Jacksonville's Great Fire of 1901 was the largest metropolitan fire in the American South. The fire began on May 3, 1901 with a spark from a cook stove at lunchtime which ignited piles of Spanish moss drying for a mattress factory. Located at Davis and Beaver streets, the factory fire spread to most of the downtown area. By 8:30 when the fire was brought under control, 2,368 buildings were destroyed, 10,000 people were homeless and seven residents were dead. The city spent the next decade rebuilding its downtown.
Klutho Park, located at 204 W. Third Street, was originally called Springfield Park. Most of the park was created between 1899 and 1901, from land donated by the Springfield Company, a local developer. The city's first zoo was opened in the park in 1914, followed by the city's first municipal pool in 1922.
Image Courtesy J. Grey, CC BY NC
Born in Illinois, Henry John Klutho studied business in St. Louis, Missouri before becoming interested in architecture and moving to New York City. After reading about the 1901's Great Fire of Jacksonville in the New York Times, he moved south to take advantage of the city's newly blank canvas. You can read a bit about his life and his work in Jacksonville in this post from the Jacksonville Historical Society, or watch the video below in which local architect Robert Broward discusses his book, The architecture of Henry John Klutho : the Prairie School in Jacksonville.
Portrait of Henry John Klutho, 19--. Image courtesy State Archives of Florida.