A city only gets one bicentennial.

Jacksonville deserves a moment to reflect on its first 200 years and look ahead to the next 200.

Dear Jacksonvillians,

The countdown to our city’s bicentennial has begun. But let us first take a step back in time to set the stage for our commemoration next year.

The founding of Jacksonville was a rather informal moment – which makes it all the more important that citizens commemorate and celebrate the bicentennial of the founding.

Jacksonville’s name appeared first on a petition dated June 15, 1822, addressed to then U.S. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams asking him to designate “Jacksonville,” in the U.S. Territory of Florida, as a port of entry. Sixty-one residents of the St. Johns River signed the request. Adams denied their petition, but after that, the name “Jacksonville” began to supplant previous references to “the cow-ford,” or “cowford.”

It would be nearly ten years, in February 1832, before the territorial legislature granted a local government charter to Jacksonville. But the development of Jacksonville, by people using that name, began in June of 1822, so that is the date and evidence that historians cite as its founding.

A city only gets one bicentennial. Jacksonville deserves a moment to reflect on its first 200 years, and to glance ahead at the next 200.

Alan J. Bliss, Ph.D.
CEO, Jacksonville Historical Society

Saturday, June 11 Event Schedule

Street festival beginning at James Weldon Johnson Park in downtown Jacksonville and ending at Riverfront Park (former site of The Landing). Please register on EventBrite to attend the free event.

Noon-3 p.m.
Performances and other family-friendly programming in James Weldon Johnson Park, exhibits, booths, vendors, food trucks and more along Laura Street. Performers include: Jacksonville Children’s Chorus, John Lumpkin Band; LPT Afro-Cubano Salsa Band; historic re-enactors; historic tours and more
Noon-3 p.m.
Painting the Scenes: Artists painting streets scenes live at eight locations on Laura Street (Jacksonville Art Community)
Noon-3 p.m. The Imposters, character actor re-enactors, Laura Street
Noon-4 p.m. Art Exhibition “My Jacksonville” at the Jacksonville Public Library, 303 N. Laura Street and at The New Jacksonville Art Center, 331 Ashley Street
Noon-4 p.m. VyStar Kidz Art Exhibition “My Jacksonville,” the largest children’s art installation, in front of the Jacksonville Public Library and the Museum of Contemporary Art
11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. Historic Downtown Tours with Isaiah Hart
1 p.m. “Empower People with Disabilities” Live mural painting in front of the Jacksonville Public Library and the Museum of Contemporary Art
2 p.m. Wheelchair Art Creation: An incredible show of art skills by wheel chair, 303 N. Laura Street near the library
3 p.m. Opening Ceremony: Reading of original petition to name the city; reading of Mayoral Proclamation and more
4:15 p.m. Parade from James Weldon Johnson Park down Laura Street to Riverfront Plaza
5 p.m. Live Music, Multiple Bands: Let’s Ride Brass Band; The Honey Hounds; Love and Theft; Headliner: Flipturn at 9:04 p.m. For a VIP experience, get tickets for The 1822 here.
10:15 p.m. Fireworks Display

Be part of the celebration! Sponsor or donate to the Bicentennial here.

Sponsors