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Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon

Presently the site of Tillie K. Fowler Regional Park, this land was once home to a vibrant community called Yukon.

Published August 29, 2008 in History      138 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article




Yukon was established in the mid 1800's as the "Blackpoint Settlement". The community, along with a 300 home development called Dewey Park, sat across from NAS Jax between Roosevelt Blvd and the Ortega River.

During its heyday, the community had gridded paved streets, sidewalks, a downtown business district, homes and a railroad depot.

Designated as a flight and safety hazard, the Navy closed the town in July 1963.

Today, most of the buildings have been demolished and the land has been converted into a large regional park. Nevertheless, several elements of its past eerily live on.

Directly across from NAS Jax's main gate, the slab of the old Yukon railroad depot remains.

Thousands of commuters drive by daily, along Roosevelt Blvd., without realizing Yukon's old business district still remains.

Throughout the park, several former streets of the community remain, despite being closed off for several decades.











Abandoned sidewalks can still be seen in certain areas.

Unfortunately, little can be found explaining the history of this land that has now become a public park. It's Metro Jacksonville's hope that we can one day create an aspect to this park that educates residents of this abandoned historic community. Yukon's remains can be explored at Tillie K. Fowler Park, which is located at 7000 Roosevelt Blvd.

Article by Ennis Davis








138 Comments

stjohnsguy

August 29, 2008, 06:51:18 AM
What a great Dog park this could be with the River as a back drop.

BridgeTroll

August 29, 2008, 07:21:12 AM
JL Trents seafood has been there for years... Outstanding food that only the locals know about...

heights unknown

August 29, 2008, 08:17:59 AM
As a young man in the Navy, I lived in a trailer park on Timuquana Road (Ware Trailer Park?) and used to take long walks (this was back in 1979ish).  One day I made a right into a path just after (east) of the Ortega Bridge (the one that goes over the Ortega River on Timuquana) I think it was, heading South in the woods in that area.  It wasn't that dense in the brush and after about 20 minutes, I stumbled upon old over grown streets, many empty foundations, and came to the conclusion that some type of residence or town was once there; after reading this post, I now know that was Yukon.  There was even an old playground "up in there."
Interesting.

Heights Unknown

TD*

August 29, 2008, 09:02:41 AM
They probably will put a CVS here in a few years.. just a guess

Jason

August 29, 2008, 09:13:36 AM
Man, that's only 30-40 years of tree growth in an area that was wide open spaces.  Mother nature sue took that back pretty quick.

second_pancake

August 29, 2008, 09:14:26 AM
Wow!  What a great story.  Interesting that the area was unfit and a "safety" issue for people living there, but it's ok as a playground for children.  Boy how the times change.

Ocklawaha

August 29, 2008, 09:28:35 AM
Black Point Community was at the end of the streetcar line, on the St. Johns, just South of the current end of the runway. A brick highway set in concrete was called the "Old Orange Park Road" and it wandered over the ACL tracks and through Yukon on it's way north toward the city. At the time the Florida Guard operated a small base out at the point called Camp Fowler. When WWI came along, the Army went on to purchase all of what is now NAS. It was named Camp Joseph E. Johnston, after the famous Confederate General. Most of the Buildings including the church were relocated to Yukon, about a mile West of the new base HQ.

When the Navy came along in WWII, the streetcar line was gone, a newer more direct road "Roosevelt" was built as US 17. The navy purchased a huge tract of land in Clay County. It ran from Highway 21 west to the County line, and from Duval County line south to Keystone Heights. This was to be the scene of NAS JAX... a MASTER AIR BASE. The COJ wanted the base in town and pushed for the reopening of Camp Johnston. So in a 4 way swap, the Army took the lower half of the new navy reserve, this became Camp Blanding. The Northern Half was turned over to the State as a State Forest. The Navy got the Camp Johnston site and went about moving any remaining civilian buildings out. They also built the huge Dewey Park subdivision.

Even as late as 1963, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad still scheduled the fast streamliners to make a stop at Yukon, as long as the ticket read to/or/from North of Savannah, or South of Orlando. So it was not unusual to see Amtrak-Like trains pull up to the trim little white deopt with the purple trim (later converted to green trim when no solution could be found for the purple fade). The agents name was Pete Rood. I went to school with his (daughters? neices?) beautiful twins. Also with Mr. Hastings kid, Kevin. Hastings was an executive for the ACL.

The Post Master lived above the little Post Office which closed within the last 20-30 years. Their names were Webb. Butt's road is named for the family of Mr. Willis Butts, a local millionaire, from the old south school of culture. Willis was my dad's best friend and they even had a running joke back in 1959, dad bought a new white Caddie - Sedan De Ville (the one with crazy tail fins). When we got to that little church, Willis was crest fallen. So the next sunday, here comes Willis in a new identical caddie, only in black. Dad had a blackish color trilby hat, well Willis got out with a white one! It became a local ledgend. Between that and the bribes they would offer at the local restaurants to managers or waiters over who got to pay the Sunday Dinner bill.
Willis Butt's owned the Butt's mobile homes dealerships that were once a North Florida fixture. He always called me "Hamburger".

Yukon and the "40 acre field" were the playground of the boys from John Stockton Elementary School, our school had students from Ortega Forest and from Ortega Hillks, Yukon was the middle ground. The so called "40 acre field" is where the current warehouse complex is going in today, next to the park. Some developer cleared it, and was going for a shopping center. My understanding is they couldn't get a permit for the needed railroad crossing next to the Yukon Depot, so after much gound work, it was abandoned. Many machines sat out there just to rot... of course they became every manner of fort, tank, train or ??? Some of the most epic mud ball fights (and fist fights) in Jacksonville history took place out there.

After the housing moved out, a forboding cable gate went up across the intersection at Butts Road and Yukons Main street. It was manned by armed marines. I never could figure out what was so important about our old playground until I spotted what might have been an early dopler radar on a tall forest type tower in the SW corner of the old development. We tried to break through the lines and sneak a peek, but never got close. Looks like it's gone today too. Local lore says the Ortega was dredged to an extreme depth and submarine pins were built behind the Yukon Community early in the fight. I know there are old piles out in the river, but never found so much as a trail down to the water... The water IS very, very, deep.


OCKLAWAHA

Jason

August 29, 2008, 09:28:36 AM
Wow!  What a great story.  Interesting that the area was unfit and a "safety" issue for people living there, but it's ok as a playground for children.  Boy how the times change.


True!  But look at all the homes up against Mayport, Cecil, Craig, Herlong, etc....  This place was no more dangerous than them.

Jason

August 29, 2008, 09:32:30 AM
Ock, you are a true wealth of knowledge and history

Bike Jax

August 29, 2008, 10:10:05 AM
I have been working with this park for some years now doing trail maintenance. This park is one of the best  parks in Jacksonville. It has just under 7 miles of biking/hiking trails. The vast majority of the park is not accessible due to the wetlands that runs the length of the park.

There is a 3 story tower that overlooks pine uplands to the south and the wetlands to the Ortega River to the north.

Stjohnsguy, a couple of years ago we had a city council person attempt to sneak a dog park within this park. He had city work crews out to clear cut a large section of the park. You can still see the bright florescent orange paint the trees today. What most don't know about this park. It is listed as nature park within the city park system. But the property is owned by NAS and only leased to the city on a 99 year contract.

All improvements (i.e. dog park) must go thru channels that include NAS. NAS's interest is in the park as a buffer for the flight path of the runway. Clear cutting of trees tend to eliminate such buffers. So there will not be a dog park in Westside Regional Park (Tillie K. Fowler Regional Park).

My favorite feature about the park happened a couple of years ago. We found a very rare (to North Florida) native orchid. Westside Regional is now the known northern terminus for the Tooth Rein Orchid.

gojeffrey

August 29, 2008, 10:36:26 AM
This was a fascinating read, both the main post and the comments.  Before I read this, Yukon was just J.L. Trent's and Murray's Tavern to me (both of which I visit, as they each have their own unique charm).

Jason

August 29, 2008, 10:36:33 AM
Why does the dog park area have to be clear cut?  Can't the brush simply be cleaned up to leave the tree canopy intact and still allow ample space for the dogs to run wild?

kirkerer

August 29, 2008, 05:59:43 PM
I believe that J-ville poet laureate Allan Justiss was born in yukon.

blizz01

August 29, 2008, 06:48:59 PM
There was a Navy plane crash in that area recently (last year?) - I wonder if it was near where the homes would have been.

Ocklawaha

August 29, 2008, 11:28:36 PM
Went back and checked the article, looks like it came down in the wetlands short of the final approach, which is over the old Main Street. It wasn't plane failure but wind shear in a thunderstorm, so it would have happened no matter what the aircraft or airport. Shears happen all the time "air pockets" some call them, but in final approach they are deadly... Remember the messy Delta crash in Dallas 15 or 20 years back? Same cause.

When I took the tornado spotter courses at Oklahoma City NWS, we were shown how to spot the effects of these micro-busts, shears and sudden down drafts from tornado damage. The shear or down burst can be just as violent but heads straight for the ground, so trees, houses, aircraft etc. tend to blow in all the directions of a compass. A tornado on the other hand leaves a trail of destruction-mostly falling in a single direction.

Yukon was a fun place back in the 60's. Somehow the corner store always had the best ginger snap cookies around. We boys used to crawl out of our Sunday School room window, if the teacher stepped out for a minute. We'd run to the market and buy ginger snaps and beat it back to the room... "Where have you boys been?" We'd just grin with ginger snap all over our faces... Oh well, so much for the Lords 10Th!

My dad used to own the furniture store next to the church, the market was in the other end of the building.
He didn't really run much of a business but his hobby was wood working and mechanics. So for several years he made a good side income on buying damaged furniture seconds and repairing them for resale. He had fun, a lot of Navy families and others got some quality stuff they wouldn't have otherwise afforded. All was well until at some point the buildings plumbing gave out, and flooded the place... once...twice....well finally he quit and went about building his own big wooden boat.

Back on the Ortega, there are some bluffs here and there in those wetlands. The most infamous now has a round million dollar home sitting on it. Remains of the moonshine still are on the property next door to this day,
(I know cause I took my wife and kids for a look-see). The fellow that lives there didn't know that he lived on historic property. During the War Of Yankee Aggression, the CSS St. Marys was ready to run the blockade and got into a chase with the USS gunboat steamer Uncas. The St. Marys Captain, took it up to Bluff Landing and set her on fire, where she sank with thousands of dollars in cotton and other goods onboard for export.
Though the Damned Yankees raised her hulk and refloated her, most of her cargo and bones are still to be "seen"="Felt" deep beneath the water on the west bank of the river at the bluff. The owner of the land today very kindly gave my wife a tour of his beautiful home and not being from here, he commented "I understand 1/2 the population of the West Side of Jax was conceived out here on this property..." Being the loud mouth old hippie I am, I laughed and said "Oh yeah, like Gloria P., Suzanne A., Jill F., Becky H, Niki T...." suddenly I got that stare that says "ENOUGH!" (in clear Spanglish!!) HA HA!


OCKLAWAHA

Ocklawaha

August 30, 2008, 12:15:46 AM
Camp J. Clifford Foster, Fl Natl Guard, at Black Point, NAS MAINSIDE (Today):

Camp Foster main street


Camp Foster on drill


Trucks bringing in Transient Labor to Camp Foster


Remember that historic old brick highway? Well WTF?


Amazing VERY VERY early view of the camp and the Black Point Community (to the right in the trees)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------



Wharf scene (taken from the black point wharf?) Camp was created in 1909 as a Florida National Guard base, then taken over and expanded by the Federal government in September 1917 for use as an army quartermaster training camp. Renamed Camp J. Clifford R. Foster after World War I.

Sorry guys had my camp names in reverse order in the early post... Senior moment I guess. But Johnston came first, then the streetcar, then foster, the brick road, Yukon, expansion, Army moved out to Blanding, and Navy moved in and finished off the old community, but added to Yukon.


The City of Jacksonville provided downtown transit until the trolley put it out of commission. It is said to have sunk (of old age and neglect) at the foot of the old Acosta Bridge. When the land was filled for Coast Line Drive and the current ACL/nee:CSX building, they dug up some of it.


As you can see, The old Yukon Depot was always a quiet zone! NOT!


Mom was a department manager in the downtown store.

