Neighborhoods: Springfield Warehouse District

February 13, 2013 23 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

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.



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.


TABLE OF CONTENTS




PAGE 2

Swisher International

National Merchandise Company (Pic N' Save)


PAGE 3

Wright Hotel Equipment Company

Sherwin-Williams Company

Southern Hardware & Bicycle Company

Fisk Tire Company, Inc.


PAGE 4

Studebaker Corporation

Old Chevrolet Motor Company

Chevrolet Motor Company


PAGE 5

Hutting Sash & Door Company

Aetna Iron & Steel Company

Kelly Wholesale Furniture Company

Graybar Electric Company


PAGE 6

American Bakeries Corporation

Dorsey Company Bakery

Baker's Union


PAGE 7

Coca-Cola Bottling Company

Mehlas Warehouses

Mavis Bottling Company

Duval Spirits, Inc.


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