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This is the 4th series on Jacksonville. This series will cover the neighborhoods of San Marco, Granada, and San Jose. They were developed in the 1920s and 1930s, long after the neighborhoods I have already detailed. These neighborhoods are on the south side of downtown and the St. Johns River, so even though Florida East Coast Railway had their bridge built in 1889, it was not until the opening of the Acosta in the 1921 that people really thought about moving to the other side of the river. Keep in mind that further south and further East the neighborhoods of Mandarin (think Harriet Beecher Stowe) and St. Nicholas were developed in the 1850s to 1900.

Starting with San Marco:
Basically started by the wife of Milwaukee railroad tycoon Alexander Mitchell who loved to vacation here and eventually built “Villa Alexander”. She sold the land to Jacksonville developer Telfair Stockton (developer of Avondale, Ortega, and Ponte Vedra). Read more on Martha Reed Mitchell somewhere else, though, because she is an interesting lady (one of the 3 founders of the organization that prevented the destruction of George Washington’s home Mt. Vernon). Down payments were made for all 250 lots of San Marco before they were plotted and infrastructure and the lagoon were not yet realized.

To this day San Marco is one of the most attractive communities in Jacksonville with its square and shops, beautiful homes, lagoon, and decent walkabaility. The inner neighborhood is quite dense. The original Firehouse Subs is in San Marco and I used to eat there all the time when I was a senior in high school (my high school was just down the road).

Street level pictures were taken during the winter and riverfront pictures were taken late spring/early summer. FL had a ROUGH winter this year so you will notice trees without leaves and a lack of tropical vegetation that would normally be there.

The San Marco Building dates to 1926. The first floor is Square One bar/club and the second floor is Pom’s Thai Bistro, one of the city’s finest Thai restaurants. The lions in the foreground were added much more recently to reflect St. Mark’s Square in Venice, for which San Marco Square is named.

Jacksonville can look pretty European in some parts.

Usually there are people walking about on the sidewalks and hanging out in this gazebo/park, but I think it was cold that day and us Floridians can’t handle anything below 50 or 60 degrees LOL.

San Marco Theater dates to 1938.

There is going to be a huge new Mediterranean style development here complete with condos, retail, a grocery store, and office space, but the economy has slowed things down.

This photo is not mine. It shows the old Acosta Bridge that opened in 1921 and was torn down in the 1990s. I took this photo from and I remember driving over this bridge as a kid.

St. Joe’s Headquarters, but they are moving to the Panhandle.

Nemours Clinic. Nemours is named after Alfred Dupont’s famous estate in Delaware and was started by his trust, headquartered here in Jacksonville. He wintered here and ended up living here in a house shown later.

New condos on the Southbank peeking up over the tree line.

The start of prestigious River Road in San Marco.

1927 homes.

1928 mediterranean

The same house from the road.

Empty lots waiting to be developed.

1936 International Style house.

1929 Carl Swisher house. Carl Swisher, along with his father John brought their large cigar company to Jacksonville in 1924. King Edward cigars/Swisher Sweets are still a staple of this city.

View from the road.

1929 John Swisher Residence.

View from the road.

1936 home designed by famed Miami Beach architect Arnold Southwell. Across from the Swisher residences.

Peter Rummell’s house. He is or has been the CEO of the following: Disney Development, Disney Imagineering, Jack Nicklaus Company, St. Joe, Rockefeller Management Corp, and Progress Energy. He “picked up” this house and moved it a few feet in one direction in order to add a small addition. I am not going to state my opinion on that hahaha.

View from the road where it looks a lot less gaudy.

This house looks stereotypically FL to me and I love it.

Tom Petway’s house. Added onto by Richard Skinner architects.

Your view of the skyline from your dock if you are fortunate enough to live here.

Onto Granada:

A half new half old neighborhood where the majority of the old houses fall into the Mediterranean revival or colonial styles. Located just south of San Marco, this neighborhood includes Miramar and Point La Vista, as well as the exclusive Alhambra Road, the riverfront road.

1926 home.

View from the street. One of my favorite homes.

Ew ew ew ew. I see wayyyy too many architectural styles here including but not limited to federal, colonial, georgian, Mediterranean, middle eastern influences, Italian/French country, etc. Trying way too hard without any taste or sense of proportionality. I hope the owner of this house sees my comments on it and acts quickly to demolish!

1924 Old Grove Manor.

This house is real…not a CAD rendering! LOL, I think it’s so cool.

Don’t even ask how expensive it is to build on the waterfront in FL with all of the hurricane codes one must follow, let alone the land purchase and the upcharge by companies and the unwritten law that the house must be ridiculously nice.

Love love love it. Reminds me of San Antonio somehow.

Ok now onto San Jose:

One of the orginal plans for San Jose included 2 hotels, a golf course and country club, a 100 ft. wide esplanade along the river, a yacht club, parks, a swimming pool, 2 schools, a shopping center, utilities, and hundreds of houses. Everything was to be Mediterranean. This neighborhood was going to be Jacksonville’s equivalency to Miami’s Coral Gables, and in many ways it is, but the master plan was never completed because the Land Boom ended in 1927 and the stock market crashed in 1929.

