Port of Jacksonville, Fla.

Seen through the sunglasses of thousands of tourists who come to visit each year, Jacksonville is a city of graceful palm trees and tropical flowers.

Its skyline is dominated by tall buildings, many of artistic architecture. It has more than a fair share of tourist attractions, and to football fans its name is synonymous with one of the outstanding national sports events of the year the Gator Bowl Game. There are many good reasons why tourists seek out Jacksonville.

Downtown section of Jacksonville's waterfront has marine repair yards and shipping piers along both sides of the St. Johns River. Ships in foreground are oil tankers undergoing repair or servicing.

But Jacksonville and its metropolitan area has a non-tourist population of about 400,000. And these people are there largely because Jacksonville is a great port. To them, the city's impressive skyline is a reflection of the importance of its waterfront. And they accept with understanding pride a local news writer's description of that waterfront as having "big muscles, a patch on one eye and grime on its face." What successful port is ever otherwise?

And, what port can ever be without good railroad service if it is ever to be successful? One of the South Atlantic's busiest ports, Jacksonville is also a railroad center -the only Florida city served by four major railroads. It is one of Southern's two southeastern most terminals (Palatka is the other). Southern Railway System trains serve the city and port from the north and from the northwest.

Hanging in a cluster from a ship-mounted boom, coils of wire made in West Germany are unloaded from a Japanese ship at Jacksonville's city-owned Municipal Docks and Terminals.

Jacksonville's four railroads and other land transportation available, plus water-borne service from 80 steamship lines, supply two of the three ingredients necessary to the port's progress. The third industry is supplied by the more than 500 manufacturing and processing firms that support Jacksonville's claim to the title "Industrial Capital of Florida."

Though they welcome industrial additions of all kinds, both city and port have been particularly encouraged by the continuing growth of "port oriented" industries -those which rely wholly or in part on water-borne commerce for markets or supply sources, or both.

A ship discharges coffee beans from Latin America at the Municipal Docks. The Port of Jacksonville ranks fourth in volume in the nation among points of entry for coffee.

A recent tabulation showed that in the past five years 23 major firms in this category have either built new plants in Jacksonville or have undertaken large scale expansions. Ideally diversified, they deal with such unrelated products as coffee, cement, paper, automobiles, gypsum board, wire and cable, petroleum and roofing materials.

Located on a narrow neck of the St. Johns River 23 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, Jacksonville is a river port that "made good." Its waterfront, extending along both banks of the St. Johns, is 'constantly lapped by ripples from the wakes of sea-going ships and river craft. Last year a total of 1,450 American and foreign Hag vessels tied up at the port docks to top the previous year's total by 200.

Of the 71 piers and wharves of various sizes jutting out into the harbor, three are owned by the City of Jacksonville and operated as its Municipal Docks and Terminals. The rest belong to private firms, among them companies dealing in such bulk commodities as fertilizer, gypsum, oil and pulpwood.

Galvanized steel pipe from West Germany is lowered into a waiting gondola car for delivery to destination by rail.

To complement its shipping facilities Jacksonville has one of the eastern seaboard's most fully-equipped shipbuilding and marine repair centers. Its nine boat and ship yards can accommodate anything from a rowboat to a 700-foot ocean-going ship.

The three city terminals, though making up only a small percentage of the total dockage, handle more cargo than any other single facility. Virtually a port within a port, the municipal docks can berth nine ocean vessels at a time. With transit warehouses, dockside and depressed (indoor) railroad tracks, and open storage space, the docks are capable of receiving and loading almost any type of bulk and general cargoes.

Southern Railway tracks reach nearly to the water's edge in this section of the port noted for its heavy concentration of oil terminals. Most of the nation's leading oil companies have handling and storage facilities in Jacksonville.

To complete the picture of a self-contained port the municipal Docks and Terminals operates the city-owned Municipal Docks Railroad. With ten miles of track and a diesel switcher, the waterfront road links the city docks with nine local industries. It also interchanges cars bound to and from the docks with Southern and the other rail carriers serving Jacksonville.

Of the many commodities passing through the Municipal Docks and Terminals, coffee holds the lead. One entire pier is devoted exclusively to its handling.

A Southern switch engine pulls a cut of loaded tank cars from the oil terminal to be added to an outbound train.

The volume of green coffee moving through this one pier -originating in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico and consigned mainly to four coffee roasting plants in the city -has raised Jacksonville to the rank of fourth largest coffee importer in the nation. Annual imports run to about 45,000 tons. (Each 23 tons, according to a port official, is enough to brew a cup of coffee for every person in the U. S.).

While coffee is the most important of the individual commodities passing in bulk across the city docks (iron and steel products and paper are other heavy tonnage leaders) petroleum products head the list for the port as a whole.

