Will You Join the Fight to Preserve Intown Jacksonville?

Changes are constantly happening to improve the state of Downtown Jacksonville and its surrounding Intown areas. But, there has been struggle over the decision to demolish and rebuild or preserve what was once prominent in our historic area.

One recent case is that of two local sisters whose grandfathers each built a house in Jacksonville’s historic Durkeeville. While Durkeeville is considered historic, the area’s houses currently hold no historic protection and, because of this, one of the sisters’ house on Myrtle Ave. was demolished in April.

The other sisters’ house still standing on 6th St. is currently in limbo between preservation and demolition. Their grandfather carved his fingerprints into the house so everyone would know it was his. Those fingerprints, over 100 years old, are now the only remaining legacy the sisters have left of their grandfather.

Her grandfather carved his fingerprints into the trim of the house.  Photo Courtesy Gloria Devall
Her grandfather carved his fingerprints into the trim of the house. Photo Courtesy Gloria Devall

To help avoid the same fate of their Myrtle Ave. house, the sisters approached Preservation SOS (PSOS). Eager to aid in the preservation of historic Jacksonville, PSOS agreed to pay for the cost of mothballing. “We deal with historic properties so it just seemed natural to help them,” said Gloria DeVall, vice president of PSOS. Mothballing is scheduled to start this week.

Throughout the process, the sisters and PSOS will be fighting to gain historical landmark status for the house. In order for this to happen, the house must meet two of the seven criteria determined by City of Jacksonville’s Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission:

  • It has value as a significant reminder of the cultural, historical, architectural, or archaeological heritage of the city, state or nation;
  • Its location is the site of a significant local, state or national event;
  • It is identified with a person or persons who significantly contributed to the development of the city, state or nation;
  • It is identified as the work of a master builder, designer, or architect whose individual work has influenced the development of the city, state or nation;
  • Its value as a building is recognized for the quality of architecture, and it retains sufficient elements showing its architectural significance;
  • It has distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style valuable for the study of a period, method of construction, or use of indigenous materials;
  • Its suitability for preservation or restoration.

Mothballing will stop the sisters from receiving any further city fines. However, it does not guarantee commissioners will discontinue the demolition.

Durkeeville, and this 6th St. house, is an important representation of early 20th century Jacksonville. If you would like to assist in the fight to preserve a family legacy in historic Intown Jacksonville, please click here for more information.

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