Check out two new displays located inside the Clay County Courthouse this month. Both are educational and visually interesting.
First, inside the front lobby, is our Archives Division’s nod to Clay County’s Southern Rock history. Music has always been a part of Clay County’s soul so this exhibit features artifacts, info, and local artwork related to Clay County’s cool musical history—especially the Southern Rock genre. The “Hell House” (featured in a painting) was a cabin with no A/C on the banks of Peters Creek in Green Cove Springs where the Lynyrd Skynyrd Band members created many of their greatest hits. The band was one of the most successful rock bands of the 1970s by the time they released Street Survivors in October 1977. Their string of iconic hits includes “Free Bird,” “Gimme Three Steps,” and “Sweet Home Alabama”, even prior to the release of the Street Survivors album.
Many Van Zant family members live in Clay County today and continue to influence the music scene. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s lead vocalist is Johnny Van Zant, younger brother of former lead singer Ronnie. Brothers Johnny and Donnie (of .38 Special band fame) also created The Van Zants, a group playing “My Kind of Country.” The music of “Skynyrd” lives on in concerts, movies, pop art, and wherever arenas and stadiums full of people yell, “turn it up!”.
Second, and also inside the main courthouse but found in our Recording Department “vault”, is our “What’s in a Name?” exhibit. This 28-foot long wall of historical information, maps and photos is magnetic (literally), allowing visitors to place magnetic map pins on the map of their own neighborhood or other favorite Clay County location.
This interactive exhibit allows visitors or all ages to learn more about their own part of the county and more through a dive into how local roads, bridges and towns got their names. Keep your eyes on the road and head into the vault to check out this eye-opening display today.
Interested in learning more about Clay County history? The Clay County Archives Center is a service of the Clerk of Court and Comptroller’s Office.
Clerk of Court and Comptroller Tara Green invites you to visit our Archives Center in person at the Old Jail or online at clayclerk.com any time.