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During the Civil War, in a gun emplacement named Fort Hatch was set up near the present day location of the Houston and Lee Street intersection. This location also served as a tent camp for the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, the African-American unit that inspired the movie Glory. Inthe area was purchased and subdivided by Francis F.

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Today, there's not much left, but years ago Houston Street was the epicenter of the city's bustling Red Light District. Houston's Street interesting history can be traced back as far aswhen a gun emplacement named Fort Hatch was set up near the present day location of the Houston and Lee Street intersection.

This location also served as a tent camp for the 54th Massachusetts Infantry see the movie "Glory". Twenty years later, sitting between the train station railroad tracks and the heart of Downtown, this area grew to become an urban center with bars, industries, small hotels, and bordellos catering to transient visitors and railroad employees.

During the early 20th century, this section of downtown looked and felt much different than it does today.

Cora Taylor was this era's most famous brothel owner. During the 's she operated Jacksonville's finest bordello, the "Hotel de Dream", on the corner of Ashley and Hawk Jefferson Streets. Soon she headed to Europe with her lover, writer Stephen Crane.

The court was a two story brick building featuring 14 bedrooms, ballroom, kitchens, a dining room and an annex with eight bedrooms. Today, the site that once was the home of The Court lives on as a vacant lot on the southwest corner of Houston and Davis Streets.

Houston's downfall came with the decline in rail traffic during the 's. The River City Renaissance of the 's was the final nail in the coffin as most of the remaining building fabric from this era was leveled in a failed effort to revitalize LaVilla.

Today there's not much left that relates to Houston Street's colorful past. The area is now dominated by poorly maintained surface parking lots on demolished building foundations, the Salvation Army, and a few warehouses. If it could have survived, the old terminal warehouses would have made a nice centralized location for a farmer's market.

This warehouse, on the corner of Houston and Davis Streets, occupies the site of a bordello that was once known as "The House of Spanish Marie". Constructed in as the Shiloh Baptist Church, the religious structure was converted into a bordello after the congregation fled its unsavory surroundings.

Spanish Marie is also known as one of the last prostitution houses to remain open before being shut down in the s. This historic site came down in the s as a part of a failed plan to revitalize LaVilla. Despite the widespread swath of destruction, there are a few brick structures that still stand, despite being vacant and boarded up. At one time railroad tracks ran along Houston Street providing service to several industrial buildings in the area.

Today, this building is the home of Sally Industries. These buildings are located on Forsyth Street in the same vicinity as many of the Houston Street bordellos.

One can only imagine about the events that took place in these buildings during that era. Share This Article Share this article with your friends! Help me make it make sense Socialize Find us on social media sites:.