Historic Buildings of #DTJax

Photography featuring the Carling Apartments (Source).

Author: Alexa Andino, Downtown Vision Marketing and Events Intern

Downtown is home to many beautiful historic buildings. You might drive past these buildings every day unaware of their significance.


Explore Downtown on foot, bike, or e-scooter with Visit Jacksonville’s Self Guided Architecture Tour. Or, let the experts show you around!

Go Tuk’n: Go Tuk’n offers a Downtown Jacksonville History & Architecture Tour where you can learn about Downtown’s history, business architectural achievements, memorials, and more.

Go Tuk’n Tours are one way you can see and learn more about the history and architecture of #DTJax (Source).

Jacksonville Walking Tour “Top to Bottom”: Join a tour guide and journey through rooftop views to secret underground tunnels. The tour features a 1909 bank vault and other unique sites focusing on history, architecture and culture.

Explore Jax Core (EJC): EJC provides a variety of sightseeing tours, including a look into Jacksonville’s rich Black History and Heritage.

One stop on EJC’s Black History and Heritage tour is Bethel Baptist Church (Source).

St. Andrew’s Church

317 A. Philip Randolph Boulevard.

St. Andrew’s Church was created in 1888. The building exhibits beautiful gothic architectural features. It is the only Downtown church to survive the Great Fire of 1901, which occurred on May 3, 1901 and started from a small wood-burning cookstove that set ablaze some of the Spanish moss laid out to dry at the Cleveland Fiber Factory, located at Union and Davis Streets Downtown. The fire destroyed over 2,000 buildings, took 7 lives, and left 10,000 people homeless (Source).

Because of the fire, many of the buildings in #DTJax do not date past 1901. However, this paved the way for the revitalization and regrowth of Downtown by many well-known architects such as Henry J. Klutho, in which we have Henry J. Klutho Park in his honor.

Postcard of St. Andrew’s Church from the early 1900s (Source).

In 1998, the building became the Jacksonville Historical Society headquarters. Now, this space is available as an events and meetings space.

St. Andrew’s Church today (Source).

The Laura Street Trio

Intersection of N. Laura and W. Forsyth Streets.

The three historic buildings that make up the Laura Street Trio include two skyscrapers, the Florida Life Building and the Bisbee Building, and the Old Florida National Bank.

Old Florida National Bank: Built in 1902 by Edward H. Glidden.

Bisbee Building: Built in between 1908-1909 by Henry J. Klutho.

Florida Life Building: Built in between 1911-1912 by Henry J. Klutho.

The Laura Street Trio in the past. It used to house the NBNB National Bank (Source).

Currently, the Laura Street Trio is undergoing redevelopment but you can still view it in all of its glory before it is redesigned.

Laura Street Trio in the present (Source).
Rendering of the Laura Street Trio.

The Carling Hotel

31 W Adams Street.

The Carling Hotel, now the Carling Apartments, was built in 1925. It was a hotel for over 25 years before closing in 1963. Then, it was vacant for about 20 years. In 1991, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. In 2003, the historic preservation of The Carling began in which many of its architectural features such as Palladian windows, terrazzo floors, and the dual grand marble staircases leading from the lobby to the second level were restored (Source).

Carling Apartments’ Building in the present (Source).

The Florida Theatre

128 E. Forsyth Street.

The Florida Theatre is a 1,900-seat historic theatre that opened in 1927. For more information and fun facts on The Florida Theatre check out our blog post If Walls Could Talk: The Florida Theatre.

You can attend various performances at the Florida Theatre and admire the exquisite interior.

Some upcoming events are:

  • Clay Walker on October 14, 2021, at 8 PM.
  • Rumours of Fleetwood Mac on November 3, 2021, at 8 PM.
Florida Theatre around the time it was built (Source).

The Ritz Theatre and Museum

829 N Davis Street.

The Ritz Theatre and Museum was built in 1929 and is in the prominently African American community of LaVilla. During its time it hosted famous African American performers. Today, it houses the history of the area’s African American history and the story of James Weldon Johnson. Here you can learn more about #DTJax and also see live performances in their theatre, all while appreciating the historic significance of the building.

The Ritz Theatre and Museum (Source).

If you want to learn more about The Ritz check out our blog Downtown Spotlight: Ritz Theatre and Museum.

St. James Building

117 W Duval Street.

St. James Building was built by Henry J. Klutho in 1912. This building is considered Klutho’s masterpiece. Originally, the building was St. James Hotel and then it was destroyed by the Great Fire. The building became Cohen Brothers’ Department Store until 1987.

St James Building when it was the Cohens Brothers Department Store. Image is from May 15, 1937 (Source).

The building was purchased by the City of Jacksonville as the new City Hall in 1997.

St James Building (Source).

Now, go out and explore historic #DTJax!