Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Frederick Delius House

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Institution Name: Jacksonville University
Original/Historic Place Name: Delius House
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
post- 1865original construction Pride, Guy
Designer: Guy Pride (New York)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Regionalist/Vernacular (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, engineering, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: wood
Walls: wood
Roof: wood with roofing material
ca. 1865-1961private residence (originally constructed at Solano Grove near Picolatta Landing in St. Johns County; the property on which the home sat supported a citrus grove; a standard commercial crop in North Florida in the 19th Century)
ca. 1961-present (2006)memorial site (Jacksonville University as a monument to composer Frederick Delius; it is opened once a year for the Delius Association of Florida festival)

The father of composer Frederick Delius purchased this home in the mid-1880s after seeing it advertised in an English newspaper. Mr. Delius, of Bradford, England, was a wealthy transplanted German wool merchant who was determined his son would not be a musician, and to that end, he sent his son Frederick to run a citrus plantation in Florida. The father's plan came to no avail, however, when young Delius' met the entertainers from New York that wintered in Jacksonville. Jacksonville had a lively arts scene and Delius encountered African-American music here as well. He was the first European composer to incorporate the rhythms of African-American music in his compositions. On a trip to Jacksonville Delius met Mr. Tom Ward, the organist for the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, who immediately recognized his musical genius and gave Delius music lessons. It was at Solano Grove in St. Johns County that Delius came to realize he would spend the remainder of his life as a composer. His first published composition, Zum Carnival, was published in Jacksonville. There only two known copies remaining: one in the Library of Congress and one at the Jacksonville Public Library. His first major work, Florida Suite, paints an impressionistic picture in music of the St. Johns River at four different times of day.

The Delius House and the portion of the property on which it sat was purchased by Mrs. Martha Bullard Richmond and given to Jacksonville University. It arrived on campus on March 3, 1961, and was moved to its present location during the 1990s. The annual Delius Festival, in its 44th year, involves the university and national and international lovers of Delius' music. The structure is in urgent need of repair and renovation.


Bald, Ralph D. 4 Decades of Growth. Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville University Office of Public Relations, 1975.

Bald, Ralph D., Jr. A History of Jacksonville University, The First Twenty-Five Years, 1934-1959. Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville University, 1959.

Hallam, George. Our Place in the Sun, A History of Jacksonville University. Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville University, 1988.

"History of Jacksonville University. Descriptions of the University--Photographs." [n.d.] Carl S. Swisher Library, Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, FL.

Middleton, Bill. "McGully's Gulch: Where It Began." Florida-Times Union, October 23, 1951.


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Last update: November 2006