That's about all I can handle right now, I'll dig up some more if y'all are interested and bring us up to the 1960/70 era.


OCKLAWAHA

tuffydog

August 30, 2008, 02:56:12 PM
My husband and I were both in the Navy at NAS Jax.  We married in 1955 and our first home was a rented 28ft travel trailer in Yukon.  I don't remember the name of the trailer park?  I do remember the water was sulfur and when I washed clothes some stains from the iron in the water appeared.  There was also a little store where I bought my first set of canisters and a soap holder.  (I still have that).  I think I may still have some pitctures.
The little trailer was so small you could sit on the potty and take a shower at the same time.  Oh the good ole days.

Coolyfett

August 30, 2008, 09:25:43 PM
Interesting. I used to hang over in that area of 103rd/Timaquana in highschool, I always wondered why one side of the bridge had houses and the other didn't. The ground doesn't look solid over there. And this place was build in the 1800s. I have never heard or read about this Yukon place, but I have been back there before. I didn't know a Naval base could just remove neighborhoods like that. There are plenty of neighbors around JIA right? Something sounds fishy about this Lake. I mean the Trout River leg has more action than this the Ortega River leg. Paved roads and sidewalks still there. 1800s huh then removed in the 60s? Can you dig up any more?

Coolyfett

August 30, 2008, 09:36:00 PM
Black Point Community was at the end of the streetcar line, on the St. Johns, just South of the current end of the runway. A brick highway set in concrete was called the "Old Orange Park Road" and it wandered over the ACL tracks and through Yukon on it's way north toward the city. At the time the Florida Guard operated a small base out at the point called Camp Fowler. When WWI came along, the Army went on to purchase all of what is now NAS. It was named Camp Joseph E. Johnston, after the famous Confederate General. Most of the Buildings including the church were relocated to Yukon, about a mile West of the new base HQ.

When the Navy came along in WWII, the streetcar line was gone, a newer more direct road "Roosevelt" was built as US 17. The navy purchased a huge tract of land in Clay County. It ran from Highway 21 west to the County line, and from Duval County line south to Keystone Heights. This was to be the scene of NAS JAX... a MASTER AIR BASE. The COJ wanted the base in town and pushed for the reopening of Camp Johnston. So in a 4 way swap, the Army took the lower half of the new navy reserve, this became Camp Blanding. The Northern Half was turned over to the State as a State Forest. The Navy got the Camp Johnston site and went about moving any remaining civilian buildings out. They also built the huge Dewey Park subdivision.

Even as late as 1963, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad still scheduled the fast streamliners to make a stop at Yukon, as long as the ticket read to/or/from North of Savannah, or South of Orlando. So it was not unusual to see Amtrak-Like trains pull up to the trim little white deopt with the purple trim (later converted to green trim when no solution could be found for the purple fade). The agents name was Pete Rood. I went to school with his (daughters? neices?) beautiful twins. Also with Mr. Hastings kid, Kevin. Hastings was an executive for the ACL.

The Post Master lived above the little Post Office which closed within the last 20-30 years. Their names were Webb. Butt's road is named for the family of Mr. Willis Butts, a local millionaire, from the old south school of culture. Willis was my dad's best friend and they even had a running joke back in 1959, dad bought a new white Caddie - Sedan De Ville (the one with crazy tail fins). When we got to that little church, Willis was crest fallen. So the next sunday, here comes Willis in a new identical caddie, only in black. Dad had a blackish color trilby hat, well Willis got out with a white one! It became a local ledgend. Between that and the bribes they would offer at the local restaurants to managers or waiters over who got to pay the Sunday Dinner bill.
Willis Butt's owned the Butt's mobile homes dealerships that were once a North Florida fixture. He always called me "Hamburger".

Yukon and the "40 acre field" were the playground of the boys from John Stockton Elementary School, our school had students from Ortega Forest and from Ortega Hillks, Yukon was the middle ground. The so called "40 acre field" is where the current warehouse complex is going in today, next to the park. Some developer cleared it, and was going for a shopping center. My understanding is they couldn't get a permit for the needed railroad crossing next to the Yukon Depot, so after much gound work, it was abandoned. Many machines sat out there just to rot... of course they became every manner of fort, tank, train or ??? Some of the most epic mud ball fights (and fist fights) in Jacksonville history took place out there.

After the housing moved out, a forboding cable gate went up across the intersection at Butts Road and Yukons Main street. It was manned by armed marines. I never could figure out what was so important about our old playground until I spotted what might have been an early dopler radar on a tall forest type tower in the SW corner of the old development. We tried to break through the lines and sneak a peek, but never got close. Looks like it's gone today too. Local lore says the Ortega was dredged to an extreme depth and submarine pins were built behind the Yukon Community early in the fight. I know there are old piles out in the river, but never found so much as a trail down to the water... The water IS very, very, deep.


OCKLAWAHA

Can you tell us more about UFOs crashing in Ortega River?

Coolyfett

August 30, 2008, 09:48:02 PM
There was a Navy plane crash in that area recently (last year?) - I wonder if it was near where the homes would have been.

Was it really a crash or some sort of plane interception? Did they ever find the plane? Something isnt right. Ock is not telling us EVERYTHING....How come no boats or fishing ever goes on on that side of the bridge? Whats in the water?

As a kid my parents first apartment in Jax was on Chaffee Road of Normandy BLVD navy planes flew over all the time.

Why did they really get rid of this neighborhood??? Seriously?

Ocklawaha

August 30, 2008, 11:32:30 PM
Similar housing was dated to WWII and was removed from bases nation wide mid 1960's-70's. Some are building new villages but they are NOT under the flight paths. Moody AFB in valdosta is a good example.
This land just dated to the Army-Fl Guard-City-Navy land swap deal. My guess is SOMETHING was back there circa mid 60's-80 or so, it was the "thing" on the tower down in the wetlands in the SW corner. That would explain the ever present armed guards and patrols in the woods.

As far as the submarine part, I CAN say there are piles in the river all over west of Yukon, but nothing I ever found on the shore line that looked like some kind of access point. Unless that one creek in the aerial image in the NW corner which seems pretty straight (dug out?) and ends at a roadway, had something to do with them.

The earliest buildings dated to 1900, 1917 and a host of 1940's vintage stock.

I think most boats stay out fo the upper Ortega for two reasons, all during the 1950-60 era, Ortega Hills dumped raw sewer waste into a canal  and a creek both emptied into the river. Now however, it's just the total lack of facilities upstream. A great spot for a small boat business on the river at Collins road though. Bass boats do make it up to Blanding or Collins on occasion.


OCKLAWAHA

deathstar

September 02, 2008, 01:59:04 AM
Ock, my eyes are welcoming any and all info on Yukon and surrounding area that you're willing to dig up. I'm 26 years old, and LOVE reading about the history of this city. I grew up in Riverside, but have lived in Lakeshore area for 18 years now. I was born on the base, and never knew the history of it up until now.

So I beg you, let 'r rip with all that knowledge you've got!

SunKing

September 02, 2008, 09:24:18 AM
Great history about a forgotten part of Jacksonville.  We used to run around back there in the late 70s and early 80s.  Mostly get into the woods by boat.  "The Beach" back up the Ortega River was the place where everyone would hang out on weekends.  Everyone waterskied back there before they closed it.  There was a good ropeswing neerby and lots of gators.  the water is deep back there but it is narrow and winding.  I dont know how a sub would make it.

I never saw a radar tower but there used to be a fire tower that was near the beach which was maybe a half mile south of the Yukon area.  You could climb that thing and see forever.  I never saw a patrol there.  That area was not guarded but the area behind and just south of Yukon was.  We used to sneak in there by road with 20 gauges and shoot squirrels and birds from the roads (they may have been firelanes, not the roads you were talking about, dont remember).  The guards would show up shortly and we could duck back into the woods and hide.  We would come out a few hundred yards away, get spotted and the chase was on again.  I dont think that you could get away with that today in the post 9/11 age.

Ocklawaha

September 02, 2008, 09:48:01 AM
Sunking, yes, the smimming hole was called "BLUFF LANDING" and it's on the map back in the War of Yankee Aggression. The CSS St. Marys is sunk there, and in the 1950-60 era, you could still "see" remains of it on the bottom. Gators were no problem in those days, almost extinct... *(I kind of miss that freedom to swim). BUT, the damn blue crabs were everywhere. Had one lay my toe open like it was hit with a Japanese Sword! The base hospital did the stitches. Seems like they were always patching me up for something.

OCKLAWAHA

civil42806

September 02, 2008, 04:34:34 PM
Excellent article!!

nicktooch

September 02, 2008, 04:43:45 PM
someone at work mentioned yukon just the other day, and, since i had read this article, i had a plethora of info for those not in the know!

Ocklawaha

September 02, 2008, 10:38:24 PM
Quote
I never saw a radar tower but there used to be a fire tower that was near the beach which was maybe a half mile south of the Yukon area.  You could climb that thing and see forever.  I never saw a patrol there.  That area was not guarded but the area behind and just south of Yukon was.  We used to sneak in there by road with 20 gauges and shoot squirrels and birds from the roads (they may have been firelanes, not the roads you were talking about, dont remember).


Hey Sunking, those boys in the woods shooting back at you wern't the squirrels! Hee Hee! We used bow and arrow's out there. Right after the cool fiberglass bows came out (no not compound) but nearly perfect. I thought I killed every critter in the woods. In fact, if you recall there was a tiny black community between Ortega Hills and the Infamous 40 acre field (where the warehouse complex is being built today). It was back in the woods on a dirt road, and fronting just across the tracks from Roosevelt, that land was all in crops. There was a fruit or vegie stand at the corner by the back gate of NAS JAX and Ortega Hills Drive. We'd save our lunch money and buy fresh sugar cane grown back on the creek. You could chew the stuff and we thought it was the coolest thing since the invention of the orange.

I was on that little dirt road where the new culvert crosses the tiny creek between the front warehouse complex and the mini-complex in the SW corner. Wasn't anything out there but woods, bushes and snakes back then. The abandoned machines from the field were instant "IRON CLADS" for dirt wars, BB Gun shootouts and god knows what else. After a long day I was departing for points north, and my Ortega Hills friends yelled to me, "Bob your dad is coming down the dirt road".  Now that wasn't a problem, as dad grew up in the family farms of Arkansas/Missouri and Oklahoma. Just figured he needed me for something. Before the car pulled up I spotted the biggest darn catfish I ever saw in that tiny creek. He was sort of "stuck" in the culvert area, but in those days it was deeper and had no concrete. The water had washed out a deep pool at each end of the pipe and he was just going back and forth. By the time dad stopped I was on him with my bow and arrow. Dad laughed, you'll never hit him! I released that arrow and it nailed that big dinner dead in the center back of his head! Dad just whistled, "Whew, your pretty good with that thing." Now I realize that was his way of telling me he was proud of me - a disfunctional childhood and a life as a Navy commander did nothing to enhance his ability to communicate that to me at the time. Dad was no slouch with a bow either back in the day. He was the first Navy Exchange commander to move the "Shoeshine Boys" into full barber and other positions. He caught hell for that, even a visit from the KKK. A visit that ended with him splitting an arrow in a corn flakes box. The Klan boys had been sent to warn him from promoting "N words". When they saw his shot, one remarked, "I ain't NEVER seen anything like that". Dad answered, "Yeah, and the great thing about these are you never hear where their comming from!" The ugly's took to the road and never came back. Funny, today I probably couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with one... go figure... just another YUKON TALE.


OCKLAWAHA

deathstar

September 03, 2008, 12:29:13 AM
I know this is unrelated to YUKON, but OCK, what year were the houses between San Jaun Ave., Cassat Ave., & Blanding Blvd. built? I live within that neighborhood, and have always wondered. There are some abandoned 2 houses all throughout here too, and stories ran wild of murders, kidnappings, etc.. in some of those houses. Any truth to that?

Ocklawaha

September 03, 2008, 01:25:56 AM


I was a kid when this was taken at Lakeshore Drive and Park Avenue, in March of 1958. It gives you some idea of the Jacksonville, I remember.

Lakeshore itself predates most of us, having been "another San Jose" in concept, it started during the great Florida land boom of the mid-1920's. The old papers are full of LAKESHORE news. They even had a sort of BRT bus line called Lakeshore Transit or some such, same as San Jose.

