Jacksonville's Next Historic District: Brooklyn?September 4, 2013 42 comments Print Article
One of Jacksonville's oldest African-American urban neighborhoods, Brooklyn was platted shortly after the Civil War by Miles Price, a Confederate veteran, in 1868. Unfortunately, with its buildings coming down one by one, it's slowly disappearing from existence. Now, if the Jacksonville Historic Commission has their way, a few blocks of the neighborhood will become Jacksonville's next historic district.
The land that would become Brooklyn was acquired by Miles Price in October of 1858 for $1,528. In 1868, Price sold 500 acres the property to Edward Cheney for $10,000 in gold. A newspaper publisher, Cheney was acting in trust for railroad magnate John Murray Forbes. This property was platted and named Riverside.
That same year, Price platted the remaining portion of the property as Brooklyn. Taking advantage of the area's rapid population growth after the Civil War, Brooklyn had 356 residents by 1870. During this era, the area west of Commercial Street (Riverside Avenue) became a popular location for African-Americans looking to take advantage of employment, housing opportunities, and the protection of the Freedmen's Bureau.
The addition of a streetcar in 1879 triggered more growth in Brooklyn. By the time it was annexed into Jacksonville in 1887, its population had grown to 1,000.