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Forgotten Jacksonville: Westbrook Park

Nestled in the middle of an industrial corridor and railroads, Westbrook Park may be one of the most overlooked public spaces in Jacksonville's urban core.

Published March 11, 2014 in Neighborhoods      6 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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Westbrook Park anchors the 20-block Westbrook neighborhood, which is bounded by McDuff Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue, Three Mile Branch and the CSX railroad line paralleling West Beaver Street. The park and the surrounding community date back to 1911, when they were platted within walking distance of Lackawanna's massive Seaboard Air Line Shops and Terminals.

The park, and the mixed-use neighborhood surrounding it, grew rapidly during the early 20th century. By 1929, the park contained a one-acre playground, swings, a slide, and a clay play court for basketball and volleyball.  Between 1933 and 1937 additional property was acquired, expanding the park south to Broadway Avenue. During this era, Westbrook's commercial district, stretching from the park to McDuff Avenue also grew to the point where it had its own movie theatre, the Dixie Theatre.

Today, the park and Tree-Mile Branch, the creek that flows through it, are a quiet Westside retreat. With most of the grounds remaining in a natural state, the 103-year-old park is known for its mature landscape, foot bridges, and community center.




















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6 Comments

Noone

March 11, 2014, 04:14:59 AM
Beautiful tour. Thanks again for the history. Will have to check it out.

Keith-N-Jax

March 11, 2014, 04:33:10 AM
Nice park with a good mixture of shade and open space.

Wacca Pilatka

March 11, 2014, 09:53:45 AM
Didn't that Garfield house once have a set of two-story columns in front?

Scrub Palmetto

March 11, 2014, 08:51:49 PM
I only recently became aware of this park's existence. It looks lovely. Thanks for bringing it to light here! Jacksonville will be a broken city as long as vast parts of it continue to be written off as parts we just don't care about.

thelakelander

March 12, 2014, 06:50:36 AM
Thanks. It's a pretty great space.  IMO, it's an amenity that can be utilized to bring life and economic activity back into that area of town. I've known about it for a while but I'm attempting to make an effort this year to regularly showcase the past, present and potential future conditions of Jax's neighborhoods and amenities this year.

Slankinship

March 19, 2014, 08:03:58 AM
One of the things not mentioned in here (rightfully so) that I've noticed about the park is the amount of tires littering the creek bed through the entire stretch of three-mile branch before it hits McCoys Creek at Hollybrook Park.  It isn't surprising; Beaver Street is littered with auto mechanics and specialty tire shops. I am guessing that this has somehow become a common place to allow refuse to live.  It would be great to change that mentality - although I'm sure the creek is pretty low on the list of services the neighborhood needs right now.  We are planning a tire roundup for Earth Day at Westbrook if anyone wants to see what I mean. www.facebook.com/events/288158544673277/  Thanks for this story!
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