The tightly packed tiny houses that came along in the 1950's really changed the face of the original plans and the whole project went to hell in a handbasket. Yet it is still some of the prettiest land in Jacksonville. Once had a home on Lexington Avenue, so I know the area... Mostly circa 1960-70 and by then it wasn't much to crow about. As for crime, I don't recall any special stuff, but in the 1930's being a well established "RITZ" area, I'm sure some of our darkest figures had property there. Machine Gun Kelly, The Barkers, and the Capone boys were Jacksonville hangers one and all. So you could be on the trail of something cool. Otherwise, the Bars at San Juan and Blanding, were ROUGH places during the leather jacket grease days of the late 1950's. I knew a guy (since deceased) named Eddie that lived that life and got into a huge fight at that corner and thrown right out of the window... He looked pretty nasty when we got to Saint Vincents! HA!

From personal family experience, I would STRONGLY advise ANYONE owning an old home in these historic districts or our other historic districts, to invest in a metal detector and scan every inch of the floor, walls and ceilings. An old shotgun house in Volusia produced a 20 pound bag of silver coin, hidden in the wall at the ceiling corner.


OCKLAWAHA

deathstar

September 03, 2008, 11:54:37 PM
Wow, what a view. I have always wondered if there is something in these walls, and I guess it never hurts to give it a shot, eh?

Ocklawaha

September 04, 2008, 12:57:01 AM
Quote
Otherwise, the Bars at San Juan and Blanding, were ROUGH places during the leather jacket grease days of the late 1950's. I knew a guy (since deceased) named Eddie that lived that life and got into a huge fight at that corner and thrown right out of the window... He looked pretty nasty when we got to Saint Vincents!


Funny all this history talk, and I woke up last night with the name of that bar... at least I think I did... Ski's or Skee's maybe Skeets. Right around the corner from San Juan and Blanding on Blanding i think. It was gray block if I recall and in the late 50's was quite the "GREASE" bike hangout.

BTW, Eddie, became family when he married my sister, they raised 3 kids before they broke up. He remained a close friend and really funny guy, devoted to Ham Radio and his own INDIAN. He was killed along Cassett Avenue, in front of the automobile strip back in the 1980's. Witnesses said it appeared something went down on the cycle and caught some pavement (kick-stand?) anyway, they saw him try and boot it up when the bike went wildly out of control into a pole. I've never been back to that road myself, someday I guess if I ever find my nephews here, we'll go see the site.

My closest nephew (nearly the same age) went to Ed White High School with the Vann Zant boyz, in fact was a friend of a couple of them. I think they were over at his place one party night, but hell, if you can remember that much of the 60-70's era, maybe I wasn't there! Nice Jacksonville boys.


OCKLAWAHA

Jason

September 04, 2008, 11:41:44 AM
I greduated from Ed White back at the turn of the century.  ;)  Man, I'm getting old!

lamplighter

May 27, 2010, 09:06:20 AM
OCKLAWAHA... you still there?

Would love to talk to you about Yukon.  I'm a avid history buff and live in Duval.  I've been to yukon and work across the street.

If you have time please drop me a line.

duvaldude08

May 27, 2010, 09:29:42 AM
Jacksonville is such an amazing city to me. I never knew that that town existed. I wonder how much it would have thrived if it were still around. Before consolidation, there were so many functioning small towns. My mom was telling that durkeyville, picketville and alot of our other "neighborhood's" were actually towns before consolidation.

fieldafm

May 27, 2010, 11:05:51 AM
Quote
Local lore says the Ortega was dredged to an extreme depth and submarine pins were built behind the Yukon Community early in the fight. I know there are old piles out in the river, but never found so much as a trail down to the water... The water IS very, very, deep.

The water back there is indeed very deep.  I never heard the submarine stories.  I'm intrigued enough to get the depth finder out now.  Ock, where are the pins located?

I fish back there.  Unfortunately, the bridge at Collins is very low and there are some huge stumps on the other side of the bridge, so getting boat traffic on the Orange Park side of the bridge is difficult.  There is still a big swimming hole/boat landing back there on the 'Jacksonville' side.  It is accessible by boat, or by 4 wheeler off Collins.

Did anyone ever used to frequent the 'Flight Deck' across the street from Yukon where the Target is now?

BTW, if you havent been to JL Trents and you like good battered fish... go!

BridgeTroll

May 27, 2010, 12:15:06 PM
A looong time ago... used to frequent Murrays(still there), Flight deck and (Golden Anchor?)

Bill Ectric

May 28, 2010, 09:31:03 AM
As a young man in the Navy, I lived in a trailer park on Timuquana Road (Ware Trailer Park?) and used to take long walks (this was back in 1979ish).  One day I made a right into a path just after (east) of the Ortega Bridge (the one that goes over the Ortega River on Timuquana) I think it was, heading South in the woods in that area.  It wasn't that dense in the brush and after about 20 minutes, I stumbled upon old over grown streets, many empty foundations, and came to the conclusion that some type of residence or town was once there; after reading this post, I now know that was Yukon.  There was even an old playground "up in there."
Interesting.
Quote

Heights Unknown, you remind me of myself when I was younger, walking and exploring. It's always fascinating to discover something new. I'm trying to figure out what's between Yukon and Blanding Blvd. I'm looking at it on Google maps satellite, it appears to be woods, then swamp, then river. I think it would make a great setting for a mystery novel. Google maps is cool.

Ocklawaha

May 28, 2010, 09:38:12 AM
Yes,  just got a lot of home projects going and thus checking in once or twice a day, but I shall return. Meanwhile ask away, and some 2 am evening I'll endeavor to answer.


OCKLAWAHA

fieldafm

May 28, 2010, 09:42:14 AM
Golden Anchor... another fine watering hole!

I do have a vivid memory of my uncles sneaking me(not quite of age) into those places one raucuuous night on sort of a Roosevelt pub crawl  ;D

fieldafm

May 28, 2010, 09:44:00 AM
Yes,  just got a lot of home projects going and thus checking in once or twice a day, but I shall return. Meanwhile ask away, and some 2 am evening I'll endeavor to answer.


OCKLAWAHA

Do you know the approximate location in the river of these alleged sub pins?  I'd like to try to map them, see if those rumor has wings.

jandar

May 28, 2010, 10:12:37 PM
While there are some deeper holes in the Ortega, there is a huge part that is only a few feet deep, but that could be silt and such.

Either way, interesting rumor.

Ocklawaha

May 29, 2010, 12:19:19 AM
Compare the Jacksonville JEDC GIS map page aerial view with NOAA chart 11492 available online, for purchase or at:

http://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/11492.shtml

Note to the Northwest corner of Yukon the chart shows a sort of hour-glass "lake".  When looking at the aerial, it appears there is an old (possibly overgrown) channel to this site, there is also an old roadway to the spot.  It could account for the "Submarine" story, but in the early war panic, anything was possible.  Remember our army was FAR smaller then that of Japan or Germany and Italy, our army air forces were a joke, our Marine Corps was barely a division strong, our Navy's main battle strength had about 50% sitting on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

Search it out... Let's go hiking!



OCKLAWAHA

jandar

May 29, 2010, 10:19:38 AM
Thanks for the map Ock, just like I thought. Upstream there are some deeper holes.
Downstream, especially starting at the 103rd st Bridge, its mostly 3-6 feet deep.

Unless they managed to do a lot of dredging, or there has been that much silt wash, then the sub stories are just stories.


edit:
Holy crap, look at the depth in Black Creek. Some of those holes are 50+ feet. I knew I couldn't touch bottom in most places while swimming there growing up, but wow.

Ocklawaha

May 29, 2010, 11:29:46 AM
Well this is where it get's fun, I've sounded lot's of the Ortega from the area of Yukon toward Ortega Forest back in the 60's-70's. At the time I had a 40' anchor line and in many places it would just swing free. The official depth? and perhaps the WWII Navy depth?  If we were hiding something up that stream, we sure wouldn't want it charted as a channel since the wolf packs were at our door. Not only that but came ashore to buy pizza and beer!


OCKLAWAHA

north miami

May 29, 2010, 11:45:06 AM
While there are some deeper holes in the Ortega, there is a huge part that is only a few feet deep, but that could be silt and such.




Swerving off "Yukon" thread here,but perhaps of interest and I can swing it all back to the Yukon area:

Twenty year observations at Lambs Yacht Center and on the water clearly reveal silt in.
Nearby Fishweir Creek is a dandy example all can witness-the sludge and sand bars easily viewed from The Loop and Harpoonies,and series of stand alone sand bars upstream from Herschel bridge-deposited in storm flood event in the 80's.Early 1940's era Dept.of Army aerial maps depict a much different Fishweir..the large "marsh" near the mouth was only a figment back then....the 'marsh' is silt builup,complete recently with upland vegetation.The compromised creek is depicted as essential manatee habitat.
Fishweir chokes and spits on out to the main river and mouth of Ortega.There is possibly a man made rock bar at the easterly mouth of Fishweir that may contribute to the back up.
Joint city/Corp of Engineers 'restoration' (dredge) plan possibly announced this summer after ten years fits and starts.

The Ortega morphs to "McGirts" and wraps around to the west of Yukon and on towards the Orange Park mall and Little Black Creek system.
Most would be happily stunned at the wild nature of McGirts behind Yukon.
There are development intrusions-thanks to the fact that a proposed McGirts State Conservation Lands protection proposal never happened.

north miami

May 29, 2010, 11:55:21 AM
While there are some deeper holes in the Ortega, there is a huge part that is only a few feet deep, but that could be silt and such.




Swerving off "Yukon" thread here,but perhaps of interest and I can swing it all back to the Yukon area:

Twenty year observations at Lambs Yacht Center and on the water clearly reveal silt in.
Nearby Fishweir Creek is a dandy example all can witness-the sludge and sand bars easily viewed from The Loop and Harpoonies,and series of stand alone sand bars upstream from Herschel bridge-deposited in storm flood event in the 80's.Early 1940's era Dept.of Army aerial maps depict a much different Fishweir..the large "marsh" near the mouth was only a figment back then....the 'marsh' is silt builup,complete recently with upland vegetation.The compromised creek is depicted as essential manatee habitat.
Fishweir chokes and spits on out to the main river and mouth of Ortega.There is possibly a man made rock bar at the easterly mouth of Fishweir that may contribute to the back up.
Joint city/Corp of Engineers 'restoration' (dredge) plan possibly announced this summer after ten years fits and starts.

The Ortega morphs to "McGirts" and wraps around to the west of Yukon and on towards the Orange Park mall and Little Black Creek system.
Most would be happily stunned at the wild nature of McGirts behind Yukon.

There are development intrusions-thanks to the fact that a proposed 'McGirts Stream Valley' State Conservation Lands protection proposal never happened.Thanks to Ralph Wickersham for his efforts.Too bad his efforts were decades ahead of Jacksonville's care and concern.

Ocklawaha

May 29, 2010, 02:17:29 PM
I haven't paddled the McGirts portion over in Argyle, but the Blanding - Collins segment and much of the run to Timuquana is as you say, amazing.  It SHOULD rank with the Wekiva or Econ Rivers as nearly pristine. If we could halt development on it's banks and allow nature to continue to claim large segments we would have an IN TOWN attraction as cool as the Okefenokee.

The upper Pottsburg Creek, Beach to JTB, would be a paddlers paradise. There are probably others, perhaps the upper Trout? Mount Pleasant Creek, and believe it or not some short segments of Hogans, McCoy's and Long Branch Creek (Remember Long Branch is the Creek that JTA said would be like "bridging the Nile" when discussing rebuilding the old railroad)



OCKLAWAHA

north miami

May 29, 2010, 02:34:33 PM
I haven't paddled the McGirts portion over in Argyle, but the Blanding - Collins segment and much of the run to Timuquana is as you say, amazing.  It SHOULD rank with the Wekiva or Econ Rivers as nearly pristine. If we could halt development on it's banks and allow nature to continue to claim large segments we would have an IN TOWN attraction as cool as the Okefenokee.

The upper Pottsburg Creek, Beach to JTB, would be a paddlers paradise. There are probably others, perhaps the upper Trout? Mount Pleasant Creek, and believe it or not some short segments of Hogans, McCoy's and Long Branch Creek (Remember Long Branch is the Creek that JTA said would be like "bridging the Nile" when discussing rebuilding the old railroad)



OCKLAWAHA

You are so correct Ock!

