The Jenks House Bed and Breakfast
1944 Plane Crashes Remembered 2 Aug 2012, 2:13 pm
On July 20, 1944, two Army P-51 Mustang fighter planes crashed in our neighborhood killing both pilots and one civilian. The crashes damaged or destroyed eighteen houses and four apartment buildings, twelve garages and eight vehicles. On July 21, 2012, The Jenks House hosted a remembrance of the little know tragedy. Co-hosted by the Jacksonville Historical Society and emceed by local historian Wayne Wood, the event drew over 200 people. It began with Wayne showing a newsreel video and previously unreleased photos of the immediate aftermath of the crashes. The most sobering part of the event immediately followed as seven people spoke of their personal experiences, some quite graphic, of that day. Several, including R. Murray Jenks, spoke of knowing Lt. John (Jack) Egar, one of the pilots. Egar’s parents lived ½ block east of the Jenks family home, now our bed and breakfast. One speaker said that Mrs. Egar was actually outside raking leaves when the planes crashed. Reportedly she immediately sensed that her son was involved as he and his pilot friend had previously buzzed the neighborhood. The Jenks family home was the first residence damaged. Lt. Egar’s plane sheared off the top of a tall pine tree, which fell on the house. The pine tree survived but the Jenks family removed it months later at Mrs. Egar’s request. Seeing the damaged tree every day was too painful a reminder of her son’s death. R. Murray said that his family for years would find plane remnants in the yard as they gardened. Speaking of plane remnants, the morning of the remembrance Jerry Rowe brought us a fragment of a machine gun clip consisting of five 30mm bullets. His mother had found them the day of the crash.
For more information about the event and the 1944 crashes, check out the very well done Times-Union stories below. The first link is the background story that Charlie Patton and Nicole Fernandez did the morning of the remembrance. There are links to interviews with R. Murray Jenks and George Carswell who both knew Lt. Egar, links to the newsreel video, numerous previously classified photos of the damage and a link to the short version of one of the crash reports. The second link below has video of the actual remembrance including people talking about what they witnessed that day.
In 1944 Planes Crashed and Damaged The Jenks House 20 Jun 2012, 9:44 pm
Lily Mains had told us the story. So had Nell Crews and Mrs. Waller, both long-time residents of Post Street. Now we have the official, declassified report of a WWII accident that even changed the the appearance of the Jenks House.
At about 7:45 AM on July 20, 1944, two P-51 Mustang fighter planes crashed on our street killing both pilots and one civilian. The crash began just a few houses to the east of the Jenks family home. The link below has newsreel coverage of the immediate aftermath of the accident. At 32 seconds into the newsreel video, in the upper right hand quadrant, you see a hole in the brick wall of a building. The hole, with a window above it and below it, is where the engine of one of the P-51’s crashed into the bathroom of M. E. McGhee killing him as he was shaving.
We have just acquired the official government crash reports (one for each plane). They are detailed, with lots of pictures and eye witness accounts of what happened. In its Description of Accident it summarizes the incident:
“1. On 20 July 1944 Lt. Egar was scheduled to fly a camera gunnery mission at 0700 EWT with Lt. Cope. The flight took off at 0700, but Lt. Egar and Lt. Cope flew to Jacksonville, 180 miles distant, instead of performing their mission in the local area of Pinellas. At 0745 Mr. Stanis Van Meensel, CAA Air Carrier Inspector, observed two P-51 type airplanes come over the city of Jacksonville at 1000 feet in close formation and dive in a bank to the left to a very low altitude over Post Street. Lt. Egar was leading the two ship flight at an altitude of approximately 75 feet along Post Street, heading west. At a point across the street from the home of his mother, 2749 Post Street, approximately 50 feet to the west, his plane sheared the top of a palm tree which extended about 10 feet above the high power electric lines. The electric lines are approximately 50 feet high. The plane then appeared to be out of control and lopped 10 feet of a pine tree at the next corner, James and Post Streets. Skidding across the street, Lt. Egar’s plane struck a third tree, several houses, and a line of garages. The airplane was completely demolished and was scattered through a number of houses and yards. The engine went through an apartment building and fell in the street on the far side. Lt. Egar’s body was found in the wreckage.
2. The accident is due 100% to pilot error since the pilot was negligent in violating flying regulations and direct orders from his flight commander”.
The pine tree on the corner of James and Post Streets fell onto the Jenks home. Enough of the roof’s clay barrel tiles were damaged that they re-roofed the house with asphalt shingles. R. Murray Jenks, one of the three sons of Marjorie and Thomas Jenks, told us that years later they would still find small pieces of airplane in their yard. The obituary for Lt. Egar said that he and Lt. Cope “had developed a warm friendship and an understanding that when one was in trouble the other would come to his aid and that if necessary they would go down together”.
Down to Earth Farm and our front porch 26 Apr 2012, 1:08 pm
Check out the news article about our friends at Down to Earth Farm. Each Tuesday, in season, Farmer Brian brings to our front porch just picked, organically grown produce. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members then come by to pick .up their produce. Many CSA members also pick up their pre-ordered, artisan baked breads from Sarah B., a neighborhood baker.
