9 Real Town Centers Worth Visiting In The First CoastFebruary 9, 2015 3 comments Print Article
Here are nine authentic neighborhood town centers outside of downtown that prove there's more to Jacksonville and the First Coast than the typical suburban shopping mall.
9. Park & King
The Park & King District sits at the center of Historic Riverside, at the intersection of Park and King Streets. Once served by two streetcar lines, the district originated with the construction of Whiteway Corner, a group of commercial buildings built in 1927. Whiteway got its name based on the electric exterior lighting used in the area. Whiteway was home to little shops and delis, and was expanded into a two-story building in 1949. Other buildings coming up at the time included the Style Moderne and the Riverside Baptist Church. Today, the Park King Retail District is home to popular restaurants like the European Street Café, as well as many retail shows, cafes, night clubs, and even a few craft breweries.
8. Edgewood Avenue
Neighborhood: Murray Hill
Edgewood Village, also known as the “The First Block,” is located on Jacksonville's along Edgewood Avenue, just west of the Roosevelt Boulevard interchange. Murray Hill itself was established in 1907 as a replate of the late 19th century Edgewood development. Originally, the First Block featured a streetcar in its median to serve the Florida Military Academy, which was established in 1913.
1916 would bring the construction of the first commercial building on the First Block, and over the next decade or so, Edgewood Village would rapidly develop into a commercial district for the quick-growing residential districts around it. By the 1930's, Edgewood Avenue through the entire neighborhoood had become known as the "Avenue of Progress", featuring a large number of specialty stores, as well as several grocery stores, and two movie theatres.
Today, the retail strip is home to longtime businesses such as the Edgewood Bakery and Dreamette, as well as newcomers like Maple Street Biscuit Company and Knead Bakeshop.