Jacksonville is the largest city in the state of Florida and the county seat of Duval County.GR6 Since 1968, Jacksonville has been the largest city in land area in the contiguous United States; this resulted from the consolidation of the city and county government, along with a corresponding expansion of the city limits to include almost the entire county. As of the 2006 census estimate, the city proper had an estimated population of 794,555 with a metropolitan population of more than 1.3 million. Jacksonville is the third most populated city on the East Coast, after New York City and Philadelphia. It is the central city of the Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area, the fourth largest metropolitan area in the state.
About 25 miles (40 km) south of the Georgia border, Jacksonville is in the First Coast region of northeast Florida and is centered on the banks of the St. Johns River. The settlement that became Jacksonville was founded in 1791 as Cowford, because of its location at a narrow point in the river across which cattle were once driven. The city was renamed in 1822 for Andrew Jackson, the first military governor of the Florida Territory and eventual seventh President of the United States.
The history of Jacksonville spans hundreds of years, and has been influenced by the area's unique geography and location. The first settlement in the area, called Ossachite, was made over 6,000 years ago by the Timucua Indians in the vicinity of modern-day downtown Jacksonville.
European explorers first arrived in 1562, when French Huguenot explorer Jean Ribault charted the St. Johns River. René Goulaine de Laudonnière established the first European settlement at Fort Caroline two years later. On September 20, 1565, a Spanish force attacked Fort Caroline from the nearby Spanish settlement of St. Augustine, and killed all the French soldiers defending it (except Catholics). The Spanish renamed it Fort San Mateo. Two years later, Dominique de Gourgues recaptured the settlement from the Spanish and slaughtered all of the Spanish defenders. After the initial destruction of Fort Caroline, St. Augustine became the most important settlement in Florida. Florida was a Spanish possession until it became a territory of the United States in 1821. The Florida Legislative Council approved a charter for a town government on February 9, 1832.
During the American Civil War, Jacksonville was a key supply point for hogs and cattle leaving Florida and aiding the Confederate cause. The city was blockaded by the Union, changing hands several times. Though no battles were fought in Jacksonville, the city was left in a considerable state of disarray after the war.
During Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, Jacksonville and nearby St. Augustine became popular winter resorts for the rich and famous. Visitors arrived by steamboat and later by railroad. The city's tourism, however, was dealt major blows in the late 1800s by yellow fever outbreaks and the extension of the Florida East Coast Railway to south Florida.
On May 3, 1901, downtown Jacksonville was ravaged by a fire that was started at a fiber factory. Known as the "Great Fire of 1901", it was one of the worst disasters in Florida history and the largest ever urban fire in the Southeast; it destroyed the business district and rendered 10,000 residents homeless in the course of eight hours. It is said the glow from the flames could be seen in Savannah, Georgia; smoke plumes in Raleigh, North Carolina. Famed New York architect Henry John Klutho was a primary figure in the reconstruction of the city. More than 13,000 buildings were constructed between 1901 and 1912.
In the 1910s, New York-based moviemakers were attracted to Jacksonville's warm climate, exotic locations, excellent rail access, and cheap labor. Over the course of the decade, more than 30 silent film studios were established, earning Jacksonville the title "Winter Film Capital of the World". However, the city's conservative political climate and the emergence of Hollywood as a major film production center ended the city's film industry. One converted movie studio site (Norman Studios) remains in Arlington; It has been converted to the Jacksonville Silent Film Museum at Norman Studios.
During this time, Jacksonville also became a banking and insurance center, with companies such as Barnett Bank, Atlantic National Bank, Florida National Bank, Prudential, Gulf Life, Afro-American Insurance, Independent Life and American Heritage Life thriving in the business district. The U.S. Navy also became a major employer and economic force during the 1940s, with the installation of three major naval bases in the city. Jacksonville, like most large cities in the United States, suffered from negative effects of rapid urban sprawl after World War II.
