Jacksonville, Florida


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The Jacksonville skyline and the Acosta Bridge.

Jacksonville is a city located in Duval County, Florida, USA. It is the county seat of Duval County Template:GR.

Geographically, it is the largest city in the contiguous 48 states of the United States in terms of land area. It is also the largest city in Florida in terms of population in the city proper (ultimately ranking 14th in the country). The Jacksonville metropolitan area reached over one million residents in 1996. Jacksonville also has the distinction of being the largest city in the South outside of Texas.

Jacksonville and Duval County are consolidated. All areas of Duval County are considered to be part of Jacksonville, but the communities of Baldwin, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach have their own municipal governments as well.

The area of Jacksonville is 874.3 square miles (2,264.5 km²). Jacksonville was originally named Cowford because the St. Johns River is narrow there, allowing cattlemen to ford (herd) cows across the river. The city was renamed in 1822 for the first territorial governor of Florida and the future 7th U.S. President, Andrew Jackson.

Jacksonville, Florida
Missing image

City flag City seal
City motto: "Where Florida Begins"

Image:Map of Florida highlighting Duval County.png
Location of the city proper in the state of Florida

Founded 9 February, 1832
CountyDuval County
MayorJohn Peyton (R)
 - Total
 - Water

2,264.5 km² (874.3 mi²)
302.1 km² (116.7 mi²) 13.34%
 - City (2000)
 - Metropolitan
 - Density

Time zoneEastern: UTC-5
30°19' N
81°39' W
City of Jacksonville Official Website (http://www.coj.net)


Jacksonville is located at 30°19'10" North, 81°39'36" West (30.319406, -81.659999)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2,264.5 km² (874.3 mi²). 1,962.4 km² (757.7 mi²) of it is land and 302.1 km² (116.7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 13.34% water.


Pre Colonial

Archaeological evidence indicates 6,000 years of human habitation in the area. The Timucua Indians were the predominate local tribe when European explorers arrived. The largest Timucua town in the region was Ossachite, which stood approximately where the courthouse stands today. Its name is the earliest recorded name for the area.

Colonial and territorial history

In 1513, Spanish explorers landed in Florida and claimed their discovery for Spain. In 1562, the French Huguenot explorer Jean Ribault explored the St. Johns River area and in 1564 the French established Fort Caroline. Spanish troops, led by Pedro Menndez de Avils, from nearby St. Augustine attacked the fort and drove off the French in 1565. Spain ceded Florida to the British in 1763, who then gave control back to Spain in 1783. The first permanent settlement was founded at Cow Ford in 1791 and Florida became a United States territory in 1821. On June 15th, 1822 settlers sent a petition to the U.S. Secretary of State asking that Jacksonville be named a port of entry; this is the first recorded use of the name. The charter for a town government was approved by the Florida Legislative Council on February 9, 1832.

Civil War

During the Civil War, Jacksonville was a key supply point for hogs and cattle leaving Florida and aiding the Confederate cause. Throughout most of the war, the US Navy maintained a blockade around Florida's ports, including Jacksonville. In October 1862 Union forces captured a Confederate battery at St. Johns Bluff and occupied Jacksonville. Throughout the war Jacksonville would change hands several times, though never with a battle. On February 20, 1864 Union soldiers from Jacksonville marched inland and confronted the Confederate Army at the Battle of Olustee which resulted in a Confederate victory. By the end of the war in 1865, a Union commander commented that Jacksonville had become "pathetically dilapidated, a mere skeleton of its former self, a victim of war."

Winter Resort Era

Following the Civil War, during Reconstruction and afterward, Jacksonville and nearby St. Augustine became popular winter resorts for the rich and famous of the Gilded Age. Visitors arrived by steamboat and (beginning in the 1880s) by railroad, and wintered at dozens of hotels and boarding houses. The area declined in importance as a resort destination when Henry Flagler extended the Florida East Coast Railroad to the south, arriving in Palm Beach in 1894 and in the Miami area in 1896. Not even hosting the Subtropical Exposition, a Florida-style world's fair attended by President Grover Cleveland in 1888, served to provide a lasting boost for tourism in Jacksonville.

