Jacksonville, Florida

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"Jacksonville" redirects here. For other uses, see Jacksonville (disambiguation).
The Jacksonville skyline and the Acosta Bridge.
The Jacksonville skyline and the Acosta Bridge.
Jacksonville, Florida
Official flag of Jacksonville, Florida Official seal of Jacksonville, Florida
City flag City seal
City nickname: "Where Florida Begins"
Location of Jacksonville, Florida
Location of the city within the state of Florida
United States
Mayor John Peyton (R)
Physical characteristics
2,264.5 km²
     1962.4 km²
     302.1 km²
     Total (2004)

Latitude 30°19' N
Longitude 81°39' W
Time zone
     Summer (DST)
     EDT (UTC-5)
Official website: http://www.coj.net

Jacksonville is a city located in Duval County, Florida, USA. It is the county seat of Duval County 6. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 777,704[1]. It is the principal city on the First Coast region of Florida.

Geographically, it is the largest city in the contiguous 48 states of the United States in terms of land area. It is also the largest city in Florida in terms of population in the city proper (ultimately ranking 13th in the country). The Jacksonville metropolitan area reached over one million residents in 1996. Jacksonville also has the distinction of being the largest city in the South outside of Texas.

Jacksonville and Duval County are consolidated. All areas of Duval County are considered to be part of Jacksonville, but the communities of Baldwin, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach have their own municipal governments as well.

The total area of Jacksonville is 874.3 square miles (2,264.5 km²). Jacksonville was originally named Cowford because the St. Johns River is narrow there, allowing cattlemen to ford (herd cows across the river). The city was renamed in 1822 for the first territorial governor of Florida and the future 7th U.S. President, Andrew Jackson. Jacksonville is sometimes abbreviated as Jax, which comes from the abbreviation on luggage tags attached to baggage entering Jacksonville International Airport.



Main article: History of Jacksonville, Florida

The History of Jacksonville, like most cities, is long and complex. The first evidence of habitation is from over 6,000 years ago by the Timucua. In 1562, the French Huguenot explorer Jean Ribault explored the area around the St. Johns River, the first European expedition to the area. The first permanent settlement was founded as "Cow Ford" in 1791. Florida became a territory of the United States in 1821, and Cow Ford soon acquired the name "Jacksonville" after then-President Andrew Jackson. The charter for a town government was approved by the Florida Legislative Council on February 9, 1832.

Jacksonville was blockaded by the Union during the Civil War. It changed hands several times, although never with a battle. The closest civil war site is Olustee. However, Jacksonville was left in a position of considerable disrepair after the war.

During Reconstruction and afterward, Jacksonville and nearby St. Augustine became popular winter resorts for the rich and famous. Visitors arrived by steamboat and later by railroad. This ended eventually as the rail lines were extended even farther south to Miami and Palm Beach. Tourism, and the city as a whole, was dealt another blow by major yellow fever outbreaks in 1886 and 1888. In the absence of scientific knowledge concerning the causes of yellow fever, nearly half of the city's panicked residents fled despite the imposition of quarantines.

As if to further exacerbate the problem, on May 2, 1901, hot ash from a shantyhouse's chimney landed on the drying moss at Cleaveland's Fiber Factory. At half past noon most of the Cleaveland workers were at lunch, but by the time they returned the entire city block was engulfed in flames. The fire destroyed the business district and rendered 10,000 residents homeless in the course of eight hours. The fire is known as the "Great Fire of 1901". Famed New York architect Henry Klutho helped rebuild the city after the devastation.

Despite this, the motion picture industry took a liking to Jacksonville in the early 1900s. This was spurred by the warm climate, excellent rail access, and the lack of tourists (most visited Miami by this time) meant prices and labor were cheap. The city earned the title of the "Winter Film Capital of the World". By the early 1910s, Jacksonville hosted over 30 studios employing over 1000 actors. However, an unfavorable political climate forced the industry out of Jacksonville to California, where it largely still operates today.

During World War II, Naval Air Station Jacksonville ("NAS Jax") on the westside, the first navy installation in the city, was used as a major training center. Over 20,000 pilots and aircrewmen were being trained there. After the war, the Navy's Blue Angels were established at NAS Jax. Today, NAS Jax is the third largest navy installation in the country and employs over 23,000 civilian and active-duty personnel.

Jacksonville has a history of racial segregation and violence. This came to a head on an event known as "Ax Handle Saturday" on August 27, 1960. A group of white men (who allegedly were also members of the Ku Klux Klan) armed with baseball bats and ax handles attacked civil rights protesters conducting sit-ins at segregated downtown restaurants. The violence spread, and the white mob started attacking all African-Americans in sight. The police did not make an attempt to stop the violence until the "blacks started holding their own."

