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Old August 8th, 2010, 08:29 PM   #1
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Jacksonville FL: Urban Grit and Renewal in FL's Oldest Neighborhood

Just another Jacksonville neighborhoods tour. This time the shots are taken street level. They were all taken July 5th of this year, hence the Red White & Blue decor and the lack of street activity (I think people were recovering, heh). I also apologize in advance for my crappy camera.

Now on to FL’s oldest neighborhood, including plenty of grit! If you have the time, read the history and the captions (when provided).

Springfield began to be developed as a neighborhood, plotted out in the 1860s. The original waterworks (still standing) was completed in 1879. Then some prominent local businessmen bought 600 acres (close to 1 square mile), extended the Main Street trolley line, brought about the first large surge of development in the 1880s. Springfield was incorporated into Jacksonville’s city limits along with some other neighborhoods in 1887. In 1888, the Board of Trade constructed and brought the Sub-Tropical Exposition to Springfield to display exotic animals and tropical plants to tourists. The main building was a grandiose structure 325 ft. long and 100 ft. tall with towers and elements pulling from Romanesque and Middle Eastern influences.

During the 1890s, Cuba’s liberation from Spain drew support from Jacksonville. Duval County Sheriff Napoleon Bonaparte Broward ran guns and men to Cuba throughout the war. Jacksonville became a staging area for American troops entering the war. Unfortunately, with 18,000 troops stationed in Springfield, a Typhoid epidemic broke out and killed 362 American soldiers, almost as many as the 385 that died in combat. Then the 1901 Fire broke out and burned down all of downtown. Springfield was protected by a creek that now forms the basis for 2 parks. As a result residents fled to Springfield, and the 2nd housing boom occurred from 1901 to 1915. Springfield is roughly 1 square mile, but at its peak population had close to 12,000 residents.

By the 1960s, Springfield was in decline. By the 1980s, Springfield was one of the roughest hoods in the country. A current resident who is one of the new urban pioneers of the neighborhood bought a home that 7 people were murdered in just the few years prior. Just some trivia, his home was built of steel and in a fashion to be hurricane proof, fire proof, and termite proof by famed shipbuilder Arthur Stevens, the founder of Merrill Stevens now located in Miami. There was a boiler in the basement (yes basements in thi neighborhood even in FL), and original Thomas Edison light bulbs, as well as letters to Arthur from Woodrow Wilson and Edison.

Now Springfield is one of the “fastest growing” neighborhoods in Jacksonville, but only because people are moving back, not necessarily building a new neighborhood. The street cars are gone, but there is talk of rebuilding them some day. Most of the houses have been restored at least somewhat, and Main Street is the only obstacle yet to be brought back to life. The neighborhood is very ethnically diverse with every ethnicity/color, old people that grew up in the neighborhood, young New York transplants looking for an urban environment, gays and artists, and navy personnel.

The neighborhood has 4 quadrants divided by Main St and 8th St and I missed the NW quadrant.

Section 8!! Welcome to the hood! No it’s not quite like that.

Klutho Park: Named for famed NY architect who relocated to Jacksonville after the Fire and became one of the most prominent architects in the rebuilding of the city. Citizens of Jacksonville are hoping this par is restored and becomes sort of the “Central Park” of Jacksonville along with Confederate Park adjoining this one.

1909 Tudor Revival home needs some love.

Klutho Park

Love the Bismarck Palm growing in the front. This palm is tropical and is popular in S FL, but it can grow in Jax and people have started planting these all over the place. They are white.

Klutho Park

1892 home, reminds me of the Garden District of NOLA

1901 home

1870s or 1880s home

The old First Church of Christ Scientist, built in 1921, is now a Karpeles Manuscript Museum, one of just a few in the country (the others are in Buffalo, Charleston, Newburgh, Fort Wayne, and Santa Barbara). In this particular museum you find the original proposal draft of the Bill of Rights, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Olive Branch Petition, Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Wagner’s Wedding March, and works by Descartes, Kepler, Newton, Galileo, Luther and others.

Klutho park

Bethel Baptist Church, a historical black congregation started in 1838, the present building was completed in 1904.

The Pearl…a relatively popular nightclub with a fake tree as the centerpiece inside. It’s more for the indie crowd and often has a long line out the door, even though it’s isolated and not near other similar establishments.

