Jacksonville, Florida: Last Silent Movie Studio in Jacksonville

No movies have been filmed here in decades, and the property is currently closed, but you can stand on the front stoop and read the historical plaque.
Address:
6327 Arlington Rd, Jacksonville, FL
Directions:
East side of the city, about a mile east of the St. Johns River. On the north side of Arlington Rd just east of its intersection with Westdale Drive.
Phone:
904-742-7011
Admission:
Free
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Norman Laboratories.

Last Silent Movie Studio in Jacksonville

In the early 1900s, Jacksonville was a busy spot for silent movie-making because it was too snowy in the northern states to work all year long. There is still one studio building standing from those days. The side and back of the lot is surrounded by a temporary chain link fence, but you can still walk up to the front door and pose for pictures or stand on the doorstep.

Norman Studios was the only one that filmed silent movies with all Black/African-American ("All-Colored" it was called) casts, in real-life-type roles instead of the stereotypical roles for Blacks that were filmed back then.

The Studios were recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places. A local support organization is raising money to restore the inside as well. There are fundraising silent movie public screenings with a live band accompanying the film, the way it used to be done in the 1920s, which is a really neat experience (The Norman Studios website tells when and where these showings are held). Folks like me have lived in Jacksonville for decades and never knew this building was even here, although we'd driven past it many times!

[Sue S., 02/26/2015]

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In the region:
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