Urban Neighborhoods: Riverview

March 26, 2013 4 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville shares the history of an early 20th century Northside development that was originally intended to become Jacksonville's most valuable and desirable suburb: Riverview

Riverview's Waterfront

Along the Trout and Ribault Rivers, two tributaries of the St. Johns, several large residences line Carbondale Drive and Water Street. While Carbondale Drive is relatively flat, Water Street is built into the side of hill, creating a bluff like setting very uncommon in coastal Florida.

The T. K. Stokes Boat Ramp is located in northwest Jacksonville, west of Lem Turner Road on the north side of the Ribault River. The land was originally part of the Riverview subdivision platted in 1911. Duval County purchased a portion of the site in 1956, and also leased adjacent property. The facility contained a softball field, basketball court, playground, and tennis courts by 1965. Three boat ramps had been added by 1978, and the leases were eventually terminated and the athletic amenities eliminated. In 1992, the City completed a major renovation of the ramp and also expanded the site by purchasing one-acre of land to the west. Prior to 1965, the facility was named for Thomas K. Stokes, Jr. (1915-2002), a local civic leader and Duval County commissioner. He served as the Illustrious Potentate of the local Morocco Temple of the Shrine, as president of the Opportunity Branch of the YMCA, and as a board member of the Big Brothers.

In 1979, the City purchased land for Riverview Park from the estate of H.S. Walker. This site was originally the property of Dr. E.H. Armstrong, who developed it into the Riverview Tropical Gardens.  By the 1950s, it was the site of Sid Walker's Riverview Amusement Park, which featured a major roller rink called Stake-O-Rama, 10 rides, restaurants, a swimming pool, beach, ballroom and picnic areas. In 1959, a large portion of the site was carved out for the construction of a shopping center that was anchored by K-Mart for a number of years. Although K-Mart closed in May 2010, it was replaced by Roses discount store in September 2011. Through the years, the wooded area and river setting, coupled with a playground area for children, continue to make this hidden city park a popular get-a-way spot for families.

Article by Ennis Davis. Contact Ennis at edavis@moderncities.com

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