Jacksonville is located at GR1. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2,264.5 km² (874.3 mi²), making Jacksonville the largest city in land area in the contiguous United States. 1,962.4 km² (757.7 mi²) of it is land and 302.1 km² (116.7 mi²) of it (13.34%) is water. The St. Johns River runs through the city. The Trout River, a major tributary of the St. Johns River, is located entirely within Jacksonville.(30.319406, -81.659999)
Jacksonville has a humid subtropical climate, with mild weather during winters and hot weather during summers. High temperatures average 64 to 91 °F (18-33 °C) throughout the year. High heat indices are not uncommon for the summer months in the Jacksonville area. High temperatures can reach mid to high 90s with heat index ranges of 105-115 °F. The highest temperature ever recorded in Jacksonville was 105 °F (43 °C) on July 21, 1942. It is common for daily thunderstorms to erupt during a standard summer afternoon. These are caused by the heating of the land and water, combined with extremely high humidity.
During winter, the area can experience hard freezes during the night. Such cold weather is usually short lived. The coldest temperature recorded in Jacksonville was 7 °F (-14 °C) on January 21, 1985, a day that still holds the record cold for many locations in the eastern half of the US. Even rarer in Jacksonville than freezing temperatures is snow. When snow does fall, it usually melts before touching the ground, or upon making contact with the ground. Most denizens of Jacksonville can remember accumulated snow on only one occasion—a thin ground cover that occurred a few days before Christmas of 1989.
Jacksonville has suffered less damage from hurricanes than other east coast cities. The city has only received one direct hit from a hurricane since 1871, although Jacksonville has experienced hurricane or near-hurricane conditions more than a dozen times due to storms passing through the state from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. The strongest effect on Jacksonville was from Hurricane Dora in 1964, the only recorded storm to hit the First Coast with sustained hurricane force winds. The eye crossed St. Augustine, with winds that had just barely diminished to 110 mph (180 km/h), making it a strong Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
Rainfall averages around 52 inches a year, with the wettest months being June through September.
After World War II, the government of the City of Jacksonville began to increase spending to fund new building projects in the boom that occurred after the war. Mayor W. Haydon Burns' Jacksonville Story resulted in the construction of a new city hall, civic auditorium, public library and other projects that created a dynamic sense of civic pride. However, the development of suburbs and a subsequent wave of "white flight" left Jacksonville with a much poorer population than before. Much of the city's tax base dissipated, leading to problems with funding education, sanitation, and traffic control within the city limits. In addition, residents in unincorporated suburbs had difficulty obtaining municipal services such as sewage and building code enforcement. In 1958, a study recommended that the City of Jacksonville begin annexing outlying communities in order to create the needed tax base to improve services throughout the county. Voters outside the city limits rejected annexation plans in six referendums between 1960 and 1965.
In the mid 1960s, corruption scandals began to arise among many of the city's officials, who were mainly elected through the traditional good ol' boy network. After a grand jury was convened to investigate, several officials were indicted and more were forced to resign. Consolidation, led by JJ Daniel and Claude Yates, began to win more support during this period, from both inner city blacks (who wanted more involvement in government) and whites in the suburbs (who wanted more services and more control over the central city). The simultaneous disaccredation of all fifteen of Duval County's public high schools in 1964 added momentum to the proposals for government reform. Lower taxes, increased economic development, unification of the community, better public spending and effective administration by a more central authority were all cited as reasons for a new consolidated government.
The most noteworthy feature of Jacksonville government is its consolidated nature. The Duval County-Jacksonville consolidation eliminated any type of separate county executive or legislature, and supplanted these positions with the Mayor of Jacksonville and the City Council of the City of Jacksonville, respectively. Because of this, voters who live outside of the city limits of Jacksonville, but inside of Duval County, are allowed not only to vote in elections for these positions, but to run for them as well. In fact, in 1995, John Delaney, a resident of Neptune Beach, was elected mayor of the City of Jacksonville.
Jacksonville uses the Mayor-Council form of city government, also called the Strong-Mayor form, in which a mayor serves as the city's Chief Executive and Administrative officer. The mayor holds veto power over all resolutions and ordinances made by the city council, and also has the power to hire and fire the head of various city departments.
