Urban Neighborhoods: Durkeeville

April 10, 2009 23 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Officially part of the Mid-Westside, Durkeeville grew up as as an African-American streetcar suburb around the first decade of the 20th century. Despite its setbacks, Durkeeville still remains one of Jacksonville’s most intact and pedestrian-friendly working class neighborhoods.

About Durkeeville


The Durkeeville community was founded in the 1930s, when African-Americans were barred from living in many parts of the city.

This was during the period of mandatory separation of the races and legal discrimination.  The people who came together to create Durkeeville were middle class and working class individuals.  Some were doctors, lawyers, educators and business people.  Others were ordinary laborers.  They created a neighborhood that sheltered and nurtured many during this challenging time.

Unfortunately and ironically, the elimination of legal discrimination resulted in the decline of the community.  This was due to the relocation of many prominent residents and the flight of much commercial activity from the area.

By the 1980s, Durkeeville struggled with urban blight, poverty and crime associated inner city neighborhoods.

A number of the remaining long-term residents formed the Durkeeville Historical Society and collaborated with city officials to revitalize this historic section of Jacksonville.

-Durkeeville Historical Center

Durkeeville Photo Tour

Myrtle Avenue

Myrtle Avenue serves as the community's central commercial corridor.  Although the typical Durkeeville Street is 40 feet wide, Myrtle was once a streetcar line and remains 75 feet wide.  Today, Myrtle remains one of Jacksonville's most vibrant pedestrian-friendly streets.




J.P. Small Memorial Park

Originally called Durkee Field, this historic ballpark is the city’s oldest remaining. From 1938 to 1942, it was the home of the Jacksonville Red Caps Negro League baseball team.  The city of Jacksonville just recently completed a renovation project that included the addition of a small pocket park between the field’s entry gates and Myrtle Avenue.

For detailed photo tour: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/1037


Stanton High School


Stanton has a unique history as an educational institution.  Immediately after Emancipation a group of colored people in the City of Jacksonville organized themselves into the Education Society, and in February of 1868 purchased the property on which the Stanton School building now stands from Ossian B. Hart and his wife.

Financial problems, however, delayed progress on the building until December of that year when the first school was built and incorporated through the aid of the Freedman's Bureau.  The school was a wooden structure and was named in honor of General Edwin McMasters Stanton, President Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of War.  It was not only the first school for black children in Jacksonville and its surrounding counties, but was also the first school for black children in the State of Florida.

The first building was destroyed by fire in 1882.  Another building constructed the same year was also destroyed by fire on May 3, 1901, a fire that destroyed much of Jacksonville.  A new school was constructed in 1902 and remained in operation until 1917.

In 1917, the building, which stands at Ashley, Broad, Beaver, and Clay Streets, was completed.  Stanton became the main focus for the education of black children in Duval County and the surrounding areas.

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