The natural setting we have today with McGirts/Ortega is due not to proactive vision but rather simply to long established basic wetlands development rules-which can and have been 'mitigated' in some cases.
We really lost something with the passing of the McGirts Stream Valley proposal,which would have protected (and placed in public ownership) significant water resources extending on in to Little Black creek-a vast wetland belt extending down to Middleburg in the midst of a (then undeveloped) regional groundwater recharge area west of Orange Park that has become Brannon/Chaffee (Beltway) Oak Leaf.Many future (mitigated) impacts to Little Black.(And the recent past has seen our focus on evil Central Florida's growth.....)
A former MPO future roadways map depicted a maze of future roadway wetland impacts at the I-295/Argyle area.Argyle residents brought to tears during public hearings.Probably worth getting with MPO to see current status.(I have throttled back on such zeal-the answer for me is MOVE)

Ron Littlepage correctly touts the areas' small waterway water recreation-too bad we have missed so many opportunities.We have competition.
See   www.purewaterwilderness.com

fieldafm

May 29, 2010, 03:08:54 PM
Quote
but the Blanding - Collins segment and much of the run to Timuquana is as you say, amazing.  It SHOULD rank with the Wekiva or Econ Rivers as nearly pristine.

Agreed!  Whenever I take people back there they are amazed at what a beauty the old girl is as it winds through the Westside.

I used to water ski in the wider section right at the 103rd street bridge.  There are several shallow spots.  Towards the shore its mostly 2-3 feet but there is a channel 6-8ft deep.  Like North Miami said, much of the river has silted over pretty hard over the last 20 or so years.  Fishweir is an excellent example.  My dad and uncles used to swim in Fishweir when they were kids.  There used to even be a big rope swing on the bank of the creek so that should give you an idea of how deep it was at one point.  There's just so much crap piling up at the bottom throughout the Ortega.

Ocklawaha

May 31, 2010, 12:30:34 AM
Lamplighter his buddy and trusty metal detector have been exploring the back streets of the old Yukon Town site and have been finding some very cool artifacts.  These latches were located where the WWI army troops lived, somewhere out on the old brick road in Yukon.  Keep your fingers crossed as they might dig up a complete submarine! Well maybe not, but there are certainly lots of things out in those woods that could help us tell a story.









Happy digging folks! I'm still missing some spokes from a 1964 version of a spider bike... Y'all let me know okay?


OCKLAWAHA

lamplighter

May 31, 2010, 07:48:22 AM
ha ha...no spider bike spokes found yet, but i did find a 1942 penny near the bluffs in the south west section...that yours?  could have fallen out while you were terrorizing the woods with your bow and arrow! :)

deathstar

November 17, 2010, 03:34:37 AM
Anymore investigating been going on since these postings? This is probably my favorite thread on the entire site!

RMHoward

December 05, 2010, 01:19:18 PM
Speaking of Yukon.  There is (was) a nice store back there named "Patriot Pride" or something similar.  Was in there Friday looking around.  Pretty neat store with lots of patriotic stuff, as well as guns, gear, knives, etc.  Saw on the news this morning, it was gutted by a fire last night.  Dang, what a coincidence.
Rick

Luveenyah

December 28, 2010, 03:58:02 PM
I hail from the Touchton Rd. area (west of Southside Blvd. where the older neighborhoods predating the recent decade's development).  I'm far less familiar with these parts of Jacksonville being discussed since I never ventured too far from the Southside burbs. 

So I found this thread while bored at work today and it's been a spectacular read.  I will never get tired of wandering around these threads and reading about people's firsthand experiences with the city!  Thanks and Happy Holidays all!

spuwho

December 28, 2010, 10:06:44 PM
Local lore says the Ortega was dredged to an extreme depth and submarine pins were built behind the Yukon Community early in the fight. I know there are old piles out in the river, but never found so much as a trail down to the water... The water IS very, very, deep.

OCKLAWAHA

According to the nav charts, Ock is correct, the Ortega is 16 feet deep as it passes the Yukon area (23 feet farther up!). However it shallows out considerably between there and the 2 Ortega bridges, in some places only 4 feet.

It looks like the city or military placed a drainage tile across the former Yukon under what was Blaine Street and it empties out in the Ortega at the deep point. This may have what led people to believe that something water based was being built back there, since Venetia was yet to be built on the other side.

Ocklawaha

December 28, 2010, 11:07:43 PM
SHIT!

Just in the last month they have torn down my dad's old furniture store, and the grocery store. We would pocket the tithe money given us for Sunday School in the tiny church, climb out the side window and run to the grocery.
Somehow chocolate ginger snap cookies and sugar daddy's tasted better on our bootleg run. Sad to see it go.


OCKLAWAHA

johngreen

March 04, 2011, 11:44:16 AM
AS A YOUNG KID  16YRS OLD I DID WORK FOR WILLIS BUTTS , AT THAT TIME  MR BUTTS  SOLD  HOUSE TRAILERS NEW AND USED HE ALSO HAD A TRAILER PARK   WE RENTED FROM HIM,  IF THIS IS THE SAME BUTTS ME AND HIS SON RUN AROUND TOGEATHE HIS NAME WAS WELDON,   AND THERE USE TO BE A  BE A BODY SHOP IN YUKON IT WAS DOUG WELLS  BODY SHOP AND I ALSO WOKKED FOR MR,WELLS   THE POSTMASTER WAS MR, WEBB I THINK AND I USED TO RUN THE MAIL TO THE DEPOW AND HAD TO HANG IT ON A HOOK THE TRAIN PICK IT UP AT FULL SPEED,    AND SOMETIMES IT WOULD MISS IT. BY THE WAY  MR, BUTTS WAS A VERY GOOD PERSON,  I KNEW MOST OF THAT FAMILY,  I LEFT YUKON BOUT 1954,JOHN GREEN

BridgeTroll

March 04, 2011, 02:06:06 PM
Thanks John!  Feel free to add some more!  We would love to learn more about Yukon.

wsansewjs

March 04, 2011, 02:38:32 PM
After reading this entire thread wholeheartedly, my jaws just dropped by the sheer awesomeness of Uncle Ockie.

I think he should join the ranks of Gods and Generals for his epic vast of knowledge and cheerful story-telling.

HOORAH to Uncle Ockie!

-Josh

Nockatee

June 18, 2011, 03:42:39 PM
Hello to all who have posted here.
I was so pleased to find this site and the many tidbits of history about Yukon.
Being a member of the Justiss family, I have nearly 65 years of connection with the community. From my parents building a business there over 70 years ago to presently re-establishing ownership of the property; we come full circle.
I look forward to sharing some "Yukon Tales" with you as time goes by.
One good reference to start with is the opening pages of the book "The Right Stuff".
The author's description of the crashing of a jet fighter in the woods near Dewey Park awoke memories of going back into those woods with my Dad. I can still smell the aviation fuel and visualize wreckage hanging from the trees. Strong memories for a small boy.
My screen name "Nockatee" comes from the name of a canoe we had as kids growing up in Florida.

north miami

June 18, 2011, 08:30:51 PM
I haven't paddled the McGirts portion over in Argyle, but the Blanding - Collins segment and much of the run to Timuquana is as you say, amazing.  It SHOULD rank with the Wekiva or Econ Rivers as nearly pristine. If we could halt development on it's banks and allow nature to continue to claim large segments we would have an IN TOWN attraction as cool as the Okefenokee.

The upper Pottsburg Creek, Beach to JTB, would be a paddlers paradise. There are probably others, perhaps the upper Trout? Mount Pleasant Creek, and believe it or not some short segments of Hogans, McCoy's and Long Branch Creek (Remember Long Branch is the Creek that JTA said would be like "bridging the Nile" when discussing rebuilding the old railroad)


State of Florida Conservation and Recreation Lands McGirts Stream Valley proposal was dashed on a couple of fronts.Quite properly reflective of natural creek system,the proposed C.A.R.L. Footprint was rather extensive,reaching down in to Clay County,Little Black Creek watershed- Red Flag alert to the future roadway Boosters.McGirts system wetlands were also viewed as regional mitigation bank source.During the Stream Valley proposal era the Guana C.A.R.L. Project gained foothold,the single most expensive at that time and considered NE Florida's fair share for a time.Outcome for McGirts could have been different had there been community support.Ghost Town waterway for sure! Ortega resident Ralph Wickersham was a key local Stream Valley driver.
My guess is few reading this ever heard of the McGirts Stream Valley concept.



OCKLAWAHA

Nockatee

June 21, 2011, 05:28:39 PM
LESSONS FROM OSCAR- About tattoos and tying your shoes.
As a youngster, there was always a retired Navy man around the trailer park doing maintenance and repairs. One old fellow was named Oscar. Can't remember his last name, but I remember his bald head and multiple tattoos on his arms.
He had a soft spot for us little guys and kept a watchful eye over us.
Oscar taught my buddy Matt and I to tie our shoes on the steps of the old store...

My Grand Father had a grocery store in that building and it has always been called "The Store".
Oscar would show us how to tie our shoe laces and then have a competition to see who was the fastest. The reward was a piece of DoubleBubble gum. The loser always got a piece too.
We were fascinated with the array of tattoos that adorned his arms. The designs were typical of what a sailor on shore leave in some port might come home with. But at his age the ink had faded and spread out in the skin, loosing the details. I can still remember him saying "don't go and spend your money on these things. Just look at what happens to them..not worth it!". Now "tats" are hip and the cool thing these days. I wonder how many people getting inked up will have Oscar's regrets some day.
More stories about "The Store" later.....

north miami

June 21, 2011, 10:20:03 PM
so glad I  done did " grow up" in South Florida where by the time I would appear as an eight year old on the "Skipper Chuck " show we had experienced a lifestyle and landscapes that would become protected from "development" and in fact become a template for future action.Yea, "Template" is a big word.

Key Biscayne.Everglades.Big Cypress.Buffer x2222222
we named our personal small craft for features ( mostly) eventually preserved as we had done did known them.
Not in my case- My Sears Jon Boat was named "Ojus"-a growing area between my Native NorthMiami and the Ocean.
Better yet,an awareness of Jacksonville,thanks to dinner time conversations would prove easily prophetic.

Thank God the various derivatives of Nocotee never hit my childhood eardrums.



diveonme2

August 17, 2011, 08:41:03 AM
Hey Nockatee,
I  spent my younger years growing up in Justiss Trailer Park.  My granny was Anne Scarborough.  She always  had the vegetable garden near the water tower. If you were part of the family then you would be justiss's son and would have had a 68 GTO.  you would have been 20 and i was 5, but i remember your mother being angry that you cut the back wheel wells to get bigger tires on.  As I remember the  woods from the old base housing, there were alot of old cars parked in the trees.  I started going back there last year and everything seems to be cleaned.  If you have any additional pictures of the  housing that was cleared in 1962 i would appreciate this.

NavyGuyAN

September 08, 2011, 06:27:43 AM
Quote
Local lore says the Ortega was dredged to an extreme depth and submarine pins were built behind the Yukon Community early in the fight. I know there are old piles out in the river, but never found so much as a trail down to the water... The water IS very, very, deep.

The water back there is indeed very deep.  I never heard the submarine stories.  I'm intrigued enough to get the depth finder out now.  Ock, where are the pins located?

I fish back there.  Unfortunately, the bridge at Collins is very low and there are some huge stumps on the other side of the bridge, so getting boat traffic on the Orange Park side of the bridge is difficult.  There is still a big swimming hole/boat landing back there on the 'Jacksonville' side.  It is accessible by boat, or by 4 wheeler off Collins.

Did anyone ever used to frequent the 'Flight Deck' across the street from Yukon where the Target is now?

BTW, if you havent been to JL Trents and you like good battered fish... go!

Hey FIELDAFM...The Piles are actually on both sides of the river directly in-line with Blaine St. in Yukon and 118th St. on the otherside...Using "Bing Maps" you can see the piles. According to NOAA Chart 11492 the piles look like there around the area where there is underwater pipe-lines, assuming the building at the end of 118th St. is a pump-house/building.

Ocklawaha

September 08, 2011, 01:37:50 PM

Here's the 1943 Navy aerial of Yukon. If the Submarines were ever there it would have been just prior to the war in 1941 (we were already in an undeclared shooting fight with Nazi submarines that were taking out our convoys to resupply Europe. The danger became apparent well before Pearl Harbor.

