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Author Topic: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon  (Read 14048 times)

Ocklawaha

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2008, 11:28:36 PM »
Went back and checked the article, looks like it came down in the wetlands short of the final approach, which is over the old Main Street. It wasn't plane failure but wind shear in a thunderstorm, so it would have happened no matter what the aircraft or airport. Shears happen all the time "air pockets" some call them, but in final approach they are deadly... Remember the messy Delta crash in Dallas 15 or 20 years back? Same cause.

When I took the tornado spotter courses at Oklahoma City NWS, we were shown how to spot the effects of these micro-busts, shears and sudden down drafts from tornado damage. The shear or down burst can be just as violent but heads straight for the ground, so trees, houses, aircraft etc. tend to blow in all the directions of a compass. A tornado on the other hand leaves a trail of destruction-mostly falling in a single direction.

Yukon was a fun place back in the 60's. Somehow the corner store always had the best ginger snap cookies around. We boys used to crawl out of our Sunday School room window, if the teacher stepped out for a minute. We'd run to the market and buy ginger snaps and beat it back to the room... "Where have you boys been?" We'd just grin with ginger snap all over our faces... Oh well, so much for the Lords 10Th!

My dad used to own the furniture store next to the church, the market was in the other end of the building.
He didn't really run much of a business but his hobby was wood working and mechanics. So for several years he made a good side income on buying damaged furniture seconds and repairing them for resale. He had fun, a lot of Navy families and others got some quality stuff they wouldn't have otherwise afforded. All was well until at some point the buildings plumbing gave out, and flooded the place... once...twice....well finally he quit and went about building his own big wooden boat.

Back on the Ortega, there are some bluffs here and there in those wetlands. The most infamous now has a round million dollar home sitting on it. Remains of the moonshine still are on the property next door to this day,
(I know cause I took my wife and kids for a look-see). The fellow that lives there didn't know that he lived on historic property. During the War Of Yankee Aggression, the CSS St. Marys was ready to run the blockade and got into a chase with the USS gunboat steamer Uncas. The St. Marys Captain, took it up to Bluff Landing and set her on fire, where she sank with thousands of dollars in cotton and other goods onboard for export.
Though the Damned Yankees raised her hulk and refloated her, most of her cargo and bones are still to be "seen"="Felt" deep beneath the water on the west bank of the river at the bluff. The owner of the land today very kindly gave my wife a tour of his beautiful home and not being from here, he commented "I understand 1/2 the population of the West Side of Jax was conceived out here on this property..." Being the loud mouth old hippie I am, I laughed and said "Oh yeah, like Gloria P., Suzanne A., Jill F., Becky H, Niki T...." suddenly I got that stare that says "ENOUGH!" (in clear Spanglish!!) HA HA!


OCKLAWAHA

Ocklawaha

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2008, 12:15:46 AM »
Camp J. Clifford Foster, Fl Natl Guard, at Black Point, NAS MAINSIDE (Today):

Camp Foster main street


Camp Foster on drill


Trucks bringing in Transient Labor to Camp Foster


Remember that historic old brick highway? Well WTF?


Amazing VERY VERY early view of the camp and the Black Point Community (to the right in the trees)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------



Wharf scene (taken from the black point wharf?) Camp was created in 1909 as a Florida National Guard base, then taken over and expanded by the Federal government in September 1917 for use as an army quartermaster training camp. Renamed Camp J. Clifford R. Foster after World War I.

Sorry guys had my camp names in reverse order in the early post... Senior moment I guess. But Johnston came first, then the streetcar, then foster, the brick road, Yukon, expansion, Army moved out to Blanding, and Navy moved in and finished off the old community, but added to Yukon.


The City of Jacksonville provided downtown transit until the trolley put it out of commission. It is said to have sunk (of old age and neglect) at the foot of the old Acosta Bridge. When the land was filled for Coast Line Drive and the current ACL/nee:CSX building, they dug up some of it.


As you can see, The old Yukon Depot was always a quiet zone! NOT!


Mom was a department manager in the downtown store.

That's about all I can handle right now, I'll dig up some more if y'all are interested and bring us up to the 1960/70 era.


OCKLAWAHA

tuffydog

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2008, 02:56:12 PM »
My husband and I were both in the Navy at NAS Jax.  We married in 1955 and our first home was a rented 28ft travel trailer in Yukon.  I don't remember the name of the trailer park?  I do remember the water was sulfur and when I washed clothes some stains from the iron in the water appeared.  There was also a little store where I bought my first set of canisters and a soap holder.  (I still have that).  I think I may still have some pitctures.
The little trailer was so small you could sit on the potty and take a shower at the same time.  Oh the good ole days.

