1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Jacksonville (Florida)

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JACKSONVILLE, a city and the county-seat of Duval county, Florida, U.S.A., in the N.E. part of the state, on the left bank of the St John’s River, 14 m. from the Atlantic Ocean as the crow flies and about 27 m. by water. Pop. (1890), 17,201; (1900), 28,429, of whom 16,236 were negroes and 1166 foreign-born; (1910 census) 57,699; the city being the largest in the state. It is served by the Southern, the Atlantic Coast Line, the Seaboard Air Line, the Georgia Southern & Florida and the Florida East Coast railways, and by several steamship lines.[1] It is the largest railway centre in the state, and is popularly known as the Gate City of Florida. In appearance Jacksonville is very attractive. It has many handsome buildings, and its residential streets are shaded with live-oaks, water oaks and bitter-orange trees. Jacksonville is the seat of two schools for negroes, the Florida Baptist Academy and Cookman Institute (1872; Methodist Episcopal). Many winter visitors are annually attracted by the excellent climate, the mean temperature for the winter months being about 55° F. Among the places of interest in the vicinity is the large Florida ostrich farm. There are numerous municipal and other parks. The city owns and operates its electric-lighting plant and its water-works system. The capital invested in manufacturing increased from $1,857,844 in 1900 to $4,837,281 in 1905, or 160.4%, and the value of the factory product rose from $1,798,607 in 1900 to $5,340,264 in 1905, or 196.9%. Jacksonville is the most important distributing centre in Florida, and is a port of entry. In 1909 its foreign imports were valued at $513,439; its foreign exports at $2,507,373.

The site of Jacksonville was called Cow Ford (a version of the Indian name, Wacca Pilatka), from the excellent ford of the St John’s River, over which went the King’s Road, a highway built by the English from St Augustine to the Georgia line. The first settlement was made in 1816. In 1822 a town was laid out here and was named in honour of General Andrew Jackson; in 1833 Jacksonville was incorporated. During the Civil War the city was thrice occupied by Federal troops. In 1888 there was an epidemic of yellow fever. On the 3rd of May 1901 a fire destroyed nearly 150 blocks of buildings, constituting nearly the whole of the business part of the city, the total loss being more than $15,000,000; but within two years new buildings greater in number than those destroyed were constructed, and up to December 1909 about 9000 building permits had been granted.

  1. Shoals in the river and sand rock at its mouth long prevented the development of an extensive water trade, but in 1896 the United States Government made an appropriation (supplemented in 1902, 1903 and 1904) for deepening, for a width of 300 ft., the channel connecting the city and the ocean to 24 ft., and on the bar 27 ft. (mean low water), and by 1909 the work had been completed; further dredging to a 24 ft. depth between the navigable channel and pierhead lines was authorized in 1907 and completed by 1910.