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Jacksonville's Big Jim Back On The Job


Jacksonville's so-called "oldest city employee" is getting back to work today after 15 months off the job.

Big Jim, the 120-year-old, 32-inch copper steam whistle, has resumed signaling from atop the JEA building on Main Street.

The whistle, which sounds three tones simultaneously for about 30 seconds at 7 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., and 5 p.m., was damaged by a lightning strike last year.  

According to a JEA release, the whistle has highlighted several historic moments for the city. Big Jim warned Jacksonville residents of the Great Fire of 1901 and signaled the end of both world wars. It also marked the arrival of electricity to the city and has sounded each New Year's Day since 1896.

Big Jim retains the nickname given by its builder, James Patterson. The whistle can be heard for at least 10 miles.