Quote
On May 21, the SS Robin Moor, an American vessel carrying no military supplies, was stopped by U-69 750 miles (1,210 km) west of Freetown, Sierra Leone. After its passengers and crew were allowed thirty minutes to board lifeboats, U-69 torpedoed, shelled, and sank the ship. The survivors then drifted without rescue or detection for up to eighteen days. When news of the sinking reached the U.S., few shipping companies felt truly safe anywhere.

Quote


Sinking
 
Gulfamerica's maiden voyage was to take her from Port Arthur, Texas to New York, carrying a cargo of 101,500 barrels of furnace oil. On the night of 10 April 1942, she was traveling unescorted about 5 miles (8.0 km) off Jacksonville, Florida. She was illuminated by the lights of the Jacksonville Beach resort, which at that time was not observing a blackout. Just after 10 pm, the decision was made to stop steaming an evasive zigzag course. Twenty minutes later, at 10:20, she was sighted by German submarine U-123 who fired a torpedo at her.
 
The torpedo struck at the #7 tank on the starboard side and caused a large explosion and subsequent fire. The engines were stopped and the order to abandon ship was given, as the Gulfamerica sent distress calls. U-123 then opened fire with her deck gun, firing about 12 shells into the engine room on the port side in an attempt to bring down the radio antenna and the anti-aircraft gun. The evacuation descended into confusion, causing a lifeboat to capsize, while another with the master and ten crewmen hurriedly pulled away in ten minutes. Ten minutes later another boat left with only three men aboard, while three others abandoned ship on a liferaft, later picking up two men from the water.
 
Five men were killed by the torpedo blast or the gunfire, with 14 men drowning after they had entered the water. A total of two officers, two armed guards and 15 crewmen were killed in the sinking. The survivors were all rescued by US Coast Guard patrol boats and taken to Mayport, Florida.

I would guess that if any part of the old story is true it might be that the plan was in place, and some roads or other works were completed and then canceled due to the changing tide of the war. The aerial photo from 1943 does seem to show a roadway that is lightly overgrown running straight back to the Ortega River.  A close look at the new aerials seem to show a shadow of a canal or boat basin running NE-SW from the river in the NW corner of the Yukon-Dewey Park Housing area.

One last comment, note that south of Yukon is a well defined area of trees and below that appears to be a small community of farms and homes. IT WAS. Up through the 1970's this little farming community existed with several dozen houses and at least one store. In the 1950's the only thing I ever remember it being called was 'The Colored Section.'  My dad had several friends and employees from 'The Section' and said that these families once owned all of the land from Collins Road to Timuquana.  Dad had some spec property in the new neighborhood 'Ortega Hills' and NOTHING would grow on about half of it. One day he was telling this story to an older black gentleman farmer, and the old man laughed and said, "Oh Mr. Robert, ain't nothing ever going to grow there, don't you know the revenuers busted up the biggest moonshine still in the county right there on that spot, that's the richest dirt in Duval." There was a cemetery south of the original Wedgewood Apartments just west of the tracks off Ortega Hills Drive which seems to be gone today. Many of the old stones dated into the 1800's.


OCKLAWAHA

north miami

September 08, 2011, 03:15:05 PM

Check out that 1943 aerial.....a precious parcel dangling between past and present.
West side of the creek,undeveloped.

Notice the upland/wetland interface.The uplands have been cleared,the lighter color sandy soil evident.

Would have been a dandy conservation/recreation parcel...on par with the very best of today's showcase Conservation Lands.
Or semi rural neighborhood.Or.......

By the 1970's the exodus was to Orange Park.And McGirts would be further and further chipped away at.
Today nearby neighborhoods are often dangerous,natural system recreation,visual scenery management compromised.

Just think if today,by magic we could bring back the 1943 McGirts system,and decide on efficacious use.

I should probably keep such introspection to myself.

acme54321

September 08, 2011, 03:42:55 PM
Ock, according to COJ GIS there is a parcel to the west of the apartments on the north side of Avent Dr that belongs to the Yukon Cemetery Assoc.  So the cemetery may still be buried in those woods.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=30.215827,-81.705731&sll=30.215525,-81.70522&sspn=0.004366,0.005681&num=1&t=h&vpsrc=0&z=18

Ocklawaha

September 08, 2011, 05:23:58 PM
There was once a little foot bridge over the deep ditch behind Railey Circle that led directly into the Cemetery. There was an open grave with brick walls and floor but nobody home. Last time I hiked into the woods there I couldn't find a sign of anything, it had all been so vandalized it wasn't even recognizable.

Allowing Ortega Bluff to encroach on the river was really a big mistake, however the rest of those remaining wetlands could probably be saved. If we can keep our highway crazed governor and Clay County's Roadway Harmony Choir from screwing things up until sanity returns we'll all be better off. As a teen I drew up a concept for a narrow gauge rail line from Yukon to Blanding that hugged the River Valley, in retrospect as a light-rail link extending on into Jacksonville it would probably be highly successful. A large percentage of Meadowbrook-Bellair and Argyle work at NAS Jax offering a solid traffic base.



For some weird reason my computer won't pull up the Google Maps but a closeup of this same scene on Google clearly shows what appears to be the outline of some sort of basin running NE-SW from the northern most marked creek in this photo, straight off the end of Blaine Street. While I don't think it had anything to do with submarines, it sure looks like it was a channel with some sort of berm along the edges.


This is the aerial of the old Black Community located between Ortega Hills and Yukon. I imagine the cemetery belonged to this community even though it was south of the Wedgewood Apartments. I've noted some of the old buildings that still stand out in these woods. The roads as shown on the maps are incorrect to the original community. As I recall it there were maybe 20 homes back in these trees, including a store and what might have been some sort of club. I'm amazed at how much is still visible on the maps and it might be fun to do an MJ tour of the old place, I bet we'd learn a lot.

OCKLAWAHA

NavyGuyAN

September 09, 2011, 01:17:25 AM
Thanks Ock!....for the maps and info. I was planning on talking a hike out there at the end of Blaine street yesterday but didnt make it, plan on doing it today (Friday) mid-morning and figure I'd snap a couple of shots. I probably wont make a kayak trip over there til the end of the month beginning of next.

NavyGuyAN

September 09, 2011, 01:27:41 AM
Street view of trails going into cemetery parcel.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=30.215827,-81.705731&ll=30.215238,-81.705655&spn=0.002199,0.00284&sll=30.215510,-81.706302&sspn=0.004366,0.005681&layer=c&cbp=13,349.56,,0,6.97&cbll=30.215239,-81.70553&t=h&z=19&vpsrc=0&panoid=f0yQqij4Rc8p4d29876OzA

ACME: I drove by there the other day and the trails look like someone has been ATV/4-Wheeling back in the woods. I could be wrong though, but thats the first thing that came to my mind...will stop by there again today and check it out.

acme54321

September 09, 2011, 05:56:07 AM
Thanks Ock!....for the maps and info. I was planning on talking a hike out there at the end of Blaine street yesterday but didnt make it, plan on doing it today (Friday) mid-morning and figure I'd snap a couple of shots. I probably wont make a kayak trip over there til the end of the month beginning of next.

That may be hard to do, most of that area is fenced off for the archery range.  You may have to follow the fence down 120th and try to cut north towards Blaine at the backside of the archery area.

NavyGuyAN

September 09, 2011, 07:28:16 AM
Not a problem...I was just going to start hiking through the woods where Norman street is and walk north from there up to 120th street...on google maps its there but it looks like its overgrown with trees...

NavyGuyAN

September 12, 2011, 04:44:39 AM
Well ACME!...You were right and I was wrong...lol. I was able to walk North on Norman St. but there was a fence for the Archery range @ 120th street and I couldn't go any further...but I did happen to take alot of pictures of some wierd/unusual buildings in the woods that you'd never known was there. Sadly alot of graffiti all over them; I will post them this afternoon. I however ran out of time before the park closed at sunset this past Saturday before I could get to the clearing west of Blaine St. But I was real deep in the woods...lol...luckly no snakes and apperently the Archery range isnt fenced in completly toward the northwestern corner.

bobsim

September 12, 2011, 05:20:13 AM
  Hey NG,
  Wish I had seen this one sooner, but maybe this will help on your return visit. The best access we've found around the archery range fence is from the north side. The fence ends here: N 30° 14.138 W 081° 42.286. As I remember we took the brick road to the fence line and took a nearby trail most of the way in, if you opt for hiking the fence line watch the mounds of pine straw at the bases of the pines as yellow jackets nest in them. Hard lesson learned there. Also worth noting is the presence of old arrows on the public side of the fence, seems the chain link doesn't stop them. I would recommend bright colored clothes.
  We've spent some time exploring the old structures in the area but have not ventured as far as the river. Good luck to you. Here's a link to the pics we've taken back there:http://s204.photobucket.com/albums/bb63/bobdsimmons/Dewey%20Park/#!cpZZ1QQtppZZ24

NavyGuyAN

September 12, 2011, 07:23:46 AM
Hey BoB...lol. Now I guess I dont need to post any pic's as mine are just about all the same...except for the fact I dont know when the last time you where there but, there is ALOT of graffiti there now...which really drives me up a wall at how some people cant just respect things the way they are and take pictures and leave only footprints. I do know of the spot in which you are talking about though. I'm assuming there isnt going to be much of anything beyond that clearing. But for the sake of the MJ, I'm going to still check it out.

bobsim

September 12, 2011, 08:04:35 AM
 I'll be watching. When we found the end of the fence we didn't have time to go back and explore the clearing and were going to hit it another day but it sure looks interesting from G.E. We had a good time finding the old street markers, hydrants, culverts and mysterious curbs in the woods. Sure is fun getting off the trail.

 I'm with you about the graffiti, guess we were lucky to hit it when we did.

deathstar

September 17, 2011, 01:32:50 AM
You guys seriously need to schedule a MJ Tour in the near future, especially with the weather cooling off a bit here soon, it's going to be so nice outside! I'd be down for getting up early enough to pedal down there and check it all out!

thelakelander

September 17, 2011, 06:24:26 AM
Interesting you say that.  We've been bouncing around the idea of doing several tours across the city on an occassional basis.

diveonme2

September 17, 2011, 09:24:59 AM
Lol you goofs!  those are the old Yukon Housing Water (Station) pumps.  you can get to them by going down the first paved road to the left.  No need to walk in the woods at all.  you peaked my curiousity because as a child we played back in there and i cannot find the old concrete dock we played on.  I thought someone had found it.

Ocklawaha

September 17, 2011, 01:53:39 PM
Lol you goofs!  those are the old Yukon Housing Water (Station) pumps.  you can get to them by going down the first paved road to the left.  No need to walk in the woods at all.  you peaked my curiousity because as a child we played back in there and i cannot find the old concrete dock we played on.  I thought someone had found it.

What cement dock are you talking about diveonme?  Where was it?  I remember when this was a thriving little community.  The original WWII airbase had the air operations located in the extreme northeast corner of NAS JAX. In that era 6,000 foot runways were standard, (See Switzerland NOLF and Green Cove Springs NAS LEE FIELD).  Here is a 1943 aerial of the whole CAMP FOSTER, CAMP JOHNSTON, NAS JAX, YUKON area.




How many of you recgonized these as F-8-F-1 Bearcat fighters at NAS? Now just for kicks and giggles how many of you knew this is a photo of the Blue Angels circa 1946-49?

The old tower in the SW corner of the Dewey Park site was a Johnny-come-lately, added about 1960 or just prior to the neighborhoods being razed.  It was taller then the surounding pine trees, and full of electronic's, we always thought it was a radar tower with fairly tight security.  Once the housing was removed, both on base and at Yukon these area's were constantly patroled by the local Shore Patrol.  Don't know how dangerous it was, but it sure made a hell of a game for us fearless kids. 

I'm thinking we should all plan to meet some Saturday in October - December, and do a group explore/tour. Anyone onboard for this?


OCKLAWAHA

diveonme2

September 18, 2011, 12:17:04 PM
The concrete was actually (in my guess) near the river because we used to trap little one inch Bream and minnows and take them back to the trailer park (Justiss).  The dock I would think was like a loading dock with a big, and I do remember big parking lot.  All of this was on the Dewey Park side.  I remember the old tower.  The gate that the shore patrol went through had some sort off curved iron sign designating the area.  Much like the old western ranch signs.  I wish I could remember what was on that sign.   We also used to sneak into the area and watch the patrol.  If i remember there was a small wooden structure with a window A/C unit.  This was mainly from 1969-1973, after that we were in Meadowbrook permanently.

