Read up on a bit of Downtown’s unique entertainment history, and be sure to share the winnings when you dominate your next game of trivia.
- Downtown’s Southbank was once home to “The Coney Island of the South,” an ostrich farm/amusement park named Dixieland. This tourist attraction included typical rides and exhibits, along with some unusual performances and activities, including lion wrestling.
- Joseph LaRose created beautiful shoes in his Downtown warehouse, formerly located in the Main Library/MOCA Jacksonville area today. His trendy couture heels were popular with then-First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Joan Crawford and the Jacksonville elite; LaRose never sold his shoes at discounted prices and would often refuse to sell them to a customer if he felt that they weren’t right for her. After his death, over 100,000 pairs of shoes were recovered from the warehouse and auctioned off. You can still buy some of his beloved shoes today and wear a piece of Downtown Jacksonville history on your feet.
- This is a scene from the 1916 silent film Bouncing Baby, filmed on Forsyth Street.
- Downtown Jacksonville saw one of Elvis Presley’s premiere performances. Aug. 10, 1956, the King serenaded a packed Florida Theatre. Juvenile Court Judge Marion Gooding was sitting in the front row, along with JSO officers, ready to put an end to the concert if Elvis used any of his signature provocative dance moves.
- Downtown has been a stage for Hollywood films, including Lonely Hearts (2006) starring John Travolta.