Local & Family History in Jacksonville, Florida



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(Source of image: Florida State Archives)






Can you remember when supermarkets relied on manual cash registers?  Some of the clerks zipped along like master typists, keying in the prices with lightning speed, while a few others seemed to just hunt and peck.  This checkout line served a Seltzer's Supermarket in Jacksonville.  The photographed was taken on July 26, 1948. 







What was happening in the world on that day?  The U.S. accused the Soviet Union, which occupied Hungary, of stripping that country of vital resources.  Also that year, the Soviet Union blockaded Berlin, prompting America's airlift.  And the nation of Israel came into being in 1948.  Who was Jacksonville's mayor at the time?  Frank Whitehead, a native of Athens, Georgia, who held the office from 1945 to 1949. 







During Mr. Whitehead's term, construction of the Gator Bowl was started and the City of Jacksonville's first traffic engineer was hired.  Furthermore, plans were drawn for the riverfront municipal parking lots that were partly located at the sites of today's Jacksonville Landing and the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.  These parking lots replaced a hideous eyesore of dilapidated wharves and warehouses. 







Mr. Whitehead lost his mayoral office to future Florida governor Haydon Burns in a bitterly contested election.  In later years, unfortunately, Mr. Whitehead experienced severe legal and financial problems.  To make a living, he sold insurance and real estate, held temporary jobs at local tax assessors' offices, and worked as a part-time security guard at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  Mr. Whitehead much regretted that, in his spare time, he couldn't hunt deer and quail anymore since his bifocals threw off his aim.  A resident on Murray Hill's Hamilton Avenue at the time of his death, the 75-year-old former mayor passed away in 1976.


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