Coolyfett

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2008, 09:25:43 PM »
Interesting. I used to hang over in that area of 103rd/Timaquana in highschool, I always wondered why one side of the bridge had houses and the other didn't. The ground doesn't look solid over there. And this place was build in the 1800s. I have never heard or read about this Yukon place, but I have been back there before. I didn't know a Naval base could just remove neighborhoods like that. There are plenty of neighbors around JIA right? Something sounds fishy about this Lake. I mean the Trout River leg has more action than this the Ortega River leg. Paved roads and sidewalks still there. 1800s huh then removed in the 60s? Can you dig up any more?
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Coolyfett

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2008, 09:36:00 PM »
Black Point Community was at the end of the streetcar line, on the St. Johns, just South of the current end of the runway. A brick highway set in concrete was called the "Old Orange Park Road" and it wandered over the ACL tracks and through Yukon on it's way north toward the city. At the time the Florida Guard operated a small base out at the point called Camp Fowler. When WWI came along, the Army went on to purchase all of what is now NAS. It was named Camp Joseph E. Johnston, after the famous Confederate General. Most of the Buildings including the church were relocated to Yukon, about a mile West of the new base HQ.

When the Navy came along in WWII, the streetcar line was gone, a newer more direct road "Roosevelt" was built as US 17. The navy purchased a huge tract of land in Clay County. It ran from Highway 21 west to the County line, and from Duval County line south to Keystone Heights. This was to be the scene of NAS JAX... a MASTER AIR BASE. The COJ wanted the base in town and pushed for the reopening of Camp Johnston. So in a 4 way swap, the Army took the lower half of the new navy reserve, this became Camp Blanding. The Northern Half was turned over to the State as a State Forest. The Navy got the Camp Johnston site and went about moving any remaining civilian buildings out. They also built the huge Dewey Park subdivision.

Even as late as 1963, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad still scheduled the fast streamliners to make a stop at Yukon, as long as the ticket read to/or/from North of Savannah, or South of Orlando. So it was not unusual to see Amtrak-Like trains pull up to the trim little white deopt with the purple trim (later converted to green trim when no solution could be found for the purple fade). The agents name was Pete Rood. I went to school with his (daughters? neices?) beautiful twins. Also with Mr. Hastings kid, Kevin. Hastings was an executive for the ACL.

The Post Master lived above the little Post Office which closed within the last 20-30 years. Their names were Webb. Butt's road is named for the family of Mr. Willis Butts, a local millionaire, from the old south school of culture. Willis was my dad's best friend and they even had a running joke back in 1959, dad bought a new white Caddie - Sedan De Ville (the one with crazy tail fins). When we got to that little church, Willis was crest fallen. So the next sunday, here comes Willis in a new identical caddie, only in black. Dad had a blackish color trilby hat, well Willis got out with a white one! It became a local ledgend. Between that and the bribes they would offer at the local restaurants to managers or waiters over who got to pay the Sunday Dinner bill.
Willis Butt's owned the Butt's mobile homes dealerships that were once a North Florida fixture. He always called me "Hamburger".

Yukon and the "40 acre field" were the playground of the boys from John Stockton Elementary School, our school had students from Ortega Forest and from Ortega Hillks, Yukon was the middle ground. The so called "40 acre field" is where the current warehouse complex is going in today, next to the park. Some developer cleared it, and was going for a shopping center. My understanding is they couldn't get a permit for the needed railroad crossing next to the Yukon Depot, so after much gound work, it was abandoned. Many machines sat out there just to rot... of course they became every manner of fort, tank, train or ??? Some of the most epic mud ball fights (and fist fights) in Jacksonville history took place out there.

After the housing moved out, a forboding cable gate went up across the intersection at Butts Road and Yukons Main street. It was manned by armed marines. I never could figure out what was so important about our old playground until I spotted what might have been an early dopler radar on a tall forest type tower in the SW corner of the old development. We tried to break through the lines and sneak a peek, but never got close. Looks like it's gone today too. Local lore says the Ortega was dredged to an extreme depth and submarine pins were built behind the Yukon Community early in the fight. I know there are old piles out in the river, but never found so much as a trail down to the water... The water IS very, very, deep.