Neighborhood Home Tour April 16 & 17 30 Mar 2011, 4:59 pm
|Riverside Avondale Preseravtion, our historic
district’s pre-eminent community organization holds its annual home
tour on April 16 and 17. Eleven historic homes, 1 business
and two neighborhood schools are featured. West
Riverside Elementary School, one of these two schools, celebrates
it 100 anniversary this year. Its auditorium has two murals
by Lee and Mimi Adams. The Jenks House B&B was featured
on the home tour of three years ago. To order tour tickets go
to the 1st link below. Need a place to stay for the
night? Go to the 2nd link below to see if we still have guest
Orange you thirsty? 27 Jan 2011, 4:30 pm
Ambersweet oranges rock!
The oranges* from our organically grown trees are now ripe and they are truly outstanding. Last year we harvested over 1,700 oranges. Each morning we are juicing them for our guests. We will finish harvesting them in about two weeks and will have hundreds refrigerated. We will likely be juicing them well into April. Come and enjoy!
* For more information on Ambersweet oranges click on “Ambersweet oranges” under Blogroll to the right.
Radishes and Rain 18 Jan 2011, 8:48 pm
Dances With Rainwater! 3 Aug 2009, 6:18 pm
Filter System Including 1st Flush Automatic Discard
1,100 Gallon Capacity!
Ila Rae was the inspiration for this new conservation measure at our B&B. We have always been serious about water conservation. In N.E. Florida rainfall can be very unreliable especially in the spring. While our lawn has to be in its death throes before we water it, we do water our organic garden and citrus. Using city water for that meant that we were often parsimonious with watering, sometimes to the detriment of our crops. Now with an 1,100 gallon rainwater storage system we are more generous with our watering. Our veggies, citrus and papayas (now 9′ tall) are loving it! Tom had the system partially operative by mid-June and it has provided all of our outside watering since. We can irrigate using gravity flow from the elevated tanks or pressurize the water with the pump from our old shallow well (dry for 20 years). The catchment area of the garage apartment roof is 675 sq. ft. A 1″ rainfall will capture 193 gallons of rainwater. With an average annual rainfall of 52″, we should be able to capture over 10,000 gallons of rainwater/year. The filter system is multi-faceted beginning with gutter guard/screening. The first 5 gallons of captured rainwater end up in our homemade 1st flush automatic discard pipe (4″ pvc pipe). As this pipe fills with water a rubber ball floats up until it hits the bottom of a 4″ x 2″ bushing inside the top of this pipe. This seals off the 4″ pipe and sends rainwater through the horizontal hub of the 2″ T to the 5 gallon red bucket. The top of the bucket has a layer of window screening to catch any leaves, etc. that might have avoided the discard pipe. Under the screen are two layers of blue window a/c filtering material. Every couple weeks we check the bucket top for debris. Once in the bucket, water has to rise about 8″ to enter the 3″ pipe that exits the bucket and leads to the four 275 gallon tanks in the garage below. We invested about $650 in materials for this system. We believe we can recoup that investment in 3-5 years depending on rainfall and planned increases in water/sewage rates. If we had to pay for Tom’s labor, the payback would be much longer. We have always been excited about rain falling on our garden and trees. Now we get even more excited and have been known to head to the garage to watch the water level rise in the tanks during a heavy rainfall. As I close off this entry, we have about 650 gallons stored and rain forecast for tomorrow. While catching rainwater is a good idea, the system can be somewhat pricey depending on how elaborate it is. Installing engineered, low-flow showerheads (2 gpm or less), installing 1.5 gallons/flush toilets and front loading, water and energy efficient washers will typically have better monetary paybacks.
Papaya Post 3 May 2009, 6:50 pm
- It lives!
In late January, 2009 we had a very hard freeze with the morning temperature dropping to 23 degrees F. We had placed about 100 gal. of water in garbage cans around the base of this, our largest papaya. We ran a mister all night long trying to keep the papaya alive. The plant took a serious beating as you can tell from all the ice on it. All the papaya fruit ended up in the compost bin because of the freeze damage. Now in late April the stump has sent out new growth. In a month or two it will bloom and new fruit will set but probably not be large enough to pick by the end of the year. If our previous experience is indicative, the new growth, currently at about 4′ off the ground, will reach a height of about 15-20′. As it grows taller it continues to bloom and set new fruit. Our guests love these organically grown fruit with their breakfasts. We like the challenge of trying to grow these tropical fruit in our sub-tropical clime. Challenge it is as this is the only papaya of five to survive that freeze. Two years ago we harvested over 85 full grown papaya fruit from these plants. We have just started new plants from seed and will soon transplant them three feet from the south side of our home/bed and breakfast. The red brick walls of the building will be heated by the sun during the day and then radiate that heat out toward the plants at night. Hopefully, they will handle cold weather better there. We look forward to leaning out of a 2nd story window and picking the fruit. Using a swaying extension ladder gets a little unnerving when you are up 12-15′ in the air!
Welcome to The Jenks House B&B 15 Dec 2008, 8:42 pm
Ambersweet oranges rock!
Our oranges are now ripe!
The oranges from our organically grown trees are now ripe. Each morning we are juicing them for our guests. From the tree 2 thee in less than 30!