Jacksonville's Great Fire of 1901 was the largest metropolitan fire in the American South. The fire began on May 3, 1901, with a spark from a kitchen fire at lunchtime that ignited piles of drying Spanish moss at a nearby mattress factory.
By 8:30 p.m., when the fire was brought under control, 2,368 buildings were destroyed, 10,000 people were homeless and seven residents were dead. In all, 146 city blocks were destroyed.
The city spent the next decade rebuilding its downtown. Famed "Prairie School" architect Henry John Klutho was brought in to design many of the city's new buildings. Out of the ashes of the fire arose buildings such as the St. James Hotel which was one of the largest buildings in the nation when it opened in 1911.