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Jacksonville At A Glance

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Inhabited for thousands of years based on ancient pottery from the area dating to 2500 B.C, Jacksonville, Florida has a long history. From the Native American Timucua people to the French, Spanish and British, the city "where Florida begins" shows us why it's been occupied for centuries.

Brief History

Inhabited for thousands of years with ancient pottery dating to 2500 B.C., the city of Jacksonville, Florida has been occupied for centuries beginning with the Timucua people. Europeans arrived in the mid-1500s. The area was first part of France, then Spain, then Britain and then went to back to Spain. During the Civil War, the city changed hands from the Union to the Confederates many times. Approval for the city's modern name came in 1832 when it was named after Andrew Jackson. A massive fire in 1901 that began at a fiber plant wiped out the business district and left approximately 10,000 residents homeless. In the early 1900s, Jacksonville was the silent film center of the U.S. during the winter months. Nowadays, it's a tourist area with a strong U.S. Navy presence due to its location.

The Right Location

Known as "the river city," Jacksonville is situated around Fruit Cove and the banks of the St. Johns River in northeast Florida near Georgia. The city is located inland enough to escape most hurricane paths, but still borders the Atlantic coast with its beach scene. A semi-tropical environment means no snow and temperatures reaching the low 100s in the rainy summer months. Winter months bring temperatures from normally above freezing at night into the low 80s during the day.

Population Growth

Typical of much of the "sun belt," about 40% of the population is from other states. The population is over 820,000 and growing. Growth may be because of its lower-than-the-national-average gas and utility costs or its great weather and location.

Get A Job

The bulk of Jacksonville's population is employed in labor positions. Jobs are in education/health/social services, wholesale/retail, financial and insurance, construction, manufacturing, military (Navy), logistics and tourism (especially geared to the sport of golf). To help prepare for these jobs, the area has numerous colleges, universities and trade schools. Overall, the education levels attained here are over the national average.

Moving Around

Just outside the city is Jacksonville International Airport (JAX). Amtrak runs though the city with a full-service train station for travelers. Interstates 10, 90, 95 and 795 traverse in and around Jacksonville, as do several state highways. For those driving to work, carpooling is a popular and eco-friendly option.

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