Construction of Beaches History Museum to Start
Burmeister, Caren, The Florida Times Union
Byline: Caren Burmeister, Shorelines staff writer
JACKSONVILLE BEACH -- After five years of planning and fund-raising, the Beaches Area Historical Society broke ground Thursday for the two-story, Florida "cracker style" museum that will showcase Beaches' history.
The 12,500-square-foot museum at Pablo Historical Park on Pablo Avenue will occupy the site of the Jean H. McCormick Archives and the grassy area to its west. The project is expected to be finished in November or December.
Ed White, president of Auld and White Constructors Inc., which is building the museum, said they plan to demolish the archival building in a few weeks, once they get a demolition permit.
The Rev. Suddath Cummings of St. Paul's By-The-Sea Episcopal Church set the tone in his opening prayer for the history museum's ceremony, saying, "It's only through knowing where we have been that we know who we are."
The museum, with permanent and temporary exhibit halls, museum store and room for archives, research and educational programs will feature the history and culture of all the Beaches communities of Mayport, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach and Palm Valley.
Building the new museum will cost about $2.25 million.
The cracker style involves clapboard siding, metal roofs and porches in a rural architectural style reminiscent of buildings constructed by early Florida settlers, less formal than ornate antebellum mansions.
Jean McCormick, who founded the Beaches Area Historical Society in 1978, told the crowd of about 100 people at the ceremony that the project has come a long way since she went to the library to start compiling a history of the Beaches and was told, "This is the only book we have and you can't take it out. …