Why Historic Buildings are Important to Downtown

Guaranty Trust and Savings Bank, “The Bostwick Building” (Photo courtesy of The Jacksonville Historical Society)


Historic buildings lend a rich texture to the fabric of Downtown and are integral to maintaining a city’s unique identity. But historic buildings also play a vital role in the economy and potential growth of a city’s downtown.

The economic impact of historical buildings

In 2011, PlaceEconomics documented the economic impact of preservation in its report to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. This study found that historic preservation results in more jobs than new construction, increased property values, increased tourism, fewer environmental impacts, and increased quality of life.

The report stated: “Historic preservation has become a fundamental tool for strengthening American communities. It has proven to be an effective tool for a wide range of public goals, including small business incubation, affordable housing, sustainable development, neighborhood stabilization, center-city revitalization, job creation, promotion of the arts and culture, small-town renewal, heritage tourism, economic development, and others.”  You can view a summary of the report here:

The decline of historic buildings in Jacksonville

In 1991, a historic building survey identified 115 buildings in Downtown Jacksonville that met the criteria for historic designation. By the time of a follow-up survey in 2005, that number had decreased 22 percent to 90 buildings. Some buildings were demolished outright, while others were allowed to deteriorate to the point of collapse. Since the 2005 survey, at least two additional historic buildings have been lost. In a number of instances, only vacant lots have replaced the demolished structures. Of the remaining 88 historic structures, 25 (28 percent) have been designated as local historic landmarks.

We think this is a tragedy. As a community, we must rally to save these remaining historic buildings to preserve the rich history and landscape of Downtown Jacksonville.

If you’re interested in joining the conversation to save The Bostwick Building, we encourage you to:

  1. Write your City Council representative and voice your support for the Bostwick Building and other historic buildings downtown. You can email them directly at:
  2. Contact the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission (JHPC) and encourage them to recommend the Bostwick Building for historic preservation.  You can learn more about them here:
  3. Attend the October 24, 2012 JHPC meeting to show your support.  Details on the meeting can be found in the link above.


Please continue to follow this blog as we share ways for our local residents to get involved and have a voice on preserving and revitalizing Downtown Jacksonville.