Marsh & Saxelbye A beautiful Legacy
By Wayne W. Wood
Jacksonville’s extraordinary natural landscape is complimented by its (often overlooked) manmade beauty. It is a surprise to many that Jacksonville has a greater number of outstanding architectural gems than any other city in Florida. Jacksonville has the most sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places and a quarter of those were designed by a single architectural firm—Marsh & Saxelbye.
Made up of partners of Mulford Marsh and Harold Saxelbye, the firm dominated Jacksonville’s architecture from 1920 to 1930. Not only did they have the largest number of major commissions during this period, but their buildings set the standard for aesthetic quality. Saxelbye, the principal designer of the firm, was acknowledged as Jacksonville’s “most artistic architect.” His designs were notable for their elegant ornamentation and intrinsic beauty.
How this unlikely but extraordinary architectural partnership came into being is a remarkable story.