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Jacksonville: It’s Not Cowford Anymore

Posted on January 20, 2014

The law firm of Farah & Farah has a special place in its heart for the beautiful city of Jacksonville, Florida (or more commonly known around here as Jax). But, besides being the largest city in Florida and the largest city in the continental United States by landmass (800 square miles), did you know Jacksonville was known as Cowford until 1822 because cattle were “forded” across the St. John’s River at this location?

Jacksonville is now the 14th largest city in the U.S. and frankly, we like the ring of “Jacksonville” better than “Cowford.” Here are some other interesting facts and firsts about the city we love:

Did you know that Elvis Presley had his first official indoor concert in Jacksonville in 1957? It’s true. The performance was at the Florida Theatre Downtown. In fact, a court judge was in the audience to assure that Elvis’s hips didn’t stray too far from the straight and narrow.

And speaking of music, Jacksonville is also the birthplace of the classic southern rock band Lynard Skynard. We are also host to the annual Jacksonville Jazz Festival, the second-largest jazz festival in the United States. Also, according to Metro Jacksonville, the first documented account of a blues performance on stage took place in Jacksonville in 1910.

The world’s first building in Florida using skyscraper technology was also built in downtown Jacksonville. The Dyal Upchurch Building was built after the devastating “Great Fire” of Jacksonville in 1901. A boiler explosion at a candle factory in the LaVilla area was the cause of the conflagration. More than 2,368 buildings were destroyed and 10,000 residents were left homeless.

This “skyscraper” still stands in Jacksonville and measures in at a whopping six stories tall.

Feeling a little hungry? A little burger restaurant called Insta-Burger opened on Beach Boulevard in 1953. So, what’s the big deal? Well, you may be more familiar with that burger joint’s current moniker, “Burger King.”

And while we are speaking of food, the oldest continuously operated farmer’s market in Florida started right here in Jacksonville in 1938. The Jacksonville Farmers Market attracts some 25,000 people a week.

Oh, and you can thank Jacksonville (or not) for the creation of the Six Pack. Just after World War II, the Jax Brewing Company was the first company in history to sell beer six to a sack.

Of course, Jacksonville has had its share of “colorful” characters also. For instance, there was the Jacksonville resident who opened the Carpon Land Syndicate in 1925 and sold residential lots at the low, low price of $10 each. Unfortunately, much of that land was underwater. Charles Ponzi would later be more infamously known for a little creation of his known as the “Ponzi Scheme.”

Charles and Eddie Farah love Jax and want to see it continue to grow and thrive. Just a bit of advice: be careful when buying land.