Yellow Fever Epidemics

Jacksonville's prominence as a winter resort was dealt another blow by major yellow fever outbreaks in 1886 and 1888, during the latter of which nearly ten percent of the more than 4,000 victims, including the city's mayor, died. In the absence of scientific knowledge concerning the cause of yellow fever, nearly half of the city's panicked residents fled, despite the imposition of quarantines and the (ineffectual) fumigation of inbound and outbound mail. Not surprisingly, Jacksonville's reputation as a healthful tourist destination suffered.

Spanish American War

During the Spanish American War, gunrunners helping the Cuban rebels used Jacksonville as the center for smuggling illegal arms and supplies to Cuba. Duval county sheriff, and future state governor, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward was one of many gunrunners operating out of the city. Author Stephen Crane travelled to Jacksonville to cover the war.

Great Fire of 1901

On May 3, 1901 hot ash from a shantyhouse's chimney landed on the drying moss at Cleaveland's Fiber Factory. At half past noon most of the Cleaveland workers were at lunch, but by the time they returned the entire city block was engulfed in flames. The fire destroyed the business district and rendered 10,000 residents homeless in the course of eight hours. Florida Governor William S. Jennings declared a state of martial law in Jacksonville and dispatched several state militia units to Jacksonville. Reconstruction started immediately, and the city was returned to civil authority on May 17. Famed New York architect Henry Klutho helped rebuild the city. Klutho and other architects, enamored of the "Prairie Style" of architecture then being popularized by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago and other Midwestern cities, designed exuberant local buildings with a Florida flair. While many of Klutho's buildings were demolished by the 1980s, a number of his creations remain, including the St. James Building from 1911 (a former department store that is now Jacksonville's City Hall) and the Morocco Temple from 1910. The Klutho Apartments, in Springfield, were recently restored and converted into office space by local charity Fresh Ministries. Despite the losses of the last several decades, Jacksonville still has one of the largest collections of Prairie Style buildings (particularly residences) outside the Midwest.

Motion Picture Industry

In the early 1900s, Jacksonville was a center of the fledgling motion picture industry. The city's warm climate, excellent rail access, and low costs all helped to make Jacksonville the "Winter Film Capital of the World". By the early 1910s, Jacksonville hosted over 30 studios employing over 1000 actors. However, some residents objected to the hallmarks of the early movie industry, such as car chases in the streets, simulated bank robberies and fire alarms in public places, and even the occasional riot scene. In 1917, a conservative mayor was elected on the platform of taming the city's movie industry. Subsequently the film studios opted to move to a more hospitable political climate in California.

"Gateway to Florida"

The 1920s brought significant real estate development and speculation to the city during the great Florida land boom (and bust). Hordes of train passengers passed through Jacksonville on their way south to the new tourist destinations of South Florida, as most of the passenger trains arriving from the population centers of the North were routed through Jacksonville. Completion of the Dixie Highway (portions of which became U.S. Highway 1) in the 1920s began to draw significant automobile traffic as well. An important entry point to the state since the 1870s, Jacksonville now justifiably billed itself as the "Gateway to Florida."

US Navy

A significant part of Jacksonville's growth in the 20th century came from the presence of navy bases in the region. October 15, 1940, Naval Air Station Jacksonville ("NAS Jax") on the westside became the first navy installation in the city. This base was a major training center during World War II, with over 20,000 pilots and aircrewmen being trained there. After the war, the Navy's elite Blue Angels were established at NAS Jax. Today NAS Jax is the third largest navy installation in the country and employs over 23,000 civilian and active-duty personnel.

In June 1941, land in the westernmost side of Duval County was earmarked for a second naval air facility. This became NAS Cecil Field, which during the Cold War was designated a Master Jet Base, the only one in the South. RF-8 Crusaders out of Cecil Field detected missiles in Cuba, precipitating the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1993 the Navy decided to close NAS Cecil Field and in 1999 this was completed. The land once occupied by this installation is now known as the "Cecil Commerce Center".

December 1942 saw the addition of a third naval installation to Jacksonville: Naval Station Mayport at the mouth of the St. Johns River. This port developed through World War II and today is the home port for many types of navy ships, most notably the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy. NS Mayport current employs about 14,000 personnel.

Jacksonville is also not far from Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in St. Marys, Georgia, which is home to part of the US Navy's nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) fleet.

