Jacksonville, the largest city in Florida, is a jewel of the Sunshine State that has changed so much over the years. Founded in 1791, it is important for Jacksonville to have an abundance of photographs to archive the city’s rich history. By viewing old photos of Jacksonville, people can learn about the history of the city and how much it has changed from its founding to the present. That’s where the Jacksonville Neighborhood Photo Project comes in.
Beginning in January 27, 2018, the Jacksonville Neighborhood Photo Project is a project created by the library to collect old photos of Jacksonville’s neighborhoods. By collecting photos of the neighborhoods, the library invites the public to view the history of the city through the photos.
The Jacksonville Neighborhood Photo Project has two primary goals. The first is to preserve the photographic history of Jacksonville’s neighborhoods. The second is to make that photographic history available for the public to view. We encourage customers to share their old photos of Jacksonville with the library in order to process them to be presentable to the public. The process that the library uses is digitization, in which a copy machine is required to scan the photo so it can be transferred digitally and to create a higher resolution image.
Among the 379 photos the library has collected so far, most of them have been directly provided by the Jacksonville Public Library. Their time periods range from the early 1900’s to the present, with the majority of photos coming from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. The photos contain images of people in the library, monuments and landmarks, buildings that may or may not still be in Jacksonville, events, and more. For example, any photos taken of the JEA Cooling Towers at St. Johns River Power Park before and during their demolition on June 16, 2018, would be an acceptable edition to the photo collection.
Although the library has collected many photos, we are still eager to get our hands on any photos of Jacksonville from any time period. Only four people outside the library have managed to share their photos. Laura Minor, librarian and founding member of the project, says that people seem to have expressed an interest in sharing their photos, but the expected photos never show up at the library.
The Jacksonville Neighborhood Photo Project seems to have reached its goal of presenting old photos of Jacksonville to the public (via the Special Collections in the Jacksonville Public Library website). However, you can help the Jacksonville Neighborhood Photo Project by searching for any old photos of Jacksonville you might have and bring them to the Main Library to be digitized and shared with the public. To find out more about the Jacksonville Neighborhood Project, check out its page under Highlights in the Jacksonville Public Library website or check out the library’s photo collection in Special Collections.
By Truman Towner, Community Relations & Marketing Intern
As part of the Mayor’s Youth at Work Partnership, Truman Towner is an intern working in the Community Relations and Marketing department of the Main Library. He is a homeschooled senior in high school and plans to major in English and get his AA Degree at FSCJ and transfer to UNF upon high school graduation.