History

On Friday, a small group reenacted the 1814 Battle of Pensacola. Great Britain had come to Spanish West Florida to build fortifications and was using Pensacola as a base of operations.

“That attracted the attention of the United States Army, who came in to push the British out of Pensacola,” said museum educator and battle reenactor Phillip Mayhair. “They fought a battle in the streets here around Seville Square with the Spanish, and so that is what we are representing this morning.”

Skyline view of the St. Johns River and Downtown Jax.
Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

Jacksonville is getting ready for an important birthday next year:  In June of 2022, the city will celebrate its 200th anniversary. 

The Jacksonville Historical Society is hard at work on a full six months of celebrations, beginning with a bicentennial commemoration next January and culminating in a bicentennial celebration scheduled for June 15, 2022. 

Jacksonville Historical Society Identifies 22 Endangered Structures

Jun 15, 2021
Via Jacksonville Daily Record

The Historic Sites Committee of the Jacksonville Historical Society has released its 2021 list of Jacksonville’s endangered historic properties.

James Brown performing in the Musikhalle of Hamburg, in February 1973.
Heinrich Klaffs / Wikimedia Commons

Editor's Note: The lecture referenced in this story has been rescheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. Reairings are scheduled at midnight and 6 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 20.

A Flagler College Professor will deliver a lecture called “From Civil Rights to Black Power In Rock” from his Rock and Roll History class on C-SPAN this month.

Photo Essay: 1970s Jacksonville

Dec 27, 2017
Old Jacksonville
Via moderncities.com

Jacksonville has changed in many ways over the last forty years.

Florida Memory

Tuesday marks 115 years since a fire destroyed 146 blocks of Jacksonville. The inferno began at a LaVilla mattress factory on the corner of Beaver and Davis Streets.

The fire not only destroyed the city, but marked a turning point for one of the city’s African-American leaders, James Weldon Johnson.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

New historical markers along Fort Caroline Road in Arlington are commemorating an all but forgotten African-American community in Jacksonville.

A group of committed volunteers refuse to lose hope in a renaissance for the area previously called Cosmo.


Lakeside Junior High

In honor of Black History Month, Florida Gov. Rick Scott honored outstanding teachers and students Wednesday at his mansion in Tallahassee.


Gilmore standing on corner
Jessica Palombo / WJCT News

Originally published October 2015

A new nonfiction book is inviting readers to take a journey through historic Jacksonville neighborhoods.

“The Mad Atlas of Virginia King” is part biography, part city guide, and part comic book. On Wednesday morning, the book’s author, Tim Gilmore, led WJCT’s Jessica Palombo on a tour through Riverside using his illustrated “Atlas.”


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

This weekend the City of Green Cove Springs is holding its 14th annual Soul Food Festival celebrating African-American culture.

The event began as a way to connect residents to the city’s rich history, one that community leaders are trying to reawaken.


We discuss the week's top news stories with our roundtable local journalists: Larry Hannan, Florida Times-Union reporter; Matt Shaw, Folio Weekly editor; and WJCT analyst John Burr.


The statue of Andrew Jackson in Downtown Jacksonville has been vandalized twice in the past week. On June 30, a Native American mask was placed on the monument in reference to Jackson's signing of the 1830 Indian Removal Act. Most recently, the statue was tagged with the phrases “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice 4 D," a reference to D'Angelo Stallworth who was shot and killed by officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in May.

Several monuments across the South have been tagged with the words "Black Lives Matter" recently, primarily Confedarate statues. We speak with Ciara Taylor of the activist group the Dream Defenders, and Emily Lisska, Director of the Jacksonville Historical Society.


Peter Haden / WJCT News

The oldest cracker-style house on the First Coast got a new home Tuesday.

Crews moved the 142-year-old Oesterreicher McCormick cabin from its original location on Palm Valley’s 20 Mile Road to the Beaches Museum and History Park in Jacksonville Beach.

Director Christine Hoffman says the importance of the antique cabin goes beyond the historical aspect.

In American English, some slang words come and go. And some stay and stay.

