Downtown's philanthropic shoe doctor

Duval Shoe Hospital, Gainesville, circa 1910

State Archives of Florida
Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 9:10 a.m.

While the people in the photograph are unidentified, this shoe repair shop near the courthouse was well known. It was owned and operated by Charles W. Duval, a prominent citizen of Gainesville. He was born here on July 18, 1876, the son of William Duval, born in Camden, South Carolina, and Fannie Gaines, also born in South Carolina.

The shop was on the square at the northeast corner of Southeast First Avenue and First Street and was the only shoe shop — and black-owned business — downtown, according to the A. Quinn Jones oral history. Charles died of a heart attack on February 27, 1933, and his son, Alexander Charles, took over the shop.

Charles. W. Duval's philanthropy lives on: He donated five acres for the construction of an elementary school, which was named for him in 1937.

— Photograph from the State Archives of Florida. Caption from A Guide to Historic Gainesville by Steve Rajtar, 2007.

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