Created by Jeff Hartzer-July 1, 2013

Old Ortega Bridge (aka McGirts Creek Bridge)


"Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now…"  
from Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages"

"my whole world was by that river
flowing north to meet the sea each day"
from Mofro's "Brighter Days"

OLD ORTEGA.com Links:

Photo Gallery Index Page

Homage to Helen Lane

Palatka's Sunnypoint 1930's

Old Ortega circa 1940's

Old Ortega circa 1950's

Old Ortega circa 1960's

Parties, Picnics, and Adventure 1950's

Mrs. Sisk's Kindergarten 1956

May Fete in Willowbranch Park

Ortega School 1950's-1960's

Atlantic Beach, 1960's

Bartram School 1960's

Debutantes 1940's-60's

Jeff Hartzer's Old Ortega story

Random Access Memories Index Page

You Might Be From Old Ortega if...

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Find more about Weather in Jacksonville, FL

Find more about Weather in Jacksonville, FL

Author as May Fete Bunny





Introductory Comment

"Old Ortega" is a vibrant Jacksonville, Florida neighborhood whose history runs deep...My own life journey started there in 1951. I have created a website and a Facebook group to 'travel back' and to further appreciate Old Ortega.

I needed to find a place for my family's'archival treasures including items from my mother, Dorothy Corcoran Hartzer, whose Pace/Corcoran lineage goes quite a ways back in North Florida, including Palatka's Wilson Cypress Company, a Ponte Vedra Beach home made of cypress, being a neighbor of Marjorie K. Rawlings...to having a grande old time entertaining soldiers during World War II at 4545 Ortega Boulevard including the handsome USMC Captain who bacame my father...Many of my 'archival finds' have now found a resting place here at www.OLDORTEGA.com which I brought online July 1, 2013.

The surprisingly far-reaching response to both www.OLDORTEGA.com and to the accompanying Facebook Group page,"You Might Be From Old Ortega if..." has been exquisitely sweet. Please join us for a journey back to "Old Ortega".

Jeff Hartzer

You Might Be From Old Ortega if...



From YouTube: Crossing the Old Ortega Bridge...


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Click on Photographs below for more fun...



Class Photo Time...Click the Pix.

First Grade Ortega School

Bartram School


Mrs.Sisk's Kindergarten


Bartram School

Ortega School 1959

Second Grade Ortega School

West Riverside Classroom Photographs

Fishweir Elementary Classroom Photographs

You Might Be From Old Ortega if...

Readers Comment about OLD ORTEGA

Loving the idea of sharing memories of Old Ortega, of which I have many both fond and enduring. My most palpable memories include working at Willie's (children's clothing store) every Sat. for several years between 14 and 16 yrs old and having all of my Ortega cronies (Margaret, Priscilla, Eleanor, Poppy, Sarah and Carolyn) meet me for lunch (always grilled cheeses and vanilla cokes) at Carter's Pharmacy so that I could ogle John Howard, the pharmacy delivery boy (huge crush is a vast understatement). Skiing on the wide open St. John's River, sunning at the Yacht Club and shag dancing whenever music played are all sweet memories for me. I also had this really awesome English teacher at Bolles who helped me, more than he will ever know, get through the ups and downs of high school. These are some of the memories that make Jacksonville the place I will always call home. -- Gray Dunaway

Who remembers crossing over to the Island in Ortega Forest and when you jumped up and down the earth shook? -- Jeanine Beard Sasser

My most vivid memories of Dora were that when the eye came right over us, my Mom ( who is now 92) made us sleep in the walk in closet in their bedroom. Mary Ellen Howe
You might be from Old Ortega if you remember Sitton's Dress Shop and Sally's Ortega Beauty Salon.
-- Kathy Wilkerson Ghelerter

Remember the original Burger King where Chamblin's is now and of course, when the Roosevelt bridge looked more like the Ortega bridge and Roosevelt was only 4 lanes of concrete.

Manatees: I recall as a boy hearing them 'spout' and running to the dock to lie down and be very still as they (often a mother and baby cow) would swim directly under me, thinking they were huge and magnificent. Also watched them pull up onto the mud to eat hyacinth...

Name your "Favorite" Hurricane…Mine is"Hurricane Dora"...

I remember Braden's still being referred to as Docs! Also Mr. & Mrs. Burlingame from the Banner Food Store!

Doric, Ionic, and Baltic...?
How did those names come to be?

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You Might Be From Old Ortega if...



We are looking for more pictures, memories, and stories to add to the OLDORTEGA.com website.

Aquila Arts LLC


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Jeff Hartzer
Miss Melanie/Jeff at BunnytownUSA
photo courtesy AbqTheMagazine


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Related Links:

Old Ortega on Wikipedia

Old Ortega on MetroJax.com

Florida Yacht Club

Timuquana Country Club

Huckins Yacht Corporation

Fire Station #14

Jax. Fire Musuem 1951-2000

Historic Bettes' House Burns

Ortega School (1950's)

Ortega Elementary (current)

Lakeshore Junior High(classmates.com)

Robert E. Lee HS (1967)

The Bolles School

Bartram School 1960's

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Goin' Back

I think I'm goin' back to the things
I learned so well in my youth.
I think I'm returning to those days when
I was young enough to know the truth.
Now there are no games to only pass the time...No more elctric trains;
No more trees to climb.
But thinking young and growing older is no sin; I can play the game of life to win

I can recall a time when I wasn't
ashamed to reach out to a friend.
Now I think I've got
a lot more than just my toys to lend.
Now there's more to do,
than watch my sailboat glide.
Every day can be a magic carpet ride.
A little bit of courage is all we lack,
So catch me if you can, I'm goin' back

from:The Byrds "Goin' Back"
by Carole King/Gerry Goffin

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