by Kent Jennings Brockwell
Walking through the recently restored Merrill House is like taking a 100-year step back in time. After more than $600,000 and six years of work, the old Merrill House on A. Philip Randolph Boulevard has been historically restored to its former grandeur thanks to the Jacksonville Historical Society.
In its heyday, the Merrill House was owned by James E. Merrill, owner of one of the biggest shipbuilding companies in the South during the late 1880s. Though his family lived in the house from 1879 until 1920, the Society has restored it based on the styles and customs of the early 1900s.
From the type of furniture in the house to the opened books on the desk in the study, painstaking effort was made to portray the house as if the family had just taken a walk down the street and left the door open for visitors.
There are no set visiting hours for the house, but appointments for groups of six or more can be made by calling Emily Lisska, executive director of the Jacksonville Historical Society, at 665-0064.