Friday, September 24, 2010

Sep 24, 2010 Renovation Update

I got down to the Fountain area this afternoon to see what progress had been made and well, WOW ;)

First thing that jumped out at me was the Commemorable Plaque in the concrete near
the entrance of Friendship Fountain park...

Yep as you can see it has been removed, mostly intact, but some damage is evident. I contacted Eric Lindstrom with the JEDC as after reviewing the plans I have available to me it wasn't clear what the plans were for the plaque.

Eric replied promptly with the following:

"The plan is to place a new plaque back within 50 feet of the original location. Due to the condition of the plaque, our plans call for the plaque to be replicated exactly the same as the original. We wanted to keep the plaque at the site until the contractor can properly document the exact layout, materials used, letter types and sizes, etc. Originally, we wanted to use the original, however, the age and condition of the plaque will make this difficult. We are doing everything we can to replicate the plaque exactly as it was, but also making sure it lasts another 40-50 years with all new materials."

Sounds good to me :)

Also got some rare shots of inside the pumphouse where the pumps themselves have been removed leaving only the pipe connections...

Oh and I would be remiss if I didn't point out that the Jacksonville Maritime Museum is OPEN during the Fountain renovations and would urge anyone that has a chance to visit the Southbank to make sure you stop by and get exposed to another rich part of Jacksonville's History.

As the rest of the pictures attest to there has been lots of work, this isn't the Courthouse ;) project, and we will continue to try and keep things updated.

Once again my our thanks to the Folks of AC General who just have been great about access and Eric who has been extremely supportive with information.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Construction Pictures taken Sep 10, 2010 Added..

Took a trip down to Friendship Fountain this afternoon, accompanied by my very Pretty Daughter, Samantha, who is in a couple of the pictures.

Even late on a Friday afternoon the contractors were hard at work still in demo mode removing the concrete and park areas around the Fountain base. It appears to be about a 4 to 5 foot deep dig around the fountain circle.

Took a few minutes to walk up the Main St. Bridge to get some shots as well. I noticed that the water curtains running around the Maritime Museum were not running and I am not sure if they are in need of repair or not?

Anyway no questioning progress is being made and I once again want to thank AC General for their allowing us full access.


Monday, September 06, 2010

Interesting Historical Tibit...

I received an email the other day from Patricia Lellouche who was secretary to Frank W. Sherman, President and Chairman of the Board of the American National Banks. back in the day...

The fountain was originally the idea of Frank W. Sherman,
President and Chairman of the Bd. of the American National
Banks at the time. He got the idea at a bankers' convention
in St. Louis. He wanted Jacksonville to have something
similar to their arch. It was named after Dallas Thomas so
that the fountain could be built.

How do I know this? I was
Frank Sherman's secretary at the time. This information was
also included in an article in the Times Union about Sherman's

Thanks for the information Patricia...

For those saying who is Dallas Thomas, he was a City Commissioner back in the 60's who was later involved in a scandal...

The Fountain was originally called the “Fountain of Friendship in Dallas Thomas Park”; friendship at the suggestion of a Rotary Club member and Dallas Thomas after the city's parks and finance commissioner.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Labor day Holiday and just think next year on Labor Day we should be looking at a completely restored Fountain and renovated Park...


Thursday, September 02, 2010

More coverage of the Fountain Renovation

In Thursday's Times Union two additional stories...

Times Union Sep 2, 2010 Front page With renovation, Jacksonville's Friendship Fountain will fly high again By Dan Scanlan

Times Union Sep 2, 2010 Ron Littlepage Welcome improvements coming on the Southbank

It will be exciting to continue tracking the renovation work and see the progression of the changes to the Park and see the Fountain back in full operation when this is all done :)

I also would like to take this opportunity to remind folks that they can submit their own pictures of Friendship Fountain at anytime at the following link:


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

More from the Ground Breaking Ceremony.

Wow I still can't believe it, but it is finally reality not only are we keeping Friendship Fountain but we are getting it renovated as well as an upgrade to the park area...

It was just about 4 years ago when the idea of replacing Friendship fountain with Kids Kampus was floated... . A pretty detailed history of getting up to this point can be seen here:

However today, when cooler heads finally prevailed, we have the ground breaking for the $3.2 Million Friendship Fountain & Park Renovation.

The Mayor spoke for a few minutes extolling the value of Friendship Fountain and park as the "50 Yard Line" of the City of Jacksonville and his hopes this will be just the first step in many revitalization projects and initiatives.

Eric Lindstrom, Redevelopment Manager for the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission was present along with many other members of the Development Commission. City Councilman Warren Jones was also present.

Dan Scanlan of the Times Union was present and he interviewed me for a few minutes, Dan and I go way back when it comes to issues regarding the Fountain ;). Dee from Action News also was present and interviewed me at length on camera, hopefully that will never see the light of day
Link to's Same day coverage. Watch: Groundbreaking at Friendship Fountain. Additional coverage expected on Thursday from Dan Scanlan and Ron Littlepage...

News4Jax coverage

Action News - TV-47/TV-30 Coverage Friendship Fountain restoration

I also got the opportunity to meet with some representatives of AC General, the General Contractor for the Fountain Renovation. Danny Strickland, one of the principles for AC General, Michael Johnston the Project Manager and another Project Manager for AC General, Marty, who it appears is also AC General's IT Advisor.

Danny has indicated that will be more then welcome at anytime to keep documenting the course of the renovation and the entire AC General Team has been more then kind to us...

Lots more pictures from the ground breaking are located here:

Also some new pictures have been added to the General renovation gallery as some construction work had already begun, the Fountain itself has had all hardware removed and they have begun demolition on the area of the Park adjacent to the Riverwalk.

Once again my Thanks to everyone that has helped in any way to get to this day and special thanks to Eric Lindstrom for his communications and to the folks from AC General for their cooperation and open access.

Till next week,

Friendship Fountain Renovation Ground Breaking

Just got back from the Friendship Fountain Ground breaking and wanted to post just a quick note and picture.

More pictures coming...

Mayor Peyton, Councilman Warren Jones and many others were present and I will post more later this evening...

Just think 2 years ago the City was going to demolish the Fountain and move Kids Kampus to the Park area and today we had ground breaking for a $3.2 million dollar renovation for Friendship Fountain and the surrounding park...

That is HUGE!