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Bill 2016-679 – Ordinance for Correcting the Name of “Philips” Highway

In 1934, the section of US1 from the St. Johns County line to Johns Street near downtown was dedicated to Duval Judge Henry Bethune Philips who was the first Chairman of the Florida State Road Board, the forerunner of the FDOT, naming it “Philips Highway” with one “L”.

The idea originated by the Southside Businessmen’s Club (SSBMC) as a result of Judge Philips efforts at building Florida highways. He had drafted the legislation that in 1921 created the state highway department. The SSBMC held festivities on July 12, 1934 where Judge Philips age 76 along with then Governor Dave Scholtz cut the ribbon in dedication. Judge Philips died in 1939.

Since that time, the spelling of Philips has been constantly misspelled with double “L”s and has been an ongoing battle to keep signs up and down the roadway accurate. As recently as about 1995 in an interview with Judge Philip’s son Eber Philips, he was quoted saying “as long as his mother was alive she would get after the city to correct the spellings”. Eber Philips died in 2000.

The issue caught the eye of the late Bob Hill, who was head of Jacksonville’s traffic engineering department, where he promptly ordered new street signs made for the entire length of Philips Highway. It took some months to get the Florida DOT to correct the exit signs from Interstate 95 to the highway named for its founder.

The Bill 2016-679 adopts an ordinance that will officially recognize the correct spelling of Philips Highway and to have government entities, citizens, business and property owners along this roadway to correct these misspellings on documents, residence address, street signs, highway markers and electronic communications with a target date of December 31, 2019.

This Bill offers no funding or penalty for implementing or not implementing this ordinance. However, once enacted, the City of Jacksonville’s Planning and Development Department, the Addressing Unit and the Public Works Department will process, implement, and coordinate with 911 Emergency, Fire and Rescue Department, the U.S. Postal Service, Google and other affected agencies and organizations to standardize and remove any references to the double “L” listings.

In memory of Duval Judge Henry Bethune Philips, the first Chairman of the Florida State Road Board, whereby the US1 highway within Duval County was dedicated on July 12, 1934 in his honor, this Ordinance has been enacted as of November 9, 2016.

Special recognition of inspiration by District 11 Sweetwater resident Mona Arreola is to be thanked for her advocacy of this issue along with District 5 Council Member and President Lori Boyer in her co-sponsorship of this bill.

Click Here: 2016-679 Becton - An Ordinance Correcting the Name of Philips Hwy

Click Here: 2016-679-E Bill