Internationally recognized urban planner John Nolen laid out the plan and the country’s most famous golf architect Donald Ross designed the golf course. In 1926 the San Jose Hotel (now the Bolles School) opened to guests. All the streets took on Spanish names and all the architecture from the gates of the neighborhood to the schools was Mediterranean. The Vanderbilts were to build the 2nd hotel to be named the San Jose Vanderbilt, but Alfred Dupont and his wife Jessie Ball Dupont beat the Vanderbilts to the land purchase and constructed their massive home, Epping Forest.

The first pictures are simply of riverfront homes, almost none are historical. Later on the street view pictures will display some elements of Old San Jose. San Jose is a very private neighborhood, though, and it is hard to get good pictures.

Was to be a development called Old San Jose and would have included upscale townhomes and condos centered around courtyards, but the economy collapsed forcing developer Jay McGarvey to postpone it. The buildings sit completely empty.

I think one of the Winn Dixie executives lives here. Was recently listed for $10M, but I am not sure that it sold.

Ok These people either just moved down from CT and have never seen a palm tree or they moved up from S FL and felt they needed to try to continue living in S FL away from S FL. They can venture away from the palm trees when not at the beach here in Jax.

Epping Forest condos.

Epping Forest…hard to see. Epping Forest was constructed by Alfred Dupont of E.I duPont deNemours and Co. His other home is the famous neMours mansion in Wilmington, DE. Alfred duPont is really the forefather of extreme wealth generated in the city because he bought all the banks in the city and created Florida National Bank, bought a ton of land in FL and subsequently created St. Joe Company, and left his estate to good friend Ed Ball, the brother of Alfred’s wife and Jacksonville native, who then created the Dupont Trust, which is the basis for Nemours Hospitals and became the basis for the creation of Charter Companies. Charter was led by Raymond Mason, who still lives today, and he bought Epping Forest from the Duponts/Balls. When the Duponts owned the home, it was a major party home for the Goulds, the Vanderbilts, the Carnegies, the Rockefellers, and tons of other famous millionaires. When Raymond Mason took it over, he was the CEO of Charter, which was the 65th largest company in America, and was formed around investments in oil, energy, and media. He was also good friends with Gerald Ford, and hosted Ford, Anwar Sadat, Henry Kissinger, Bob Hope, the Shah of Iran, King Hussein, and Prime Minister James Callaghan here. Tragedy struck Charter in the 1980s, and Mason ended up living with his wife in their countryside castle in England and giving the house to Herb Peyton, of Gate Petroleum and Gate Concrete, who turned the house and surrounding land into a private gated community and yacht club. Gate owns this, the River Club (which I have many pictures from and will post, it is the top 2 floors of the 2nd tallest building in Jax), Ponte Vedra Inn and Club (5 star resort), and the Lodge and Club in Ponte Vedra (4 star resort). Many a Bolles/Episcopal prom party is held here annually.

This is not my photo and was taken from Wikipedia.

This is not my photo and was taken from

This old 1925 house gets a free riverfront view!

1925 home


Hard to see but this is the Bolles School, originally the San Jose Hotel constructed in 1926. It is a gated private boarding school and while I have been there a million times, I have never taken photos of the school. It is probably one of the top 10 most beautiful high schools in the country. My dad went there when it was an all boys boarding school. Bolles has probably the best swim team in the country and recruits students from as far away as Malaysia to train them to participate on the US Olympic Swim and Dive Team.

Not my photo, taken from Shows an aerial of part of Bolles.

The new Peyton Boathouse, though I don’t think it can compete with my high school’s Walton boathouse. It is nice, though.

1925 home.

Radar for NAS Jacksonville.

1925 San Jose Estates Administration Building now part of San Jose Episcopal Day School and San Jose Episcopal Church. San Jose was once the closest thing to today’s gated communities with HOA, clubhouse, master planned community, etc.

1925 San Jose Country Club. Golf course designed by Donald Ross, the most famous golf architect in the country. Almost as old as Timuquana, shown in my 1st thread, but not quite. Recently convicted and self-killed Ponzi Scheme mastermind Wayne McCleod was a member here.

Not my photo, taken from

Typical retirement community, probably 90% Jewish.

San Jose and Mandarin form Jacksonville’s old Jewish enclaves. Ponte Vedra is also very Jewish, but just by nature of retirees and transplants from New York and New Jersey.

Abandoned construction.

Inner San Jose is very ethnically diverse and all the shopping centers reflect that. This is just one that I go to for my Boba Teas (best in Jacksonville, and actually the best I have ever had), and I get some Colombian food there while I am out there.

Check out my first 3 threads here:

Wealthy Ortega and its mansions and clubs:
Historic Riverside and Avondale:
FL’s Oldest Neighborhood, Springfield:

My next thread will focus on some suburban areas of town.
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