On June 1, 2003, John Peyton became Mayor of Jacksonville after defeating Sheriff Nat Glover.

Geography and climate


Jacksonville is located at 30°19'10" North, 81°39'36" West (30.319406, -81.659999)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2,264.5 km² (874.3 mi²). 1,962.4 km² (757.7 mi²) of it is land and 302.1 km² (116.7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 13.34% water.


Jacksonville has mild weather during winters and hot weather during summers. High temperatures average 50 to 90°F (10-32°C) throughout the year. High heat indices are not uncommon for the summer months in the Jacksonville area. High Temperatures can reach mid to high 90s with heat index ranges of 105-115 °F. Conversely, the area can experience many freezes and hard freezes during the night at winter's peak. Very rarely, the area will see snow, though when this happens the snow will usually melt before it touches the ground.

Jacksonville is one of the few cities on the Eastern coast that have been spared from the wrath of hurricanes. The only hurricane to directly hit the city was Hurricane Dora in 1964 with winds that had just barely diminished to 110 mph, making it a strong Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. However, the city has suffered many indirect hits.

Rainfall averages around 52 inches a year, with the wetter months being June through September.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 735,617 people, 284,499 households, and 190,614 families residing in the city. The population density is 374.9/km² (970.9/mi²). There are 308,826 housing units at an average density of 157.4/km² (407.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 64.48% White, 29.03% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 2.78% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.33% from other races, and 1.99% from two or more races. 4.16% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 284,499 households out of which 33.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% are married couples living together, 16.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% are non-families. 26.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.53 and the average family size is 3.07.

In the city, the population is spread out with 26.7% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $40,316, and the median income for a family is $47,243. Males have a median income of $32,547 versus $25,886 for females. The per capita income for the city is $20,337. 12.2% of the population and 9.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 16.7% of those under the age of 18 and 12.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Jacksonville is dependent on shipping, tourism, and business. Jacksonville is the home of several companies, the most noteable being:

The logo of Winn-Dixie. The company was founded in Jacksonville.
The logo of Winn-Dixie. The company was founded in Jacksonville.

See also: Famous businesses native to Jacksonville, Florida



After World War II, the government of the City of Jacksonville began to increase spending to fund new building projects in the boom that occurred after the war. Mayor Haydon Burns' "Jacksonville Story" resulted in the construction of a new city hall, civic auditorium, public library and other projects that created a dynamic sense of civic pride. However, the development of suburbs and a subsequent wave of "white flight" left Jacksonville with a much poorer population than before. Much of the city's tax base dissipated, leading to problems with funding education, sanitation, and traffic control within the city limits. In addition, residents in unincorporated suburbs had difficulty obtaining municipal services such as sewage and building code enforcement. In 1958, a study recommended that the City of Jacksonville begin annexing outlying communities in order to create the needed tax base to improve services throughout the county. Voters outside the city limits rejected annexation plans in six referendums between 1960 and 1965.

In the mid 1960s, corruption scandals began to arise among many of the city's officials, who were mainly elected through the traditional good ol' boy network. After a grand jury was convened to investigate, several officials were indicted and more were forced to resign. Consolidation, led by Sheriff Dale Carson, began to win more support during this period, from both inner city blacks (who wanted more involvement in government) and whites in the suburbs (who wanted more services and more control over the center city). Lower taxes, increased economic development, unification of the community, better public spending and effective administration by a more central authority were all cited as reasons for a new consolidated government.

A consolidation referendum was held in 1967, and voters approved the plan. On October 1, 1968, the governments merged to create the Consolidated City of Jacksonville.


Jacksonville uses the Mayor-Council form of city government. The mayor is the Chief Executive and Administrative officer, called the Strong-Mayor form. He holds veto power over all resolutions and ordinances made by the city council. He also has the power to hire and fire the head of various city departments. The city council has nineteen members, fourteen of whom are elected from districts, and five who are elected at-large. Four municipalities within Duval County voted not to join the consolidated government. These communities consist of only 6% of the total population within the county. The municipalities are Baldwin, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach.

Not all city services were merged, making for a less-than-full consolidation of the city-county. Several authorities remain independent of the combined city-county government, including the school board, electric authority, port authority, and airport authority. Fire, police, health and welfare, recreation, public works, and housing and urban development were all combined under the new government. The four separate communities provide their own services, while maintaining the right to contract the consolidated government to provide services for them.

Under the new government structure, anyone living in Duval County is eligible to run for Mayor of the City of Jacksonville, even those living in the four separate municipalities.


