There was once a time when downtown Jacksonville was considered a premier shopping destination. Small shops and massive department stores lined its streets, often flanked by theatres or restaurants. Shoppers routinely walked from store to store and through Hemming Park, which served as somewhat of a center court for all of the activity.
Those days are long gone at this point, unfortunately, with many of the buildings that housed those stores having been demolished years ago. But many of the city’s longtime residents have fond memories of shopping downtown as children, before the days of shopping malls and suburban sprawl.
We’ve highlighted several of the grand department stores from downtown Jacksonville’s shopping era below, as a way of reminding present-day Jax residents how active downtown once was – and why we should fight to make it a hub of activity once again.
The upscale Levy’s department store, founded by Benjamin Levy, opened in the late 1920s at the corner of Adams and Hogan streets. Its four-story building was designed by local architecture firm Marsh & Saxelbye.
Levy’s, like Furchgott’s, was known for its high-end apparel and was frequented by the city’s elites. The store took up all four floors, selling men’s and women’s clothing, jewelry, and accessories.
A vertical marquee sign that read “Levy’s” faced the intersection. The store would later rebrand as Levy-Wolf’s to honor a long-time executive.
It closed its doors permanently in 1984; its building has since been converted into office space.