top ten travel logo

Overview of Jacksonville,  Florida

"Some information from Wikipedia"

Jacksonville Florida Overview

Jacksonville, Florida

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jacksonville is the most populous city in the state of Florida and the thirteenth most populous city in the United States. It is the county seat of Duval County.GR6 Since 1968, the city has shared a consolidated government with the county, making it the largest city in land area in the contiguous United States and the eleventh largest in the world. As of 2005, the city proper has an estimated population of 782,623 with a metropolitan population of more than 1.3 million.

Jacksonville is located in the First Coast region of northeast Florida. The city is situated on the banks of the St. Johns River, which flows north and empties into the Atlantic Ocean about 20 miles east of downtown. The settlement that became Jacksonville was founded in 1791 as Cowford due to its location at a narrow point in the river where cattle were once driven across. The city was renamed in 1822 for Andrew Jackson, the first military governor of the Florida Territory and eventual seventh President of the United States.


The history of Jacksonville spans hundreds of years, and has been influenced by the area's unique geography and location. The first settlement in the area, called Ossachite, was made over 6,000 years ago by the Timucua Indians in the vicinity of modern-day downtown Jacksonville.

European explorers first arrived in 1562, when French Huguenot explorer Jean Ribault charted the St. Johns River. René Goulaine de Laudonnière established the first European settlement at Fort Caroline two years later.

The first permanent European settlement was founded as Cowford in 1791. Florida became a territory of the United States in 1821, and the following year Cowford acquired the name Jacksonville, after the first military governor of the Florida Territory and eventual seventh President of the United States, Andrew Jackson. The Florida Legislative Council approved a charter for a town government on February 9, 1832.

During the American Civil War, Jacksonville was a key supply point for hogs and cattle leaving Florida and aiding the Confederate cause. The city was blockaded by the Union, changing hands several times. Though no battles were fought in Jacksonville, the city was left in a considerable state of disarray after the war.

During Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, Jacksonville and nearby St. Augustine became popular winter resorts for the rich and famous. Visitors arrived by steamboat and later by railroad. The city's tourism, however, was dealt major blows in the late 1800s by yellow fever outbreaks and the extension of the Florida East Coast Railroad to south Florida.

On May 2, 1901, downtown Jacksonville was ravaged by a fire that was started at a fiber factory. Known as the "Great Fire of 1901", it was one of the worst disasters in Florida history, destroying the business district and rendering 10,000 residents homeless in the course of eight hours. Famed New York architect Henry J. Klutho was a primary figure in the reconstruction of the city. More than 13,000 buildings were constructed between 1901 and 1912.

In the 1910s, New York-based moviemakers were attracted to Jacksonville's warm climate, exotic locations, excellent rail access, and cheap labor. Over the course of the decade, more than 30 silent film studios were established, earning Jacksonville the title "Winter Film Capital of the World". The city's conservative political climate and the emergence of Hollywood as a major film production center quickly ended the city's film industry. Several converted movie studio sites remain in Arlington.

During this time, Jacksonville also became a banking and insurance center, with companies such as Barnett National, Atlantic National, Florida National, Prudential, Gulf Life, Afro-American Insurance, Independent Life and American Heritage Life thriving in the business district. The U.S. Navy also became a major employer and economic force during the 1940s, with the installation of three major naval bases in the city. Jacksonville, like most large cities in the United States, suffered from negative effects of rapid urban sprawl after World War II. Voters elected to consolidate the city and county governments in 1968, making Jacksonville the largest city in land area in the contiguous United States.

Jacksonville has long struggled with its violent crime rate; it has been Florida's murder capital for 12 of the last 17 years. Jacksonville currently has 103 homicides, an is on point to get 145-150 if the current rate of a murder a day continues. Murders peaked at 174 in 1991.


Jacksonville has a humid subtropical climate, with mild weather during winters and hot weather during summers. High temperatures average 64 to 91 F (18-33 C) throughout the year. High heat indices are not uncommon for the summer months in the Jacksonville area. High Temperatures can reach mid to high 90s with heat index ranges of 105-115 F. The highest temperature ever recorded in Jacksonville was 105 F (43 C) on July 21, 1942. It is common for daily thunderstorms to erupt during a standard summer afternoon. These are caused by the heating of the land and water, combined with extremely high humidity.

Conversely, the area can experience freezes and hard freezes during the night at winter's peak. Occasionally, very cold weather can occur, although it is usually short lived. The coldest temperature recorded in Jacksonville was 7 F (-14 C) on January 21, 1985, a day that most locations in the eastern half of the US remember as the coldest day ever. Very seldom, the area will see snow, though when this happens the snow will usually melt before it touches the ground.

Jacksonville has suffered less damage from hurricanes than other east coast cities; while the city has only received one direct hit from a hurricane since 1871, Jacksonville has experienced hurricane or near-hurricane conditions more than a dozen times due to storms passing through the state from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. The strongest effect on Jacksonville was from Hurricane Dora in 1964, the only recorded storm to hit the First Coast with sustained hurricane force winds. The eye crossed St. Augustine, with winds that had just barely diminished to 110 mph, making it a strong Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

Rainfall averages around 52 inches a year, with the wettest months being June through September.
Please share your knowledge of Jacksonville Florida with others. Please let us know if you have any suggestions about the most popular things to do in Jacksonville.

Copyright © 2006 The Top Ten Travel Company LLC.