The Hart Bridge is shown on Dec. 4, 1968, about a year after it opened.

Hart Bridge opens, mayor makes the first toll payment — 15 cents

Here are some of the top news stories of this week in 1967 compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library’s archives by Associate Editor Max Marbut.
Oct. 30, 2017

The $40 million Isaiah D. Hart Bridge was open to traffic this week in 1967 when Jennifer Fewell, 8, snipped a ribbon at the conclusion of the dedication ceremony. She was the great-great-great-great granddaughter of Hart, the man who laid out Jacksonville’s first streets and is considered the founder of the city.

Mayor Hans Tanzler described the span as “another stone in the glittering crown of prideful achievement by Jacksonville.”

He said it was significant that the bridge would open so soon after the approval of consolidated government, linking the city and its surrounding areas.

Tanzler later provided the first revenue for the toll facility, dropping 15 cents into a collection box before leading a motorcade of about 200 cars across from Southside to Downtown.

Judge sets trial date when indicted official requests pension

George Robinson Sr., former director of the Gator Bowl Complex who was under indictment on charges of grand larceny from the city, asked that he be retired on a city pension.

In a letter to the City Commission, he stated that he was asking for retirement on advice of his physicians.

Robinson, 71, a veteran of 40 years of service with the city, was suspended in June 1966 from his job after he was indicted by a Duval County grand jury. 

City Attorney William Madison told commissioners that Robinson was entitled to draw his pension unless he was proven guilty of the theft charges.

Cardiac specialists said Robinson suffered from such a serious heart condition that he was unable to stand trial. 

Criminal Court Judge Warren Nelson in September postponed his trial at least until December.

The day after Robinson requested retirement, Nelson wrote a letter to Robinson’s attorneys, Walter Shea and M.H. Myerson, instructing them to have Robinson in court Nov. 8 to set a trial for Dec. 4 or even sooner.

“This court construes the affirmative action by the said defendant, George G. Robinson, as an abandonment and waiver of his motions before this court for continuance of his trial on grounds of physical capacity. Please be advised that the cases against Mr. Robinson in this division are being placed on this court’s calendar for Wednesday, Nov. 6, 1967 to be set for trial this term. The defendant is to be present,” Nelson wrote.

The judge also advised the attorneys that if the week of Dec. 4 could not be used for any reason, an earlier week would be selected.

Attorney Nathan Wilson to chair Community Relations Commission

Mayor Hans Tanzler named attorney Nathan Wilson chairman of the new Community Relations Commission for a three-year term.

Wilson was Florida counsel for Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Co. and a past president of The Jacksonville Bar Association.

“If Jacksonville is to take its place among the truly great cities of the United States, it is absolutely essential that we maintain the harmonious community relationship we now enjoy and stay abreast of any and all areas of possible difficulties,” Tanzler said.

He added that any rapidly growing metropolitan area had to recognize that to make economic and cultural progress, all residents would have to work together and be willing to understand the problems of the overall community as well as the problems of the groups within the community.

“It is one thing to pass a law. It’s another to give it meaning in the life of our community and our people,” Wilson said. “The Community Relations Commission is charged with a grave responsibility to uphold human dignity and guard against abusive discrimination and prejudice where it is harmful to the individual and the community.”

He said the commission would act in the interest of all people, regardless of race, color, creed or politics.

“We stand now on the threshold of a new era in local government. I take it as an auspicious sign that this commission has been established at this precise time and I intend to organize it along lines that will assure its effectiveness when the new City of Jacksonville under consolidated government becomes a reality,” Wilson said.