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Circa 1910: The Confederate memorial rises from Hemming Park in front of a line of homes next to Snyder Memorial (left) on the south end of the 1.5-acre public park. (Photo by Leah Mary Cox)
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1930s: A marching band, members of the media and a large crowd gather at the western edge of Hemming Park outside the flag- and banner-draped Windsor Hotel for what appears to be a presidential visit or campaign rally in this undated photo. (Photo by Elsner/Courtesy Jacksonville Historical Society).
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Late 1940s: From the beginning, a town square was reserved as a public park and gathering place. But for many years the common ground was unkempt, bedraggled and out of the way. The park came into its glory with the coming of the St. James Hotel in the 1870s. For many years, what we know today as Hemming Park was called St. James Park. It was renamed Hemming Park for banker Charles Hemming following his gift of the Confederate monument in the park's center just before the turn of the century. The park was paved with bricks in the mid-1970s, becoming Hemming Plaza. (Times-Union file photo)
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Sept. 2, 1952: General Dwight D. Eisenhower addresses the crowd in Hemming Park in a campaign stop in Jacksonville. He was described by Herbert Bayer, the political editor of The Florida Times-Union as "The first Republican presidential candidate in history to conduct a full-scale campaign deep in Dixie." (Uncredited)
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July 1957: On a hot July day, a new larger Civil Defense siren is placed in Hemming Park across from the St. James Building, home to Cohen Brother's department store. (Times-Union file photo)
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Aug. 27, 1960: Civil unrest breaks out in the streets surrounding Hemming Park following attempts by members of the Jacksonville branch of the NAACP Youth Council to sit-in at the F.W. Woolworth's lunch counter and other segregated facilities in the city. More than 50 protesters were injured by ax handle-wielding members of an angry mob in what would later become known as Ax Handle Saturday. (Life Magazine photo via Jacksonville Historical Society)
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Oct. 18, 1960: Vice President Richard M. Nixon and his wife, Pat, arrive by motorcade from Imeson Airport and are greeted by one of the largest crowds ever at Hemming Park. (Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy visited the park later that night for a campaign appearance.) (Uncredited)
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March 29, 1962: A bandshell (left of Confederate memorial) and restaurant (bottom) are shown in this historical photo of Hemming Park by photographer Leo Witt. (Both later would be removed in a renovation of the park.) The St. James Building, home of May Cohens (top) and J.C. Penney's (left) lined the northern and western edge of the park. (Jacksonville Historical Society)
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1964: A protest is staged outside the Morrison's Cafeteria on Monroe Street in the fight to break down racial barriers that existed in many of the public restaurants and stores in Jacksonville at the time. (Times-Union archive photo)
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1968: City Commissioner H. George Carrison accepted a birdbath donated by Bette Stone Mallison for use in Hemming Park. (Photo by Foster Marshall)
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1973: An aerial view of Hemming Park and its surroundings shows a number of familiar business names, including Morrison's Cafeteria (right), Rhodes Furniture (top, center) and Haverty's Furniture (left) — all of which have since left Jacksonville's downtown. (Photo by Don Burk)
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December 1977: A Christmas tree tops the bandshell and candy cane decorations line the walkways of Hemming. Another once-familiar name, F.W. Woolworth Co., occupies a building on the west side of the park. (Photo by Mike Roberts)
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January 1978: Workers remove the bandshell from Hemming as part of the park's renovation. (Photo by Don Burk)
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February 1978: The transformation of Hemming Park to Hemming Plaza is under way as the park's grass is removed to make way for a redesigned plaza. Snyder Memorial Church and Morrison's Cafeteria can be seen at the top of the photo. (Times-Union file photo)
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September 13, 1978: Brick pavers are placed in the areas surrounding the Confederate monument. In this westward view of the park, the F. W. Woolworth Co. and Penney's building is shown. (Times-Union file photo)
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March 1979: Citizens enjoy what appears to be a cool and sunny day at Hemming Plaza. The May Cohens department store — located in the Henry John Klutho-designed St. James Building — is shown on the north end of the plaza. The building is now home to Jacksonville's City Hall. (Photo by Ray Stafford)
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January 20, 1980: A family enjoys feeding the birds in Hemming Plaza. (Photo by Walter Stricklin)
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Dec. 11, 1980: Wolfgang Porschmann and Carmen Koziol of Dusseldorf, Germany, take time out of their tour to spend time in the Hemming Plaza fountain. (Times-Union file photo)
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Jan. 20, 1980: Plaza patrons enjoy a game of checkers on cool January day. The Independent Life and BBJ buildings stand tall in the background. (Photo by Walter Stricklin)
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May, 1981: Customers Brenda McLaurin and Tammy Brown shop at Bilal Hasan's Sidewalk Stand in Hemming Plaza. (Photo by Don Ray)
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November 14, 1984: Members of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra join workers for an impromptu "concert" during another round of reconstruction of the plaza. Also in this photo, Preston Haskell (back left), founder and chairman of The Haskell Company, founding chairman of the Design-Build Institute of America and long-time Jacksonville arts patron, looks on. (Photo by Gary Brown)
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June 1984: This high-angle photo shows a nearly empty Hemming Plaza. (Photo by Brian Masck)
