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Discover Jacksonville 2017


COMMUNITIES when the British settled the northern bank of the St. Johns River at the narrow crossing called the “Cow Ford” and the Spanish fortified the Pass de San Nicolas along the southern bank, making it an important northerly point of defense for St. Augustine. The area south of the river near the former fort has continued to be known as St. Nicholas, a tribute to days of yore. After the Civil War and through the late 1800s, the area from the ferry landing to the Arlington River, including Empire Point, was referred to as the village of St. Nicholas. The community, the heart of which lies where Beach and Atlantic boulevards meet, is a few minutes from I-95, downtown and the San Marco shopping district. It also is home to two of the most respected private high schools in the area. Episcopal and Bishop Kenny both have beautiful campuses spotted with century-old oaks standing tall along waterfront property with spectacular views of downtown Jacksonville. The average home price is $281,950. San Jose (Lakewood) Grace and elegance Born of the Florida land boom in 1925 on the tree-shaded eastern bank of the St. Johns River, San Jose Estates was the most ambitious land development in North Florida in its day. Hotels, a yacht club, shopping center, schools, a country club and hundreds of houses were planned. The best architectural, design and development firms were retained. A national advertising campaign was so successful that construction crews worked around the clock to meet the demands of prospective buyers from across the country. By late 1926, all construction on San Jose Estates had ceased. The Great Depression loomed on the horizon, and Florida’s boom became a bust. Only one hotel, the country club and 31 houses were built. The development was dead, but the San Jose neighborhood lived on. Today, the San Jose Hotel is the private Bolles School; the development’s administration building has become San Jose Episcopal Church; and the site of the never-built second hotel became the Alfred I. duPont estate, Epping Forest — now a yacht club surrounded by upscale homes and condominiums. Only San Jose Country Club still functions as it did upon completion. Although renovations have updated the clubhouse interior and facilities, the club’s architecture remains intact. In 1985, the remaining San Jose Estates structures were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many other architectural styles have found a home in San Jose, giving it an eclectic appeal. Condos start in the $50,000s, and single-family detached homes start in the low $200,000s and can reach the millions. The median price of a home in Lakewood is $184,500. Contributing to the community’s good looks and overall allure are its sweeping trees and many parks. The central location is minutes from downtown or Southpoint and well within a half-hour of Jacksonville’s beaches. Fine restaurants and good shopping add to San Jose’s appeal. A bicyclist makes his way past the red, white and blue bunting decorated lions that grace the fountain in San Marco’s Balis Park. (Bob Self/Florida Times-Union) San Marco Where past and present meet Red Bank Plantation House on Greenridge Road, the oldest known structure still standing in San Marco, was completed in 1857 by Albert Gallatin Philips, Jacksonville’s sheriff from 1833 to 1839. Philips Highway, on the periphery of San Marco, was named for one of his sons, Judge Henry B. Philips. No longer in existence, Villa Alexandria was the grandest structure of its time. Built in 1872 by Martha Reed Mitchell, sister of former Florida Governor Harrison Reed, it stood on a 140-acre tract on the St. Johns River. Mitchell’s home was a showplace and served as the center of her many charitable activities — St. Luke’s 46 | 2017 DISCOVER JACKSONVILLE

COMMUNITIES Hospital (now St. Vincent’s Southside) and All Saints Episcopal Church, among others. Mitchell’s neighbors in the Fletcher Park area were 158 shipyard workers living in Henry Klutho-designed homes. World War I saw a boom in shipbuilding, creating in turn a need for housing for its workers. Today, 12 of these homes surround Fletcher Park with its 1883 church, now home to the San Marco Preservation Society. Modern residential development came to San Marco with the 1921 completion of the St. Johns River Bridge, later renamed the Acosta Bridge. Then, came Telfair Stockton and his plans for an 80-acre subdivision called San Marco. Streets were curved to show off trees and scenic vistas and Lake Marco was formed out of an old brickyard. The mix of architectural styles reflected residents’ strong interest in the outside world. In 1926, the shopping district was laid out at the corner of Atlantic and San Marco boulevards. Theatre Jacksonville, one of the nation’s oldest continuously