Duval County Courthouse

     One of Florida's oldest counties, Duval was created in 1822 and named for the first territorial governor, William P. DuVal. The St. Johns River bisects the county and a fording place has existed near Jacksonville since prehistoric times. The Timucuan people called it wacca pilatka, "place where cows cross," and under British rule this became Cow Ford. In 1822 a city was platted on the site and named for Andrew Jackson, the military governor who had preceded DuVal.

     Duval County's first courthouse was built in the 1840's at what is now the corner of Forsyth and Market Streets.  It was burned during the Civil War.  A more durable brick structure went up in 1886.  According to "postcard historian" Hampton Dunn, in Jacksonville "time is measured by 'before the fire' or 'after the fire'", referring to the 1901 conflagration that wiped out the downtown. Among the first buildings reconstructed was the courthouse, which was relocated across the street from the old.  The walls of the older building survived the fire, were incorporated into a new armory, and, remodeled again at mid-century, remain as part of the present-day Lanier Building. 

     The 1902 courthouse, designed by architect Rutledge Holmes, soon proved too small and an annex was added in 1914.  Apparently the plans contemplated the possibility of adding as many as seven more stories, but this was never done.  Instead, a modern courthouse was dedicated in 1958 and the 1902 courthouse was demolished;  the annex was spared and, later expanded to cover the entire site, continues to house county offices.

     Duval County merged with the city of Jacksonville in 1968; in area if not in population, Jacksonville is now one of the largest cities in America.

     In the photo at left, which was contributed by Richard Cummings, the large building in the foreground is the old City Hall, now referred to as the 'City Hall Annex'.  Lots of Series 7 exam prep books can be found here. This view has since changed, as a hotel is under construction on the former city hall's waterfront parking lot.  Current Duval County City Hall & Courthouse (Contributed by Richard Cummings)  The building in the middle is the current Duval courthouse, still in use but suffering from overcrowding; plans are under way for remodeling or construction of a new courthouse.  The third building is the old Duval County Jail, which has been demolished to make way for waterfront development.