North Riverside Tour

June 2, 2008 6 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

North Riverside is a centralized inner city neighborhood with historic architectural building stock, ample greenspace, and tree lined streets that could become a key location for affordable infill housing within walking distance of a potential commuter rail station.

History of North Riverside

The community developed as a working class extension of the Riverside area.  In 1905, Brinkley H. Grant designed the first recorded subdivision in the area along Edison Avenue.

Mostly comprised of modest homes, much of the development in North Riverside was the result of employment opportunities available at a major railroad repair facility off of McDuff Avenue.  In 1909, the Seaboard Air Line Shops and Terminals employed over one thousand residents.  Another major development catalyst was a drainage and bulkhead project for McCoys Creek.

Around the turn of the century, McCoys Creek was a meandering waterway with a reputation for serious flooding problems.  In 1928, the City of Jacksonville hired the Walter J. Bryson Company to channelize the creek and fill in 29 acres of adjacent swamps.  Like many of Jacksonville's early neighborhoods, North Riverside's fortunes began to take a turn for the worse with the introduction of industrial uses into the area, the closure of the Seaboard railyard, and the construction of expressways that physically isolated the neighborhood from other nearby urban districts.

Census records indicate the population of the area had decreased from 5,559 residents in 1980, to 4,475 in 2000.  Despite the struggles of the late 20th century, North Riverside's assets, such as its remaining architecturally significant building stock, small lots, centralized location, and affordability makes the community one with high redevelopment potential.

The area has now been targeted for infill housing development by groups, such as Riverside Avondale Development Organization  (RADO) and Habijax.  North Riverside also straddles the CSX A-line, a rail line Metro Jacksonville continues to promote as a potential commuter rail startup connecting Downtown with Clay County. 

With 11% of its existing residents already transit dependent, North Riverside has the potential to become a population location for transit oriented redevelopment possibilities.  For comparison's sake, according to the 2000 census, only 2% of Duval County residents rely on public transit. 

The McCoys Creek Greenway is another feature that will enhance the neighborhood in the near future. When complete, this path will offer a convenient alternative between North Riverside and Downtown for joggers and cyclists.

The Wrightsville A.M.E. Church (True Church of the Risen Christ) at 2297 Edison Avenue was constructed prior to 1913.

The Wesley Memorial Methodist Church (now the Greater Bethany Baptist Church) was constructed in 1908.