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Urban Neighborhoods: Five Points

In the 1920's, Five Points began as a commercial district catering to the rapidly growing residential areas surrounding it. Although officially a part of the Riverside-Avondale Historic District, Five Points has evolved into one of Jacksonville's most vibrant urban core districts in its own right.

Published September 3, 2009 in Neighborhoods      45 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


Five Points Park Street

The intersection of Park & Post, looking south in the 1930s.

Five Points Theater

The Theater opened in 1927 as the Riverside Theater.  To your left is a sketch of the inside of the theater when it first opened.   Originally, the interior of the theater was Venetian and featured two decorative arched balconets, a wide frieze band, and prominent crown molding.  On the center of the ceiling were ornamental plaster rosettes where two Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers hung costing $5,000 each.  It was the first theater equipped to show talking pictures in Florida and the third nationally.  They equipped the theater with a devise called the Vitaphone.  The Vitaphone was developed by Western Electric in conjunction with Warner Brothers Pictures to synchronize sound and film.  The first movie the theater debuted the Vitaphone with was the movie Don Juan featuring John Barrymore.  To cover the cost of the Vitaphone admission went up from 25 cents to $1.10.  Because of the increase, the theater did not draw the business required to cover the cost.  The Vitaphone had to be moved to the Imperial theater downtown Jacksonville.  The theater did not make it and closed during the 1930' and re-opened as a neighborhood movie house only to close again in the 1940's.  The theater was remolded and re-opened in 1949 but this time with a new name, Five Points Theater.  It was one of the first in Jacksonville to provide a smoking lounge with push back seats.  The theater later provided Cinerama and stereophonic.  In 1972 the theater under went some renovation changing the original Gothic Revival Design.  The theater was still showing films until the doors closed in 1977 when it could not compete with the suburban multi-screens.  In 1984, the theater re-opened to house a professional theater group, the River City Playhouse.  The River City Playhouse lost there place in the Five Points theater when Club5 Inc. leased the theater for three years in 1991.  In 1991, the theater re-opened, but this time it was to make way to a music stage.  The doors opened to what was known as Club5 a nightclub that brought in music from jive to rock.  In 2004, the Planning and Development Department recommended that the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission approve the designation of the Riverside (Five Points) Theater Building as a City Jacksonville Landmark.

A Look Inside The Five Points Theater

The Park Arcade Building

The Park Arcade Building was one of the first commercial buildings constructed in 1928 in the Five Point’s area.  This building consisted of seven buildings in one.  The building style is Mediterranean and each building is depicted by a different rooftop.  The picture to the left shows the different rooftops.  The Park Arcade building sets the tone for the Five Points area. By the end of 1928, Five Points had twenty completed businesses.  

In the 1930, a craze for miniature golf swept the country. Here in Jacksonville Five Points was the first to build an indoor-outdoor golf course.  The first two stores in the Park Arcade Building 1017-1019 Park Street housed the first indoor-outdoor miniature golf of Florida called Five Points Miniature golf course.  Back in those days Miniature golf was one of the few sports you can do after work and did not have to dress up.  The game was inexpensive and allowed you to exercise while getting fresh air.  At Five Points, the game started inside, while the middle portion was played outside, and you finished the ending portion inside.  The highlight of the game was a water obstacle.  The game was so popular they had tournaments that gave away up to $200 in prizes.  The picture on the left shows the Park Arcade building.  Today you will find Abernathy - Shortridge Opticians at 1017 Park and Five Points Café at 1019 Park street.  The picture to the right shows the Park Arcade Building today.  By the end of 1928, Five Points had completed twenty businesses in the area.  Some of the businesses were businesses such as Arcade Cash & Carry, Southland Ice Cream Parlor, Gulf Gas Station, Lane Drug Store, and Attwood Pharmacy. Some of today's businesses are Nicotine, Anomly, Roost/Spruce, and Whalebone Grill.

Lomax Street

Riverside Park

Riverside Park is located adjacent to Park Street in the Riverside area of west Jacksonville. The 1869 plat of Riverside reserved fourteen acres for a park, and after the receiving the land as a donation, the city began developing its second-oldest park in the early 1890’s. Workers created walk paths, a carriage lane, and two spring-fed lakes that were stocked with ducks. Ornamental stone bridges and camphor trees further beautified the landscape, which became one of the South’s loveliest parks by 1907. Other past amenities included a bandstand and tennis courts, and the Men’s Garden Club and the city created a camellia garden on the grounds in 1967. Following several years of improvements initiated by Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP), disaster struck the park in 1997, when a savage storm devastated the grounds. Fifty-two trees were lost, but the city and RAP worked diligently to restore this Riverside landmark.

