Thursday, May 1, 2008

Back from Jax







I'm back in good ol' Savannah, energized and ready to rock.

I spent most of my time relaxing and watching movies with the occasional foray about the town. I finally got to see No Country for Old Men, which I thoroughly dug. I'm dusting off my print copy as we speak.

I didn't get to work on the new Future Tards of Jazz record as much as I'd've liked to and at this moment I sincerely hope I was not responsible for the computer problems my buddy Crow is having. The idea of this trip was to stay away from the computer as much as possible. Regardless, the new FTOJ video I was going to drop on y'all, as well as a few photos, were forestalled by this digital conundrum.

It's was surprisingly cool for this time of year, which was actually kind of nice. Especially while we were at the Double-A baseball game, courtesy of the Jacksonville Suns and the Tennessee Smokies. The Suns won 10-5. It was a good game. I can safely predict that Ivan DeJesus Jr. is going to be a big-time major league star.

Jacksonville is an interesting place. It's raison d'etre lies in the fact that it's a major transportation hub. The eastern terminus of Interstate 10 crosses the egress of I-95 from Florida into the Low-Country of Georgia. Two major train routes cross there, and they're working on major expansions of their port. The military, with Mayport Naval Station, home to the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy until it was retired a year ago, as well as 3 other bases, has a significant footprint in the area. (In fact, it has the third largest military presence in the nation.)

In a region that is heavily reliant on tourism, Jacksonville's situation is singular. It feels a bit more like south Georgia than Miami, but due to a major fire in 1901, it lacks much of an historic district. I wouldn't call it an A-list travel destination, but it would be a nice complement to a Charleston-Hilton Head-Savannah-St Augustine vacation.

Culturally, there's a growing art scene, a film festival, theatre, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, a symphony orchestra, an opera theatre company as well as a good variety major and independent performing artists gigging at various venues around town. (If you live in Savannah and you want to see a national or international act, you generally have to go to Jax or Atlanta.)

Other attractions include, the Zoo, the Museum of Science and History, an arboretum due soon, and the Jags.

Jax factoids:

The May 3rd, 1901 fire was the largest and most destructive fire in the history of the Southeastern United States. 2,368 buildings burned, 140 city blocks were decimated, and 10,000 people were left homeless.

It is the 4th largest city by area in the U.S., largest in the lower 48. It is also the 3rd most populous city on the east coast, behind New York and Philadelphia.

Numerous circuses and traveling shows had their winter quarters in the area and many performers retired there. According to local sources, this was a noticeable part of the local flavor until about 20 or 30 years ago. I'm still looking for better sources.

In the 1910's, there were over 30 silent film studios in the area. It was known as the "Winter Film Capitol of the World"

Recently deceased physicist, John Archibald Wheeler, was born there.

Southern rock bands, The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet and .38 Special were all formed in Jack-ville...

Overall, I had a great time, but it's good to be back home.

And now, on with the show...

2 comments:

John said...

very nice, I think you hit the main points.

John M. said...

That's good to know, coming from a local.