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Neighborhoods: Springfield Warehouse District

The Telfair Stockton & Company developed a significant chunk of Jacksonville's urban core that we know and love today. While Springfield, Avondale, and San Marco stand out to most, Stockton also was heavily involved in Jacksonville's growth as an industrial center. Here is a before and after look at the remains of Stockton's largest manufacturing center in Jacksonville's urban core: The Springfield Warehouse District.

Published February 13, 2013 in Neighborhoods      23 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


About The Springfield Warehouse District

The Telfair Stockton & Company was established in 1884.  In the early 20th century the real estate firm developed many of Jacksonville's most prestigious streetcar suburbs, including San Marco and Avondale.  The firm was also responsible for rapid development in Springfield and New Springfield after the Great Fire of 1901.  By 1909, Springfield had already exceeded a population of 8,000 (Springfield's 2010 census population was 3,726), and the Telfair Stockton & Company had moved on to developing New Springfield, north of the railroad.

While the company was involved in the creation of Avondale and San Marco, it also was positioned to take advantage of Jacksonville's location and rail lines to create some of the city's first streetcar suburb industrial districts.  During the 1920s, the company rapidly developed what is now known as the Springfield Warehouse District along the junction of the Seaboard Air Line (SAL) and St. Johns River Terminal Company (SJRT) railroads.  Built during an era where development was human scaled, the district's structures and their architectural details were fairly elaborate for warehouse space.  In addition, the streets were lined with sidewalks and native trees, providing shade for the pedestrian.  Developed well before President Eisenhower's Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, most of these industrial spaces were directly served by the railroads through a network of sidings paralleling 14th Street.

Looking towards 14th and Main in 1944.  Swidal-Powell (left) and Kelly (right) wholesale furniture warehouses straddle Main Street behind tree shaded sidewalks.

Like many of the early 20th century warehouse districts across the country, the Springfield Warehouse District became a center of obsolescence in the late 20th century as the city spread outward, semi-trucks increased in popularity and technological advances resulted in massive changes in industrial design.

Surprisingly, in a city that has not historical favored preservation, most of this industrial district remains intact. Telfair Stockton's Avondale and San Marco are two of the city's most desirable communities.  On the other hand, the Springfield Warehouse District remains quiet waiting for a rebirth that hasn't been decided.

Given what remains, adaptive reuse could create an atmosphere similar to popular revitalized warehouse districts across the country.  On the other hand, in a city that doesn't value preservation, like the downtown Northbank, it could disappear over time through piecemeal demolition. Here is a look into the history of this district and the companies that left their architectural mark on Jacksonville's urban core.



Swisher International

National Merchandise Company (Pic N' Save)


Wright Hotel Equipment Company

Sherwin-Williams Company

Southern Hardware & Bicycle Company

Fisk Tire Company, Inc.


Studebaker Corporation

Old Chevrolet Motor Company

Chevrolet Motor Company


Hutting Sash & Door Company

Aetna Iron & Steel Company

Kelly Wholesale Furniture Company

Graybar Electric Company


American Bakeries Corporation

Dorsey Company Bakery

Baker's Union


Coca-Cola Bottling Company

Mehlas Warehouses

Mavis Bottling Company

Duval Spirits, Inc.

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February 13, 2013, 05:49:49 AM
Great article, great area, so much potential.


February 13, 2013, 07:56:19 AM
The pricing for these buildings has seen a drop recently, perhaps spurring the recent sales of buildings that have been for sale for years.  You, of course, just talked about the older ones, but there are several from the 40's and 50's that are in use today and give the area a busier feel and keep it from appearing abandoned. 

I thought that the old Coca Cola building and the warehouses behind them would have been a good location for Intuition Ale Works.  The Coca Cola building could be made a landmark and so tax credits could be used to convert it to offices and public space.   The warehouses have no roofs at the moment and as they are not in the historic district, one could utilize the existing walls and raise the roof for the needed height in an affordable way.  Anyway, that was what I saw as possibility for that location.  And indicates that the area can be both preserved and adapted to today's needs by using the landmark  or historic status to your advantage while do so selectively to meet your needs.

I've wanted one of thses  buildings for sometime now, I just can't justify the added expense yet, though we just had to expand.   The Southern Hardware & Bicycle Company building was most recently an event production company and was pretty well gone through and so is in good shape and could be moved into and used. Someone will get it before I can I'm sure.

Debbie Thompson

February 13, 2013, 08:43:26 AM
So much potential for a work/live/retail district!  Lofts, offices, restaurants, shops.


February 13, 2013, 10:31:22 AM
Ennis, outstanding article.  Love, love the history and pics.
I would be interested to know who owns what and what is for sale.


February 13, 2013, 02:06:31 PM
What has changed hands recently?


February 14, 2013, 07:25:55 AM
Ennis, great article. Looks like the beginning of another book? 