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November 22, 1984: City worker Steve McIntire reaches to replace a Christmas light on the Civil War Memorial statue in Hemming Plaza. The temperature on this day was 45 degrees and dropping, according to the display board on the then-named Barnett Bank Building. (Photo by M. Jack Luedke)
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May 1985: A street preacher passes information to a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office mounted patrolman in Hemming Plaza. (Times-Union file photo)
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May 1985: A female street preacher passes information to a gentleman relaxing in Hemming Plaza. (Times-Union file photo)
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July 25, 1986: A troupe of break dancers perform at Hemming Plaza in front of a crowd for its official grand re-opening. (Photo Craig Trumbo)
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1986: Santa makes a special appearance during the Hemming Plaza dedication. (Photo by John Miller)
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1986: Then-Mayor Jake Godbold addresses the crowd at the plaza's re-dedication. Also pictured is Hans Gearhart Tanzler, Jr. (fourth from left). (Photo by John Miller)
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November 8, 1989: The 62-foot Confederate Soldier Memorial (erected in 1898) in Hemming Plaza. (Photo by Bill Sikes)
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Sept. 1, 1992: Sandra Langsford and Jim Epley (in foreground wearing striped shirt) of Works of Faith Ministries Inc. hand out food to more than 150 of the hungry waiting in line at Hemming Plaza. (Photo by Carrie Rosema)
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March 29, 1994: Street preacher Barry March performs a sermon in Hemming Plaza. (Photo by Wes Lester)
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March 12, 1996: On this day, pigeons outnumber park patrons in Hemming Plaza. (Photo by John Pemberton)
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Oct. 7, 2009: Art Walk-goers peruse the artwork and crafts for sale in Hemming Plaza. First Wednesday Art Walk, which began in 2005, was instrumental in bringing new life — and a new generation of Jacksonville residents — to Hemming Plaza. (Photo by Jon M. Fletcher)
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April 17, 2013: Hemming Plaza served as a focal point for the inaugural One Spark crowdfunding festival. (Photo by Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union)
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April 17, 2013: A larger-than-life rubber ducky floats in Hemming Plaza's fountain during the inaugural One Spark festival. Creators' booths line the park. (Photo by Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union)
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May 24, 2013: Pigeons resting on the Confederate memorial in Hemming Plaza have the best seat in the house for a performance at the 2013 Jacksonville Jazz Festival. The annual jazz fest began staging some of its acts at Hemming in 2009. (Photo by Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union)
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July 14, 2013: Several hundred protesters gather to protest the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (Photo by Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union)
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March 22, 2014: Debbi Hunnicutt, a volunteer from Deutsche Bank, places Cast Iron plants in a bed in Hemming Plaza along Duval Street to help get downtown ready for the One Spark festival. (Photo by Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union)
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April 11, 2014: For the second annual One Spark festival, a giant goldfish floats placidly in the Hemming Plaza fountain. (Photo by Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union)
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June 18, 2014: The grassroots organization The Friends of Hemming Park is named manager of Hemming Plaza at a ceremony with Mayor Alvin Brown and representatives from the Downtown Investment Authority and City Council. (Photo by Bob Back/The Florida Times-Union)
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June 18, 2014: Hemming Parks hosts a 'BYO Lunch in Hemming,' part of a continued effort to revitalize downtown Jacksonville. At this session, Millie Barnes (from left at table) Jason Tetlak and Jenninfer Hewett-Apperson eat their lunch and share some lactose- and gluten-free cookies that Barnes made and brought to the lunch. (Photo by Bob Mack/The Florida Times-Union)
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June 21, 2014: Brandan Duffett flips his skateboard off the platform of the fountain at Hemming Park as part of the third annual Go Skate Day at Hemming Plaza. (Photo by Bob Mack/The Florida Times-Union)
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June 21, 2014: Troy Cahoon flips his board off the platform during the Go Skate Day event. (Photo by Bob Mack/The Florida Times-Union)
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March 16, 2015: Claude Russell, owner of C.H Russell Inc. general contractors works to clean and refurbish the fountains in Hemming Park. The Bryan Simpson United States Courthouse (background) opened in 2003 where J.C. Penney's and F.W. Woolworth Co. once stood. (Photo by Bob Mack/The Florida Times-Union)
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March 21, 2015: Crowds fill Hemming Park for the inaugural GastroFest culinary celebration. (Photo by Christina Kelso, For the Florida Times-Union)
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April 8, 2015: Visitors crowd Hemming Park during One Spark. (Photo by Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union)
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April 11, 2015: The Great White Shark at Hemming Park's park fountain proves a popular attraction at the third annual One Spark crowdfunding festival. Art activist Wayne Wood and students from the University of North Florida teamed up to make the shark. (Photo by Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union)


Hemming Park, downtown Jacksonville's first public square, celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016.

The 1.5-acre park — with its signature 62-foot-tall Confederate memorial — played host to political rallies, holiday celebrations and an untold number of lunch breaks long before the Jacksonville Landing opened in 1987.

Throughout its 150-year history, the park — and the buildings that surround it — have seen multiple changes. This slideshow of archive photos chronicles many of those.