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.

St. Nicholas Bethel Baptist Church was established in 1880 on San Diego Road, 1/4 mile from Kings Avenue in South Jacksonville. Courtesy of Florida State Archives at

The St. Nicholas Bethel Baptist Church on San Diego Road today.

St. Nicholas Playground was originally named Spring Park when it opened after the City acquired the property in 1936 and 1937.  At the time, the nearby St. Nicholas Park and Home Park subdivisions were developed to cater to the Southside's growing population. In 1942, the Spring Park Elementary School opened adjacent to the playground. Soon, the park became a popular site for games of the City's baseball leagues. In the 1990s, before neighborhood opposition to save the neighborhood school, the Duval County School Board's first choice for performing arts middle school was to convert Spring Park Elementary because of its proximity to Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.  As a result of community opposition, Spring Park's elementary school was saved and the new performing arts middle school was constructed in LaVilla. Today, the playground continues to serve as the main public space for Spring Park and the adjacent neigborhood of St. Nicholas.

Just north of Spring Park Elementary School and the St. Nicholas Playground, the neighborhood seamlessly blends into adjoining St. Nicholas' apartment district. Adjacent to the historic St. Nicholas Town Center, this convenient location of high density residential living provides the community with a walkable node where residents can actually live, work and play.

The Children's Home Society of Florida was established in Jacksonville on November 17, 1902 with a staff of two. Now based out of Winter Park, FL, it has a staff of more than 1,800 serving every community throughout the State of Florida.  Their Buckner Division, located at the intersection of San Diego Road and Spring Park Road, helps more than 9,000 Northeast Florida kids and families annually. Prior to their operation, this site was the Louise Barrett Memorial Home for Boys.

Huguenot Park is located at Nain Road and Hunter Circle. It's one of only two public parks in Spring Park.

Emerson Street (State Road 126) serves as Spring Park's southern border.  In 1967, a short divided freeway segment known as the Emerson Expressway (originally the Emerson Leg of the Hart Bridge Expressway) opened, connecting Spring Park with the Hart Bridge Expressway and Interstate 95.

The triangular area between Emerson Street, Beach/Atlantic Boulevards and Philips Highway is known as Spring Park.

Neighborhood tour by Ennis Davis. Contact Ennis at

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