Neighborhoods: Spring Park

April 5, 2013 31 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville visits a Southside neighborhood whose residential district includes a number of older homes and several apartment complexes, primarily tucked between Emerson Street, Philips Highway and Beach Boulevard: Spring Park.

Douglas Anderson School of the Arts opened as public school 107 in 1922.  It served as an elementary, junior and high school for African Americans living south and east of the St. Johns River.  It was renamed in honor of Douglas Anderson (1884-1936) in 1941.  For many years, Anderson operated the only buses serving the black communities of Duval County. During the 1960s, it was the San Diego campus of Florida Junior College.  Of interesting note, Douglas Anderson's father, Samuel, served as a representative to the Florida Legislature. He introduced a Bill that later was accepted to fence railroad tracks to prevent the slaughtering of cattle by passing trains.

Completed in 1957, Southgate Shopping Center was one of the first suburban shopping centers constructed in the Southside.  At the time, it was known as South Gate Plaza and its tenant list included W.T. Grant, F.W. Woolworth, Winn-Dixie, Toy Town and Morrison's Cafeteria. A major intention of the recently debated 2030 Mobility Plan and Fee is to encourage the reuse and redevelopment of aging commercial properties and sites such as Southgate.

Spring Park's residential setting and street pattern are an unique blend of architectural styles and ages, ranging from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century.

The Metro Square office park was originally constructed as the Philips Highway Plaza, Jacksonville's first enclosed mall, in 1960.  The two story building that houses Wells Fargo was originally Montgomery Ward.

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