The city council has nineteen members, fourteen of whom are elected from single-member districts, and five who are ostensibly elected at-large. However, although these five additional council members are elected at-large, they are required to meet an unusual residency requirement. In the early 1990s, because these five "at-large" members were generally all elected from the same area, voters approved a change in the city government which divided the city up into five districts unrelated to any other districts, solely for the purpose of electing these at-large council members. Thus, at-large council members are elected from each of these five districts by the voters of the county as a whole.
Some government services remained—as they had been prior to consolidation – independent of both city and county authority. In accordance with Florida law, the school board continues to exist with nearly complete autonomy. Jacksonville also has several quasi-independent government agencies which only nominally answer to the consolidated authority, including, electric authority, port authority, and airport authority. Fire, police, health and welfare, recreation, public works, and housing and urban development were all combined under the new government.
Four municipalities within Duval County voted not to join the consolidated government. These were the communities of Baldwin, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach, which consist of only 6% of the total population within the county. The four separate communities provide their own services, while maintaining the right to contract the consolidated government to provide services for them. For example, in December of 2005, the city council of Baldwin voted to eliminate the Baldwin Police Department, a decision which was consummated in March of 2006. Since that time, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has assumed policing responsibilities for the one-square mile town, located in the far western portion of Duval County.
Jacksonville is home to Jacksonville University, the University of North Florida, Florida Community College at Jacksonville, Edward Waters College, Art Institute of Jacksonville, Florida Coastal School of Law, Trinity Baptist College, Jones College, Florida Technical College, Logos Christian College, and Brewer Christian College.
Former mayor John Delaney has been president of the University of North Florida since leaving office in July 2003, parlaying his widespread popularity in the city into a position of leadership in the state university system.
Jacksonville, along with the standard district schools, is home to two International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme ("IB") high schools. They are Stanton College Preparatory School and Paxon School for Advanced Studies.Jacksonville also has a notable magnet high school devoted to the performing and expressive arts, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. See also: List of high schools in Jacksonville
Interstate Highways 10 and 95 intersect in Jacksonville. Interstate Highway 10 ends at this intersection (the other end being in Santa Monica, California). The eastern terminus of US-90 is in nearby Jacksonville Beach near the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, several other roads as well a major local expressway, J. Turner Butler Boulevard (SR 202) also connect Jacksonville to the beaches. Public transportation is provided by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. The city has the Jacksonville Skyway, an elevated monorail, which travels through the central business district. However, there are few Skyway stations and as such, traffic is light. The Skyway has been criticized in that it goes from "nowhere to nowhere" along its limited route, which encompasses only downtown and is of no help in commuting from suburban neighborhoods. Interstate 95 has a bypass route, with I-295, which bypasses the city to the west, and SR-9A, bypassing the city to the east. I-295 and SR-9A circumscribe the most populated portion of Jacksonville.
Jacksonville is also home to the world headquarters of CSX Transportation, which owns a large building on the riverbank downtown that is a significant part of the skyline. The Amtrak passenger railroad serves Jacksonville from a station on Clifford Lane in the northwest section of the city.
There are also numerous bridges over the St. Johns River at Jacksonville. They include (starting from furthest downstream) the Dames Point Bridge, the Mathews Bridge, the Isaiah D. Hart Bridge, the Main Street Bridge, the Acosta Bridge, the Fuller Warren Bridge (which carries I-95 traffic) and the Buckman Bridge.
Major commercial air service in Jacksonville operates out of Jacksonville International Airport. Smaller planes can fly to Craig Airport on the Southside and Herlong Airport on the Westside. The city also operates an airfield at Cecil Commerce Center that is intended for aerospace manufacturing companies.
Four modern seaport facilities, including America's newest cruise port, make Jacksonville a full-service international seaport. In 2004, JAXPORT handled 7.7 million tons of cargo, including 533,000 vehicles. In 2003, the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal opened, providing cruise service to Key West, Florida, the Bahamas, and Mexico.
Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, and the twelfth most populous city in the United States.As of the censusGR2 estimates of 2005, there were 782,623 people, 284,499 households, and 190,614 families residing in the city. The population density was 374.9/km² (970.9/mi²). There were 308,826 housing units at an average density of 157.4/km² (407.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 64.48% White, 34.03% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 2.78% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.33% from other races, and 1.99% from two or more races. 4.16% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Jacksonville has, as named by the United States Census the 10th largest Arab population in the United States. There were 284,499 households out of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 26.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.07. In the city, the population was spread out with 26.7% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.
In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $40,316, and the median income for a family was $47,243. Males had a median income of $32,547 versus $25,886 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,337. About 9.4% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.7% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2000, English spoken as a first language accounted for 90.60%, while Spanish was at 4.13%, and Tagalog spoken as a mother tongue made up 1.00% of the population. In total, all languages spoken other than English were at 9.39%.
Jacksonville is home to a number of annual cultural events. The Jacksonville Jazz Festival is held every April and is the second-largest jazz festival in the nation. Other popular music festivals include The Spring Music Fest, a free concert sponsored by the city that features some of today's most popular artists, Planetfest, featuring a variety of modern rock artists, and Springing the Blues, a free outdoor blues festival held in Jacksonville Beach.
The Jacksonville Film Festival is held every May and features a variety of independent films, documentaries, and shorts screening at seven historic venues in the city. Past attendees of the festival have included director John Landis and Academy Award nominee Bill Murray and winner Graham Greene, both of whom were awarded the Tortuga Verde Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Art Walk, a monthly outdoor art festival, is sponsored by Downtown Vision, Inc, an organization which works to promote artistic talent and venues on the First Coast.
Every July 4 is the Freedom, Fanfare & Fireworks celebration, one of the nation's largest fireworks displays, held at Metropolitan Park and on the surface of the St. Johns River. A very large fireworks display is also held at Jacksonville Beach, centered on the rebuilt pier. The Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair is held every November at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds & Exposition Center, featuring an array of carnival rides, live entertainment, agriculture and livestock. Other annual cultural events include the Great Atlantic Seafood and Music Festival in March, the Blessing of the Fleet Parade of Boats and the Jacksonville International Boat Show in April, the World of Nations Celebration in May, and the Jacksonville Light Parade in November.
Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art (JMoMA) opened its 60,000 square foot (6,000 m²) facility in 2003, located adjacent to the Main Library downtown. Tracing its roots back to the formation of Jacksonville's Fine Arts Society in 1924, the museum features eclectic permanent and traveling exhibitions. In November 2006, JMOMA was renamed Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA-Jacksonville) to reflect their continued commitment to art produced after the modernist period.
The Museum of Science and History (MOSH) is found on Jacksonville's South Riverwalk, and features three stories of hands-on science and local history exhibits, including the Alexander Brest Planetarium.
The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens holds a large collection of European and American paintings, as well as a world-renowned collection of early Meissen porcelain. The museum is surrounded by three acres of formal English and Italian style gardens, and is located in the Riverside neighborhood, on the bank of the St. Johns River.
There are also several historical properties and items of interest in the city, including the Klutho Building, the Old Morocco Temple Building, the Palm and Cycad Arboretum, and the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center.
The Jacksonville Public Library had its beginnings when May Moore and Florence Murphy started the "Jacksonville Library and Literary Association" in 1878. The Association was populated by various prominent Jacksonville residents and sought to create a free public library and reading room for the city.
Over the course of 127 years, the system has grown from that one room library to become one of the largest in the state. Now featuring twenty branches - from the 54,000 sq ft (5,000 m²). West Regional Library (located on Chaffee Road in the western part of the city) to smaller neighborhood libraries like Westbrook and Eastside (located in the central part of the city) - the Library annually receives nearly 4 million visitors and circulates over 6 million items. Nearly 500,000 library cards are held by area residents.
On November 12, 2005, the new 300,000 sq ft (30,000 m²). Main Library opened to the public. The largest public library in the state, this opening was a historic event for the library system and the City of Jacksonville. It marks the completion of an unprecedented period of growth for the system under the Better Jacksonville Plan. It adds to the city's architectural and cultural landscape and provides a gathering place downtown for the entire community. The new Main Library offers specialized reading rooms, public access to hundreds of computers and extensive collection of books and other materials, public displays of art, and special collections ranging from the African-American Collection to the recently opened Holocaust Collection.