These are what the bus stops look like in Springfield, in traditional Klutho style.

Springfield Preservation

3rd and Main, a new development with ground floor retail and condos. Designed in traditional Klutho style. Jacksonville has a unique twist on Prairie School architecture made popular by Henry Klutho, a New York architect who relocated to Jacksonville and studied under Frank Lloyd Wright. Jacksonville still has the largest collection of Prairie School Buildings outside of the Midwest.

Someone’s garage.

These are actually new homes built by SRG.

1908 house

1890s home

Shands Jacksonville, our largest public hospital with close to 600 beds. Shands has a program with University of Florida, and UF med students take up residency here. If you work at Shands, you have seen it ALL. It is the closest hospital to Jacksonville’s dangerous NW side, and Jacksonville has been known as the murder capital of FL for 2 decades, though we have come down from our close to 200 annual murders in the 1990s.

1890 residence

1922 Presbyterian Church.

Half of the houses in the neighborhood have a tin roof…so FL!

1900 home

This is actually a relatively new building occupied by either a law firm or an accounting firm that redid the building in traditional Klutho style.

1880s home

Looking towards the neighborhoods central focal point: the intersection of Main and 8th

Apartments designed by Henry Klutho in 1911, known as the Florence Court Apartments

1890 home

1929 restaurant…it has always been a restaurant

1915 “New” Waterworks building

The 1879 “Old Waterworks” building

Klutho parks again

1901 W.B. Barnett Residence, built for the founder of FL’s Barnett Bank, once one of the country’s largest banks based here in Jacksonville, it had several cities’ tallest skyscrapers, including ours, which is now Bank of America Building (Nationsbank bought Barnett, which was then bought by BofA less than a year later).

1924 Scottish Rite Masonic Temple, still in use today. Egyptian Revival. The other temple is downtown and is even larger and is also Egyptian Revival, built for the Shriners.

Confederate Park, circa 1907.

Duval Armory, 1915.

I like this view for some reason.

A dog park.

Ugly “community center”, or maybe it’s a library, the latter would be better.

Section 8!!

This couple just moved down to Jax and is working to make this former commercial space a house.

New home

This is now a coffee shop I think.

A wine bar

Section 8!!!

I am not sure what this building is, but it’s pretty.

Looks like it once was either a cannery or a brewery

Needs some love fast!

1902 home

I originally thought this church made a statue of a black Jesus being crucified, but he was real and we actually chatted for a little bit. Kind of odd.

Lauderdale Apartments, circa 1912.

1890 home in the Queen Anne style

1886 home in the Queen Anne style

1870s? home

Kirby Smith Middle School.

Klutho Apartments, circa 1913

A restaurant on Main

Andrew Jackson High School

Love this house

The future of Springfield:

Within 5 Years: Almost every house restored, more businesses on Main and in commercial areas, Klutho Parks restored to former glory
Within 10 Years: Streetcars running again, a loft/warehouse district served by rail with nightclubs and bars and restaurants open in the NE Quadrant
Within 15 Years: Current Section 8s are “affordable mixed housing”
Within 20 Years: Springfield is one of the most highly desired neighborhoods in the country

Other photo tours

Riverfront mansions, clubs, and skyline views in Ortega:
FL’s largest historic district via the riverfront:
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Old August 8th, 2010, 09:01 PM   #2
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Wonderful set!!!
"I had my back to the light and my face was turned towards
the things which it illumined, so that my eyes, by which I
saw the things which stood in the light, were themselves
in darkness." - Confessions (Book IV), Augustine of Hippo

"Laws are made for these reasons: that human wickedness
may be restrained through fear of their execution; that the
lives of innocent men may be safe among criminals; and
that the temptation to commit wrong may be restrained by
the fear of punishment." - The Visigothic Code (Book I, Title II, Part V)
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Old August 9th, 2010, 12:00 AM   #3
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those are nice colonial houses!
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Old August 9th, 2010, 12:06 AM   #4
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Those homes are beautiful!
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Old August 9th, 2010, 11:10 AM   #5
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Very nice and great photos from Jacksonville
Urban Showcase: Athens Kalamata Trikala Thessaloniki
Cityscapes: Paris Barcelona Dubai, U.A.E. Monte Carlo, Monaco
General photography: Castles of France - Chateau de France and, since May of '08: Greece!
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