The Florida Store That Inspired Skynyrd’s “The Ballad Of Curtis Loew” Was Demolished

I’ve always thought it was interesting that one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s biggest hits is “Sweet Home Alabama”, mainly because no one in the band is from Alabama. They’re from Jacksonville, Florida, which isn’t even the side of Florida closest to Alabama...but that’s a blog for another time. However a Skynyrd landmark in their home town of Jacksonville is no more. The store in their song “The Ballad Of Curtis Loew”, that Curtis Loew would hang out behind and play his blues on his dobro, has been demolished.

The song is about a young boy who collects bottles to sell for cash, and gives that money to Curtis Loew, who hangs out behind a country store, so he could buy booze and play his guitar, being “the finest picker to ever play the blues”. That store is based on a place once known as Claude’s Midway Grocery, and most recently as Woodcrest Grocery. In many articles, including this one on Wikipedia, the intersection listed is wrong. They have the store at the corner of Plymouth and Lakeshore Blvd in Jacksonville. But its actually, or until recently it WAS actually on the north side of Woodcrest Rd between Pangola Dr and Neva St. The Van Zant family home was down Woodcrest Rd, the same street the store is on.

The store had been abandoned for years and started collapsing after nearby trailers were being torn down. There was no saving it. But at least we have Google Maps so save pics of it for us.

Here are a couple Google Maps views of the store and its location.

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