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George W. Simons, Jr. Planning Collection

 Collection — Container: M09-1
Identifier: M09-1

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence, publications and printed materials, project and subject files, and photographs relating to Mr. Simons' personal and professional activities throughout his adult life, from his college years until his retirement in 1970. The chronology begins with documentation of his higher education activities, including class notebooks, his thesis (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1915) and correspondence with professors. His professional career as a planning, zoning and municipal consultant is well-documented with extensive business files, including contracts and agreements, notes, correspondence, and working papers for many of the municipal planning, land use, and zoning projects undertaken by Mr. Simons. One strength of the collection is its depth of project publications, reports and plans created by Mr. Simons over a forty year professional career, 1928-1970. Subject files also show Mr. Simons' broad-ranging interests in various urban planning and financial topics. The Jacksonville, Florida, connection is well-documented in his personal papers. Mr. Simons was a longtime resident and civic leader in Jacksonville with broad personal interests, and the collection contains printed materials, including ephemera, relating to his numerous memberships in local clubs and organizations, and his religious affiliation with Riverside Presbyterian Church. Also, included are rare photographs of early Jacksonville residential construction scenes (Venetia), snapshots of Jacksonville landscapes and buildings, city parks, and numerous group photographs from Mr. Simons' participation in professional and social organizations.

Dates

  • Created: 1899-1993
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1940-1970
  • Other: Date acquired: 00/00/2005

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. For information relating to Mr. Simons and to make an appointment to view the collection, contact 904-620-1533 or e-mail lib-special@unf.edu

Biographical or Historical Information

George W. Simons, Jr. was born in Portland, Oregon, on February 23, 1891. Upon the death of his mother, he was raised by his grandmother in Rochelle, Illinois. He attended Beloit College (Beloit, Wisconsin) for his undergraduate education, graduating with a science degree in 1912. After taking classes at Harvard University, he obtained a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1915, and briefly worked on the M.I.T. teaching staff. Mr. Simons moved to Jacksonville, Florida, in 1916, where he resided for the remainder of his life. His professional engineering career began when he was hired by the Florida State Board of Health to establish the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering in 1916. He served as Chief Engineer of the Bureau for nine years. During this time, he founded the first Anti-Mosquito Association of Florida, and was appointed to Jacksonville's first planning board in 1922. In 1925, he resigned his state position and joined the Consolidated Development and Engineering Corp. of Jacksonville, a private company active in land development during the region's construction boom of the 1920s. Named Chief Engineer of the Company, he was instrumental in the development of the Jacksonville residential subdivisions, Venetia and Lake Forest, and the Woodlawn subdivision in St. Petersburg, Florida. His lifetime work for which he was to become known - as a planning, zoning and municipal consultant - commenced in 1928, when he was hired by the City of Jacksonville to develop a comprehensive city plan and zoning ordinance. The following year, the city of Miami Beach hired him to prepare its first zoning ordinance. Over the next forty years, he was retained by over seventy municipalities to prepare planning documents and reports. He also created economic and marketing studies for Jacksonville and Wilmington, North Carolina. His professional affiliations were numerous: Past President and Fellow of the Florida Engineering Society; life member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Institute of Planners, and the American Society of Planning Officials; honorary member of the American Public Works Association; and a member of the Institute of Traffic Engineers, National Housing and Redevelopment Association, and the National Society of Professional Engineers. During World War II, he was appointed as a special consultant to the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta, and later served as Coordinator for the Florida State War Production Board. He retired from professional life in 1970. His prodigious civic service, contributions, and memberships in associations and organizations in Jacksonville were varied and extensive over a sixty year span. He assumed a leadership role in many of them, including two years as President of the Community Chest-United Fund, twelve years as a Commissioner / Member of the Housing Authority, seven years as President of the Civic Music Association, Trustee of the Jacksonville Public Library, President of the Council of Social Agencies, Little Theatre of Jacksonville, and Torch Club. In particular, his association with the Civitan Club, on both a local and national level, was a life-long involvement. He frequently attended national Civitan Club conventions, and served as International President in 1930 and 1931. Religious affiliations were particularly meaningful to Mr. Simons, and he maintained a strong and vigorous membership with the Riverside Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville. He served as the Men's Bible Class teacher for 32 years, and Elder of the Church and Board of Trustees. From 1962-1977, he wrote a weekly Sunday School column in the Florida Times-Union newspaper. He was married to Marion Guest Simons and had two children, a daughter, Christian, and a son, George Guest Simons. After an extended illness, Mr. Simons died on July 8, 1977, at the age of 86.

Note written by

Extent

36.00 Linear Feet

Abstract

The collection contains correspondence, publications and printed materials, project and subject files, and photographs relating to Mr. Simons' personal and professional activities throughout his adult life, from his college years until his retirement in 1970. The chronology begins with documentation of his higher education activities, including class notebooks, his thesis (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1915) and correspondence with professors. His professional career as a planning, zoning and municipal consultant is well-documented with extensive business files, including contracts and agreements, notes, correspondence, and working papers for many of the municipal planning, land use, and zoning projects undertaken by Mr. Simons. One strength of the collection is its depth of project publications, reports and plans created by Mr. Simons over a forty year professional career, 1928-1970. Subject files also show Mr. Simons' broad-ranging interests in various urban planning and financial topics.

Arrangement Note

Alphabetical by series; chronological within folder.

Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to the Library in 2005 by the Northeast Florida Regional Council, and Christian Simons LaRoche, the late daughter of Mr. Simons

Related Materials

Biological studies / by the pupils of William Thompson Sedgwick. Boston : Printed at the University of Chicago Press, 1906. Whipple, George Chandler. State sanitation : a review of the work of the Massachusetts State Board of Health. Cambridge : Harvard University Press, 1917. Descriptions of individual items and photographs are available in the Simons Collection Container List. Information about related materials is available at http://www.unf.edu/library/specialcollections/manuscripts/collections/George_W__Simons,_Jr_.aspx
Title
George W. Simons, Jr. Planning Collection
Author
Collection Description/Finding Aid prepared by Eileen D. Brady.
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
eng

Repository Details

Part of the UNF Library Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Contact:
1 UNF Drive
Jacksonville FL 32224 US
904-620-1533