50 years ago this week
Have you ever wondered what life was like in Jacksonville half a century ago? It was a different era of history, culture and politics but there are often parallels between the kind of stories that made headlines then and today. As interesting as the differences may be, so are the similarities. These are some of the top stories from this week in 1963. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library's periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.
New officers were elected for the Duval County Legal Aid Association at the organization's annual meeting at the Roosevelt Hotel.
New officers were Franklin Reinstine, president; Madeleine Downing Knight, first vice president; Lewis Ansbacher, second vice president; Luther Paul, secretary; and Thomas Slade III, treasurer.
Outgoing President John McCormack Jr. presented a brief annual report indicating the association handled 2,209 cases in the previous year with the assistance of 80 lawyers from the Legal Aid Committee of The Jacksonville Bar Association.
A group of residents from the East 48th Street area appealed to the City Commission to remove 10 frame structures in their neighborhood that were described as fire and health hazards.
The delegation urged the condemnation and removal of the buildings, which were not connected to City water and had outdoor toilet facilities.
Commissioner Louis Ritter said the situation described by the residents was the reason the City was seeking legislation at the state level to give the City more authority in setting housing standards and clearing slums.
Ritter said the existing law was inadequate and cited a case in which the City incurred more than $2,000 in court costs to have a building removed as a health and safety hazard.
"This is one of the reasons we hope the Legislature will pass a bill for a City housing code. Under the present law, it is very difficult to condemn and get rid of undesirable housing," he said.
The residents also made their appeal to the City Council. That caused Council member John Lanahan, who had announced his candidacy for mayor in the fall election against incumbent Mayor Haydon Burns, to say that the structures involved in the request were owned by George Carlyon, Burns' brother-in-law.
Lanahan said the commission, of which Burns was a member, had taken no action against the properties when the complaints were brought up two years earlier.
Lanahan questioned if Burns was ignoring the issues because his brother-in-law was involved.
"He should take his own family and clean it up a bit," Lanahan said.
Burns said Lanahan's statements were "irresponsible and inaccurate."
He said Carlyon had never talked to him about the properties, officially or unofficially.
"It is unfortunate that some people in public positions will cast disparaging remarks on other officials and citizens when the official and public records of the City are in direct contrast to the charges levied by the irresponsible persons making such an attack," said Burns.
Jacksonville Fire Chief Frank Kelly asked the City Council Budget and Finance Committee to appropriate an additional $6,000 for firefighter uniforms.
Kelly said the $12,500 set aside in the 1963 budget was "a ridiculous figure" when compared to $49,561 appropriated for uniforms for the Police Department.
He said the $17,500 appropriated for uniforms in the 1962 budget also was not sufficient. An audit of the City's 1962 expenditures showed $19,183 was spent on uniforms for the firefighters.
The committee took no formal action on Kelly's request.
The City Council Pardon Board rejected three applications for pardons and gave its approval for the release of 10 minor offenders who had contributed blood to the Jacksonville Blood Bank in favor of the Fraternal Order of Police blood bank account.
City Manager John Printon announced that trash collection in Atlantic Beach had been put on a new weekly schedule.
Garbage would be collected daily during June, July and August. Service would be provided every other day during the cooler months, he said.
Building permits issued in January for unincorporated areas of Duval County covered construction with a listed value of $3,633,168. It was the highest monthly total since August 1962, when permits were issued with a value of $4,218,534.
County Engineer John Crosby said the January numbers were considerably higher than the $2,068,649 figure for permits issued in December, primarily due to the $1,096,400 permit issued for a new junior high school in Marietta.
Bill Wellons, American Automobile Association director of traffic, engineering and safety, told members of the Southside Business Men's Club that Jacksonville could lose a lot of business if all of Interstate 95 was not constructed.
Extension of the Sunshine State Parkway from Fort Pierce to Wildwood and building Interstate 75 through the center of Florida to connect with the parkway was "bound to divert traffic" from the eastern part of the state, he said.
Wellons warned that if the trend toward construction of toll roads continued, free roads would stagnate. He said that was not a fair proposition because highway construction and maintenance funds came from highway users who paid taxes on fuel, tires and other sources. A motorist who then paid to use a toll road was "in a situation of double taxation," he said.
The 40-car ferry Blackbeard went into service Monday at the Mayport-Fort George crossing.
The 3-year-old vessel was purchased in San Francisco by the State Road Department to replace the Jean LaFitte, a 21-car ferry, which was built in the early 1930s.
The new ferry would join the 35-car Buccaneer ferry, at times alternating service. Both vessels would operate during peak travel times.
More than 50 Boy Scouts and adult leaders from Troop 5 at Christ the King Church retraced the footsteps of a 16th-century Spanish admiral who marched along the coast to attack Fort Caroline.
Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed on Florida's shore in 1565 and established St. Augustine. Later, leading a band of soldiers, he marched on the French settlement at Fort Caroline.
The Scouts covered about seven miles of the historic route from Atlantic Boulevard to Fort Caroline National Park in Arlington.
"The primary purpose of the hike is to stimulate interest in historical aspects of the Jacksonville area and create an increased awareness of the rich history of Duval County among its young people," said Robert Coyle, scoutmaster.
In other walking news, two Jacksonville police officers completed a 30-mile hike to see how well they measured up to the walking craze inspired by President John F. Kennedy's advocacy of physical fitness.
Lt. Al Kline, 36, and Patrolman Henry Nicholson, 29, completed the round-trip walk between Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach in nine hours and 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, three U.S. Navy aviators attached to Attack Squadron 36 at Cecil Field Naval Air Station were planning a 50-mile overnight round-trip hike.
They would leave the base, walk 25 miles south and then turn around and return to the base. The squadron's nickname was the "Roadrunners."