Dwelling House

February 9, 2021

 Someone recently asked us about the building at 125 South 3rd Street in Jacksonville that now houses South Stage Cellars.  It’s sometimes known as the B.F. Dowell Law Office but that’s a misnomer—Dowell’s office was next door.  The building was originally P.J. Ryan’s “Dwelling House.”  A 23-year-old Ryan, a native of Ireland, had arrived in Jacksonville no later than 1853.  That same year he purchased the Palmetto Bowling Saloon, marking the dawning of a career as one of the town’s earliest and longest-term commercial property investors.  His specialty became “fire proof” brick buildings.  He had acquired title to this lot by 1865 and probably constructed the current building that same year.  There is no indication that Ryan actually “dwelled” here, but the term may refer to the use of the building as a hotel.  It appears to have been such from 1868 to 1871, and again from 1873 to 1883.  In other years it was a doctor’s office, a butcher shop, and an ice cream parlor.   In the 1960s it became the home of Robertson Collins, the individual credited with preventing Highway 238 from taking out 11 of Jacksonville’s historical homes and the leader of the organization that established the city’s National Historic Landmark status.