The naval base became a key training ground in the 1950s and 1960s and as such, the population of the city rose dramatically. More than half of the residents in Jacksonville had some tie to the naval base, whether it be a relative stationed there, or due to employment opportunities, by 1970. While the city is more independent from the Navy today, it is still a strong influence in the community.

Racial tension

Jacksonville has a history of racial segregation and violence. This came to a head on "Ax Handle Saturday", August 27, 1960. A group of white men (allegedly some were also members of the Ku Klux Klan) armed with baseball bats and ax handles attacked civil rights protesters conducting sit-ins at segregated downtown restaurants. The violence spread, and the white mob started attacking all African-Americans in sight. Rumors were rampant on both sides that the unrest was spreading around the county (in reality, the violence stayed in relatively the same location, and did not spill over into the mostly-white, upper-class Cedar Hills neighborhood, for example). The police did not make an attempt to stop the violence until the "blacks started holding their own."

Before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, African-Americans in Jacksonville were denied healthcare services at every hospital except the all-black Brewster Hospital, even when their condition was critical or life-threatening.

In the aftermath of the Civil Rights Act and Ax Handle Saturday, the previously segregated African-American and European-American communities worked together in open dialog, integration, and participatory government.

Despite the progress, racial tension was very evident when the public schools in Jacksonville were integrated in 1967. The black students attending integrated schools endured racial epithets, being spit on and, in some extreme cases, being stoned by their white classmates.

On June 1, 2003, John Peyton became Mayor of Jacksonville after defeating African-American Sheriff Nat Glover. Matt Carlucci, a white Republican endorsed Glover (a Democrat) after being defeated in the open primary. Afterwards, Carlucci's business was vandalized with the words "NIGGER LOVER", and Glover's campaign headquarters was vandalized with "NO NIGGER MAYOR". The only witness to the crime said he saw two black males running from the scene.

It should be noted that Nat Glover was the first (and only) African-American sheriff in the state of Florida since Reconstruction, winning two elections before running for mayor. Before he joined the police force, he was one of the youths who were involved in the axe handle riots.



After World War II, the government of the City of Jacksonville began to increase spending to fund new building projects in the boom that occurred after the war. Mayor 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 "white flight" left Jacksonville with a much poorer population than before. 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 good ol' boy network. After a grand jury was convened to investigate, several officials were indicted and more were forced to resign. Consolidation 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 center city). 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.

A consolidation referendum was held in 1967, and voters approved the plan. On October 1, 1968, the governments merged to create the Consolidated City of Jacksonville.


Jacksonville uses the Mayor-Council form of city government. The mayor is the Chief Executive and Administrative officer, called the Strong-Mayor form. He holds veto power over all resolutions and ordinances made by the city council. He also has the power to hire and fire the head of various city departments. The city council has nineteen members, fourteen of whom are elected from districts, and five who are elected at-large. Four municipalities within Duval County voted not to join the consolidated government. These communities consist of only 6% of the total population within the county. The municipalities are Baldwin, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach. Not all city services were merged, making for a less-than-full consolidation of the city-county. Several authorities remain independent of the combined city-county government, including the school board, electric authority, port authority, and airport authority. Fire, police, health and welfare, recreation, public works, and housing and urban development were all combined under the new government. The four separate communities provide their own services, while maintaining the right to contract the consolidated government to provide services for them. Under the new government structure, anyone living in Duval County is eligible to run for Mayor of the City of Jacksonville, even those living in the four separate municipalities.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 735,617 people, 284,499 households, and 190,614 families residing in the city. The population density is 374.9/km² (970.9/mi²). There are 308,826 housing units at an average density of 157.4/km² (407.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 64.48% White, 29.03% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 2.78% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.33% from other races, and 1.99% from two or more races. 4.16% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 284,499 households out of which 33.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% are married couples living together, 16.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% are non-families. 26.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.53 and the average family size is 3.07.

In the city, the population is 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 are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $40,316, and the median income for a family is $47,243. Males have a median income of $32,547 versus $25,886 for females. The per capita income for the city is $20,337. 12.2% of the population and 9.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 16.7% of those under the age of 18 and 12.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Traditionally, Jacksonville enjoys mild weather in the winter and hot weather in the summer. High temperatures average between 50 and 90 degrees (10-32 degrees Celsius) throughout the year. High heat indices are not uncommon for the summer months in the Jacksonville area. High Temperatures can reach mid to high 90s with heat index ranges of 105-115F. Conversely, the area can experience many freezes and hard freezes during the night in the winter months. In some years, the area sees snow, though this is uncommon.