OCKLAWAHA

Can you tell us more about UFOs crashing in Ortega River?
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Coolyfett

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2008, 09:48:02 PM »
There was a Navy plane crash in that area recently (last year?) - I wonder if it was near where the homes would have been.

Was it really a crash or some sort of plane interception? Did they ever find the plane? Something isnt right. Ock is not telling us EVERYTHING....How come no boats or fishing ever goes on on that side of the bridge? Whats in the water?

As a kid my parents first apartment in Jax was on Chaffee Road of Normandy BLVD navy planes flew over all the time.

Why did they really get rid of this neighborhood??? Seriously?
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Ocklawaha

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2008, 11:32:30 PM »
Similar housing was dated to WWII and was removed from bases nation wide mid 1960's-70's. Some are building new villages but they are NOT under the flight paths. Moody AFB in valdosta is a good example.
This land just dated to the Army-Fl Guard-City-Navy land swap deal. My guess is SOMETHING was back there circa mid 60's-80 or so, it was the "thing" on the tower down in the wetlands in the SW corner. That would explain the ever present armed guards and patrols in the woods.

As far as the submarine part, I CAN say there are piles in the river all over west of Yukon, but nothing I ever found on the shore line that looked like some kind of access point. Unless that one creek in the aerial image in the NW corner which seems pretty straight (dug out?) and ends at a roadway, had something to do with them.

The earliest buildings dated to 1900, 1917 and a host of 1940's vintage stock.

I think most boats stay out fo the upper Ortega for two reasons, all during the 1950-60 era, Ortega Hills dumped raw sewer waste into a canal  and a creek both emptied into the river. Now however, it's just the total lack of facilities upstream. A great spot for a small boat business on the river at Collins road though. Bass boats do make it up to Blanding or Collins on occasion.


OCKLAWAHA
« Last Edit: August 30, 2008, 11:36:38 PM by Ocklawaha »

deathstar

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2008, 01:59:04 AM »
Ock, my eyes are welcoming any and all info on Yukon and surrounding area that you're willing to dig up. I'm 26 years old, and LOVE reading about the history of this city. I grew up in Riverside, but have lived in Lakeshore area for 18 years now. I was born on the base, and never knew the history of it up until now.

So I beg you, let 'r rip with all that knowledge you've got!

SunKing

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2008, 09:24:18 AM »
Great history about a forgotten part of Jacksonville.  We used to run around back there in the late 70s and early 80s.  Mostly get into the woods by boat.  "The Beach" back up the Ortega River was the place where everyone would hang out on weekends.  Everyone waterskied back there before they closed it.  There was a good ropeswing neerby and lots of gators.  the water is deep back there but it is narrow and winding.  I dont know how a sub would make it.

I never saw a radar tower but there used to be a fire tower that was near the beach which was maybe a half mile south of the Yukon area.  You could climb that thing and see forever.  I never saw a patrol there.  That area was not guarded but the area behind and just south of Yukon was.  We used to sneak in there by road with 20 gauges and shoot squirrels and birds from the roads (they may have been firelanes, not the roads you were talking about, dont remember).  The guards would show up shortly and we could duck back into the woods and hide.  We would come out a few hundred yards away, get spotted and the chase was on again.  I dont think that you could get away with that today in the post 9/11 age.

Ocklawaha

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2008, 09:48:01 AM »
Sunking, yes, the smimming hole was called "BLUFF LANDING" and it's on the map back in the War of Yankee Aggression. The CSS St. Marys is sunk there, and in the 1950-60 era, you could still "see" remains of it on the bottom. Gators were no problem in those days, almost extinct... *(I kind of miss that freedom to swim). BUT, the damn blue crabs were everywhere. Had one lay my toe open like it was hit with a Japanese Sword! The base hospital did the stitches. Seems like they were always patching me up for something.

OCKLAWAHA

civil42806

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #25 on: September 02, 2008, 04:34:34 PM »
Excellent article!!

nicktooch

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #26 on: September 02, 2008, 04:43:45 PM »
someone at work mentioned yukon just the other day, and, since i had read this article, i had a plethora of info for those not in the know!

Ocklawaha

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #27 on: September 02, 2008, 10:38:24 PM »
Quote
I never saw a radar tower but there used to be a fire tower that was near the beach which was maybe a half mile south of the Yukon area.  You could climb that thing and see forever.  I never saw a patrol there.  That area was not guarded but the area behind and just south of Yukon was.  We used to sneak in there by road with 20 gauges and shoot squirrels and birds from the roads (they may have been firelanes, not the roads you were talking about, dont remember).


