First off, I am a history lover. I am an investigator of my own demise. When I move into an area I like to see what makes it tick. We are not so far away from the strange and twisted past that it is not still sitting behind a desk in the places that matter. For example: I want to know who’s in charge of the water. Who cleans it? How old are the pipes? Where is it stored? This may seem trivial, until you find out a dead body floated in the main reservoir for a month before anything was done. That didn’t happen here. As far as I know of. Its just an example… but IF that can happen, anything can.
I can give many examples of what motivates me to dig but it could go on and on…
When I moved to Jacksonville, Fl. 7 years ago no other place had a draw for me like downtown did. I am still fascinated by downtown. I love it. Downtown Jacksonville has a vibe. A living vibe that goes largely ignored. It’s like some great beast is sleeping right in the center of the city and people just walk around it. Ignore it. Pet it every now and then. It gets food and water very rarely in the form of festivals and parties. Events. But mostly it starves.
I would prefer Downtown not to change. I love it in its zombie apocalyptical state and I would hate to see it turn into a stamped version of the hipster death knoll ringing crap I have seen happen to Ybor and Orlando. I love its casual, sleepy violence. Its dusty streets and dank alleys. It is a small city. Compact. I like to think of it as miniature version of a “big” city. The desertedness only adds to the mystery. Like the whole place is under some sort of punishment, spell or curse.
I love that dirty old Southern monsters still growl around in posh velvet clubs high atop the world making decisions for tiny leftover groups… Vintage remnants… Comedic entertainment if you can picture them up there in red velvet smoking jackets with big cigars. Balding heads shining under some crystal enhanced incandescent lighting. Crying over the good old days to the few left huddled around. Giving drunken speeches about how they will fix things to equally drunken old men who will forget these things by morning. Rare finds these days. The battle continues here if you want to witness history first hand.
Actually though, it seems to me that the “battle” never really came here. It’s not a battle per se but a conversation that has gone on a very, very long time and is still not concluded. They are all still “thinking about it”… Every now and then a fire erupts out of that long smoldering peat that lies beneath. Brings an issue to a head. Laundry is aired. So on…
In my delving into the city records, property records, libraries, city directories and cemeteries among some places. I have found a plethora of awesome and delightful stories within the past of Old Jax and I have compiled them into an audio tour. This should be available for download soon and that is what this page is all about.
This downloadable audio will take you on a self guided tour through the downtown and outlying areas of Jacksonville. There will be a printable map included and you will take yourself out and around exploring some of the coolest historical and relatively unknown places in North Florida. You will hear stories of Undertakers & Mortuaries, Musical Priests, Civil War Battlegrounds, Ancient Cemeteries, Ghosts, Killers, Goblins, Murders, Devils & Angels, Arson and all kinds of unimaginable, curious tales and facts about this wicked old city. Wicked. But blessed by individuals who among the hopeful, poor, sick and needy, stood out like beacons of light throughout this city’s history. Popping up randomly in the middle of the worst predicaments and areas. For every 5 devils found here there is at least 1 super angel to take care of their mayhem. It is a poor ratio I guess but amazing in the fact that those angels were ever here at all. That they ever chose to be born or rest their bones here in this place.
The tour is rather long and winding but you can make it your own. Do it as you wish. The audio can be played however you like as you drive, bike, walk or whatever around this fine place. Its a good thing to acquaint newcomers just moving to the city or visiting to the area and different things in it. It would be a nice drive if you are just looking for something to do someday. When the project is finished in its entirety I will update this page with mileage & timing info and the download link for the audio and map.