Yes, Strider has drooled over the buildings for a long time.  He stops and secures an open doorway or two when he sees them.  A grateful owner offered him a good deal on rent which he almost talked me into.  Strider would really like to see Team Recovery Welding Shop expand into Springfield Boat Works. 

The glory days of Springfield.  Jobs!!  Cool warehouses!!  Bakeries churning out loaves.  I would love to spend a day back in time and see it.  You've given me the next best thing, Ennis.


February 14, 2013, 07:29:37 AM
There is the mattress factory on the 2100 block of Walnut.  Joe and I have been in there.  We looked at it for a client about ten years ago.  Really cool space.  I'll take a photo and post it. 


February 14, 2013, 09:35:21 AM
Several years ago I got to see the inside of the Soloman building on Main.  Amazing how well these old buildings were built.  Would make some great loft space.


February 14, 2013, 09:38:31 AM
Anybody have old photos of the Dorsey Bakery, or possibly inside pictures?  Maybe a copy of the site from the Sanborn maps?  I'm in Tallahassee and don't have time to get to the Jax library for research.


February 14, 2013, 09:46:54 AM
I'm heading to the library's Special Collections Department for a few hours after a 10am meeting.  I'll see what I can dig up.


February 14, 2013, 12:19:22 PM
I didn't come across any images but the Sanborn maps of the entire district are pretty interesting.  First, here are Sanborn maps of the Dorsey bakery in 1927, 1953 and 1965:





February 14, 2013, 12:25:11 PM
Interesting that the name of the street is Warren.  I suppose thats the only thing that marks what was once its own independent town,

And here is a blue print showing the land plats of the Town of Warren, just north of Old Springfield.


February 14, 2013, 12:27:02 PM
Some other interesting observations of the warehouse district  and Warren via Sanborn maps over the years:

The Chevrolet Parts Warehouse at 11th & Liberty replaced a roundhouse, shown in this 1927 map.

The Springfield (Warren maybe?) passenger railroad station was next door, near Walnut Street.

Same spot shown in 1953. Btw, the furniture warehouse next door to Chevrolet was Haverty's.

Wacca Pilatka

February 14, 2013, 12:47:44 PM
Thanks for sharing all these images, along with the article itself of course.


February 14, 2013, 12:51:24 PM

Ock and I have explored this site thoroughly.  There is an old structure out in the woods that Ock suspects was part of the railroad.


February 14, 2013, 12:53:48 PM
Some more.  This district appeared to be dominated by bakery and automobile industries.  Several tire/rubber companies from the Midwest also had operations adjacent to the Chevrolet and Studebaker operations.  The building mentioned as Southern Hardware & Bicycle in the article was originally BF Goodrich.

Ward Baking Company's site is now used as parking for Swisher employees.  In the 1960s, Ward was indicted for violating the Sherman Act by rigging bids and price fixing the government for baked goods headed to Jacksonville's naval operations.

Here's Ward and Pic N' Save (National Drug) in 1965.

Ward Baking in 1927.

Today, everything east of Walnut Street is Swisher's plant.  Look how small Swisher's operation was in 1965.  Their old building, which is still there today, contained multiple floors in a building squeezed between Ionia and the railroad.

The other major bakery was the Merita bread plant at 11th & Market.  Although they demolished the old plant after they built a modern facility at Imeson, Hostess continued to maintain their fleet operations here until the recent shutdown.  Here is the plant in 1927.

Merita (American Bakeries) in 1965.


February 14, 2013, 01:49:47 PM


February 14, 2013, 02:06:35 PM
hmm.  in doing the research it seems like this George P. Walker is an early ancestor of our regrettable past president, George Bush.  As in his poor father's name:  George Herbert Walker Bush.


February 15, 2013, 03:05:37 PM
Thanks for the research  My wife is closely related to W. S. Dorsey.    He also had a general store around 1905 near Bay st, about where the Omni is now.  Same Dorsey that was also in Gainesville.


March 27, 2013, 10:07:41 AM
For anyone interested, the warehouse located at 2303 Market Street, sight of the former Hutting Sash and Door Company, sold last week for $120,000.  This was one of my favorite buildings in Springfield. I showed it to several prospective buyers. It was in good condition, 57,000 square feet, with mostly original heart pine post and beam construction inside. I personally thought it would have been a perfect sight for Intuition Ale Works because the back of the buidling was two stories high and might have been able to accomodate the taller brewing canisters they use. If anyone knows who bought it please give us some insight as to what the new owner plans for this location.


March 27, 2013, 10:15:11 AM
I'm just hoping they use it.  I ran into a commercial broker earlier this year and he was telling me how valuable the materials in those old warehouses would be if they were demolished and sold off.  He specifically mentioned heart pine and brick.


March 27, 2013, 10:27:30 AM
Yes, I know exactly what you mean. There is a tremendous amount of lumber in there. A ton underneath the floor, too. It sits on huge timbers, I imagine are pine as well.

Debbie Thompson

March 27, 2013, 12:46:28 PM
Oh, no! 
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