Jarrod Brown strives to preserve city’s history
by Margaret Anderson
Special to The Star
Jul 30, 2013 | 1341 views |  0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jarrod Brown inside the Dr. Francis Museum. Photo: Anita Kilgore/The Jacksonville News
Jarrod Brown inside the Dr. Francis Museum. Photo: Anita Kilgore/The Jacksonville News
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Jerrod Brown, 34, wasn’t born in Jacksonville, but he was reared here while spending weekends with his grandparents, the late Claire and Charles Brown. On many occasions as a child, he watched bulldozers demolish much of the city’s history. Although unable to act at a young age, as an adult, Brown is trying to help preserve as much of what is left that he can.

In fact, as a resident of Jacksonville, he feels a responsibility to do that.

Brown is president of the Jacksonville Historical Society. He and others involved with the organization meet on a regular basis to discuss how to advocate for the preservation of the remaining historical structures in town.

One such structure, the Dr. Francis Museum, has received a makeover, thanks in part to the association and a completely volunteer workforce.

“Several of us have been putting in one or two days a week working on it,” he said. “It’s been a long and tedious process, but we’ve heard nothing but positive remarks. We’re hoping the city will encourage museum tours, and hopefully some groups can hold meetings there as well.”

Brown said the work has been done, thanks to financial help from the city and donations from volunteers as well as others.

Brown himself is in the process of renovating one of Jacksonville’s earliest homes, the Gen. John Forney house, built in the 1840s. It also was in the path of a bulldozer, and Brown didn’t want to see such an important home lost. Two years ago, he had it moved from its original location on the north side of West Mountain Street, just a few feet down the street to the south side, where he owns two plots of land and another historical home.

The Forney house, he said, is actually in better shape than the other house.

“The Victorian house is having to be completely rebuilt, from the ground up,” he said.

Brown admits getting the historical structures renovated is time consuming, but he’s dedicated to finishing the projects.

The Forney house is about 2800 square feet, said Brown and right now, he’s not sure what he will do with it once it’s renovated. For the time being, he’s happy he saved it from an uncertain fate.

“I feel that it’s a great thing that people are taking notice of preservation in Jacksonville,” he said. “It’s becoming more of a talking topic and more noticed. Many people talked about it in the past, but so little was done. I think many people are more active now and more aware of preservation. My goal is for it to become more widespread. Other cities are promoting their historic assets and are being successful; hopefully we’ll be equally successful. Long term, It’ll be certainly good for the town.”

Brown said one of his goals in life is to get citizens interested in good stewardship of historic places and buildings in Jacksonville.

Brown graduated from Saks High School in 1997 and received a BFA degree in fine arts from Jacksonville State University in 2001. He is the son of Rhonda Brown of Anniston and the late Doug Brown.

He has worked out of his photography studio, Jerrod Brown Studios in Birmingham, for the past 13 years. Earning a merit badge in Boy Scouts is what led him to have an interest in photography. He began to earnestly pursue it while at JSU.

He photographs mostly weddings and services a handful of commercial clients.

“Weddings are definitely challenging,” he said. “It’s always interesting. Summer is always the busiest season.”

Anyone interested in Brown’s services can contact him at

256-525-6503 or visit his website at www.jerrodbrown.com.

When Brown is not working on old houses and creating images, he is traveling. He’s been all over Asia, South America and Europe.

“Japan is beautiful,” he said. “Vietnam and Cambodia are wild and amazing; Bangkok (Thailand) is hot and chaotic. Brazil and Argentina are two of my favorites in South America.
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Jarrod Brown strives to preserve city’s history by Margaret Anderson
Special to The Star

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