Memorial Park

Memorial Park lies nestled between Riverside Avenue and the St. Johns River. In 1918, the Jacksonville Rotary Club proposed the idea for a park to honor the 1200 Floridians who perished in WWI, and the City purchased the property in 1919. Thirty-one civic groups worked in planning and raising funds for the park, which was dedicated Christmas Day, 1924. The park soon became the scenic focal point of Riverside. Designed by the renowned Olmsted Brothers firm, the park features the bronze sculpture Life, created by the celebrated Charles Adrian Pillars (1870-1937). A local resident for 26 years, he also created Florida’s two statues residing in National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. In 1986, Anne Freeman founded the Memorial Park Association, which along with the City has worked steadfastly to restore and preserve this historic landmark, particularly after a tornado devastated the grounds in 1997.

"Winged Victory" is the focal point of Memorial Park.  Designed by Charles Adrian Pillars, the nude figure caused quite a controversy among the local society.

Park Lane Apartments

The sixteen-story Park Lane was Riverside's first high-rise building and caused quite a stir when it was built in 1926. It towered over Memorial Park and was completely out of scale with the stately residences around it.  For many years the Park Lane was Jacksonville's third tallest building.  It was originally built as co-op apartments, a novel idea in those days, which the developer Francis Mason brought back from a trip to New York.  The Park Lane was the forerunner of Florida's high-rise condominiums.  It was also the first tall building in Jacksonville to use "setback" construction, permitting the apartments in the upper stories to have open terraces and sun parlors.
Source: Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage Landmarks for the Future

Margaret Street

Margaret Street connects the historic Five Points strip to Memorial Park and the St. Johns River.  Fueled by Five Point's popularity, several adaptive reuse and urban infill projects have taken place along Margaret Street.

Riverside Market Square

Anchored by a 28,000 square foot Publix, the Sembler Company's Riverside Market Square replaced the abandoned Riverside Hospital.

1661 Riverside

St. Johns Apartments

Riverside Arts Market

If Mayor Peyton has his way, eventually the Northbank Riverwalk will be expanded to provide a direct car free route between downtown and Five Points.

For more information on Five Points:

Article by Ennis Davis



September 03, 2009, 07:52:09 AM
Good piece.  5 Points is a nice little urban neighborhood in Jacksonville.


September 03, 2009, 08:37:09 AM
Th best area in the entire city.

BUT......i can't beleive the city or RAP hasn't gotten all those power lines underground yet, as Springfield has done on Main Street. That would make a world of difference.


September 03, 2009, 08:54:33 AM
I must say, I've never noticed the power lines.  Instead all I see when I'm there is open businesses and people on the sidewalks.


September 03, 2009, 08:55:26 AM
5 Points is one of my favorites for sure and loved our time having an office in the Theatre building.  Driving by that area the other day, I've got say I like the signage for the new BARK store that's going in.  Looks simple and great.

riverside planner

September 03, 2009, 09:01:29 AM
Main Street had the benefit of a complete road reconstruction to facilitate the undergrounding of power lines.  5 Points only had resurfacing and sidewalk reconstruction.  Also, retrofitting an existing roadway for underground utilities is incredibly expensive.  It could have been done, but neither the city nor the businesses & property owners were able (willing?) to fund it. 


September 03, 2009, 11:23:37 AM

Found this shot from 1953


September 03, 2009, 11:42:45 AM
This is one of the few areas in Jacksonville where the current photos resemble the historic photos.


September 03, 2009, 11:47:19 AM
The flashing light was a little cooler back then.....(BTW) what a fun place to watch drivers stress out!


September 03, 2009, 12:43:10 PM
It amazes me that all it takes is a blinking light to appear somewhat different, and all of a sudden people misunderstand "yellow" having the right of way, and "red" meaning to stop and yield to the right of way...


September 03, 2009, 01:08:13 PM
^ That is one of the greatest spots in the city to people and "driver" watch.  Its amazing how many people screw it up.

IMO, the city should rebuild the intersection to make it more of a roundabout with at least a raised central median and a statue of some famous Jax native.


September 03, 2009, 01:09:50 PM
Agreed - didn't they recently complete street work there anyway?


