Throwback Thursday – Friendship Fountain

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Anyone who lives in or has visited Jacksonville should recognize these  pictures of Friendship Fountain . The first picture is actually a postcard. I remember as a kid seeing the fountain at night with the multi-colored lights shining in the waters and thinking it was so cool. We would take relatives there when they visited, and years later I took my own kids. And, then even more years later I took my niece, and finally my grandson.

Here’s a little fountain history: It was designed by the same guy who designed the Hayden Burns Library, another staple of my childhood. When the fountain opened in 1965, which was the year we moved to Jacksonville, it was the world’s largest and tallest fountain. It was refurbished in 1985, completely renovated in 2011, and it is still drawing visitors today.

Terrific Tuesdays – 1

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As my days in Jacksonville seem to be numbered, my friend, Cathy, and I plan to do as many things together as we can before we go. I was going to call these Free Tuesdays, since we are trying to do things around town that are free, but since often there will be lunch or other purchases along the way, I decided on Terrific Tuesdays. Not too original, I know.

For our first adventure last week, we headed downtown with the goal of eating underground at Benny’s Sandwich Shop. We found a parking meter (yay) and had lots of change, so we were set. Entering though the Atlantic Building, former Atlantic Bank, we followed the signs down the stairs. I spotted an unmarked hallway, which we went down and discovered the old vault. So cool! There was also a large scrapbook there, with news clipping coming unglued, that dated back to about 1972. All the articles revolved around the Regency Square Mall. It seemed like an odd thing to find there, but we enjoyed browsing through it for awhile. Then we headed to Benny’s, where the service is friendly and the food good and inexpensive.

After lunch, we met a very gracious security guard. She directed us back down into the tunnel, after she pointed out the spot where we would pop up across the street. The tunnel felt more like a hallway as we passed several underground offices. Sure enough, we came up to the surface at the opposite corner.  I went back to feed the meter and then we headed to Chamblin’s Uptown Bookstore. On the way we decided to detour through the public library. We hit every level, taking pictures while in the courtyard on the second floor.

I keep a list of books to look for on my phone, but had no success finding any at Chamblin’s . I did, however, find a book by one of the authors on my list. It sounded so interesting that I bought it, to add the bazillion books at home that I haven’t read yet. Proof that I have an addiction to used bookstores.

It was perfect weather for our first Terrific Tuesday! Can’t wait for more!

Throwback Thursday – Downtown Jacksonville

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I haven’t done a throwback post in a while, so here goes.

I found this postcard in an antique store a few years back. This is how Hemming Park/ Plaza used to look. It has been redone once or twice since this picture was taken. I like the picture because it shows the May Cohens department store. This is where I worked the summer I got engaged. I worked upstairs in the credit department. I felt so grown up working downtown. Some days I would take my lunch and eat in the lunch room where the TV was always showing “The Young and the Restless”. It was from the snack machine there that I had my first Lorna Doone shortbread cookies and I still love them. On occasion I would venture out with someone to eat somewhere nearby. There were other large department stores down the street such as Ivey’s and Furchgott’s . One of them had a nice restaurant inside.

After I got married I still worked there. We only had one car so I rode the bus. Hemming Park was the main hub where all the buses went, so it was convenient. I enjoyed riding the bus, actually. I was on the phone a large part of the day, listening to customer complaints. I got a headache nearly every day, so I was glad not to have to drive home.

May Cohens was in the St, James Building which is now City Hall. I was there a few weeks ago with my mother-in-law. It was so strange to be inside because it looks completely different now.

I love the history of old buildings and it’s fun having this connection and the memories of how downtown Jacksonville used to be. Some things change for the better, some for the worse. I hope these beautiful old buildings stay around for a very long  time.