10 Prairie School commercial buildings in downtown

Originating in Chicago, Prairie School was attempt in creating an indigenous North American style of architecture related to the ideas and aesthetics of the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. Characterized by horizontal lines, windows grouped in horizontal bands, and flat or hipped roofs with broad overhanging eaves, the architectural style came to Jacksonville when young architects influenced by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan, moved to the city to help rebuild after the Great Fire of 1901. Many commercial examples of the architectural style can be found all over Jacksonville's urban core today. Here are a few in and around Downtown Jacksonville.

Morocco Temple (1911)

219 North Newnan Street

A combination of Prairie style and the Egyptian Revival style, the Morocco Temple was designed by architect Henry John Klutho. Built as the first Shrine Temple in Florida, the structure has been used as commercial office space since the Shriners relocated in 1984.

Moulton & Kyle Funeral Home (1914)

17 West Union Street

For nearly a century, 17 West Union Street served as a destination where bodies of Jacksonville’s citizens were prepared for burial and delivery to their final resting place. Established in 1856, the architecture firm of Mark & Shetfall was commissioned to design Union Street’s Moulton & Kyle Funeral Home in 1914. In 1913, what had become the Peeples Family Funeral Home was abandoned when the business was relocated to North Jacksonville.

St. James Building (1912)

117 West Duval Street

Designed by Henry John Klutho, the St. James Building opened in 1912 as a department store for the Cohen Brothers. At its peak, it was the 9th largest flagship department store in the country. After the department store closed, the building was renovated into Jacksonville’s city hall.

YMCA Building (1909)

407 North Laura Street

Completed in 1909, 407 North Laura Street was designed by Henry John Klutho and built for the Young Men’s Christian Association. Originally, it included a pool in the basement and a running track on cantilevered concrete beams over a gymnasium. Later remodeled into retail space, the building is now the Jake M. Godbold City Hall Annex.

Waterworks Pumphouse and Electrical Substation (1915)

1000 North Main Street

Built in 1915, the Waterworks Pumphouse and Electrical Substation was constructed by F.W. Long. An earlier municipal electric plant was incorporated into the construction of this building.

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at edavis@moderncities.com