Narrative card: After The Fire


Narrative card: After The Fire


Refugees from downtown were relocated to neighborhoods that were not as heavily impacted by the fire, like Springfield and Riverside, in addition to areas outside the city. Aid and assistance from outside Jacksonville were made available to some victims of the fire but was not distributed equitably to all citizens. Rebuilding the downtown area began almost as soon as the flames were doused. The Florida Times-Union reported that building permits were being issued as soon as May 6th, 1901.

Much like other major population centers hit by major disasters; the Great Fire of 1901 changed the way Jacksonville approached construction and city planning. The city council passed legislation that required “fireproof” brick structures be constructed in downtown. Architect Henry Klutho came to Jacksonville and introduced the Prairie school of architecture to the city.

Although many sources from the time reference a “new city” and opportunity, James B. Crooks notes in his book, After the Fire, that: “Jacksonville developed as two cities in the years after the fire, one white and one black.” Because of the “blank slate” nature of post-fire downtown Jacksonville, segregation and inequality were baked into the bones of the city and this bifurcated nature of Jacksonville can still be seen today.


Thomas G. Carpenter Library Special Collections


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Thomas G. Carpenter Library Special Collections, “Narrative card: After The Fire,” Thomas G. Carpenter Library Digital Exhibits, accessed November 28, 2021,