operating community theater groups, is housed in an Art Deco building dating from 1937. With its many-tiered fountain and wrought iron sculpture still intact, the area thrives today as home to an eclectic collection of trendy shops, theaters and restaurants. Homes can cost more than $1 million, but the average value is $845,500. San Mateo From ecological roots Before 1956, the area known as San Mateo was mostly forest with huge oaks laden with Spanish moss, wild holly trees and an abundance of magnolias, hickories, pines and wildflowers. Wildlife was abundant. In the winter of 1955-1956, though, development found the area and the first families began moving in. Now, the area is a quiet residential neighborhood of 50-plus-year-old homes on the northern bank of the St. Johns River. The community name comes from the Spanish name given to the river in the 1560s, Rio de San Mateo (River of St. Matthew). San Mateo, south of Oceanway, has very affordable homes, with an average price of $130,000. Southside (San Souci ... Southside Estates ... Spring Glen ... Windy Hill) Location, location, location This is the confusing one. Southside is really more of a general location than a pure neighborhood, but you’ll hear it referred to quite often as where people live. San Jose is on the Southside, but so is Southside Estates, across the river and 15 miles away. Because we’ve outlined particular neighborhoods within Southside, we’re identifying it here as north of Butler Boulevard, south of Atlantic Boulevard, east of University Boulevard and west of St. Johns Bluff Road. Not surprisingly, Southside has a diverse mix of residential styles and offerings within its borders. Home prices in the area can reach the $1 million range, with the average price being in the mid-$100,000s. Neighborhood offerings range from working class, single-family homes, condos and townhomes to gated communities with all the amenities. There are a host of retailers and restaurants in the area, and Regency Square and The Avenues malls are just a 10- to 20-minute drive away. Easy access to the St. Johns River through tributaries such as Pottsburg Creek appeals to those interested in fishing and boating. Southside is in close proximity to the University of North Florida and the Florida State College at Jacksonville’s South Campus. Springfield History in a house There has been a great deal of renewed interest in living in the historic district of Springfield. Many believe it has a lot to do with the charm of the beautiful homes. Touring one, as many people have done over the past few years, is like opening a yearbook of the city, circa the late 1800s. Windows, porches, staircases, attics, and fireplaces yield page after page of historical glimpses of Jacksonville’s past. New homes are being built that are architecturally compatible with the historic district’s building guidelines for the area. A few of these homes that line Pearl Street look like rehabilitated homes, but they are new — with many of the features people love in older-style homes, including the porches. The homes have standard features such as prewired security systems, semi-plank exterior siding, decorative foundation blocks, fiberglass shingles, all-wood kitchen cabinets, kitchen appliances, ceramic tile and double-hung wood exterior windows. Beyond the crop of new historiclooking homes, some of the area’s authentic homes, with rich histories behind them, are capturing people’s attention. Popular styles include Florida vernacular, bungalow, Prairie and transitional Queen Anne/Colonial Revival. Henry J. Klutho, who was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture, began experimenting with the Prairie style in Springfield. The aesthetically pleasing style endures today. The median home price in Springfield is $180,000, but large renovated homes can go much higher. According to Trulia, the median rent is $1,200. In 1987, Springfield was selected as a National Register Historic District under federal criteria and recognized under federal law. Only three other areas in Jacksonville — Avondale, Riverside and Ortega — hold the title. A historic gem worth revitalizing, Springfield contains one of the largest concentrations of residences dating from the early 1800s in Florida. Timuquana and Venetia Beautiful vistas With an area along one of the most scenic stretches of the St. Johns River, the Venetia and Timuquana area is a little bit of heaven. Southeast of Ortega off Roosevelt Boulevard and bordered by the river and Timuquana Country Club, the Westside communities have beautiful vistas galore. The private country club is a buffer from the hustle and bustle of the Jacksonville Naval Air Station, while the Timuquana Yacht Club also provides relaxation on the river for its members. The homes are older but beautifully kept, with expansive manicured lawns. 2017 DISCOVER JACKSONVILLE | 47