Short and Eventful History of Jacksonville FL

The history of Jacksonville FL goes back much further than one may think – the area has been inhabited for thousands of years. But it was only in the 16th century when the town started to become a melting pot of cultures. In five centuries, this once small town experienced a lot of ups and downs, so continue reading to learn how it has become America’s metropolis with over a million citizens.

Timeline of Jacksonville FL

In 1564, a group of French Huguenots built a settlement a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean and named it Fort Caroline. Soon after, in 1565, the Spanish destroyed the fort and started to convert the natives to Catholicism for the next two centuries. The Spanish left and gave control of the territory to the British in 1763, who named it Cowford.

Jacksonville was officially founded in 1822 by Isaiah David Hart, and only a dozen people lived within the city. As trade routes kept opening up along the Atlantic Coast, the population of Jacksonville grew. By the mid-19th century, Jacksonville was a vibrant southern town filled with local farmers and political leaders. As the importance of the cotton, gin, and sugar industry continued to grow, so did the influence of Jacksonville.

Named after President Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was the seventh president of the United States and the first military governor of the Florida Territory. Interestingly, Jackson never stepped foot in Jacksonville, even though the city was named after him. But because of his presidential influence at the time, the city of Jacksonville decided to erect an equestrian memorial statue dedicated to Jackson.

The Great Fire of May 3, 1901

What started as a kitchen fire turned into a big city fire. In just eight hours, Jacksonville FL was completely engulfed in flames that destroyed over two thousand buildings and left ten thousand people homeless. The fire is considered one of the worst disasters that struck Florida.

Five Minutes of Movie Fame

While Jacksonville FL was going through reconstruction, the film industry started to bloom. Many silent film studios were established in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, but Jacksonville’s warm climate and cheap labor attracted movie makers and enthusiasts, which earned the city the title of the “Winter Film Capital of the World.”

Jacksonville’s movie fame did not last long because Hollywood emerged as a major film production center and took over. Still, Jacksonville’s film industry importance was immortalized in the Jacksonville Silent Film Museum in Arlington.

Take a Historical Tour in Jacksonville FL

Nowadays, Jacksonville, or how the locals call it – Jax – is a city of many historical attractions to enjoy. If you want to learn more about the history of Jacksonville, feel free to join a historical tour. There’s plenty to choose from, but the best ones are Go Tuk’n, Mandarin Museum and Historical Society, Amelia Island Tour, and Saint Augustine Tour. Whichever historical tour of Jacksonville FL you choose, you will find it entertaining and educational.

This short historical overview is brought to you by R&C Roofing and Contracting, a top roofing company in Jacksonville FL.

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Jacksonville, FL 32257