Some call free speech the linchpin of a free society and one of America’s most deeply held values. We look at the First Amendment's role in our society, as well as a discussion on the topic taking place at UNF Tuesday night, with Earl Coggins, president of the First Coast Free Thought Society, and David Schwam-Baird, UNF professor of political science.

Dr. Denise Bossy, UNF associate professor of history, joins us to discuss the historical and cultural impact of the Yamasee War of 1715.

Patrick Donges / WJCT

We speak with Republican Jacksonville mayoral candidate and City Councilman Bill Bishop.

Sherry JHill of the Jacksonville Museum and Cultural Center, a volunteer group that is about to open the first of several planned museum exhibits all about Jacksonville. The first exhibit will feature an interactive map of public art and gardens around the First Coast.

Walt Brinker, volunteer highway rescuer and author of the book "Roadside Survival: Low-Tech Solutions to Automobile Breakdowns", joins us with tips on how drivers can avoid getting stranded during spring break travels.

Republican Party of Florida

We speak with Jacksonville mayoral candidate, businessman and former Florida Republican Party chairman Lenny Curry.

David Ramseur and Dennis Carpenter of the Jacksonville chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution join us to discuss the new Florida historical marker in Jacksonville commemorating the 1777 Revolutionary War Battle of Thomas Creek.

Peter Haden / WJCT

A historic one-room schoolhouse once used to teach the children of freed slaves is being converted into a museum in Mandarin.

Workers relocated the building yesterday to the Walter Jones Historical Park on Mandarin Road. The schoolhouse will honor the area’s African-American heritage.

For the moving crew, the Mandarin Historical Society and scores of people who came out as a welcome wagon, a few broken branches were a small price to pay for getting the historic schoolhouse to its new home.

newspapers, coins, etc.
Diocese of St. Augustine

  The city and Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine are both busy preparing for a joint celebration of the 450th anniversary of their founding. The Cathedral of St. Augustine is undergoing renovations ahead of the mega event this September. This week, workers on the cathedral’s altar discovered a piece of St. Augustine history from a more recent era.

Cathedral Basilica Rector, Father Thomas Willis, says he was in his office when his contractor, Brian Baker, brought in the unexpected find.

"Mr. Baker was totally excited about it," Willis says. 

waterworks building
City of St. Augustine

A historic St. Augustine building is a step closer to getting a major renovation after state officials signaled this month it’s a strong grant candidate. The former water pumping station was essential to the city’s growth at the turn of the last century.

For five years, the former waterworks building turned garden club has sat empty, bolstered against the weather and time with scaffolding.

St. Augustine Planning and Building Director John Birchim says the octagon-shaped structure supplied water to residents and tourists during Henry Flagler’s hotel boom starting in 1897.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT

Sorry Georgia. A Florida politician says the location of the original Fort Caroline is in Jacksonville.

Norman Studios

One of the most controversial films of 1914 was shot in Jacksonville and St. Augustine.

The Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons

Before the phrase “civil rights movement” had even entered the American lexicon, Asa Philip Randolph was among the earliest forces propelling it.

Courtesy of Joy Batteh-Freiha

A statue that has resided in St. Augustine for more than 150 years may help shed light on the history of some of the First Coast’s earliest residents, and why some believe the area tends to stay unscathed by hurricanes.

adeane25 / Photobucket

This week, as the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Florida man known as the father of that legislation, Dr. Robert B. Hayling, will be in St. Augustine.

Project Gutenberg / WIkimedia Commons

July 2 marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The landmark legislation outlawed discrimination at the polls and in schools, workplaces and public buildings.

TEDxJacksonville

As we celebrate the 450th anniversary of the French landing in Northeast Florida, one aspect of this fascinating history is often overlooked — food.

ChrisO / Wikimedia Commons

Well events are going on all this month to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Fort Caroline in Jacksonville.

Israel Dresner

Among the moments being celebrated during the commemoration of the civil rights movement is a little known local milestone — the largest mass arrest of rabbis in United States history.

Patrick Donges / WJCT

A replica cargo ship dating from between the 16th and 18th centuries currently docked in St. Augustine is being featured in a new television program starring two-time Academy Award nominee John Malkovich.

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