How a 1901 New York Times Article Changed the Jacksonville Skyline

Henry John Klutho, an architect from New York, moved to Jacksonville after reading about the Great Fire of 1901. He quickly gained commissions to design numerous buildings in the city, including the Dyal–Upchurch Building and the new City Hall. In 1905, Klutho met Frank Lloyd Wright, which led him to adopt the Prairie School style of design, which discarded traditional European standards.

Between 1907 and the start of World War I, Klutho designed numerous buildings, including the St. James Building, which became the center of commerce for Jacksonville. The St. James Building was Klutho’s crowning achievement, featuring a 75-foot octagonal glass dome, open “cage” elevators, and large abstract terra-cotta ornaments. Despite his contributions to the rebirth of the city, Klutho’s work was mostly ignored by later generations in Jacksonville, and much of his work was either razed or “renovated”. However, in the mid-1970s, a number of his creations were added to the National Register of Historic Places, assuring their preservation.

Forsythe Street in Jacksonville, after the fire.


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