to play standing room only performances at the Ritz Theatre and the Knights of Pythias Hall. Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong were a few of the legendary performers who appeared. After his mother died when he was 15, Ray Charles lived with friends of his mother while he played piano at the Ritz for a year, before moving on to fame and fortune. The Ritz Theatre was rebuilt and opened in October 1999.
The Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts consists of three distinct halls: the Jim & Jan Moran Theater, a venue for touring Broadway shows; the Jacoby Symphony Hall, home of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra; and the Terry Theater, intended for small shows and recitals. The building was originally erected as the Civic Auditorium in 1962 and underwent a major renovation and construction in 1996.
The Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, which opened in 2003, is a 16,000-seat performance venue that attracts national entertainment, sporting events and also houses the Jacksonville Sports Hall of Fame. It replaced the outdated Jacksonville Coliseum that was built in 1960 and demolished on June 26, 2003.
The Alhambra Dinner Theatre, located on the Southside near the University of North Florida, has offered professional productions that frequently starred well-known actors since 1967. There are also a number of popular community theatres such as Players by the Sea at Jacksonville Beach. Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre (ABET), and Orange Park Community Theatre.
In 1999, Stage Aurora Theatrical Company, Inc. was established in collaboration at Florida State College at Jacksonville (North Campus). Their goal is to produce theatre that enlightens, and it is the most popular theatre on the Northside, located at Gateway Town Center.
Jacksonville native Pat Boone was a popular 1950s singer and teen idol. During the 1960s, the Classics IV was the most successful pop rock band from Jacksonville. Southern Rock was defined by the Allman Brothers Band, which formed in 1969 in Jacksonville. Lynyrd Skynyrd achieved near cult status and inspired Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet and .38 Special, all successful in the 1970s. The 1980s were a quiet decade for musical talent in Jacksonville.
The next local group to achieve national success was the nu metal band Limp Bizkit, formed in 1994. Other popular Hip Hop acts in the 1990s included 95 South, 69 Boyz and the Quad City DJ's. The bands Inspection 12, Cold and Yellowcard were also well known and had a large following. Following the millennium, Fit For Rivals, Burn Season, Evergreen Terrace, Shinedown, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and Black Kids became notable bands from the city.
A number of cultural events are also held in Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Jazz Festival, held downtown, is the second-largest jazz festival in the nation, while Springing the Blues, one of the oldest and largest blues festivals, has been held in Jacksonville Beach since 1990. The World of Nations Celebration has been held in Metropolitan Park since 1993, and features a number of events, food and souvenirs from various countries. The Jacksonville Film Festival, held at seven historic venues in the city, has been held since 2003 and has featured a variety of independent films, documentaries and shorts.
Throughout the year, many annual events of various types are held in Jacksonville. In sports, the annual Gate River Run has been held annually since March 1977. It has been the US National 15-kilometre (9.3 mi) road race Championship since 1994 and is the largest race of its distance in the country with over 13,000 runners, spectators, and volunteers, making it Jacksonville's largest participation sporting event. In college football, the Gator Bowl is held on January 1. It has been continuously held since 1946. Also, the Florida–Georgia game (also known as the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party"), the annual college football game between the rival Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs has been held in Jacksonville almost yearly since 1933. For six days in July the Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament is held for fishermen of all skills. With $500,000 of prizes up for grabs, up to 1000 boats participate with almost 30,000 spectators watching.
Other events include the Blessing of the Fleet held in March since 1985 and the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair in November at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds and Exposition Center featuring games, rides, food, entertainment and livestock exhibition. One Spark is an annual and the largest crowdfunding event held for creators to showcase their ideas for a chance to win part of $300,000 in funding. Holiday celebrations include the Freedom, Fanfare & Fireworks celebration on July 4, the lighting of Jacksonville's official Christmas tree at the Jacksonville Landing on the day after Thanksgiving and the Jacksonville Light Parade of boats the following day.
The city center includes the Jacksonville Landing and the Jacksonville Riverwalks. The Landing is a popular riverfront dining and shopping venue, accessible by River Taxi from the Southbank Riverwalk. The Northbank Riverwalk runs 2.0 miles (3.2 km) along the St. Johns from Berkman Plaza to I-95 at the Fuller Warren Bridge while the Southbank Riverwalk stretches 1.2 miles (1.9 km) from the Radisson Hotel to Museum Circle. Adjacent to Museum Circle is St. Johns River Park, also known as Friendship Park. It is the location of Friendship Fountain, one of the most recognizable and popular attractions for locals as well as tourists in Jacksonville. This landmark was built in 1965 and promoted as the “World’s Tallest and Largest” fountain at the time.
