Cowford Chop House, Jacksonville, Florida
The Great Fire of 1901, swept through downtown Jacksonville and destroyed over 140 city blocks of residences and commercial buildings. The Renaissance Revival First National Bank opened at the corner of Bay and Ocean in 1902, one of the earliest buildings that were part of Jacksonville’s rebirth. It would later be known as the Guaranty Trust and Savings Bank. The building remained in the same family for decades, but eventually it fell into disrepair. The structure has been designated a local historic landmark, which has given it protection from inappropriate alterations. The City of Jacksonville acquired the building and sold it to an experienced restaurant group, which took on the renovations.
The transformation of the historic bank building into a steakhouse and bar was nothing short of remarkable. On our first visit to the site, we were shocked to see that nearly half the roof and second story floor were missing. Despite the fact there was plywood covering every window, the building was light as day inside! SPS undertook a window survey, documenting each opening. We then restored and replicated the windows and built new exterior doors to match the last crumbling pair remaining in the building.