September 16, 2021

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Classic photos capture Jacksonville historical past in early 20th century

From about 1900 to the Initial Globe War, the intrepid Leah Mary Cox shot 1000’s of images of every day lifetime in Jacksonville, offering an a must have portrait of a escalating city. She died at 86 in 1953 in the Fishweir Creek house she built herself.

Her story was instructed in a 2002 book “Jacksonville Greets the 20th Century” by Ann Hyman, the late Situations-Union columnist and editor.

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Turn-of-the-century beachgoers in the latest swimwear fashions.
This 1909 photo by Leah Mary Cox shows a group sailing on the St. Johns River.

Its image editor was Ron Masucci, the spouse of one particular of Cox’s grandnieces, who went by means of box immediately after box of glass slides — extra than 4,000 pictures — uncovered in the photographer’s basement.

Cox was born in England and raised in Ohio, Nebraska and Tallahassee in advance of coming alone to Jacksonville in 1888, just months in advance of the city’s yellow fever epidemic hit. She survived the terrible plague and “sometime in the last years of the century,” Hyman wrote, she bought a big box digicam set on a tripod.

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An undated photograph of Leah Mary Cox. By all accounts, she was a determined, intrepid woman.
In 1908 Leah Mary Cox photographed this crowd gathered to watch a carnival in bustling Jacksonville.

For years she lugged her digicam all over, capturing lifetime in her adopted metropolis.

“Cox’s get the job done preserves pictures of amusement parks, streetcars, females in lace, men in jaunty straw hats, acolytes in white vestments, horses and buggies, Tin Lizzies heaped with flowers for a celebration, the metropolis in ashes right after it was virtually destroyed by fire in 1901,” Hyman wrote, noting that her photographs, in all their wide variety and immediacy, “hold time captive.”

Leah Mary Cox took this 1903 photograph of decorated cars and horse-drawn wagons making their way east on Bay Street during a parade.
Leah Mary Cox took this undated photo of Dixieland Park, which opened in Jacksonville in 1907.