Eighteen oil companies have terminal facilities along the St. Johns. They import about 70 per cent of the water-borne tonnage passing through the port. On a yearly basis this figures out at somewhere between five and six million tons of gasoline, fuel oil, kerosene, lubricating oils and grease, and miscellaneous other petroleum-base products.

The oil companies depend heavily on rail service for outbound movements and Southern gets a welcomed share of the petroleum traffic moving northward. It's a rare train leaving Jacksonville that doesn't have several tank cars in its consist.

Tugboats ease an oil tanker into its berthing space. The tanker later discharged 105,000 barrels -or about 33 million gallons.

Already one of the top-tonnage ports in the South Atlantic, Jacksonville has been setting one or more records annually for the past ten years. In the period from 1949 to 1959 pod trade grew from a little over 3 million tons to nearly 8 million tons.

In the manner of a successful man looking back over the events that led to his prosperity, Jacksonville can count the years 1852 and 1916 as particularly significant in its history.

Spotted so they may be filled simultaneously from pipes connected to storage tanks, several tank cars are shown being filled with fuel oil at a Southern-served oil terminal.

The first date marks the time when local citizens began to take direct action to open Jacksonville to foreign trade.

By mid-l9th century the city was well on the high road to commerce. Northern demands for its seemingly endless output of citrus fruits and timbers of all kinds drew a stream of vessels down the St. Johns.

This trade, however, had to be handled largely by light coastal ships and river craft. Large steamers and deep-draft schooners were often literally "barred" from entering the mouth of the St. Johns. A capricious sand bar, shifting unpredictably, gave ship captains the short end of the odds in any gamble to cross it safely. Pilots were never quite sure from one trip to the next where the channel would be.

In 1852 a local citizens' committee sent a representative to Washington to ask government help in removing the troublesome sand bar and in deepening the channel to Jacksonville. Response to this appeal came in the way of a $10,000 appropriation voted by Congress to study the problem and plan the job to be done. This task was assigned to the u. s. Army Corps of Engineers which had the responsibility then, as now, for river and harbor improvement projects.

Forty-three years and several million dollars later, after scores of unexpected difficulties had been met and solved, the project was finished. (During 24 of those years -from shortly before the Civil War until well into the Reconstruction Period -work was suspended altogether. )

A large paper plant located several miles from the port relies on rail transportation.

By 1895 there was 15 feet of navigable water over the bar and 18 feet in the channel up to Jacksonville. This offered scant comfort to the people of Jacksonville, however, because sea-going ships had gotten bigger and heavier in the long meantime.

So the cycle began again. Another petition was sent to Washington in the early 1900's -this time for a channel depth of 30 feet. The government agreed to underwrite this dredging if the City of Jacksonville built piers to accommodate the size ships that would draw up to that depth.

In 1916 this condition was met. The forerunners of the three present municipal piers were constructed. the government carried out its el).d of the bargain and the Port of Jacksonville shortly' afterward became a regular port of call for several shipping lines. And Jacksonville was a world port.

Southern's service to the port and city of Jacksonville dates back to 1899 when one of its predecessor roads -the Atlantic, Valdosta and Western Railway Company completed its 110-mile line from Valdosta, Ga., to Jacksonville.

Shipped by rail from the paper plant to the Municipal Docks and Terminals, rolls of pulpboard -used in making corrugated boxes -are unloaded from a Southern box car.

This road was partitioned in 1902, with the Georgia Southern & Florida acquiring all of its track and facilities from just outside the city limits of Jacksonville to Valdosta, and the St. Johns River Terminal Company getting title to the rest of its property, including waterfront terminals, in the city of Jacksonville. Both companies are now part of the Southern Railway System.

(Some confusion still exists over the identity of Southern lines in Jacksonville as indicated by locally published reports stating that the city is served by five Class 1 railroads. Technically this is true since both Southern Railway Company and the Georgia Southern & Florida, which serve the city from different directions, are Class 1 roads. They are both, however, Southern Railway System member lines.)

A long-range project for port expansion was begun recently by Jacksonville's "home" county. The commissioners of Duval County have created the Duval County Port and Industrial Authority whose primary object will be to attract industrial "settlers" to locate on a 1,500-acre island the county has acquired about half-way between Jacksonville and the ocean on the St Johns River.

The rolls are then transferred aboard a Swedish vessel for eventual delivery to Rochester England.

Successful promotion of the project is looked for similar to that of other "industrial parks" found throughout the South. Blount Island planning calls for rail and highway service plus six miles of deep water frontage for dock development.

With this and other prospects the Jacksonville area offers new industries, the secure knowledge that Southern and its other carriers stand ready to serve their land transportation needs, and the encouraging yearly climb of port commerce, the people of Jacksonville can hardly be blamed for 'regarding their city with more than a trace of pride.

To say that they face the future with "confidence" would be to understate local optimism by a country mile. "Eagerness" would be more apt.