The Florida Times-Union is the major daily newspaper in Jacksonville. Another daily newspaper is The Daily Record. Popular magazines include Folio Weekly, MetroJacksonville.com, Jacksonville Free Press, Jacksonville Business Journal, The Florida Star, Saint Augustine Catholic, Arbus and Jacksonville Magazine.
Jacksonville is served by television stations affiliated with major American networks including WTLV (NBC), WJXX (ABC), WTEV (CBS), WAWS (FOX/My Network TV), WJCT (PBS),and WCWJ (CW). WJXT is a former longtime CBS affiliate that turned independent in 2002.
Jacksonville's radio market is dominated by the same two large ownership groups that dominate the radio industry across the United States: Cox Radio and Clear Channel Communications. The dominant AM radio station in terms of ratings is WOKV 690AM, which is also the flagship station for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In September of 2006, WOKV began simulcasting on 106.5 FM as WOKV FM. There are two radio stations broadcasting a primarily contemporary hits format; WAPE 95.1 has dominated this niche for over twenty years, and more recently has been challenged by WFKS 97.9 FM (KISS FM). WJBT 92.7 (The Beat) is a hip-hop/R&B station, WPLA 107.3 is a modern rock and alternative music station, WFYV 104.5—Rock 105 Jacksonville Classic rock, WQIK 99.1 is a country station as well as WGNE-FM 99.9 and WROO 93.3, WCRJ FM 88.1 (The Promise) is the main Contemporary Christian station operating since 1984, WHJX 105.7 is a soul station, WFJO 92.5 plays music in Spanish like salsa, merengue, and reggaeton, and WJCT 89.9 is the local public radio station and NPR affiliate. A local jacksonville college, Jones College also hosts a station WJXT 90.9 FM. See Radio Stations in Jacksonville, Florida for more radio stations in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville operates the largest urban park system in the United States, providing services at more than 337 locations on more than 80,000 acres (320 km²) located throughout the city. Jacksonville gathers significant natural beauty from the St. Johns River and Atlantic Ocean. The Jacksonville Beaches area is a center of recreation and nightlife, and the many parks around the city have received international recognition. The city center includes the Jacksonville Landing shopping center and the Riverwalk. Downtown Jacksonville has a memorable skyline with the tallest building being the Bank of America Building, constructed in 1990 with a height of 617 ft (188 m). Other notable structures include the Modis Building (once, with its distinctive flared base, the defining building in the Jacksonville skyline), originally built in 1972-74 by the Independent Life and Accident Insurance Company, and the Riverplace Tower, which is the tallest precast, post-tensioned concrete structure in the world.
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens boasts the second largest animal collection in the state. The zoo features elephants, lions, and, of course, jaguars (with an exhibit, Range of the Jaguar, hosted by the owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Delores and Wayne Weaver), as well as a multitude of reptile houses, free flight aviaries, and many other animals.
The Florida Theatre, opened in 1927, is located in downtown Jacksonville and is one of only four remaining high-style movie palaces built in Florida during the Mediterranean Revival architectural boom of the 1920s.
The Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts is comprised of three distinct halls: the Jim & Jan Moran Theater, the Jacoby Symphony Hall, and the Terry Theater. It was originally erected as the Civic Auditorium in 1962 and underwent a major renovation and construction in 1996. It is also the home of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1949.
The Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, which opened in 2003, is a 16,000-seat performance venue that attracts national entertainment, and also houses the Jacksonville Sports Hall of Fame. It replaced the outdated Jacksonville Coliseum that was built in 1960 and demolished on June 26, 2003.
The Alhambra Dinner Theatre, located on the Southside near UNF, offers regular shows in which the audience eats while sitting in a half-square configuration around a stage. Numerous smaller, independent theaters are also available, such as Theatre Jacksonville in San Marco and Players by the Sea at the Beach.
Jacksonville is also home to The Teal Sound Drum and Bugle corps. A junior drum and bugle corps that competes in Drum Corps International Division II competition.