Neighborhoods: South Riverside

August 3, 2010 9 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Classified by the City of Jacksonville as South Riverside, this neighborhood encompasses parts of San Marco and the 19th century rural Philips community.

The Philips Community

Named after the owner of the Red Bank Plantation and Duval County's sheriff from 1833-1839, the Philips community grew up around a railway station near Red Bank.  The settlement remained in existence until after World War II.  Over time, the outward growth of Jacksonville has completely engulfed this former rural community.  Despite the city's growth, remnants of the historic community still exist.

Philips Craig Swamp Cemetery

Philips Craig Swamp Cemetery is a 140-year-old cemetery along St. Augustine Road at the north end of the neighborhood.

The 2-acre cemetery sits a few blocks off Philips Highway on land that was once part of an original land grant made to William Hendricks by Spain in 1797. Hendricks' daughter married Albert Philips Sr., father of Duval County's first sheriff and owner of the adjacent 450-acre Red Bank Plantation. In 1870, the 2-acre site became home to the small wooden Philips Methodist Church, school and graveyard. Wooden markers that marked those early graves are long gone, as is the church.

City historic planner Joel McEachin said the cemetery warranted historic preservation because it is one of the few reminders of a rural community that used to be there, associated with the Philips and Hendricks families.

"They had a plantation, and after the Civil War, a community sprung up around there," he said. "The road in front of the cemetery is the Old Kings Road, the first highway in North Florida. It was well-traveled in the early years and very important as a connection. The railroad line came in in the 1880s, and that also had to help the continued growth of the area."

What remains are 19th- and 20th-century gravestones, some achingly obvious as to who lies under them. One with no date or name and lying in the grass weaves a poem visible through the shadows of a winter-bared tree above: "Beneath this stone, in soft repose, Is laid a mother's dearest pride, A flow that scarce had waked to life, And light and beauty ere it died."

"It was probably a family plot," Ferguson said. "It's a child's grave, but I don't know who."

Ferguson said his research has uncovered far more records of burials than headstones, confirmed with a number of sunken spots in the soil where graves may lie. Elsewhere, a few grand memorials still stand, like a granite tree trunk that marks the 1919 grave of J.P. Souder, a Woodmen of the World symbol atop its tall length.

Only one family plot remains encircled by a wrought-iron fence, an arched stone memorial marking the deaths one month apart in 1888 of Mary Hufbauer and her 17-year-old son, Louis.

Construction on the new fence should be done in a few weeks, Carlucci said. The society, which helps people find their family history via a large research library, also has a complete list of those listed as buried in the cemetery , the oldest surviving gravestone that of J.C. Hudnall, who died in 1867, the last burial that of Chester Walker, interred with his family in 1976.

Old cemetery now slowly losing its battle with time, Florida Times-Union 3/12/03

Philips Congregational Church

The church at St. Augustine and Kingswood roads was built in 1887 by the Philips Congregational Society to serve Red Bank Plantation workers who lived in cottages that used to line the narrow streets. It remained as a church until 1914, then was used as a home until it was recently put up for sale. The original sanctuary remained, a kitchen was added at one end under the chandeliers, and a plaque designates the tin-roofed structure as a historic landmark.

Source: New use for old church Ministry agency has bigger home, Florida Times-Union 11/3/01

Angelina Danese Park

Angelina Danese Park is located in south Jacksonville, at the intersection of Danese Court and St. Augustine Road. The site comprised part of the Philips community that was established in the last half of the 1800's. Alexander and Angelina Danese, who arrived in America as immigrants from Italy in 1885, had twelve children following their marriage in 1898. The couple established their home on the park property in 1929, and after their deaths the children wanted to honor their parent's memory. Their son Emanuel Danese, and his wife Mary Margaret, later donated the property to the city in 1973 for use as a passive public park in honor of his parents and with the stipulation that it be named for his mother. But the site remained a vacant tract until the city, with the aid of City Councilmen Matt Carlucci and Reggie Fullwood, developed the property as a neighborhood park, which opened in March 2003.

A Unique Residential Mix

South Riverside's residential atmosphere is the product of a unique mix of architectural styles and ages, ranging from the 19th century Philips community and early 20th century City of South Jacksonville to present times.

Powell Design Group, an Orlando-based architectural, planning and interior design firm, is pleased to announce a merger with DesignWorks Architects of Jacksonville. The combined firm will move forward as Powell Design Group, with an increased statewide reach, and expanded scope of services. In addition to core strengths in Hospitality, Entertainment, Multifamily, Retail, Office and Mixed-Use Commercial, the merger has added Governmental, Banking and Educational expertise to the firm’s offerings.

Powell Design Group’s current work includes mixed-use projects in Central and South Florida, resort and condo/hotels, and ongoing work for the University of Central Florida, Duval County Public Schools, Mercantile Bank, and the Jacksonville Port Authority. As a result of the combined talents of the new entity, Powell Design Group has recently received commissions from the University of North Florida, Walt Disney Imagineering, and The Ft. Pierce Community Redevelopment Agency for ongoing architectural and interior design services.

Powell Design Group now counts three statewide locations: corporate headquarters in Orlando, and branch offices in Jacksonville and Fort Pierce and is registered in 16 states.

Iglesia Bautista Hispana - Ashland & Rosemary Streets

St. Augustine Road

Owned and operated by Art Jennette, the King of Cracker Cooking, Checker's BBQ & Seafood is the home of meals called the Trailer Trash Special and the Red Neck Serf & Turf.

Emerson Street

“With God, a dream and $125,”  Melton Jenkins, Jr. and his wife Willie Mae opened Jenkins Quality Barbecue in 1957, using the family’s secret barbecue sauce recipe, handed down from his father.  Our first of many restaurants was located at Kings Road near Spires Avenue.  Ribs and chicken were the extent of the menu.  Our customers enjoyed our barbecue and kept coming back, bringing friends with them. During those early days in business, the budget was tight, so we advertised by word of mouth and “smoke signals”.  Not only did word of mouth work well for us, but so did the aroma streaming from our smoke stack. It filled the air, and folks followed it to our doorstep.

Now over fifty years later, the second and third generations of the Jenkins family are still proudly serving up old-fashioned, down home goodness with a smile.

Southside Church of God Christ

South Riverside is located along St. Augustine Road between Hendricks Avenue, Emerson Street and Philips Highway on Jacksonville's Southside.

Article by Ennis Davis