Sights and Scenes: Springfield Historic District

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

Just north of Downtown Jacksonville, the Springfield Historic District is one of the largest historic districts in the State of Florida. Home to a diverse range of architecture, tree-lined streets, a mix of uses, and even a historic warehouse district, Springfield is one of the many neighborhoods that make Jacksonville a unique place.

Springfield Historic District Timeline

1869 Springfield named for a "spring of good water" located in a field (now W. 4th St.) Credited to Calvin L. Robinson, a Jacksonville merchant.

1871 Springfield advertised as a planned residential community of Jacksonville (suburb) offered by John H. Norton, one of Jacksonville’s first professional developers.

1878 Springfield area site (West of Pine Street [Main]) selected to erect the new public waterworks plant. D.J.A. Cloud of Pa. built City Water works and sewer for $ 200,000.

1879 Horse-drawn streetcar line built up Pine (Main) from Bay to 8th St. by B. Upton.

1884 G.A. Backenstoe leased the trolley and built a skating rink, dinner hall, and restaurant at 8th and Pine.
Street car line sold to Springfield Company.

1888 Jacksonville Board of Trade organized Sub-Tropical Exposition opened ( 325’ x 152’) at the Water Works Park corner Main and 1st --Erection began in the fall of 1887 to compete with California for tourism (Jacksonville had been a major resort destination for several years). President Grover Cleveland and Frederick Douglas visit Expo. Sub-tropical Exposition closed in 1891.

1888 Outbreak of yellow fever killed 427 in Jax; paralyzed business via a rather forceful quarantine.

1891 Sub-Tropical Exposition fourth year in existence. Drill ground built near the Sub-Tropical Exposition. Gale blew in part of Sub-Tropical Building.

1893 Site at 1st and Laura became the Florida Zoological Gardens and Exposition until 1920’s when it moved to Heckscher Dr.

1893 Electric street car loop from Main to Walnut to 1st and back to Main (didn’t go to west of Main until much later).

1936 Last trolley removed from service. 100 Palm trees along rails removed and planted around Waterworks Park.

1977 The Springfield Neighborhood Plan was produced by the Jacksonville Planning Department. As the first comprehensive analysis of the area since its nadir in the Sixties, one important outcome of this report was a successful downzoning movement. This restricted further commercial intrusion into the residential streets.

1980 The Springfield Commercial Revitalization: Main Street Project was prepared for the Greater Springfield Business Association and the CoJ Department of Housing and Urban Development by Plantec Corporation to determine the commercial revitalization potential of an eleven-block area, including portions of both Main and Eighth Streets.

1984 Historic Property Survey Commissioned by SPAR and prepared by Historic Properties Associates according to the criteria used for placement on the National Register of Historic Places.

1985 AIA R/UDAT Study was conducted by the AIA’s Regional Urban Design Assistance Team; this project assembled highly qualified architects, planners, preservationists, financiers, and residents who developed a comprehensive program for revitalizing the Springfield Historic District.

1986 In-Fill Design Study Another new organization, Springfield Revitalization, Inc., sponsored a design study of infill housing with the intention of acquiring vacant lots and building historically compatible housing. None were ever built.

1987 Springfield was officially placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A Random Collection of Photographs of the Springfield Warehouse District

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