Built on the same site as the 1929 Ritz Theater movie house in the area of town that was known as the “Harlem of the South.”
The Rochester House
Located in the historic Riverside district, the haunted house once played host to Abraham Lincoln’s widow.
Jacksonville was know as America's First Hollywood. Richard Norman's silent film studio complex still stands in the historic Old Arlington district.
Dickey Betts, Butch Trucks and Berry Oakley members of the Allman Brothers Band were from Jacksonville.
Fort Caroline's exact location still remains a mystery. However, today stands a replica and is said to be a one-third scale model of the original.
Jacksonville is Florida’s original tourist destination!
Since the French Huguenots arrived in 1564, Jacksonville’s history has been shaped by the mixture of cultures that call the city home. From the Native Timucuan Indians, the French explorers, the Spanish Conquistadors, the African Slaves of the regions formative years to the resent immigrants, Jacksonville’s diverse population makes for a perfectly seasoned melting pot of cultures, flavors and ideas. So come explore our beautiful historical sites, and learn while you have fun!
- First Thanksgiving: Forget Plymouth and the pilgrims, the first time Europeans and Native Americans met for a meal was in Fort Caroline, Jacksonville in 1564.
- First European Settlement:In 1562, Jean Ribault landed in Jacksonville and claimed the land for France, In 1564, Rene de Ladonniere and a small group of French Huguenots, protestants searching for a new home and religious freedom, landed in Jacksonville and established the first European settlement in Northeast Florida. La Caroline, in honor of King Charles IX, was meant to be a fort for refuge for the protestant settlers. When the Spanish found out, they ordered the fort destroyed. The original site of Fort Caroline has never been found; nowadays visitors can tour a replica fort located near the original site.
- What’s in a name? Jacksonville was not always Jacksonville. After the Spanish took over Fort Caroline, then the British took over. They built a road connecting St. Augustine to Georgia and named the area in between “Cow Ford” because of the fact that cattle used to be moved from one city to the other. It wasn’t until 1832 that Cow Ford became Jacksonville, named after the seventh President of the United States, Andrew Jackson. (BTW, he never visited Jacksonville)
- Vacation Town: After the Civil War, during reconstruction and the Gilded Age, Jacksonville became a popular winter resorts for the rich and famous, the first in Florida.
- The Great Fire of 1901: It was one of the worst fires in the Southeast’s history; it started at a fiber factory and quickly spread across downtown. 10,000 people were left homeless.
- The Bold City of the South: On October 1, 1968, voters chose to consolidate the city of Jacksonville and Duval County into one big city, the largest in land area in the entire nation.