“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Jacksonville in Duval County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)

Jacksonville And The Movie Industry

Jacksonville and the Movie Industry Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, September 25, 2014
1. Jacksonville and the Movie Industry Marker
Inscription.  Though originally centered around the Theater District of New York City, silent film production companies soon discovered New England winters too harsh for year-round filming. In the winter of 1908 cast and crew of the production company Kalem Players boarded a train for Jacksonville, bringing the fledging industry south. Others would soon follow.

Lodging in a boarding house on Talleyrand Avenue in Jacksonville, the company came by boat across the St. Johns River to film their movies. Arriving with the Kalem Players, 20-year-old actress Gene Gauntier wrote their arrival was "Epoch making, establishing as it did new artistic standards, particularly in atmosphere, and inaugurating the custom of traveling far and wide in search of effective and authentic backgrounds." Jacksonville and northeast Florida provided these authentic backgrounds splendidly, with sandy beaches, swamps and bayous, live oaks and Spanish moss, palm trees and old plantation homes. Further south historic St. Augustine offered quaint streets and homes, the ornate Ponce de Leon Hotel and the picturesque Ft. Castillo de San Marcos.

Between the years 1908 and
Jacksonville and the Movie Industry Marker with studio building image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, September 25, 2014
2. Jacksonville and the Movie Industry Marker with studio building
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1916 more than 30 production companies filmed in Jacksonville and the city became known as the "Winter Film Capital of the World." A young Georgia boy named Oliver Hardy got his start in Jacksonville in the film "Outwitting Dad." In 1915 Metro Pictures started right here in Jacksonville and, through a series of mergers, later became Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - or MGM - Studios.

But not everyone loved the new industry. Some found it scandalous; others found it a nuisance. The presence of movie companies in Jacksonville became a political issue in the 1916 mayoral race. John W. Martin, the city's newly-elected mayor echoed the sentiments of those who wished to see the movie industry gone. The welcome mat was rolled up. The industry packed their bags and moved to Hollywood, California, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Erected 2009 by A grant from Comcast through Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Entertainment. A significant historical year for this entry is 1908.
Location. 30° 20.019′ N, 81° 35.613′ W. Marker is in Jacksonville, Florida, in Duval County. Marker is at the intersection of Arlington Road and Westdale Drive, on the right when traveling west on Arlington Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6327 Arlington Road, Jacksonville FL 32211, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within
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2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Norman Silent Film Studios (here, next to this marker); Frederick W. Bruce (approx. 0.2 miles away); Arlington Grammar School No. 46 (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Crossroads (approx. 0.6 miles away); Historic Floral Bluff (approx. one mile away); Historic Arlington Town Center Ferry Landing (approx. 1.1 miles away); Historic Strawberry Plantation (approx. 1.2 miles away); Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley (approx. 1.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jacksonville.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on March 16, 2016, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 357 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 16, 2016, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Jan. 26, 2023