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Old Thunderbird Motor Hotel In Arlington Partially Destroyed By Fire

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CYD HOSKINSON / WJCT NEWS
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Firefighters work to extinguish a fire Wednesday night at the old Thunderbird Motor Hotel property in Arlington.

Part of the old Thunderbird Motor Hotel at 5865 Arlington Expressway burned down Wednesday night.

The Thunderbird Motor Hotel was once a showplace with a dinner theater that drew the likes of Howard Keel and Van Johnson, according to WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union.

Fats Domino performed there. Walter Cronkite spoke there.

It was the site of business conferences, school reunions, clown conventions and football festivities.

RELATED: Developer Wants To Transform Former Thunderbird Complex In Arlington

Opened in 1959, Arlington was a growing residential and commercial suburb for downtown executives at the time.

Wednesday night, part of the old hotel complex was destroyed in a massive fire

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Credit Via Metro Jacksonville
The Thunderbird Motor Hotel is seen in this vintage postcard.

For historic photos and more of the old hotel’s history, see an expanded version of this story at Jacksonville.com.