September 03, 2009, 01:10:24 PM
what the heck it that guy wearing in the first photo?


September 03, 2009, 01:14:49 PM
Looks to be a ladies t-shirt with a patterned, illusion drape over the shoulders design, slightly soiled white jeans, rolled up mid-calf, and striped black and white pirate / wicked witch / tutu socks.


September 03, 2009, 01:16:04 PM
Good question JaxNative68, also at first glance I thought a girl in one of the pictures was wearing nothing but a towel...

Anyways, great article, it's nice to see some positives about Jacksonville for a change.  Now wouldn't it be neat to have a Savannah-style trolley which connects 5 Points to the "convention center."


September 03, 2009, 01:23:51 PM
The new Bark Boutique is a really cool shop and a great addition to the collection of shops already here. With only 3 spots left on the entire strip it's great to see that business in this area is still growing.


September 03, 2009, 01:26:51 PM
thanks for the clarity breaburn, as earlier thought, my eyes do not deceive me.


September 03, 2009, 02:24:31 PM
Photo caption contest...2nd to last the girl in black looking at the girl in purple over her right shoulder and thinking "my boobs are better than your boobs"


September 03, 2009, 03:54:09 PM
Just add ELECTRIC STREETCAR! Instant perfection...


5 Points Theatre

September 03, 2009, 03:56:19 PM

Here's the 5 Points Theatre Building in January of 2004.

The stucco was added in 1978 as an attempt to 'modernize' the appearance of the building.

Dog Walker

September 03, 2009, 04:06:52 PM
Thank you Mike and Jack Shad.  Thank you, thank you!  Now there is only one of J. Brooks Haas's eyesores left in Riverside.


September 03, 2009, 04:11:54 PM
Wow, that's the first time I've seen what the theatre building looked like before the Shads got a hold of it.  Beautiful job in that restoration, that's one hell of an Urban Facelift.


September 03, 2009, 04:19:37 PM
What a terrible looking fortress it appeared to be  :o


September 03, 2009, 06:15:53 PM
The paint on that Fu Hao Bistro is not working, otherwise looking good =)


September 03, 2009, 06:27:51 PM
Thank you Mike and Jack Shad.  Thank you, thank you!  Now there is only one of J. Brooks Haas's eyesores left in Riverside.

I forgot that it looked that way in 04 and I have been driving by for the last ten or so years. Great retro fit job.


September 03, 2009, 06:29:03 PM
The new Bark Boutique is a really cool shop and a great addition to the collection of shops already here. With only 3 spots left on the entire strip it's great to see that business in this area is still growing.

Haven't been in what does Bark specialize in?


September 03, 2009, 07:21:52 PM
It's a hot dog stand :)

Fallen Buckeye

September 03, 2009, 08:15:47 PM
I was out there at the RAM for that Grandpa's Cough Medicine show. Small world. By the way, love what they have done under the bridge there. Such a simple amphitheater couldn't have cost a whole lot, but it's nice place to catch a concert. Someone needs to take notes on what they did right under the bridge and see if they can apply it to other parks and neighborhoods too.


September 03, 2009, 08:32:19 PM
It's a hot dog stand :)

I was guessing dog groomer..but really? 

Dog Walker

September 04, 2009, 03:50:36 PM
The whole area under the approach to the Fuller Warren Bridge for the Riverside Arts Market was designed by architect Melanie Bishop, the wife of city councilman, Bill Bishop.  It is incredibly efficient use of the space and was also very economical to build.  Just brilliant!  I think she is now designing an expansion of the market up Peninsular Place to the Riverside Park.

The whole concept of the Market from the initial idea, to the coordination of several government agencies and private companies, to the design should indeed be used as an example.


September 04, 2009, 03:54:38 PM
Dog Walker.  Perhaps you could elaborate in greater detail!

Is Melanie an architect as well?  Which Government agencies and private companies were involved?

Dog Walker

September 04, 2009, 04:26:28 PM
Melanie Bishop is an architect.  I don't think Bill Bishop is.  I think she did all of that terrific work for nothing, too.  Her use of berms, required by the elevation change, as stadium seating is absolutely brilliant.

Dr. Wayne Wood has been working on the idea of the Riverside Arts Market for over fifteen years; ever since he saw the preliminary plans for the replacement of the Fuller Warren Bridge.  He was inspired by a similar space he saw in Portland, OR. 