Public high schools

Jacksonville, along with the standard district schools, is home to two International Baccalaureate ("IB") schools. They are Stanton College Preparatory School and the newer Paxon School for Advanced Studies. Starting with the graduating class of 2010, the schools combined applications for the IB program. As well as IB schools, there is a Performing arts high school located in Jacksonville, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. See also: List of high schools in Jacksonville

Higher education

The University of North Florida is located in Jacksonville
The University of North Florida is located in Jacksonville

Jacksonville is home to Brewer Christian College, Edward Waters College, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida, Florida Community College at Jacksonville, Trinity Baptist College, Jones College, Florida Technical College, Logos Christian College, and Florida Coastal School of Law.

Former mayor John Delaney (predecessor of current mayor John Peyton) has been president of the University of North Florida since July 2003, parlaying his widespread popularity in the city into a highly coveted spot of leadership in the state university system.


The city's biggest cultural event is the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, an annual event featuring many of the biggest names in jazz. Jacksonville also features two art museums: the Cummer Gallery of Art and the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art. The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra makes regular performances at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts near downtown. The newly built Veterans Memorial Arena has quickly grown in popularity with many acts since it has been built. KISS, Aerosmith, Elton John, Green Day, Metallica, Britney Spears, and many other acts have performed there.

Jacksonville also hosts an annual concert event known as "Come Together Day," which is held every spring at Metro Park, adjacent to ALLTEL Stadium, on the banks of the St. John's River. The largest names in the Hip Hop/R&B genre make their way to Jacksonville to perform in front of thousands of spectators. The event is sponsored by local radio stations. Past performers include: Monica, Ying Yang Twins, Master P, Trina, David Banner, Trick Daddy, Destiny's Child, and a large host of other prominent hip-hop legends. Crowds from all across the region converge on Jacksonville for one of the largest hip hop events of the year. The event was originally created as a way of drawing the black community together in the sense of a family reunion. Come Together Day has since grown to a major event welcoming tourists from all across the southeast.

Jacksonville Beach is the host of the Springing the Blues Festival. On the springingtheblues.com website this was stated: Springing The Blues is a free outdoor blues music festival designed to celebrate America's indigenous musical form and promote support of the arts. The three-day oceanfront event features a number of renowned blues performers as well as numerous displays and activities geared for the entire family. It is held at Jacksonville Beach, Florida's Oceanfront SeaWalk Pavilion on the 1st weekend of April each year.

Citizens of Jacksonville and surronding counties make their the way to the Jacksonville Riverwalk to be dazzled by fireworks. On the Fourth of July, with weather permitting, the city is the site of one of the largest fireworks displays in the nation. Thousands gather at Metro Park, which is also the site of a Happy Birthday America Concert. On the night of New Years' Eve Jacksonville puts on a major fireworks-concert on the banks of the River to usher in the new year. The cities' urban core is jammed pack with crowds and partiers who are poised to attend the Gator Bowl the next day. These fireworks shows makes use of Jacksonville's beautiful downtown skyscrapers and its numerous colorful lit bridges as barges to create a festive atmosphere.

Jacksonville also has significant natural beauty from the St. Johns River and Atlantic Ocean. The city center includes the Jacksonville Landing shopping center and the Riverwalk. Downtown Jacksonville has a memorable skyline with the tallest building being the Bank of America Building, constructed in 1990 with a height of 617ft (188m). Other notable structures include the Modis Building (once the defining building in the Jacksonville skyline, owned by Independent Life) with its distinctive flared base and the Riverplace Tower, which is the tallest pre-cast, post-tension concrete structure in the world.

In addition, the Jacksonville Zoological Gardens boast the second largest animal collection in the state, only behind Disney's Animal Kingdom. The zoo features elephants, lions, jaguars (with a new exhibit, Range of the Jaguar, hosted by the owners of the Jacksonville Jaguar owners, Delores and Wayne Weaver), a multitude of reptile houses, free flight aviaries, and many other animals.

Other points of interest in the city include:


The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville's newspaper
The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville's newspaper

The Florida Times-Union is the major daily newspaper in Jacksonville. Another daily newspaper is The Daily Record. Popular magazines include Folio Weekly, Jacksonville Free Press, Jacksonville Business Journal, The Jacksonville Advocate, and the The Florida Star. There is also a monthly publication called the Jacksonville Magazine.

Jacksonville is served by television stations affiliated with major American networks including WTLV (NBC), WJXX (ABC), WTEV (CBS), WAWS (FOX, and WJWB (WB). PBS has two members stations in Jacksonville, WUFT and WJCT. WJXT is a former longtime CBS affiliate that turned independent in 2002.

