Neighborhoods: Empire Point

May 1, 2013 13 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Located outside of Jacksonville until the city's consolidation with Duval County, this Southside neighborhood is home to many residences dating back to the 19th century.

Episcopal High School/Keystone Estate

Episcopal High School was constructed on the 19th century site of Mary Parker Cummings' Keystone Bluff estate in 1966. The Keystone property was acquired by Asa Packer in 1881.  Prior to being Keystone, the property was the site of the Civil War era Clifton Mill.

Keystone, the home of Mary Packer Cummings in the 1890s. This house replaced an earlier structure that burned in 1889. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,

This building was constructed as part of a bowling alley by Charles Cummings in 1895. Cummings, who didn't get along with an adjacent neighbor, constructed it along the property line so the neighbor "would get the full benefit of the noise from the bowling....and card games."

Built in 1893, the Cummings guest house is one of two buildings remaining on Mary Packer Cummings' 19th century Keystone Bluff estate.

Mary Packer Cummings on her yacht, the Keystone, with Captain Henry D. DeGrove at the wheel. Cummings used it for service between Jacksonville and Keystone Bluff (the winter home of Cummings). It was sold in 1913 to Captain DeGrove and used on Passenger Package Freight and Mail Run from Jacksonville (Newman Street wharf) and Keystone, Arlington and Floral Bluff, Florida. It was then used for exclusive Passenger Excursion Service from Jacksonville to Green Cove Springs. Around 1925, it was sold to Captain Charles M. Fozzard and converted to Fairbanks-Morse 60 hp. diesel. It became a harbor tug and later was sold to parties in Miami for the same work. Image courtesy of the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,

The Episcopal campus contains a significant historic building, the Acosta House, built in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Purchased by St. Elmo W. Acosta in 1911, a Jacksonville businessman and City Council member. It then became part of the ESJ campus after the founding of the School. The Acosta House currently houses photography classes and studios. It's wide porch is used for numerous School events, including Commencement ceremonies. Image courtesy of

This Glengarry Road house dates back to 1872. It is believed to be the oldest remaining house in Empire Point. It was constructed for Robert Bruce Van Valkenburg, a US Congressman from New York who was also the commander of Union troops at the Battle of Antietam and Minister to Japan between 1866 and 1869. After moving to Florida, he served as the Associate Justice of the Florida Supreme Court from 1874 until his death in 1888. This home was originally decorated with furniture the Valkenburgs collected from Japan.

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