I think a "Reunion" type tour would be great!

Ocklawaha

September 18, 2011, 09:34:04 PM


Here's another view of both the possible canal and the northern half streets. Note that somewhere around the big yellow square was the WWII era Parking lot. It looks as if they planned a big building there or perhaps it was just parking for something else. I've checked several old aerial maps and it doesn't look like the norhtern area was ever fully developed.

On the city GIS site, it's possible to pull up a very close view of the possible canal at the end of Blaine Street. It also appears that there are/were some sort of pilings.  Was this where the concrete dock was? Who knows? Sure will be worth a search...  Noone it might be kayak time again. By the way that little NASJAX sign in the middle of the canal was not put there by me! When you pull this up in the 6" inch 2008 aerials at COJ GIS and check the military notification box this is what you get.

The canal? is very boxy and appears to be fairly uniformily 50' wide with pilings right off the point. It is silted up which also makes me wonder if we have only part of this story, could this be a canal from Camp Foster or Camp Johnston Days? Both of the old Army posts would have relied heavily on the steamboats that could have off loaded or loaded on the Ortega as well as the St. Johns. How about a ferry landing prior to the first bridges over the river?

ANYBODY ELSE UP FOR A GROUP SEARCH?  Being an old swamper from these very woods I'd suggest right after our first freeze, or the first day of frosty temps. The rattlesnakes, spiders and gators don't bother me at all, I'm not fond of the yellowjackets though. I've seen some giants of all of the above out here and cold weather pretty well shuts them down.




OCKLAWAHA

north miami

September 18, 2011, 09:39:48 PM

for the Swamp Stomp check in with Mark Brundick...Ortega Native,most masterful historical,water man

Cell 608  0194

RMHoward

September 23, 2011, 10:03:13 AM
I have checked aerial imagery of this area from 1943 and 1953.  The canal in question is not present in either image.  So, it came later.  My initial thoughts about this canal were that it enabled timber (cypress and such) to be floated to the sawmills that were present at Yukon prior to Camp Johnston, then hauled up to shore via the canal.  Or maybe a ferry landing.  However, after viewing imagery, i guess that theory doesnt work.  Im now wondering if there isnt some sort of utility laid through there, under the river going to the other side (maybe gas, telephone, etc)?

Ocklawaha

September 23, 2011, 12:09:12 PM

I dunno, there is a shadow of a dark speck exactly where the canal would be in the 1943 aerial.  I think it is safe to say with the lack of clearing around the canal indicates it dates long before WWII. With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941, the work would only be a year old, this is obviously not the case. Even the thought that it might have been started in the arms build up prior to the war seems a little shaky.

Another theory?  The little black community just south of the future site of Yukon sheltered a massive moonshine operation (some of it survived into the 1960's).  Could it be a "rum runners" landing? Nothing was too grand for that class of people, and locally, near downtown, there is an old mansion with a tunnel to the St. Johns River under it.  The tunnel pops out of a bluff just above the water.

Of course it could be totally natural, but it is so wide, short and straight that it doesn't look natural.


OCKLAWAHA

acme54321

September 23, 2011, 12:29:37 PM
Ock,  I think that canal and pilings are a sewer or water pipeline that crosses the river at that spot.  There is a corresponding canal with pilings on the other side with what looks to be a pumping station at the end of it.  I would bet there is a crossing of some sort, they peopbably built the canals through the marsh, then converted it to underground where blaine street ends.  The pilings are probably there to stop larger boats from entering the canals and running into the pipe, although the east side looks to be silted in considerably.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=yukon,+fl&hl=en&ll=30.233518,-81.709356&spn=0.002022,0.002446&t=h&z=19&vpsrc=6

stephendare

September 23, 2011, 12:51:36 PM
- In the original budget for the Courthouse, $629,000 was allocated towards the purchase of public art. This represents 0.16 percent of the final courthouse budget. The Public Art Ordinance #96-1105-677 passed by City Council in 1997, calls for 0.75 percent of public building projects to be set aside for the purchase of public art.

- While it is allocated, the release and subsequent expenditure of this funding must be now approved by City Council.

- Because many members of the City Council are newly elected to their positions, the Cultural Council and the Art in Public Places Committee are actively engaged in meeting with Council members to share information on the process of acquiring public art for the benefit of Jacksonville citizens, and the proposed plan for moving the Courthouse project forward.

- A Call to Artists will be issued when the funds are released. The Call to Artists will target qualified local, regional, national and international artists. An Art Selection Panel made up of community members, professional artists, Art in Public Places committee members, representatives from the architect/design team, and users of the building, will also be formed at this time.

- The Ordinance requires that at least 15 percent of the selected artists in Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places Collection be area residents. At present, more than 40 percent of the artists represented in the Collection were selected from the Greater Jacksonville area.

- The Art in Public Places Ordinance requires appropriate standards for art selection and proper placement of the work. In order to serve the community at large, the Courthouse artwork will be placed in an exterior location that is easily accessible to the public, both visually and physically.

- Any art that may be acquired for interior Courthouse spaces is not under the purview of the Art in Public Places
Committee or Ordinance.

RMHoward

September 23, 2011, 02:54:37 PM
Here is a 1943 Picture:





Here is 1953:



Ock, i see the cut you are talking about.  It looks more like an extension of the road in these photos and runs more East-West.  The present day cut has a distinctive NE-SW direction to it. 

Rick

acme54321

September 23, 2011, 10:08:54 PM
Or it's nothing but a sewer lines constructed sometime between 1971 and 1980.

1971:  http://www.historicaerials.com/aerials.php?scale=2.01252563069349E-05&lat=30.2333478504777&lon=-81.7102351641027&year=1971

1980:  http://www.historicaerials.com/aerials.php?scale=1.31722003942703E-05&lat=30.2333478504777&lon=-81.7102351641027&year=1980

Sorry guys, no rum runner port, logging operation, or military wharf here.  Just a plain old poo poo pipe.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=32212&hl=en&ll=30.233862,-81.713551&spn=0.004378,0.005681&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=46.226656,93.076172&vpsrc=6&t=h&z=18&layer=c&cbll=30.233825,-81.71365&panoid=OpIRG0KHycSVKDpIjEuYFw&cbp=12,159.18,,1,1.96


Ock,  I think that canal and pilings are a sewer or water pipeline that crosses the river at that spot.  There is a corresponding canal with pilings on the other side with what looks to be a pumping station at the end of it.  I would bet there is a crossing of some sort, they peopbably built the canals through the marsh, then converted it to underground where blaine street ends.  The pilings are probably there to stop larger boats from entering the canals and running into the pipe, although the east side looks to be silted in considerably.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=yukon,+fl&hl=en&ll=30.233518,-81.709356&spn=0.002022,0.002446&t=h&z=19&vpsrc=6

KevoG

September 30, 2011, 09:18:25 AM
Glad I stumbled upon this read... My grandmother (M. Stevens) lived in the mobile home community in Yukon for years up until around 1998..., In fact that side of my family still goes to Yukon Baptist every Sunday... Ive always enjoyed hearing stories from years back but now I look forward to speaking with my grandmother about it to validate some already posted stories and hopefully spread some new ones.

acme54321

September 30, 2011, 09:50:43 AM
Does anyone know what the large round structure at the north end of the waterworks area?

 It has a large opening with a covering on the side and it has random blocks sticking out all over it.  Looks like it could have been a tank but the giant intentional hole with a covering wall makes me thing not.  Old aerials show something was in the center of it.

Ocklawaha

September 30, 2011, 11:19:15 AM
Glad I stumbled upon this read... My grandmother (M. Stevens) lived in the mobile home community in Yukon for years up until around 1998..., In fact that side of my family still goes to Yukon Baptist every Sunday... Ive always enjoyed hearing stories from years back but now I look forward to speaking with my grandmother about it to validate some already posted stories and hopefully spread some new ones.

Fan freaking tastic, I remember Mrs Stevens from that same church. Back in the day that little church grew to about 200 on Sunday morning, my father, a former jazz musician was minister of music. Ask her if she remembers Mr. or Mrs. Webb, or the Butts family. Evangelist Phil Mac....(?) they instituted a annual picnic called "Old Fashioned Days," where everyone came in period clothing from the 1800's. Phil was a great with a crowd and really built that little church up, it was a really fun place. She might also remember the crazy beat the Devil campaign, whenever the crowd hit their attendance goal, the preacher would fire up a mannequin fist powered by a CO2 cartridge. The wire guided fist flew out of a little model church and across the ceiling of the auditorium to smack down a Lucifer doll. Yeah it was silly but it sure was fun.

Last I heard Phil had 'lost it' and in expectation of 'The End Of Day's' was living as a survivalist somewhere in the Cascades.


OCKLAWAHA

NavyGuyAN

October 07, 2011, 09:56:03 AM
This is as far as I could go, looking at the canal/stream at the end of Blaine Street, looking west towards the Ortega


This was also at the and of the canal/stream weird looking contraption


Here is a picture of that green 3 inch pipe I was talking about that "Acme" had brought up (looking east!) There is a JEA pumping station directly across the river from this location.


And (looking west) towards the river

acme54321

October 10, 2011, 10:17:04 AM
Someone has just finished a pretty decent job in fixing up the outside of the old Yukon post office building.

Nockatee

October 15, 2011, 08:38:38 AM
Thanks for noticing! :)
 The old girl looks a lot better with some fresh lipstick and powder, don't you think? My brother and I are working hard to spruce the old place up.
NavyGuy, That green pipe may well be the line we had to run down to the river from a now decommissioned treatment plant we had operated up to about 12 years ago. After spending a large amount of $ to replace an ancient trerra cotta line, the city got it in gear and ran a force main close enough to connect to..Got about 12 months use from that investment. :o
Ock,  let us know when you are planning a swamp trek. We might be available to go with you. Been a long time since I have been back there.
Cheers!

Nockatee

October 15, 2011, 02:54:31 PM
Mysterious black water......
Seeing a couple of pics of old open manholes back in Dewey Park adds clues to a mystery we faced when replacing the effluent line mentioned in the previous post. Our treatment plant was producing a clear, finished outflow that rarely failed inspection. Some one discovered the old terra cotta drain line running along Blaine St. broken open and there was "black water" flowing west to the river. COJ was all over us and even called in State DEP claiming we were polluting the wetlands and the area that was the terminus of the pipe near the slough mentioned in previous posts. We searched and checked all of our lines on the property for a possible forgotten connection to that spiderweb of lines back there. Dye packs were dropped in various manholes and no signs ever came from our side of the fence. Still, we were required to replace the old pipe at considerable cost and to this day we never could determine the source of the "blackwater".
When I get back down to Yukon, I will post a photo of one of the old manhole covers with "Camp Johnston" on the face.
Cheers!
Nock

RMHoward

October 15, 2011, 05:05:06 PM
Very interesting Nocotee.  Interesting you mention the man hole cover.  If you venture to Camp Blanding's museum, you will notice a man hole cover between the building itself and the parking lot  is labeled "Camp Joseph Johnston".  It seems when the big land swap was done resulting in the Army forfeiting Camp JEJ/Foster to the Navy, they appropriated some of the public works material and took it with them to Clay County.  Also, the former Gunnery School at Yellow Water across from Cecil Field is riddled with open man hole covers (in the dangest places).  Seems when the school's buildings were demolished in the 50s, they man hole covers were taken for their scrap metal value, resulting in lots of widow maker holes there to this day.  Got to be careful out there.

Nockatee

October 15, 2011, 08:34:33 PM
Family in Pop's Store.....
I think this was around Christmas 1947.


The "Poet Laureate" Alan Justiss is in this photo. Anyone care to make a guess which little kid he was?
I am the wee one in the middle, and yes, ears were "big" in the day. ;D
I believe another Yukon family was noted for their ears as well. ::)
The old Store is next on the list for a face lift and preparation for a new business.

