JACKSONVILLE, FL- The Hart Bridge, thousands of people drive over it every day. Named after Isaiah Hart, the founder of Jacksonville. But how much do you really know about Isaiah Hart, besides that fact?
Continuing our 'Namesakes' series, learn more about the man that founded our city from someone who knows it best - a living descendent of Isaiah Hart still in Jacksonville.
You could say Jacksonville is in Dan Dearing's blood.
"My family has been here for almost 200 years, we are direct descendants of Isaiah Hart, he is credited with being the founder of Jacksonville," tells Dearing.
His law office downtown, his father a judge across the street.
"We are all back and working on land that was part of our family, which was really interesting," explains Dearing.
The beginning of the family tree in Jacksonville starts in the early 1820's when Isaiah Hart decided to create a township out of what was then Cowford and he with a business partner plotted 20 city blocks.
"He definitely had a vision for greatness here, he was originally lured here because there were businessmen who said this could be a good place for commerce," says Dearing.
Those original 20 blocks grew and grew. Isaiah Hart was the father of 8 children. His son Ossian was the first republican Governor of Florida. His family was originally buried near the corner of Laura and State Streets. The bodies were then moved after the Great Fire of 1901.
The city many of us live our lives in, traces back to a visionary that saw what a piece of land along the river bend could become.
"I think he would be astounded by how quickly it grew, but we are still using the streets he plotted out 200 years ago,"tells Dearing,"I think he would hopefully recognize the foundation he laid for this city."
Isaiah Hart's influence still touches the city today, from the streets named after his children, to the land he donated to become a park... now Hemming Park.
The Hart Bridge was built around 100 years after his death and the Jacksonville Historical Society pushed to have it named for him.
© 2018 WTLV