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Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

35 Years Ago In Jacksonville

As we move into a week in which the City Council will consider entering into a contract that is the largest in City history—a contract that could last 35 years—I thought it might be prudent to look back at the Jacksonville of 1974, 35 years ago.

  • Richard Nixon was President.  He didn’t make it thru the year.
  • The Charter Company was a conglomerate with more than 180 subsidiaries that was in the Fortune 500 for 11 years beginning in 1974.  Charter sought bankruptcy protection in late 1984 and spiraled into obscurity.
  • Auchter Co. built the 37-story Independent Life Building (renamed the Modis Building). Also in 1974, Auchter built the Sun Trust Bank Building, an 18-story structure, and the 21-story Cathedral Terrace.   Independent Life and Accident Insurance (for which the Modis Building was originally named) merged with another company in 1997 and became known as American General. Auchter closed its doors in 2007. 
  • Harry Shorstein became the City’s General Counsel.  That year, Harry began his fight against Offshore Power System’s plan to build offshore nuclear power systems.  A short year later, JEA canceled its contract with OPS (one of 9 contracts OPS had to build the systems).  In 1984 OPS shut down.
  • The Jacksonville Sharks competed for part of the 1974 season in the World Football League, a failed attempt to launch a major professional football league in the United States in competition with the National Football League.  Even though the City gave them money, the Sharks failed to move around much on the football field and drowned that same year amid claims of mostly giving away tickets in order to increase attendance numbers.
  • John McCain (of 2008 failed Presidential campaign fame) lived in Jacksonville.
  • The Underwood family sold Underwood Jewelers.
  • After more than a half century of Jacksonville operations, the Florida Chamber of Commerce moved its headquarters to Tallahassee.
  • “The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand topped the charts.  

And, for some reason, Jacksonville seems unable to shake “the way we were.”

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