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- 2014 - July - 21st -
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A $2.9 million loan was granted this week in 1964 for construction of Cathedral Manor at 601 N. Newnan St.

50 years ago: St. John’s Cathedral receives federal loan for apartments

Compiled by Max Marbut

The U.S. Housing and Home Finance Agency approved a $2.9 million loan for construction of an 18-story, 249-unit apartment building Downtown for retired people.

The project, Cathedral Manor, was sponsored by St. John’s Cathedral. The site for the building was bounded by Ashley, Church, Market and Newnan streets. The property was at the time occupied by 16 wood-frame buildings, mostly multistory rooming houses.

The 50-year loan would finance acquisition of the property and construction of the building. The loan was granted, at 3.58 percent interest, by the Senior Citizen Housing Loan Program of the Community Facilities Administration.

Monthly rental rates for the unfurnished apartments were set at $72 for the 166 efficiency units and $96 for the 70 one-bedroom units and $135 for the 11 two-bedroom units, said attorney John D. Corse, who was chairman of the building committee for St. John’s Cathedral. The rest of the apartments would be used for maintenance personnel and rental rates included utilities, he said.

Preliminary plans called for a building of reinforced concrete. Inside, the design included a hobby room, a snack bar and reading, television and lounge rooms. A laundry room also would be available and it was pointed out the building would be air-conditioned.

Cathedral Manor had been planned in Downtown, Corse said, to make shopping, recreational and church facilities convenient for the residents so they could remain in the mainstream of the community.

“By providing this housing specifically for elderly people, the church is nurturing its responsibility to the community by offering safe, convenient and economical housing.

Along with our new Sunday school building, construction of this project is an indication of our confidence in the future and vitality of Jacksonville’s downtown area,” said the Very Rev. Robert R. Parks, dean of St. John’s Cathedral.

• A delegation of Eighth Street business owners seeking City Commission endorsement of making the cross-town roadway part of the state primary road system so it could be improved were told by Mayor-Commissioner Haydon Burns, the Democratic Party nominee for governor, they probably wouldn’t get such a state action any time soon.

Burns described himself as a “friend to the cause,” but “I don’t think you’ve got a chance of getting it in 20 years,” he said.

Burns advised the group to lobby the Jacksonville Expressway Authority to take over Eighth Street from the Haines Street Expressway on the east to the main north-south Expressway on the west side.

• On Tuesday this week in 1964, there were six little Walkers and 12 big tonsils.

On Wednesday, only the little Walkers remained.

The tonsils were removed two at a time by Dr. Risden Allen, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Hope Haven Hospital.

“We just decided we would have them all out at once,” said Mrs. Carl Edward Walker, mother of the three boys and three girls, ages 3-14, who underwent tonsillectomies on the same day.

“All of them have been having trouble with earaches, sore throats and everything else over the years and we made our collective minds up to have the tonsils removed,” she said.

Hope Haven Superintendent Ruth Lawton said all six patients recovered quickly and probably would return home to 2107

Valencia Drive on Thursday.

“Another thing about having them all taken out at the same time,” said Mrs. Walker, “was that the ones who might have gone first otherwise couldn’t return home with weird tales about how it hurt.”

• Preston Howland celebrated his 20th birthday by leading 33 swimmers from start to finish in the 31st annual marathon ocean swim at Jacksonville Beach. He finished eight minutes and 16 seconds ahead of the next-fastest swimmer.

Howland was hampered once in his swim by the tentacles of a jellyfish that wrapped around his arm, raising a welt on his wrist.

Second place went to James Thames, 21, winner for the previous three years. Confused in a blinding rain that hit the swimmers at the one-hour mark, he veered out to see, losing about seven minutes.

Howland’s official winning time was one hour, 22 minutes and 14 seconds. The record in 1964 for the swim was one hour and five minutes.

• Florida had the highest crime index in the Southeast in 1963 and Jacksonville and Daytona Beach were the second most crime-ridden cities of their size in the U.S., according to the FBI’s annual crime report.

Florida ranked sixth in the nation with a total of 90,006 offenses in the seven categories indexed by the FBI: murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft.

There were more robberies reported in Jacksonville than in any other city in the 100,000-250,000 population range. Jacksonville was second in the number of murders and third in burglaries, aggravated assaults and grand larceny.

• More than 1,000 delegates and guests from 10 states arrived in Jacksonville for the 16th annual Southern States Apprenticeship Conference.

The representatives of labor and management were gathered to honor apprentices who had shown outstanding progress in preparing themselves for their chosen trades.

At the George Washington Hotel, keynote speakers included the chief of educational relations for the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., the industrial relations director for the Ford Motor Co.’s glass factory in Nashville, Tenn., and the director of skill improvement training for the International Brotherhood of Electricians.

The chairman of the conference host committee, P.J. Holmberg, president of Holmberg Construction Co., said attracting more young men to the idea of becoming skilled craftsmen was one of the chief challenges facing industry.

“Too many high school graduates want to start off as executives,” he said. “Not many seem to realize that there are many jobs available in the trade industries that, with a lot of hard work and determination, lead to top-notch jobs.”

Holmberg said he was a good example of what it was possible to accomplish via the apprenticeship route.

He entered the apprenticeship program in Jacksonville in 1951 as a carpenter making $50 a week. The carpentry apprenticeship program was a four-year process.

Holmberg made the grade in less than two years and worked his way up to foreman, and then job superintendent before becoming president of his own firm.

He said his construction company completed its first year of business in May 1964 with the completion of more than $1 million in contracts and more than $3 million in business was already under contract for 1964.

“The business is there, but it takes good men to run a construction business and I just can’t find enough of them. Would you believe it if I said I’ve been looking for job superintendents who could earn between $10,000 and $20,000 a year and I can’t find them?

“There are plenty of men right here in Jacksonville who could be making this kind of money in a few years – 10 or less – if they are willing to work hard,” he said.

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