The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens is an art museum in Jacksonville's Riverside neighborhood. It was founded in 1961, following the death of Ninah Mae Holden Cummer, who willed her collection, home, and gardens to the museum. Its galleries display one of the world's three most comprehensive collections of Meissen porcelain as well as large collections of American, European, and Japanese art. The grounds also contain two acres of Italian and English gardens begun by Ninah Cummer.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA Jacksonville) is a contemporary art museum funded and operated as a "cultural resource" of the University of North Florida. Tracing its roots back to the formation of Jacksonville's Fine Arts Society in 1924, it opened its current 60,000-square-foot (6,000 m2) facility next to the Main Library downtown in 2003. The museum features eclectic permanent and traveling exhibitions and a collection of over 700 works.Museum of Science & History (MOSH), located in downtown's Southbank Riverwalk, specializes in science and local history exhibits. It features a main exhibit that changes quarterly, plus three floors of nature exhibits, an extensive exhibit on the history of Northeast Florida, a hands-on science area and the area's only astronomy theater, the Bryan Gooding Planetarium.
Alexander Brest, founder of Duval Engineering and Contracting Co., was also the benefactor for the Alexander Brest Museum and Gallery on the campus of Jacksonville University. The exhibits are a diverse collection of carved ivory, Pre-Columbian artifacts, Steuben glass, Chinese porcelain and Cloisonné, Tiffany glass, Boehm porcelain and rotating exhibitions containing the work of local, regional, national and international artists.
Three other art galleries are located at educational institutions in town. Florida State College at Jacksonville has the Kent Gallery on their westside campus and the Wilson Center for the Arts at their main campus. The University Gallery is located on the campus of the University of North Florida.
The Jacksonville Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum is a branch of the world's largest private collection of original manuscripts and documents. The museum in Jacksonville is in a 1921 neoclassical building on the outskirts of downtown. In addition to document displays, there is also an antique-book library, with volumes dating from the late 19th century.
The Catherine Street Fire Station building is on the National Register of Historic Places and was relocated to Metropolitan Park in 1993. It houses the Jacksonville Fire Museum and features 500+ artifacts including an 1806 hand pumper.
The LaVilla Museum opened in 1999 and features a permanent display of African-American history. The art exhibits are changed periodically.
There are also several historical properties and items of interest in the city, including the Klutho Building, the Old Morocco Temple Building, the Palm and Cycad Arboretum, and the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, originally built as Union Station train depot. The Jacksonville Historical Society showcases two restoration projects: the 1887 St. Andrews Episcopal Church and the 1879 Merrill House, both located near the sports complex.
The Art Walk, a monthly outdoor art festival on the first Wednesday of each month, is sponsored by Downtown Vision, Inc, an organization which works to promote artistic talent and venues on the First Coast.
The Murray Hill Art Center was reopened in February 2012 through a partnership of the City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department (JaxParks) and the Art League of Jacksonville (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to community arts education). The center is located at 4327 Kerle Street in the historic Murray Hill area on the westside of Jacksonville and offers community arts classes as well as shared studio space for aspiring artists. Visitors are welcomed year around for events and classes.
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens boasts the second largest animal collection in the state. The zoo features elephants, lions, and, of course, jaguars (with an exhibit, Range of the Jaguar, hosted by the former owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Delores and Wayne Weaver). It also has a multitude of reptile houses, free flight aviaries, and many other animals.
Jacksonville has two fully enclosed shopping malls. The oldest is the Regency Square Mall, which opened in 1967 and is located on former sand dunes in the Arlington area. The other is The Avenues Mall, which opened in 1990 on the Southside, at the intersection of I-95 and US 1. The Orange Park Mall is another mall located just south of the city in the suburb of Orange Park, Florida, in Clay County, off of Blanding Boulevard (State Road 21).
The end of the indoor shopping mall may be indicated by the opening of The St. Johns Town Center in 2005 and the River City Marketplace, on the Northside in 2006. Both of these are "open air" malls, with a similar mix of stores, but without being contained under a single, enclosed roof. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), only one enclosed mall has been built in the United States since 2006.
Main article: Sports in Jacksonville
Jacksonville is home to one major league sports team, the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL). The Jaguars joined the NFL as an expansion team in the 1995 season; they play their home games at EverBank Field. In 2005, Jacksonville hosted Super Bowl XXXIX. The PGA Tour, which organizes the main professional golf tournaments in the U.S., is headquartered in the suburb of Ponte Vedra Beach, where it holds The Players Championship every year.
Jacksonville is also home to several minor league-level teams. The Jacksonville Suns, a class Double-A baseball team, have played in Jacksonville continuously since 1970, longer than any other Double-A team has been in its city, and are the top-selling franchise in the Southern League. The Jacksonville Sharks, who began play in 2010, were the champions of the Arena Football League's ArenaBowl XXIV in 2011. The Jacksonville Axemen are a semi-professional rugby league team founded in 2006, and now play in the USA Rugby League. The Jacksonville Giants basketball team started play in the new American Basketball Association in December 2010. The Giants won the 2012 ABA National Championship March 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The Jacksonville Armada FC is a soccer team that began play in the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 2015.
College sports, especially college football, are popular in Jacksonville. The city hosts the Florida–Georgia game, an annual college football game between the University of Florida and the University of Georgia, and the Gator Bowl, a post-season college bowl game. Jacksonville's two universities compete in NCAA Division I: the University of North Florida Ospreys and the Jacksonville University Dolphins, both in the Atlantic Sun Conference.