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African-American Architects Shaped Jacksonville's Unique Character

church exterior
Modern Cities
Completed in 1923 at 1114 Cleveland St., the Gothic Revival-style Simpson Memorial United Methodist Church was one of John Henry Rosemond's most notable.

Some of the Jacksonville buildings many people know today came from the minds of largely forgotten African-American architects — and their legacy is the city’s unique character.

The Jaxson’s Ennis Davis said despite Jacksonville’s being a major center for black commerce and culture during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, not much is known about the city’s significant African-American history, heritage and culture.

He spoke to WJCT News Director Jessica Palombo. 

Davis said the Great Fire of 1901 was an equalizer of sorts, allowing architects of all colors to work on rebuilding the city — but while the city’s most famous, Henry Klutho, was designing in the Prairie style, his black contemporaries were shaping neighborhoods “on the other side of the tracks.”  

Examples of their work are still standing just outside of downtown Jacksonville.

Visit Modern Cities for a full list of architects and photos of their buildings still around today.