The Great Jacksonville Fire of 1901 destroyed a city built mostly of wood. Afterwards, brick buildings became the vogue as the city reclaimed scorched acres. Several streets in Jacksonville’s Lavilla section developed into a thriving business district.
Over the years Lavilla deteriorated and is only now really coming back into its own again. The area is alive with the restored Ritz Theater, the Lavilla School of the Arts, Trinity Mission, and Florida Community College At Jacksonville’s Downtown campus.
Adjacent to these institutions, a creative and resourceful homeowner has reclaimed one of Lavilla’s old buildings and transformed it into a unique and beautiful home. Retaining many of the old storefront windows, the owner displays an array of curios, artifacts, collectables, and oddities to charm the passer by.
Colorful, odd-shaped bottles are embedded in the walls. An antique whetstone graces an entrance. Is that a wheel from a railroad train? Is that a scythe? Look at that bell, that windmill, those tile.
From roof line to brick walkways, anywhere your eye lights, you encounter some pleasant surprise. This once dilapidated old building has been refurbished to become a delight.
The venturous homeowner has indulged flights of artistic whimsy to make this private residence into what I consider to be Jacksonville’s most beautiful home.
These photos were taken from public streets on the day after Easter, 2005.
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