2018 Florida Road Trip Part 10 (Continued)

20 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Day 10 Sunday 10/28/2018



Now I worked my way back to I-95 and headed south to visit the Jacksonville Fire Museum, located in the Midtown area of Jacksonville.   This museum is located in the restored 1886 Fire Station #3, and displays artifacts and memorabilia related the evolution of the Jacksonville Fire Department from the 1850s.  This includes various hand operated, horse drawn, and motorized firefighting and rescue equipment, that have been used by Jacksonville firefighters over the years.



The Museum of Southern History located in the Fairfax area of Jacksonville was my next stop.  The museum was closed today; however, their website informs me that this museum depicts the lifestyles and cultures of the antebellum South.  The museum also covers the cultures of the early Florida Native Americans and those who settled Florida, with respect to the Civil War and more recent times.  As it happens, the Civil War Governor of Florida, John Milton, whose plantation site I had visited, near Marianna the other day, is also mentioned in this museum’s website write-up.



Now I headed a few miles west to visit the Norman Silent Film Studios Museum located in the Arlington area of Jacksonville.  This studio complex (museum) began as the “Eagle Film Studios” in 1906.  This was a typical example of the northern U.S. film studios wanting to be able to continue filming throughout the winter months. Between the years of 1908 & 1922, as many as 30+ northern film studios moved their operations here, where the area soon became known as the “Winter Film Capital of the World.” Richard E. Norman purchased the Eagle Film Studios in 1908, and moved his Midwest film operations to the Jacksonville area, where he renamed it the Norman Silent Film Studios.  Over the years the Norman Film Studios gradually declined as the Jacksonville film industry moved its operations to southern California in the 1930s.  Finally, after many years of very little activity, in about 2008, as part of an overall restoration project, one of the existing buildings was opened as the museum (Google Norman Silent Film Studios to see how the film studio has progressed over the years).



Next on the list, I travelled across town to visit the Kingsley Plantation, located in the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve on Fort George Island.  This 1797 plantation house, and out buildings, are situated conveniently on the Fort George River, where the owner’s docks gave him access to all types of river traffic, and for his own needed supplies and crop transport. Zephaniah Kingsley was a slave trader and shipping magnate, and owned several plantations along the St. Johns River, by the time he became the third known owner of this plantation in 1814 (Google “Kingsley Plantation” for more interesting details about Zephaniah Kingsley and the Kingsley Plantation).



By now I was ready to head for the motel, and gave Greta (my Garmin) the address.  After leaving the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve and St. George Island, I spotted the Sandollar Restaurant and decided to stop in for a seafood dinner with them.  That was a very good choice.  Their Fish Tacos were out-of-this-world good, and the view of Mayport across the St. Johns River, from my outdoor patio table, was beautiful and restful, with the soothing river sounds and the whole scene being painted golden by the setting sun.




—–To Be Continued—–


Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.




One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

One Response to “2018 Florida Road Trip Part 10 (Continued)”

  1. Onisha Ellis February 20, 2019 at 9:44 pm #

    A lot of interesting places in Jacksonville. I had no idea about its history in the movie industry.


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