For Immediate Release
Monday, December 5, 2016
Contact: Meredith Beatrice, 850.245.6522
Secretary Detzner Announces Recent Designation of the Norman Studios as a National Historic Landmark
Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced today the recent designation of the Norman Film Studios in Jacksonville as a National Historic Landmark.
“I am pleased to announce the designation of the Norman Film Studios as a National Historic Landmark,” said Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “This historic film studio property is the last remaining complex of buildings dating to a time when Jacksonville was a leader in the silent film industry. It is the only preserved film studio in the nation that once specialized in silent films starring African-Americans.”
Photo courtesy of the Florida Department of State.
Founded in 1916 as Eagle Film City, the studio was later known as the Richard E. Norman Film Manufacturing Company from 1922-1928, when its owner Richard Norman was among the first filmmakers to break the racial barrier in the motion picture industry. The Norman Studios “race films” were intended for African-American audiences, and starred African-American actors in in positive, professional film roles such as lawyers, bankers, pilots, and doctors. Some of the more notable films produced by Richard Norman include Regeneration, The Flying Ace, and The Bull-Dogger.
The film industry in the United States later transitioned from multiple studios in New York, Chicago, and Jacksonville to a centralized industry based in Hollywood. However, Jacksonville was an early competitor for the center of the film industry, boasting more than 30 movie studios in 1916.
Today, the City of Jacksonville owns the property and since 2002 has worked to partially restore Norman Studios through three historic preservation grants from the Florida Division of Historical Resources, as well as matching funds from the city. The non-profit organization, Norman Studios Silent Film Museum, Inc. is working to complete the restoration and reopen this historic complex to the public as a film and history learning center and tourist destination. For more information, visit NormanStudios.org.
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About The National Historic Landmarks Program
National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) are nationally significant historic places designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior which possess exceptional value in illustrating the heritage of the United States. Working with citizens throughout the nation, the National Historic Landmarks Program draws upon the expertise of the National Register of Historic Places staff which initiate the nomination for new landmarks and provide assistance to existing landmarks. Presently, there are 46 NHLs in Florida. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/nhl/.
About The Bureau of Historic Preservation
The Florida Department of State’s Bureau of Historic Preservation (BHP) conducts historic preservation programs aimed at identifying, evaluating, preserving and interpreting the historic and cultural resources of the state. The Bureau manages the Florida Main Street Program, and under federal and state laws, oversees the National Register of Historic Places program for Florida, maintains an inventory of the state's historical resources in the Florida Master Site File, assists applicants in federal tax benefit and local government ad valorem tax relief programs for historic buildings, and reviews the impact that development projects may have on significant historic resources. For more information, visit flheritage.com/preservation.