A Historical Stroll Down Talleyrand Avenue

May 29, 2012 5 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

While Downtown Jacksonville's wharfs boomed a century ago, this heavy maritime related industrial district also came to life during the same period of time. While our wharfs are long gone, this district remains an urban Jacksonville economic powerhouse: Talleyrand

East 8th Street Streetcar Line

The Belet Millworks building was constructed along the 8th Street streetcar line in 1920.

While Talleyrand may seem like a long walk from downtown today, residents and employees of this district did not have to walk as far as one would think.  Multiple streetcar routes provided access to the Talleyrand area for nearly four decades of the 20th century.  Needless to say, the same development pattern that cities like Charlotte, Salt Lake City, and Austin are witnessing with their recent fixed-rail investments, dense development occurred around these lines.  One streetcar route to Talleyrand ran along 8th Street from Springfield, terminating at Armour & Company's slaughterhouse and stockyards and the Wilson & Toomer (Kerr McGee) fertilizer plant.  While the meat packing industry is well known for its impact on the American Midwest, Jacksonville was an early 20th century center of economic influence on this industry as well.  To capitalize on beef production in the Southeast, Chicago-based Armour & Company established the Interstate Stockyards, a slaughterhouse and fertilizer plant at the 8th Street streetcar line's terminus.

A Sanborn map illustrating Armour & Company's facilities at the intersection of East 8th Street and Talleyrand Avenue.

It would be the only meat packing plant constructed by the "Big Five" (Armour, Cudahy, Morris, Swift and Wilson) in the Southeastern United States before 1920.  Today, the Armour site is the location of Southeast Toyota's vehicle processing center.  The neighborhood surrounding East 8th Street was platted as the Glen Myra subdivision, allowing Talleyrand industrial workers to reside nearby.  Although the streetcar line is gone, the impact of this operation on the surrounding area is still noticable in the form of gridded streets, buildings directly abutting 8th Street and residences without driveways.  Over the years, the neighborhood has declined but its location gives the Talleyrand area a viable option for mixed use development within a walkable setting.

Southeast Toyota Distributors, a subsidiary of JM Family Enterprises, Inc., is the world’s largest independent distributor of Toyota and Scion cars, trucks and vans. With 175 independent Toyota dealers in the five-state region of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina, Southeast Toyota sales out-pace Toyota sales in every other part of the U.S.  

In 2010, Southeast Toyota sold 340,800 vehicles, including 56,000 from fleet business. Approximately 75 percent of Southeast Toyota’s vehicles arrived in 2010 via rail from various Toyota manufacturing facilities throughout North America, and nearly 25 percent arrived by ship from Japan. Southeast Toyota's 75-acre Talleyrand processing center prepares new vehicles for distribution throughout the Southeast.

Glen Myra is an urban Jacksonville neighborhood in need of more exposure as secondary streets feature interesting historical structures.  The Danese Street building below was constructed in 1925 and was once occupied by the Sunshine Potato Chip Company.  Today, the structure is occupied by the Emory Manufacturing Company, which faces Westcott Street, which is one block east.  Emory manufactures bicycles and is said to be the first manufacturer of beach cruisers in the United States.

Liquid Environmental Solutions on East 7th Street is a comprehensive provider of non-hazardous liquid and organic waste collection, transportation, treatment and recycling services.

JEA's Buckman Water Reclamation Facility eats up a large portion of the Glen Myra and is now the community's northern border.

Previously, the Municipal Dock Railway, the Talleyrand Terminal Railroad (TTR) is a short line terminal railroad run by Rail Link, Inc., a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. It serves the Jacksonville Port Authority and tenants with over ten miles of track. It has only one main line, running west from the Tallyrand Marine Terminal on the St. Johns River just north of Glen Myra to an interchange with CSX and Norfolk Southern northeast of downtown Jacksonville, Florida. Operations began on July 28, 1996.  Commodities transported include automobiles, chemicals, intermodal containers, and pulp and paper.

Municipal Docks Railway employees in 1950.  The City owned railroad featured ten miles of track and a diesel switcher, linking the city docks with nine nearby industries and the rest of the city.

In 1960, coffee was the leading commodity passing through the Municipal Docks and Terminals.  The volume of green coffee moving through the docks originated in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico and consigned mainly to four coffee roasting plants in the city, which was the fourth largest coffee importer in the nation.

The large warehouses in the background were constructed in 1919 for the storage of cotton.  At one point, it was owned by the National Container Corporation.  The National Container Corporation was founded in 1938 by Harry Ginsberg. By 1956, when it was purchased by Owens-Illinois, Inc., it was the nation's third largest box company. This structure was last occupied by Smurfit-Stone, which used the facility to manufacture cardboard boxes.

Sanborn maps illustrate the original building's use as cotton warehouses for the municipal docks.

An aerial of the Municipal Docks Railway (now TTR), National Container Corporation, and Glen Myra in 1947.

Fire Station Number 11 is located at the intersection of Talleyrand Avenue and East 18th Street.

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