1. Jacksonville is the city where "The Blues" was first, officially, performed. The word was used to describe a performance in LaVilla on April 16, 1910.

2. Today the annual Springing the Blues festival in Jacksonville Beach is one of the longest-running and largest blues festivals in the country.

3. Later down the road, Limp Bizkit formed in Jax in 1994. The “nu metal” band was incredibly popular locally through the late ’90s before hitting it big. So yeah, thanks Jacksonville for making “Nookie” a thing.

 

 

4. It’s also where southern rock was born. Influential Southern rock band The Allman Brothers formed in Jacksonville in 1969.

5. Lynyrd Skynyrd did too, in 1966, but as The Pretty Ones. The band changed its name in 1969.

6. So that device you are currently staring at, soaking in all this amazing knowledge from… yeah, you can thank Jacksonville for that. It is the birthplace of the father of the personal computer, Don Estridge.

7. In spooky amphibian news, “The Creature From The Black Lagoon” was shot in Jacksonville.

 

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Jacksonville

Source: Flickr user x-ray delta one

 

8. Jax was Hollywood before there was a Hollywood. In fact, it was known in the 1910s as “The Winter Film Capital of the World.”

9. During that decade, well over two dozen silent film studios opened in the city. It was a major film center before Hollywood became the main player in the business.

10. One converted historic movie studio from the era, Norman Studios, is now the Jacksonville Silent Film Museum at Norman Studios.

 

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Jacksonville

Source: Norman Studios Silent Film Museum via Facebook
 

11. Angelo Faticoni, known as the Human Cork because he was seemly unsinkable, died in Jacksonville, before he was able to explain his almost supernatural buoyancy. I mean, its not the worst superpower, I guess.

12. In 1964, during their first American tour, The Beatles refused to play their scheduled concert in Jacksonville until the audience was desegregated.

13. The city of Jacksonville consolidated its entire county in 1968, giving it its considerable size. Because of all the extra territory, it's the most populous city in Florida and the biggest city by area in the continental U.S.

14. Jax is on the banks of the St. Johns River, the longest river in the state and one of the few in the country that flows south to north.

 

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Jacksonville

Source: Flickr user James Willamor
 

15. Jacksonville is named after Andrew Jackson. He's most famous as the seventh U.S. President, but he was also the first military governor of the Florida Territory.

16. But it was originally called “Cowford” because of all the cattle herded across the St. Johns River in the area.

17. Some of the oldest pottery remnants ever unearthed in the country were found in Jacksonville, dating back to around 2500 BC.

18. The city was also the site of some of the first European settlements in America, including the first French settlement, Fort Caroline. It was founded in the summer of 1564.

19. On May 3, 1901, Jax became the site of the largest urban fire ever in the Southeastern U.S. and one of the worst disasters in state history when “The Great Fire of 1901” blazed.

 

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Jacksonville

Source: Wikimedia
 

20. The fire started at the Cleveland Fibre Factory and burned 146 city blocks in 8 hours. It destroyed almost 2,400 buildings and left about 10,000 city residents without homes.

21. Though the biggest disaster, that fire wasn't the deadliest, claiming only seven lives. In 1961, 22 people died in the Roosevelt Hotel fire.

22. Jax is home to Florida's largest Filipino-American community.

23. It also has the biggest deep-water port in the Southern U.S. and the second-biggest on the East Coast.

24. Jacksonville's Florida Theater, opened in 1927, is one of only four remaining Florida high-style movie palaces built in the ’20s during the state's boom of Mediterranean Revival architecture.

 

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Jacksonville

Source: Flickr user CharmaineZoe's Marvelous Melange
 

25. Elvis Presley performed his first indoor concert as a headlining act at the theater in 1956.

26. Today, the Florida Theater hosts about 200 cultural and entertainment events and draws 250,000 visitors annually.

27. Theater Jacksonville has been around even longer, since 1919, when it was known as The Little Theater of Jacksonville.

28. It's one of the oldest continually operating community theaters in the country.

29. The Sun-Ray Cinema at Five Points is another historic venue in Jax. Dating back to 1927, it was the first movie theater in the state with the capability to show movies with sound.

30. The Ritz Theater, built in 1929, is a mecca for African-American culture in the state.

 

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Jacksonville

Source: Wikimedia user Craig ONeal
 

31. Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, and other jazz legends performed at the Ritz Theater in its early days. Ray Charles played there for a year as a teenager.

32. Downtown's annual weekend-long Jacksonville Jazz Festival is the second-biggest jazz festival in the U.S.

33. The World of Nations Celebration, running every year since 1993, is North Florida's biggest multicultural event.

34. Since 2007, the city's Gate River Run has been the largest 15K race in the nation.

35. The first race was in 1978, and it was known as the Jacksonville River Run back then.

36. Jacksonville hosts “The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” a facetious name for the annual college football rivalry game between the University of Florida Gators and the University of Georgia Bulldogs. It's one of the few instances of such a game still held on neutral turf.

 

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Jacksonville

Source: Flickr user Rob Bixby
 

37. This has been going on in the city almost every year since 1915, and every year since 1933 with only two exceptions.

38. Jax also hosts the biggest kingfish fishing tournament every year, the AT&T Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament. The first tournament was held in 1981.

39. Kona Skate Park is the oldest outdoor skate park in the U.S., and it may be the oldest one in the world.

40. Friendship Fountain in the city's St. Johns River Park was the world's tallest and biggest fountain when it was completed in 1965.

41. It was capable of shooting 17,000 gallons of water per minute up to 10 stories high.

42. The Morocco Temple, built in 1910-11, is the oldest Shrine Temple in Florida.

 

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Jacksonville

Source: Flickr user Michel Curi, Jr., MBA
 

43. The city's Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens is noted for its collection of Meissen porcelain, which is one of only three of its kind and quality in the world.

44. Jacksonville is the site of one of the 10 Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums in the country, which together contain the world's largest private collection of documents and manuscripts.

45. The highest point in the city is only 40 feet above sea level.

46. Its highest man-made point is the tip of downtown's Bank of America Tower, which is 42 stories and 617 feet tall.

47. The Dames Point Bridge was the longest cable-stayed concrete bridge in the world when it was completed in 1989, but it's now the second-longest in the Western Hemisphere.

 

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Jacksonville

Source: Flickr user db rolenrock
 

48. It's 10,646 feet long and rises 174 feet over the St. Johns River. Construction cost $117 million.

49. Jax runs the nation's largest urban public parks system. It entails more than 335 locations and covers more than 80,000 acres.

50. Downtown's Hemming Plaza was the city's park. City founder Isaiah Hart established it as a public square in 1857.

51. Treaty Oak, a Southern live oak tree in downtown's Jessie Ball duPont Park, is estimated to be 250 years old and is believed to be the oldest living thing in Jax, even predating the city's founding.

 

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Jacksonville

Source: Flickr user James Willamor
 

52. In spite of Florida's status as a hurricane hotspot, Jacksonville has only been directly hit by one hurricane since 1871.