This week’s featured vendor is located across the street from the Vystar Arena and the home to the Jacksonville Historical Society–Old St. Andrew’s Church and the Merrill House.
Built in 1888, the church is the only surviving building after the Great Fire of 1901. By the 50s, the once quiet neighborhood had become undesirable, and residents began to move elsewhere. Residential development in the suburbs increased dramatically, and membership at St. Andrews fell to the point that it could no longer support itself.
Old St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church was deconsecrated, closed and boarded up. The once thriving area around the church declined, and by the late 1970s the building had fallen into disuse and disrepair. Vacant for almost three decades, the building was a tremendous challenge for historic preservation.
The situation changed with the arrival of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team, as the City of Jacksonville purchased most of the land around Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, including the Old St. Andrew’s site.
The City of Jacksonville gave the Jacksonville Historical Society the rights to the building to restore it. Many people thought that the condition of the structure was beyond repair. However, a million dollars was raised and in 1998 the restoration was complete.
Since restoration the building is seen as one of the finest specimens of nineteenth-century architecture in Duval County, and it is a popular spot for meetings, weddings and other civic events. It was the site of the ESPN Super Bowl XXXIX party in January 2005.
Next door to the church is the Merrill House. Which is a neat old building with lots of historical relics and photos. It is used as a location for the bride to get ready and a tour spot during cocktail hour.
And now to an interview with Jackson from Old. St. Andrew’s!
When we get out of quarantine, what is the first thing you are going to do? WORK! I know it sounds cliché, but since I love what I do, it doesn’t feel like work and I am ready to get back to my normal routine.
What places do you like to visit in your downtime within an hour from Jacksonville? I like the beach area, really love to run out there in the morning when I have time
What is your favorite car of all time? I’m not really into classic cars…I’m a guy of simple taste, give me a 2020 Alfa Romeo 4c Spider in black, interior black also with red stitching.
What is your favorite car color? Silver
What songs do you like to blast when you are driving around? honestly you can hear everything in my car, from Hillsong Worship to Young Jeezy. But my favorite is 90s R&B…you know TLC, Maxwell, Mary J Blige and Usher
What do you see as a new wedding trend? More couples are focusing on Signature Cocktails instead of a full bar. As a bartender for Old St Andrew’s, we love creating unique menus for clients.
What trends are you ready to go away? The shoe game. It slows down the party for a couple of laughs, however I think it kills the dance floor time.
What is your favorite wedding color combo? White, Black, and Gold
What is your favorite local restaurant? Fogo de Chao – I love eating there!
Favorite mom & pop shop? Sweet Mama’s is delicious! They just opened this year and they cater! Highly recommend this southern home cooked food!!
Favorite place to get dessert? Two words: French Pantry
Which restaurant are you most likely to see someone propose at? River & Post or Black Sheep – Rooftops are the way to go!
Where is your favorite place to people watch? On the Riverwalk, you see a nice diverse mix of people there.
What is your favorite movie and why? Coming to America – it is so funny!
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