Historic landmarks live another life thanks to revitalization efforts

The old St. Luke’s Hospital (right) and the Florida Casket Company building. (Photo courtesy of the Jacksonville Historical Society)

One is a 130-year-old factory. The other, a 134-year-old hospital. Both are symbols of and testaments to the importance of historic preservation in Downtown Jacksonville.

These buildings – the 1878 St. Luke’s Hospital and the 1882 Florida Casket Company – were purchased this fall by the Jacksonville Historical Society in celebration of the organization’s 80th year. Both are located on the same lot at Palmetto and Duval streets near the Sports Complex area. The Society plans to use the hospital for its archives and the Florida Casket Factory for events, exhibits and other history programs.

With recent developments in the revitalization efforts of the Bostwick Building, the Hayden Burn Library and the Laura Street Trio, the efforts of the Society and others working to preserve Downtown historic structures are crucial to creating a more vibrant Downtown. Plus, it’s good for our economy. In a 2011 study, PlaceEconomics found that historic preservation results in more jobs than new construction, increased property values, increased tourism, fewer environmental impacts and increased quality of life.

What historic Downtown buildings would you like to see renovated, and for what reuse purpose? Weigh in with your thoughts in this post’s comment section.