Upon my first visit to Jacksonville on a business trip several years ago, I was quite struck that there were so few old buildings and houses in the downtown area. My first thought was that all the old buildings were demolished t0 make way for new, larger, buildings. I researched it when I returned home and found the truth…there had been a catastrophic fire in 1901, a “conflagration” as they used to call large fires. The fire is believed to have started at a mattress factory where they used Spanish moss to stuff mattresses. The fire quickly spread to all the wooden builds, leaving dozens of blocks completely burned to the ground. Many photos exist from the great catastrophe, but loss of life was kept to a minimum.
Compilation of Fire Photos from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7SpWn-CQ14
Jacksonville Historical Society: http://www.jaxhistory.org/great-fire-1901/
Florida Memory Great Fire Photos – https://www.floridamemory.com/photographiccollection/photo_exhibits/jacksonvillefire/