Sunday, May 21, 2017

Nothing is Forever (Sad, but True)

Some seventeen of my thirty plus books are subtitled "An Avondale Story" because they are set in the Avondale neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida.  After the great fire of  1901 left most of downtown Jacksonville in ashes (2,000 buildings destroyed; 10,000 people left homeless), development of the area just North of downtown known as Springfield began.  Then, the city began to move south and west along the banks of the St. Johns River, and the neighborhoods of Riverside and Avondale were born.

The characters in my books have their favorite restaurants, one of which was The Loop on Fishweir Creek.  The Loop is a chain of restaurants based in Jacksonville, but everyone's favorite Loop was the one on Fishweir Creek, as it featured a deck overlooking the creek (actually a tidal estuary).

The two photos below show the restaurant from a distance:

The restaurant was a favorite hangout of many people, and the deck was always crowded during the lunch and dinner hours.  When the creek was at low tide, it was little more than a series of mudflats, and one could watch sea birds scavenging for fish that had been trapped in small pools of water as the tide receded.

This is an aerial view of the complex known as St John Village.  In the foreground is the high-rise Commander Apartment building, and behind the apartment building, you can see the buildings that housed The Loop and other businesses.  To the left, and across the creek is the edge of a neighborhood known as Fairfax Manor.  Readers of the trilogy "About A Bottoms" will recognize it as the neighborhood where Chris and Mickey live.

This is what the area looked like in May of 2017.  The entire complex had been leveled, and the former Commander Apartment building has been gutted.

In this photo, taken from the other side of the area, it can be seen that the apartment tower has been gutted.

This is what the proposed complex will eventually look like.  Luxury apartments in the foreground, where The Loop and other businesses were once located, and the apartment tower has been renovated.

That's progress, I suppose.  Anyhow, my characters will have to find another hangout.  I don't get to Jacksonville very often, these days, and I can still get the best grilled chicken sandwich in town at one of the other Loop outlets, but it will never be the same.  Sigh.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear :( there were two different hamburger places I arted growing up and miss greatly. One of which my dad actually at at while growing up. It is sad when places we love & have great memories of disappear.