Nockatee

October 15, 2011, 09:05:35 PM
Hey Nockatee,
I  spent my younger years growing up in Justiss Trailer Park.  My granny was Anne Scarborough.  She always  had the vegetable garden near the water tower. If you were part of the family then you would be justiss's son and would have had a 68 GTO.  you would have been 20 and i was 5, but i remember your mother being angry that you cut the back wheel wells to get bigger tires on. 
I am a Justiss but did not pull that stunt. Man, how I would have loved to have had a GTO then. That may have been the folks managing the park for us. My alibi was I was still in school down in Gainesville driving a beat up Beetle. We left Jax for G-ville in '57 and my folks did not move back until about 69 0r 70. 

Nockatee

October 18, 2011, 08:05:34 PM
Ch-Ch-Changes


After a bit of buffing and burnishing.


Still plenty to do to bring the place back from the grave. 8)
Look at the first pic of the thread.....

Ocklawaha

October 18, 2011, 09:45:33 PM
I never lived in Yukon, at least not as a home address, but I lived in Yukon through the 50's and 60's after school and on many a week end. Your photo is priceless. I always dropped in on the little town on my LONG hike to the Yukon Railroad Station. The station agent, Pete Rood, nearly raised me and was always very kind. I stood at the  park entry and snapped a photo of the site recently and damn near got arrested by CSX police. He had no jurisdiction on the public roadway and I stiffled the urge to laugh when he told me a train might be coming and hit me. I told him nothing was coming based on the signal indications, though one had recently passed. Then he told me he knew a hell of a lot more about railroads then I ever would so get away from 'his' tracks. When he pulled away I nearly busted a gut laughing. Sad though how times have changed from the days of Pete's welcoming smile.

My family and the Butts family were VERY close, they had their house in Orange Park and we a craftsman in Ortega. The church was our common ground. The funniest legend of my dad and Willis Butts was when Willis bought his big black 59 Cadillac Sedan De Ville and came tooling up to the church wearing a white trilby hat. They had a brief conversation that involved some laughing and the following Sunday, we showed up at church with a fancy white caddie Sedan De Ville and dad wearing a black trilby hat. Funny as hell was watching those two bribe the waitresses during Sunday dinner out, each one paying off the staff to slip them the check at the end of the meal. No wonder the wait staff at 'Pat and Mikes', 'Lum's' or 'Pritchitts Kitchen', loved us.

The Post Master Mr. Webb and his wife were EVERYBODY'S grandparents and his painting is still over the baptismal pool in front of the church. There is actually ANOTHER pool under the floor at the front of the church and way back when, they would lift the stage area and reveal this unique location. The Webb's saved me from my first experience with fire ants during an Easter egg hunt, I've hated those damn ants ever since.

I'm sure you recall the little 'supermarket' across the street from your Post Office building. The west end of the building had HUGE plumbing troubles and often backed up. The owner got wealthy off my childhood love of ginger snap cookies. I was saddened when the that little block of buildings was recently demolished.

Do you remember a old two story TRAILER in the trailer park? Seems like I was inside it as my sister rented a place there for a time. I just don't remember if it was the one she lived in or some friend of hers but it was cool for an old unit.

We ought to set up a Yukon reunion, it would certainly be fun.

OCKLAWAHA

Nockatee

October 29, 2011, 05:41:52 PM
Drop in and say hello sometime, Ock. Good tacos for lunch at Murray's Fridays. 8)
By the way, did you know the old station is down in Orange Park next to Memorial Gardens?
My brother found it and got all excited about possibly moving it up here, but the $$$ involved look overwhelming.
Cheers!
Nockatee

Ocklawaha

October 29, 2011, 06:36:54 PM
Your at the old Webb residence right? Yukon  P.O....  Are you around on week days?  Where do we eat?

You might know her but one of those old muscle cars belonged to my sister Carolyn or her, 'attached at the hip' best friend. Seem's like her name was Nancy and the last name might have been something like 'Dragsden?'

Yeah, I went over to the old depot not too long ago. It was empty and for sale, damn the luck my acreage is in California and THAT would be an expensive move. LOL!  It might have been moved over there sometime between when Blanding got a new bridge over the Ortega River and when I-295 was finished. If it could be moved back to YUKON, a friend of my, a VP for Amtrak, told me they would consider the second Jacksonville station.

For all of the aircraft I've seen come and go, I only saw one that was in trouble. It was painted in 'night fighter' blue, probably a Spad A-1. He almost landed where the lumber company is today, but managed to just (inches) clear the fence. I think he sat it down in the grass about where the truck gate guardhouse is today. THANK GOD both he and Yukon survived. 

OCKLAWAHA

Nockatee

October 31, 2011, 08:41:00 PM
The Old P.O is HQ for us . We are around the place most of the week.
Tacos at Murray's of Fridays...they sell out before 12:30. Trent's is good for a nice meal any other time.
Ya,ll come!

acme54321

October 31, 2011, 09:18:35 PM
Nock how many of the buildings in old Yukon do you own? Do you know why they tore down the old stores and stuff that were across from Murray's?

Nockatee

November 01, 2011, 06:15:36 PM
Acme, we own all the buildings in Yukon. The story we heard about the building across from Murray's is there was a fire in Bobby's Garage. The owner at the time did not repair it and as a consequence lost some good tenants. The City gave him orders to rehab the structure or have it condemned. He drug his feet and one day a crew with COJ orders showed up and took it down.
I have been spending a good bit of time policing  the area so people can park there for this weekend's air show. It will be a three day street party in old Yukon. The place should be pretty lively for a "Ghost Town". ;D

Ocklawaha

November 01, 2011, 08:26:00 PM
Nock how many of the buildings in old Yukon do you own? Do you know why they tore down the old stores and stuff that were across from Murray's?

That entire block of buildings had some major problems as far back as the 1960's, my dad leased the store closest to the church and we both watched the raw sewage bubble into the back of the place. Needless to say, he didn't keep the place very long. I think he told me they had flat sewer lines and that those lines were only 3 or 4" inches.

At the other end closest to the base was the grocery  store (1960's) it was one of the last I remember that had the squeaky screen door with screen guards advertising Merita Bread and Southern Bread. "I'd even go north for a slice of Southern Bread..." Anyone remember that?  The grocery had a dandy supply of Sugar Daddy, Mars Bars and chocolate ginger snap cookies.

OCKLAWAHA

acme54321

November 02, 2011, 08:22:31 PM
Drop in and say hello sometime, Ock. Good tacos for lunch at Murray's Fridays. 8)
By the way, did you know the old station is down in Orange Park next to Memorial Gardens?
My brother found it and got all excited about possibly moving it up here, but the $$$ involved look overwhelming.
Cheers!
Nockatee

Is this it?

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=memorial+gardens+orange+park&ll=30.180523,-81.739781&spn=0.001493,0.00284&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&fb=1&gl=us&hq=memorial+gardens&hnear=0x88e5c5e375d92541:0x5e67dc23a35cd9f5,Orange+Park,+FL&cid=0,0,16493234077395319684&t=h&z=19&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=30.180395,-81.739841&panoid=oHVjclf9pEXOJ3r7VzgEjA&cbp=12,95.87,,0,0.76

Ocklawaha

November 02, 2011, 09:32:27 PM
Yes, that's my old 'home'.  Wouldn't it be cool to put it back in place or nearby as an Amtrak Station and use the baggage end for either a Yukon Museum, or a Yukon Museum themed restaurant? Wonder if they moved it there before or after I-295 was completed? A good 'mega-mover' could find a way to take it home.

Y'all do know that it once served TWO railroads right? The connecting shortline would stop there around lunch and go into the agents office to swap bills and orders. Ahh the good ol days.

OCKLAWAHA

Nockatee

November 06, 2011, 10:48:28 PM
Great minds run on the same track!  If we could get a grant from CSX, Amtrak or even Builders.... to move the Station back home we have the option and space to relocate it.  Some reassembly would be required to move it.  The current
structure is already split into two office spaces which may reflect on its previous dual service. In any case we welcome your input and help to bring the "Station" back home.  Brother Bob


NavyGuyAN

November 07, 2011, 02:18:31 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong but I was reading somewhere that JTA was thinking about moving the current Amtrak station to right around where the Convention Center is. But due to funding it wasn't going to happen anytime soon and the plans were still on paper. But in doing so they would have to tear out the old Former Union Station underground passage-ways to the platforms in order to level the land for the tracks to fit under the Park St. bridge. An I guess there was an outcry about it.
OCK, also talked about this a little too I believe.

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2008-jan-union-station-tunnels-intact

acme54321

November 07, 2011, 08:41:23 AM
I don't think the station would ever be used for Amtrack again, but could be for some other uses.  It used to be in front of the main gate right?  I think moving it up to Yukon would be a better location now.

Ocklawaha

November 07, 2011, 01:23:58 PM

Yukon Station was host to a fleet of trains the likes of which Amtrak couldn't duplicate on their best days.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I was reading somewhere that JTA was thinking about moving the current Amtrak station to right around where the Convention Center is. But due to funding it wasn't going to happen anytime soon and the plans were still on paper. But in doing so they would have to tear out the old Former Union Station underground passage-ways to the platforms in order to level the land for the tracks to fit under the Park St. bridge. An I guess there was an outcry about it.
OCK, also talked about this a little too I believe.

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2008-jan-union-station-tunnels-intact

You are correct except that it isn't just JTA. The Multimodal Station study was done nation wide and published in 1982. Each city's station facilities for rail or bus were cataloged and the most logical location selected as a 'Transportation Center'.  The concept is excellent and promises to boost both rail and bus travel nationwide. The report came back that Jacksonville should have a station with 12 tracks.

Thank God that JTA has not gotten the funding for this project, they completely abandoned the federal recommendations and instead of building a single grand station within our original Jacksonville Terminal, they want to build 4 stations and an officer building each on it's own city block. They have proved that they actually don't understand the concept.

They didn't know that the tunnels were still intact between the station and the track platforms, so they designed an overhead sky-concourse. When I told FDOT in a public hearing about the tunnels one of their planners called me everything but smart as he asserted that THE TUNNELS ARE GONE! It was actually quite a funny public argument, they were livid when I said they don't have to tear out the old tunnels, in fact they could reuse them.

The craziness began when they explained to get under the 'new' Park Street Viaduct (they tore down the older signature viaduct with it's graceful lines and beauty so their would be a view straight down Water Street from the Landing to the front of Jacksonville Terminal (aka: Prime Osbourne). Typical Jacksonville, they destroyed a beautiful artistic bridge to enhance the view with an ugly utilitarian freeway like span. Next they killed the view with the Skyway beamway.

BTW I support the Transportation Center Concept and as such, I am in total opposition to the monstrosity of a 'plan' JTA and FDOT have come up with. Instead of a one stop shop that a transportation center should be, a passenger transferring from one mode to the other in the JTA/FDOT plan would have to cover more ground then the Vatican City.

I don't think the station would ever be used for Amtrack again, but could be for some other uses.  It used to be in front of the main gate right?  I think moving it up to Yukon would be a better location now.

Jacksonville Terminal is the name that God Intended for the grand old terminal station downtown will be used by trains again, the sooner the better. The stupidity is over at FDOT/JTA they keep wanting to build a series of stations. There is no question that downtown is the best location for the main Jacksonville railroad station. 

The Yukon Station sat in the NE corner of the railroad crossing across from the Yorktown Gate at NAS Jax. It can't be used by Amtrak (note the spelling = AMTRAK) 'AGAIN' because it was NEVER used by Amtrak in the first place. You youngsters don't recall but until 1971 all intercity passenger trains in the USA were operated by the private railroads. In this case the Yukon, depot was painted white with green window trim, served the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad as a flag stop. Trains would stop if you had a paid ticket/reservation to or from Savannah, Macon, Albany or beyond. When the ACL merged with the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, emerging as the new 'Seaboard Coast Line Railroad the depots days were numbered. Prior to the railroad becoming CSX, the depot was boarded up and moved off the property.

Bottom line? There is absolutely NO reason to believe that the station couldn't be reused and put back into service.
Amtrak has expressed an interest in expanding its services in the Jacksonville area and that little piece of news should send the city's Historic Preservation Czar. Anything can be used as a station, but historic depots can do many things. Waiting room? CHECK! Bathrooms? CHECK! Historically accurate? CHECK! Could house museum or restaurant in addition to rail services? CHECK! Room for local bus station? CHECK!

