Everything Southern & So Cotton Pickin Cute

Monday, March 24, 2014

Stepping Into spring

We've been having the best spring like temperatures this month.  Uh-well up until today, when a little cool front decided to make an appearance.
Episcopal High School Aerial View 
What is a cool front in North Florida you ask?  Well the high today is only 62 with gusty winds, making it like long sleeve and jacket weather. Yes, we wear warm clothes when it's in the 60's here people.  And it's going down to a whopping 56 tonight folks.  When you've got 62% humidity and overcast skies - it's a chilly cold. (cue the violins).
That's quite a change from the 78 degrees on Friday when I took these pictures.  I'm still out walking daily and it was so nice outside that we walked about 3 to 4 miles round trip to a private school in the neighborhood.  Okay, so I originally was walking that far to get an icee but it became a nice park afternoon walk instead.
We were surprised to see Lastinger Hall when we were walking the grounds of the school. The Lastingers' were our next door neighbors up till a few years ago when they move to the beaches in St. Augustine.
I didn't get a picture of the center of the Halls so grabbed the one above from the web. The building features Jeffersonian arches and beautiful columns with outdoor hallways and second story decks with views of the St Johns River downtown Jacksonville.
The picture of the cargo ship above reminds me of my dad.   He was an electrician at the Jacksonville Shipyards for 34 years until he retired.

Jacksonville has long been know as an international shipping port.  It's long history which includes English sailors trading ammunition and guns to the French from Fort Caroline for food and a boat in 1565, which is the first international commerce recorded in the new world.  Because of this, the port uses the phrase, Jacksonville: America's First Port.

Even before FL was a state in 1845, cotton and timber were traded and shipped to the port.
Jacksonville is now known for it's professional football team the Jacksonville Jaguars.  You can see Everbank field beneath the Hart bridge.  Our home is located not far from here and you can see the bridge from our neighborhood.  The school grounds are located at the foot of the South end of the bridge.
I wish I could've had a better angle to photograph the whole butterfly bed.  There were 3 in graduated sizes and so cheery!
This majestic oak is so much bigger than my photo makes it appear.  In 1966 Episcopal High School of Jacksonville was established, and the Great Oak has shaded and sheltered students ever since.  To give you an idea of it enormousy - that's a 12,000 sq foot wooden deck that surrounds the tree.
This massive tree is older than the city, and by most estimates, older than the United States.  See, this is why you should get out and get to know the area you live in.  That was a new find and fact to me.
The old tree called the Great Oak, is also known as the Keystone Oak.  Mary Packer Cummings and her husband, Charles built the family estate, Keystone Bluff, in the 1880's. Mrs. Cummings was the daughter of Asa Packer, who built Lehigh Valley Railroad, founded Lehigh University and was the governor of Pennsylvania.  When Mrs. Cummings died in 1912, she bequeathed the twenty-eight-acre Keystone Bluff to St. John's Episcopal Parish and, in 1921, the church established a boys' home on the property.

I just love this beautiful granite cross and the carving at the base.  This was in memory of the William Barnett Family (as well as his wife and another family).  Mr. Barnett was the founder of the Barnett Bank.  The same bank that our neighbor was president and CEO of.
I love this old house with it's cheery yellow paint.  The back is above and the front below.
Built in 1893, the Cummings guest house is one of two buildings remaining on Mary Packer Cummings' 19th century Keystone Bluff estate.
These buildings are now used as part of the campus.
The Acosta House above was built in the late 1800s or early 1900s.  It was purchased by St. Elmo W. Acosta in 1911, a Jacksonville businessman and City Council member, who one of our many bridges is named after.  It currently houses photography classes and studios.
This building was constructed as part of a bowling alley by Charles Cummings in 1895.  Cummings, who didn't get along with an adjacent neighbor, constructed it along the property line so the neighbor "would get the full benefit of the noise from the bowling....and card games."  And you thought you had spiteful neighbors.
The building reminds me of a horse stall or carriage house with a nod to a church at the end. Or maybe Steeplechase. Either way I love the architecture.
Here's a photo of Mrs. Cummings herself on her yacht, the Keystone, with Captain Henry D. DeGrove at the wheel.  Mrs Cummings used it for service between Jacksonville (downtown now) and Keystone Bluff, which was her winter home.  That would be a 5 minute or less ride now-a-days.

If you're having warmer days where you live, I hope you'll really get out and do a little exploring for yourself.  A little walk turned into a fun excursion and a little history hunt.  I love learning new stuff about my own neighborhood.  You will too. 

But don't worry about us, our weather changes it's mind daily. Just look at the 5 Day forecast to see what I mean. Oh' quit hatin!
13mph NNE
AM Clouds/PM Sun 
17mph NW
Mostly Sunny 
12mph NNE
10mph ESE
Scattered Thunderstorms 
11mph SSE

Have you been out enjoying the spring weather?  What's the last fun place you visited?  Let me know, I want all the fun details.
Hugs Y'all...

The Lord will continually guide you and satisfy you even in sun-baked places.  He will strengthen your bones.  You will become like a watered garden and like a spring whose water does not stop flowing.
Isiah 58:11


  1. Oh my goodness Tracy! I love this post. You live in such a beautiful area and scrolling through your post and reading about each photo was wonderful! Loved the history lesson on your town.

    LOL! I understand what you mean about being cold when others would call it warm. While we were stationed in Guam, at Andersen AFB, we visited Hawaii for 2 weeks. I almost froze! Most people go to Hawaii to thaw out!

    1. That's funny Willa. I never knew you could get cold in Hawaii. heehee. How cool that you've been able to do all that traveling! I hope you're enjoying nice weather too.

  2. My daughter is in Savannah GA and goes to Jacksonville often with my grandson. We are in Bradenton, FL so a bit away from us. Love the weather here after the many years in Michigan

  3. Enjoyed this post so much and loved looking at all the pictures! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  4. The pictures were amazing I almost felt like I was there. :)

  5. What a neat place to visit! Wish I were closer ;) Thank for sharing your amazing photos