The two most popular radio stations in regards to contemporary hits are WAPE 95.1 and WFKS 97.9. WJBT 92.7 is a hip-hop/R&B station, WPLA 93.3 is a modern rock and alternative music station, WQIK 99.1 is a country station, WHJX 105.7 is a soul station, WFJO 92.5 plays music in Spanish like salsa, merengue, and reggaeton, and WJCT 89.9 is a local public radio station. See Radio Stations in Jacksonville, Florida for more radio stations in Jacksonville.


Logo of the Jacksonville Jaguars
Logo of the Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville is home to a number of professional sports teams, the most famous of which is the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League. The Jacksonville Suns is a minor league baseball affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The ice hockey team is the Jacksonville Barracudas.

Jacksonville was named as the site for Super Bowl XXXIX, becoming the third city in the state of Florida (Miami and Tampa being the others) to host the event. The game was held on February 6, 2005 and featured halftime entertainment by former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney. Due to the milder climate and lesser amount of hotel space , many media critics decried Jacksonville as a substandard host for a Super Bowl, although local leaders felt the criticism was unwarranted. The game itself was played under ideal football weather (about 55°F), and the New England Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21.

The Jacksonville area also boasts many excellent golf courses. In Ponte Vedra lies the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass, one of the most famous golf courses in the world and home to the annual PGA TPC (The Player's Championship) tournament. Nearby St. Augustine is home to the World Golf Village and World Golf Hall of Fame.

Jacksonville was the chosen location to host Super Bowl XXXIX
Jacksonville was the chosen location to host Super Bowl XXXIX

Professional tennis is in town each year when the WTA holds the Bausch & Lomb Championships at Amelia Island Plantation near Fernandina Beach, just north of Jacksonville. Other sports events include the annual Kingfish Tournament held in July, the Florida-Georgia football game, commonly known as "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" held every October, the ACC Championship, and the Gator Bowl held in early January. University of North Florida, Jacksonville University and Edward Waters College also field athletic teams in a number of sports.


Interstate Highways 10 and 95 intersect in Jacksonville. Interstate Highway 10 ends at this intersection (the other end being in California). The eastern terminus of US-90 is in nearby Jacksonville Beach near the Atlantic Ocean. Additionaly, several other roads as well a major local expressway, J. Turner Butler Boulevard (SR 202) also connect Jacksonville to the beaches. Public transportation is provided by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. The city has the Jacksonville Skyway Monorail, which loops around the central business district and is fairly cheap to use. However, there are very few Skyway stations and as such, traffic is quite light.

A 1992 map of three of the bridges.
A 1992 map of three of the bridges.

Interstate 95 has a bypass route, with I-295, which bypasses the city to the west, and SR-9A, bypassing the city to the east. I-295 and SR-9A circumvent the Jacksonville downtown as North-South routes around the city.

Jacksonville is also home to the world headquarters of CSX Transportation.

There are also numerous bridges over the St. Johns River at Jacksonville. They include (starting from furthest downstream) the Dames Point Bridge, the Mathews Bridge, the Isaiah D. Hart Bridge, the Main Street Bridge, the Acosta Bridge, the Fuller Warren Bridge (which carries I-95 traffic) and the Buckman Bridge (which carries I-295 traffic).

Major commercial air service in Jacksonville operates out of Jacksonville International Airport. Smaller planes can fly to Craig Airport on the southside and Herlong Airport on the westside. The city also operates an airfield at Cecil Commerce Center that is intended for aerospace manufacturing companies.

The city also has a limited monorail system called the "Skyway". The Skyway specifically has been criticized in that it goes from "nowhere to nowhere" in its limited route, which encompasses only downtown and such is no use to most commuters.

Amtrak passenger railroad serves Jacksonville from a station on Clifford Lane in the Northwest section of the city.

In 2003, the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal opened, providing cruise service to Key West, Florida, the Bahamas, and Mexico.

St. Johns River crossings in the Jacksonville, Florida area
south of downtown Shands Bridge (to be replaced or supplemented) - Buckman Bridge - Timuquana Bridge (never built)
south from downtown Fuller Warren Bridge - Acosta Bridge - Main Street Bridge
east from downtown Hart Bridge - Mathews Bridge - 20th Street Extension (never built)
east of downtown Dames Point Bridge - SR 113A (never built) - Mayport Ferry

Famous native individuals and groups

James Weldon Johnson
James Weldon Johnson
Main article: Famous natives of Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville is also the birthplace of many businesses that are based there.

Sister cities

Jacksonville has several sister cities [2]. They are:

In 2000, The Sister Cities International awarded Jacksonville the Innovation Arts & Culture Award for the city's program with Nantes.

See also

Further reading

External links

Government Resources

Non-Profits and Social Services

Higher Education

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