PHOTOS: 121 years ago Tuesday -- downtown Jacksonville burned to the ground. The Great Fire of 1901 destroyed 90% of downtown.
To grasp the magnitude of the Great Fire of 1901, you need to understand the significance of the downtown area of Jacksonville in 1901.
It was the “it” place to live and run a business. It was home to magnificent mansions, lavish hotels, and the centerpiece of entertainment. On the northside of downtown, near the corner of Union and Davis streets, was one of several businesses, the Cleveland Fiber Factory. On May 3rd, 1901, workers took their lunch break.
They had laid out another large section of Spanish moss on the huge 200 foot rack that lined the outside of the wooden building to allow it to dry in the warm Florida sun. The moss was used to stuff mattresses and cushions.