He managed to bring together the Florida DOT, and the City of Jacksonville together with Fidelity National, which uses the leased space as parking during the week and who gave a grant and with First Guaranty Bank which also put up money and allows the use of their parking lot for the Market.  I think JEA was even involved too since there is a huge sewer system lift station on the site as well.  I am sure there was some federal grant money in there to.  Knowing Wayne, he might have even gotten the Corp of Engineers and the Inland Navigation District into the act!

The Riverside Arts Market would not have happened without the vision, quiet persistence and persuasiveness of one person, Wayne Wood.


September 04, 2009, 04:30:51 PM
Wayne Wood created the Riverside Arts Market?

Why don't more people know that?

Dog Walker

September 04, 2009, 04:38:39 PM
Wayne Wood also created the Riverside/Avondale Preservation Society and the Riverside/Avondale Historic District, the first historic district in Jacksonville.

Go to the Market on a Saturday.  Look for the distinguished looking, gray-haired guy in an Arts Market T-shirt wearing some sort of weird hat or headdress. Thank him for the Market.  That's Wayne Wood.

He has the ability to inspire people and get them to work together to a goal.  Just ask Melanie Bishop, Doug Coleman and Tony Allegretti and a host of others.


September 04, 2009, 04:44:05 PM
I do know Dr. Wood!  and you are right, he is quite the charismatic man!

I also knew that he created RAP, wrote The Great Fire, and had worked on the RAM.

But for some reason I thought he was out of the project, and that Allighretti had created this version of it.

Dog Walker

September 04, 2009, 05:04:48 PM
I don't mean to diminish anyone's contributions to the Market, especially Tony Allighretti's.  There are a lot of different people's visions, ideas and accomplishments in there and everyone involved deserves reputation points.  Wayne Wood's ideas and team building were the core that was built on and he was involved until the opening and beyond.


September 08, 2009, 02:35:18 AM
I loved the photos.  I used to live in the Clearwater area and now have been living in SC for two years.  I plan to return to FL for school and to check out the east coast now.  If I attend school on Blanding Blvd where is a safe place to live nearby? 


September 14, 2009, 09:21:47 AM
Happy Hour at the Derby House? Sounds odd. I thought they were just a breakfast/lunch greasy spoon type place.

Dog Walker

September 14, 2009, 11:18:12 AM
Derby House is expanding its offerings.  They even have live music on their deck on Friday nights.


September 18, 2009, 06:59:20 PM
Derby House is expanding its offerings.  They even have live music on their deck on Friday nights.

When they expand the number of waitress visits you get during your meal from 2 to at least 3 or 4, I'll go.  ;D


September 18, 2009, 10:33:23 PM
Re. Dr. Wood, Tony Allegretti et al.  Dr. Wood remains hugely involved in the market--he manages the RAM website, books all of the street performers, comes up with all the crazy theme ideas (be on the lookout for Viking Day everyone!), fields a lot of the PR interview requests, and generally just keeps it humming. Tony is doing an awesome job of applying RAMROD's vision (they're the folks who really got this up and running--the group includes Wayne Wood, Cindy Guy, Pamela Tellis, Doug Colman and Teresa Fish) to a terrific organizational structure he's developed, including a first-of-its-kind internet-based reservation system.  I just learned RAM has been selected as one of 12 markets IN THE COUNTRY to host the Toyota Farm to Table event--super cool.  It's happening in October. Details will I'm sure be forthcoming.

Dog Walker

September 20, 2009, 02:07:07 PM
Just shows you what a small group of people with vision, determination and persistence can do!  Thanks and congratulations to them all! 

All of those people have other lives.  How in the world do they find the time and energy?

CS Foltz

September 21, 2009, 07:08:48 AM
Quote from: Dog Walker link=topic=6001.msg 98201#msg 98201 date=1253470027
Just shows you what a small group of people with vision, determination and persistence can do!  Thanks and congratulations to them all! 

All of those people have other lives.  How in the world do they find the time and energy?
Dog Walker I, determination and persistence appears to be the key to it all! The whole of us can benefit from that point of view!


September 22, 2009, 11:07:14 PM
Riverside Arts Market is one of the best things to come to Jax in a while. Thoroughly enjoyable for the entire family. Thanks to everyone involved.


October 11, 2009, 11:57:20 AM
I think that trolly or more public transportation is a great idea..


October 14, 2009, 07:33:49 AM
what the heck it that guy wearing in the first photo?
Maybe he's a DANCER ???
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