Jacksonville is one of the few cities on the Eastern seaboard that have been spared from the wrath of numerous hurricanes. The only major hurricane to hit the city has been Hurricane Dora, in 1964 with winds that had just barely diminished to 110mph, making it a strong Category 2, borderline Category 3. This area receives a brush with a Tropical Storm or better every 3.05 years. While not directly impacted, this area did receive major wind damage from Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004.

Rainfall averages around 52 inches a year, with the wetter months being June through September.

Higher education

Jacksonville is home to Edward Waters College, Jacksonville University, and the University of North Florida, as well as the Florida Community College at Jacksonville, Trinity Baptist College, Jones College, Florida Technical College, Logos Christian College, and Florida Coastal School of Law.

Former mayor John Delaney has been president of the University of North Florida since July 2003, parlaying his widespread popularity in the city into a highly coveted spot of leadership in the state university system.


Interstate Highways 10 and 95 intersect in Jacksonville. Interstate Highway 10 ends at this intersection (the other end being in California). The eastern terminus of US-90 is in nearby Jacksonville Beach near the Atlantic Ocean. Additionaly, several other roads as well a major local expressway, J. Turner Butler Boulevard (SR 202) also connect Jacksonville to the beaches. Public transportation is provided by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. The city has the Jacksonville Skyway Monorail, which loops around the central business district and is fairly cheap to use. However, there are very few Skyway stations and as such, traffic is quite light.

Interstate 95 has a bypass route, I-295, which currently bypasses the city to the west. I-295 will eventually become a loop when State Road 9A is completed in the southeastern portion of the county. Jacksonville is also home to the world headquarters of CSX Transportation.

There are also numerous bridges over the St. Johns River at Jacksonville. They include (starting from furthest downstream) the Dames Point Bridge, the Mathews Bridge, the Isaiah D. Hart Bridge, the Main Street Bridge, the Acosta Bridge, the Fuller Warren Bridge (which carries I-95 traffic) and the Buckman Bridge (which carries I-295 traffic).

Major commercial air service in Jacksonville operates out of Jacksonville International Airport. Smaller planes can fly to Craig Airport on the southside and Herlong Airport on the westside. The city also operates an airfield at Cecil Commerce Center that is intended for aerospace manufacturing companies.

Amtrak passenger railroad serves Jacksonville from a station on Clifford Lane in the Northwest section of the city.

In 2003, the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal opened, providing cruise service to Key West, Florida, The Bahamas, and Mexico.


Tourism and recreation

Jacksonville is home to a number of professional sports teams:

Jacksonville was named as the site for Super Bowl XXXIX, becoming the third city in the state of Florida (Miami and Tampa being the others) to host the event. The game was held on February 6, 2005 and featured halftime entertainment by former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney. Due to the milder climate and lesser amount of hotel space, many media critics decried Jacksonville as a sub-standard host for a Super Bowl, although local leaders felt the criticism was unwarranted. The game itself was played under ideal football weather (about 55 degrees Fahrenheit), and the New England Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-21.

Jacksonville is also a hub for the world famous golf opportunities of North Florida. In Ponte Vedra lies the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass, one of the most famous golf courses in the world and home to the annual PGA TPC (The Player's Championship) tournament. Nearby St. Augustine is home to the World Golf Village and World Golf Hall of Fame. Jacksonville also features dozens of other golf courses and country clubs.

Professional tennis is in town each year when the WTA holds the Bausch & Lomb Championships at Amelia Island Plantation near Fernandina Beach, just north of Jacksonville. Other sports events include the annual Kingfish Tournament held in July, the Florida-Georgia football game, commonly known as "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" held every October, and the Gator Bowl held in early January. Both the University of North Florida and Jacksonville University also field athletic teams in a number of sports.

The city's biggest cultural event is the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, an annual event featuring many of the biggest names in jazz. Jacksonville also features two art museums, the Cummer Gallery of Art and the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art. The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra makes regular performances at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts near downtown.