Hey Sunking, those boys in the woods shooting back at you wern't the squirrels! Hee Hee! We used bow and arrow's out there. Right after the cool fiberglass bows came out (no not compound) but nearly perfect. I thought I killed every critter in the woods. In fact, if you recall there was a tiny black community between Ortega Hills and the Infamous 40 acre field (where the warehouse complex is being built today). It was back in the woods on a dirt road, and fronting just across the tracks from Roosevelt, that land was all in crops. There was a fruit or vegie stand at the corner by the back gate of NAS JAX and Ortega Hills Drive. We'd save our lunch money and buy fresh sugar cane grown back on the creek. You could chew the stuff and we thought it was the coolest thing since the invention of the orange.

I was on that little dirt road where the new culvert crosses the tiny creek between the front warehouse complex and the mini-complex in the SW corner. Wasn't anything out there but woods, bushes and snakes back then. The abandoned machines from the field were instant "IRON CLADS" for dirt wars, BB Gun shootouts and god knows what else. After a long day I was departing for points north, and my Ortega Hills friends yelled to me, "Bob your dad is coming down the dirt road".  Now that wasn't a problem, as dad grew up in the family farms of Arkansas/Missouri and Oklahoma. Just figured he needed me for something. Before the car pulled up I spotted the biggest darn catfish I ever saw in that tiny creek. He was sort of "stuck" in the culvert area, but in those days it was deeper and had no concrete. The water had washed out a deep pool at each end of the pipe and he was just going back and forth. By the time dad stopped I was on him with my bow and arrow. Dad laughed, you'll never hit him! I released that arrow and it nailed that big dinner dead in the center back of his head! Dad just whistled, "Whew, your pretty good with that thing." Now I realize that was his way of telling me he was proud of me - a disfunctional childhood and a life as a Navy commander did nothing to enhance his ability to communicate that to me at the time. Dad was no slouch with a bow either back in the day. He was the first Navy Exchange commander to move the "Shoeshine Boys" into full barber and other positions. He caught hell for that, even a visit from the KKK. A visit that ended with him splitting an arrow in a corn flakes box. The Klan boys had been sent to warn him from promoting "N words". When they saw his shot, one remarked, "I ain't NEVER seen anything like that". Dad answered, "Yeah, and the great thing about these are you never hear where their comming from!" The ugly's took to the road and never came back. Funny, today I probably couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with one... go figure... just another YUKON TALE.


OCKLAWAHA

deathstar

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #28 on: September 03, 2008, 12:29:13 AM »
I know this is unrelated to YUKON, but OCK, what year were the houses between San Jaun Ave., Cassat Ave., & Blanding Blvd. built? I live within that neighborhood, and have always wondered. There are some abandoned 2 houses all throughout here too, and stories ran wild of murders, kidnappings, etc.. in some of those houses. Any truth to that?

Ocklawaha

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #29 on: September 03, 2008, 01:25:56 AM »


I was a kid when this was taken at Lakeshore Drive and Park Avenue, in March of 1958. It gives you some idea of the Jacksonville, I remember.

Lakeshore itself predates most of us, having been "another San Jose" in concept, it started during the great Florida land boom of the mid-1920's. The old papers are full of LAKESHORE news. They even had a sort of BRT bus line called Lakeshore Transit or some such, same as San Jose.

The tightly packed tiny houses that came along in the 1950's really changed the face of the original plans and the whole project went to hell in a handbasket. Yet it is still some of the prettiest land in Jacksonville. Once had a home on Lexington Avenue, so I know the area... Mostly circa 1960-70 and by then it wasn't much to crow about. As for crime, I don't recall any special stuff, but in the 1930's being a well established "RITZ" area, I'm sure some of our darkest figures had property there. Machine Gun Kelly, The Barkers, and the Capone boys were Jacksonville hangers one and all. So you could be on the trail of something cool. Otherwise, the Bars at San Juan and Blanding, were ROUGH places during the leather jacket grease days of the late 1950's. I knew a guy (since deceased) named Eddie that lived that life and got into a huge fight at that corner and thrown right out of the window... He looked pretty nasty when we got to Saint Vincents! HA!

From personal family experience, I would STRONGLY advise ANYONE owning an old home in these historic districts or our other historic districts, to invest in a metal detector and scan every inch of the floor, walls and ceilings. An old shotgun house in Volusia produced a 20 pound bag of silver coin, hidden in the wall at the ceiling corner.


OCKLAWAHA