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Snyder Memorial was first used as a Jacksonville Jazz Festival venue in 2009 when the annual event moved to the core of Downtown.
Jax Daily Record Monday, Mar. 17, 201412:00 PM EST

City to repair historic Snyder Memorial

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Snyder Memorial, the former church along Laura Street near Hemming Plaza, will undergo a major structural repair.

The foundation of the building, which has been deteriorating for years, will be repaired at a cost of $319,000.

The work is scheduled to be complete in late summer, said Public Works Department spokeswoman Debbie Delgado.

She said the fence might be removed from the sidewalks along Laura and Monroe streets around the building before the April 9-13 One Spark crowdfunding festival, if the project proceeds on schedule.

Snyder Memorial’s history goes back three decades before the Great Fire of 1901.

The Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in Jacksonville in 1870 and 31 years later, church members suffered the loss of their sanctuary in the fire that destroyed most of the city.

As soon as the ashes cooled, work began to restore the place of worship on its original site. Two years later, the granite and limestone church in the Gothic Revival style built at a cost of approximately $31,000 opened at the southwest corner of Laura and Monroe streets.

The church was renamed Snyder Memorial in honor of former pastor E.B. Snyder, whose children had contributed generously to the building’s resurrection campaign.

Years after the church held its last Sunday service in the 1970s, it was deconsecrated and in 2000, the St. Johns River City Band purchased the building for its offices and performance space.

After a few years of renovations, the band experienced financial hardship and in 2004 was forced to put the building up for sale. The City purchased it and Snyder Memorial has been unoccupied since.

It was a venue for the 2009 Jacksonville Jazz Festival, the first year the event relocated to the core of Downtown after being at Metropolitan Park for years.

The building also is occasionally used as a venue for First Wednesday Art Walk and for the introduction of new members of the Jacksonville Jazz Festival Hall of Fame.

Snyder Memorial is one of two Downtown churches owned by the city, the other being Historic Old St. Andrews, which is leased by the Jacksonville Historical Society, near Veterans Memorial Arena.

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