Jacksonville, FL: “The Winter Film Capitol of the World?”

With the non-stop deliveries One Fat Frog makes throughout Florida, sometimes it’s hard to take time and think about the cities One Fat Frog delivers to. One of the cities One Fat Frog delivers to is the north-eastern city of Jacksonville. It’s a pretty dang big city – the 11th largest in the U.S. with a population of 850,000+.

One truly interesting note about Jacksonville’s history is that in the early 20th-century, Jacksonville was a major location for Hollywood studios. Jacksonville was even dubbed “The Winter Film Capitol of the World.” The main draw for filmmakers was the ability to shoot in the winter. At the time, New York City, not Hollywood, was the epicenter of movie making. Harsh winters made it tough, so Jacksonville was the answer.

A set from Gaumont Studios in Jacksonville, ca. 1910

Also on Jacksonville’s side was its exotic locations, easy railroad access, and cheap labor. More than 30 silent film companies established studios in Jacksonville, including heavy-hitter MGM. A great deal of African American filmmakers and actors migrated down from Georgia and established themselves in Jacksonville as well.

Some of Jacksonville’s residents didn’t welcome the movie industry, however, and objected to the simulated car chases, explosions, bank robberies, and riot being filmed in their city. Around 1920, filmmakers starting migrating to southern California, and Jacksonville’s role as a movie-making town came to an abrupt end.

And to think, if Hollywood was never established, One Fat Frog could be delivering prep tables and coolers to the sets of major motion picture productions!

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