Amtrak doesn't give away money for such projects (in fact Amtrak doesn't get enough money from the Federal Government to thrive) and you couldn't interest CSX in contributing to ANYTHING that makes passengers more comfortable. Railroad math works like this: Freight Rail - Passenger Rail = Unlimited profit / Freight Rail + Passenger Rail = less capacity = restricted profit.

It would take a group, club, fraternity or benevolent citizen to make this happen. It would also require CSX to sign off on passengers hanging out around the depot. Laying  in a 2,000 foot platform and getting Amtrak on board would all be part of the solution. The depot could also be used as a 'major station' on the Jacksonville Commuter Rail network.

Hundreds of historic stations are in use throughout the nation and indeed, the world, wouldn't it be nice to see one of our local examples saved and put on center stage?


OCKLAWAHA

Casterlow

May 10, 2012, 09:56:03 PM
I am descendant of several of the black families that lived in Yukon (the Smiths, Pollocks, Hicks, Flowers). My ggggrandfather had a small general store. My great great grandparents, great grandparents and most of the children are buried in the abandoned Yukon Cemetery. I was there a few years ago and there is not a single headstone or marker. The cemetery has been desecrated. You can see the sunken graves. I petioned the Jacksonville Department of Historic Resources to help rescue it. Approached an archaelogical company called New South (www.newsouth.org) to assist in doing a study. My family arrived there from Georgia in 1919 when it was just the country. There was church St. Mary's Baptist Church, a school, a juke joint. My last know relative that lived there Rutha Mae Hicks Frazier died in the 1980s. Several of the original houses were still there. Took photos of them.

Ocklawaha

May 11, 2012, 10:46:58 AM
There WAS a little store in the black Yukon community. As I recall it was an unpainted shotgun type structure and there were several other buildings/homes around it. I think one of the buildings was used as a pub/dance club, at least at one time in the community's history.

Several times we'd stop in at the little store after riding our bicycle's through the village to access some creeks which ran alongside that land that is now being developed for offices, warehousing etc. In time's like those, there was nothing better then a cold RC Cola and a moon pie!

Casterlow, I found comments most interesting and wonder if this is the same store you are talking about? It's funny that you are a descendant of those black families because now that I think about it, I don't think we ever noticed any difference when we were kids.

Casterlow

May 17, 2012, 09:40:32 PM
Wow, you have a remarkable memory. The house that was used as a "juke joint" was actually the first home of my grandparents in 1933. It was actually moved across the tracks when they relocated according to a deceased family member who was one of the last of the family to live in the area. I have a 1980s photo of it. Yes, that was his store. They called it a "confectionary". Sure wish I could find a photo of the church. Some of the family names were Flowers, Lyles, Rutledge, Smith, Pollock. Thanks for the description of the store. It was a tight knit community. My great grandmother had a smoke house. Her second husband was a butcher....

Ocklawaha

May 17, 2012, 10:34:58 PM
Thank's for the reply. I was recalling some other things about the community. Somebody had a flock of guinea hens, every time we'd come roaring through they'd all start calling out. It was funny because they sounded very much like the starter of a Chrysler automobile.

The soda's we used to by I think were RC's, the door had a little metal push plate that had a 'Merita Bread' advertisement on it. We'd go on up to the larger market in Yukon, after we'd stop in to see Pete Rood, the agent at the Yukon railroad depot and got the information on the trains for that day. The store in Yukon had these super good chocolate ginger snap cookies which were a staple of my diet when roaming from Ortega to Collins Road.

The building being moved is no doubt a true story. Camp Foster and Camp Johnston were at Black Point on the St. Johns River. This is the part of NAS JAX that was known as 'Mainside.' The entire Black Point community was physically moved across the tracks. The railroad called it Yukon and the name stuck. The Yukon Baptist Church was also moved across the tracks from the point. In those day's the base functions were pretty limited to the riverfront area. When WWI and II broke out the base spilled out across the tracks and the NAVY built 'Dewey Park' as a housing development. Meanwhile Stockton, Whatley, Davin built Ortega Hills.

I recall an incident in the Yukon church where my dad, a former big band musician helped out with the music program. As dad was the volunteer minister of music, I was officially a PK. (preachers kid) One sunday a really beautiful young black family visited the church, no doubt around 1960 or so. One of the elders of the church went over at the end of the service and told them they needed to find a 'black church' (perhaps the one you remember). My dad blew a gasket and went after the elder and the pastor... we never went back. I finally did some 20 years later just to visit the old place and show my COLOMBIAN WIFE where I attended church as a kid.

If you get anything going on the old cemetery restoration, I'd be glad to offer some sweat equity to your project. God knows I played 'army' out there enough times. I went back about 1985 and tried to find the stones, some were VERY OLD. Civil war or earlier as I recall. I also looked for a brick lined grave that was never used or filled in, we thought it was built for us as a sort of 'bunker'. When I went back I couldn't find a single indication that anything was ever there! Weird!

OCKLAWAHA

Casterlow

May 18, 2012, 05:40:13 PM
By the way, Great Grandpa Henry (who owned the little store) was said to also have sold moonshine. Don't know if he had the still, but given his industrious self, I would not doubt it. His granddaughters (my grandma's sister) used to talk about. Now mind you, he was a staunch deacon in his church too. SMILE

Ocklawaha

May 18, 2012, 08:05:23 PM
By the way, Great Grandpa Henry (who owned the little store) was said to also have sold moonshine. Don't know if he had the still, but given his industrious self, I would not doubt it. His granddaughters (my grandma's sister) used to talk about. Now mind you, he was a staunch deacon in his church too. SMILE

He most CERTAINLY did! I know where at least one of the locations is at. The shine was known as white whiskey. The stuff is bled off from the snake after the alcohol is separated from the steam in the 'thump keg'. Where a good whiskey is aged for years in wooden barrels, each of which give it a different flavor. The barrels are often burned out on the inside to a black char finish. The charcoal in the burned interiors mellow the whiskey and give it a sweeter taste and it's tea color. The white whiskey is pretty raw stuff, but every self respecting operator had his or her own family recipe. Wouldn't it be cool to find your Grandpa's formula?

Do you know if anyone has a plat of the graves in the old cemetery?

Casterlow

May 18, 2012, 10:34:22 PM
Wow. Where have you been all these years. Your memory is impeccable! He has a step granddaughter in her 80s still living in Jacksonville but I have not been successful in reaching her. I just reached out to members of the family to see if I can make a connection and to see what she remembers.

I tried years ago to get the cemetery records and supposedly a deed. That were kept by Dave Jackson. Never got them and he has been dead for years (since the late 80s). I have a list of the many of the people buried there but no plat. I visited it two years ago with a couple of folks. It has been abandoned. I would like to acquire the deed and property and work to have it at least fenced in and later surveyed. There are hundreds of bodies there. I have been collecting death certificates of persons I know  buried there.

Ocklawaha

May 18, 2012, 11:00:51 PM
This would be a very cool project to fence and preserve the cemetery, survey it, clear some of the scrub brush and maybe find a way to get markers.



OCKLAWAHA

Casterlow

May 19, 2012, 10:30:50 AM
Yes, I am going to make this a project in 2013. We will erect one marker that will site as the Yukon Cemetery....I am going to create a Yukon website as well as post some of the images of people that i hvae on it and other history.

thelakelander

July 22, 2012, 10:52:12 PM
I just came across this picture of Camp Johnston. Does anyone know what the Rue de Meaux was or meant?


State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/42612

Camp Joseph E. Johnston buildings along "Rue de Meaux" - Jacksonville, Florida on November 22, 1918.

stephendare

July 22, 2012, 11:37:19 PM
I just came across this picture of Camp Johnston. Does anyone know what the Rue de Meaux was or meant?


State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/42612

Camp Joseph E. Johnston buildings along "Rue de Meaux" - Jacksonville, Florida on November 22, 1918.

Rue means street.

Meaux is a place name.  There are two places named Meaux, one in france and there is a Meaux parrish Louisiana.

I wonder if its a misspelling, though.

Mieux means 'best' in french, which would mean 'the best street' and is a pretty common tag.

stephendare

July 23, 2012, 12:01:33 AM


There is also a Rue De Meaux in Paris.

Apparently it was a 'mixed' district back in WW1, where men of all colors and languages disported themselves.

Since then the district has drastically changed, but it is possible that the military men from ww1 spent enough time in france to know the street.

The above photo is Rue De Meaux in Guignes Rabutin.  Its also a common street name in france (partially because of the Brie and Mustard from Meaux)

http://blog-a-brac-lozerien.over-blog.com/categorie-10997553.html

sandyshoes

July 23, 2012, 07:55:11 AM
Casterlow, have you tried checking with the SGES (Southern Genealogist's Exchange Society) over on the westside (Sauterne, I believe, off 103rd/Blanding).  They are open only a couple of days a week but check their website first.  They have a couple of people over there who specialize in old cemeteries, maybe they could help or at least point you in the right direction. 

904InsulatorCollector

August 09, 2013, 05:16:14 PM
Does anybody remember the telephone pole lines that ran through yukon? i have hunted for glass insulators down there but want to learn more about where the telephone poles were. Any help or info is greatly appreciated.
Henry

acme54321

August 09, 2013, 05:38:08 PM
Does anybody remember the telephone pole lines that ran through yukon? i have hunted for glass insulators down there but want to learn more about where the telephone poles were. Any help or info is greatly appreciated.
Henry

I know where some of the old poles are, but I have seen no sign of any insulators.

904InsulatorCollector

August 18, 2013, 11:36:16 AM
I have found some around.  Where are the poles that you know of
Located ?
Thank you
Henry
Happy huntings

David Butts

September 15, 2013, 11:25:50 AM
This is great reading, I am the grandson of Willis Butts and although I knew some of the info stated on here, Some of the other is simply amazing. I was born in 1960 and spent many days as a young child with my father Willis Jr at the Butts mobile homes sales lot which used to sit just north of the base next to Airbase furniture. The property is now where the large apartment complex is. I also, when spending the weekend with my Grandparents would have to go to Yukon Baptist church.

LParham

February 02, 2014, 06:05:48 PM
Thank you for posting about Dewey Park!!!!  When I went searching at Yukon village in the 80's I was shocked to find the demolished housing, dead end roads, chains etc.  I drove around to the park site and it was dismal too.  As I was standing along the road to the park entrance, aircraft passed over my head.  I remembered how low the airplanes were in the 50's when we lived there, but i declare this plane was really really low. 
This is my very first effort on this website but I just had to tell you thanks!  I'll definitely be back with more to add soon.

acme54321

February 02, 2014, 08:01:32 PM
Thank you for posting about Dewey Park!!!!  When I went searching at Yukon village in the 80's I was shocked to find the demolished housing, dead end roads, chains etc.  I drove around to the park site and it was dismal too.  As I was standing along the road to the park entrance, aircraft passed over my head.  I remembered how low the airplanes were in the 50's when we lived there, but i declare this plane was really really low. 
This is my very first effort on this website but I just had to tell you thanks!  I'll definitely be back with more to add soon.

The planes seem lower because they are.  The runway was lengthened to the west which led to the demolition of the houses.

MitigationMike

February 18, 2014, 01:33:21 PM
I was doing some research trying to track down the history of the Yukon train depot building and I found these posts.  The bad news is that last year it's owner had it demolished as it had fallen into irrecoverable disrepair.  My friend and I were, however, made aware of what was going on and the age of the structure before it was dismantled so we coordinated with the demolition team and harvested the structural members that the building was built on.  For what it's worth in my opinion the building itself had long lost most of its charm and history during it's multiple "upgrades" over the years.  However, the backbone of the structure was made of virgin forest heart pine and we are currently building custom conference and dining tables with the material right here in Jacksonville.  Don't any of you worry though as the history of the station will roll on with these re-purposed jewels because each table will be permanantly marked so that they can always be traced to the Yukon Train Depot.  Further, I will see to it that every new owner be provided with directions to find this and other posts like it where they can read about the history behind these heirloom pieces.

robert white

June 30, 2014, 03:02:50 PM
Hi I also lived across from yukon. My grand father owned a trailer park there. It was called Moores Village Trailer Park. I rember riding the school bus to pick up the other kids that lived there. Also that when they moved everyone from back there some of the houses were moved. And became F.J.C. now known as F.C.C.J.
My grandfather also told me he worked on the crews that laid the brick roads shown in the pictures. He also purched several trailers from Mr Butts. The outline of his trailer park can still be seen in the airel photo just north of the super target.
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