Jacksonville also has significant natural beauty from the St. Johns River and Atlantic Ocean. The city center includes the Jacksonville Landing shopping center and the Riverwalk. Downtown Jacksonville has a memorable skyline with the tallest building being the Bank of America Building, constructed in 1990 with a height of 617ft (188m). Other notable structures include the Modis Building (once the defining building in the Jacksonville skyline, owned by Independent Life) with its distinctive flared base and the Riverplace Tower, which is the tallest pre-cast, post-tension concrete structure in the world.

Local media

Newspapers and Magazines





  • WJXT Channel 4, a longtime CBS affiliate before turning independent in 2002.
  • WUFT Channel 5, the PBS affiliate for the University of Florida in Gainesville, but has higher ratings in the metro area than local PBS affiliate WJCT (see below).
  • WJCT Channel 7, a PBS affiliate broadcasting since 1958. A radio station (89.9 FM) with the same callsign commenced broadcasts in 1972.
  • WTLV Channel 12, an NBC affiliate since 1988. Formerly WFGA from 1957 to 1975, and an ABC affiliate from 1980 to 1988.
  • WJWB Channel 17, the WB Formerly WJKS and the original ABC affiliate until 1980 when it became an NBC affiliate, only to change back to an ABC affliate in 1988, lost the ABC affiliation to start up WJXX in 1997, changed its call letters to WJWB and switched to WB network, and is the highest rated WB affliate in the nation.
  • WPXC Channel 21, PAX used to be WBSG and simulcated the ABC network with WJXX from 1997 until 2000.
  • WJXX Channel 25, the ABC affiliate for the area since 1997.
  • WAWS Channel 30, the FOX affiliate
  • WTEV Channel 47, originally an independent station with mainly Christian programming under the call letters of WXAO and later WNFT. It later changed its call letters to WTEV (then became a UPN affiliate), the channel has broadcasted CBS programming since July 2002.
  • WJEB Channel 59, carries religious programing from TBN.


See Radio Stations in Jacksonville, Florida

Current issues

Some issues the city deals with today include how to fix the school system (including violence on school buses), controversies over a public high school named for Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest, and how to solve transportation problems (The Better Jacksonville Plan). Jacksonville also faces a double-edged sword of development. While the population increases, the city is forced to deal with maintaining an infrastructure that keeps up with this growth. Roads are increasingly clogged with more cars and public schools are crowded with more students. The city is struggling to keep a balance between traditionally lower taxes and accommodating its rising population.

Also, Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005 presented a host of problems and challenges for the Jacksonville area. Many of the current transportation issues revolved around this event, and many services, such as the Jacksonville monorail system known as the Skyway, have been underutilized for many years. The Skyway, specifically, has been criticized in that it goes from "nowhere to nowhere" in its limited route, and that it was a waste of tax dollars.

Famous Jacksonville Natives

Famous Jacksonville Music Artists

Famous Jacksonville Bands (chronological by year band was formed)


Jacksonville has several sister cities.[1] (http://www.jsca.org/) In 1967, Bahia Blanca, Argentina became Jacksonville's first sister city. In 1975, Murmansk, Russia became the second. In 1983, Masan, South Korea became the third. In 1984, Nantes, France became the fourth. In 1990, Yingkou, China became the fifth. In 2000, Port Elizabeth, South Africa became the sixth. The Sister Cities International in 2000 awarded Jacksonville's the Innovation Arts & Culture Award for the city's program with Nantes, France.

Points of interest

Home of

Jacksonville is the home of:

  • CSX Transportation
  • Winn-Dixie
  • Stein Mart
  • Landstar
  • Gate Petroleum Company
  • Florida Rock Industries
  • Sally Corporation
  • Regency Centers
  • Husk Jennings

External links

Template:Commons Government Resources

Non-Profits and Social Services

Higher Education


Further reading

  • Andino, Alliniece T. (August 25, 2000). 40 years ago this weekend, Jacksonville gave itself a national reputation for violence. The Florida Times-Union. Online Article (http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/082500/met_axhandle.html)
  • DeCamp, David (May 3, 2003). Racial graffiti found at Glover's headquarters. The Florida Times-Union. Online Article (http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/050303/met_glover.shtml)
  • Foley, Bill; Wood, Wayne (2001). The great fire of 1901 (1st ed.). Jacksonville, Florida: The Jacksonville Historical Society. ISBN 0971026106

See also: Orange Park, Duval County, Florida, List of mayors of Jacksonville, Florida

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