Metro Jacksonville takes a look into the development of an portion of San Jose that was known as Skinner's Pasture for most of the 20th Century.
Skinner's Pasture Neighborhood Tour
1. Powers Avenue
Powers Avenue serves as the major roadway through this section of San Jose. The 1.9-mile road's original right-of-way was donated by the Skinner family so access could be provided to a school site, also donated by the family. The end result was the construction of a road that also enhanced the value and development potential of remaining parcels within the former pasture land. In 2000, Powers Avenue was widened between University Boulevard and Old Kings Road for $6.5 million. The project was funded by the local-option gas tax program which is expected to expire in 2016.
4. Baker Skinner Park
Baker Skinner Park is located near the intersection of Powers Avenue and Old Kings Road. The 24-acre property was purchased from the Skinner family in January 1994. Appraised at $83,000 per acre, the family sold the city the land for $25,000 per acre. The $1.1 million park is named for A.C. Skinner and Dick Baker, president of the Northeast FL Builders Association and winner of the Association's 1993 leadership award.
Arthur Chester Skinner -- Skinner 's family sold the city the land for $25,000 per acre -- far below the appraised value of $83,000 per acre. Both Baker and Skinner were honored because of the time and money they, and their families, donated to the development of Jacksonville parks. Today the park features two t-ball fields and four baseball fields, picnic areas, a nature and jogging trail, playscapes, security lights and parking.
5. Wolfson High School
In 1962, members of Arthur Chester Skinner's family deeded property in the heart of Skinner's Pasture to the Duval County School Board. In 1965, Samuel W. Wolfson High School opened its doors. Originally, the school's name was set to become Landon Senior High. However, Duval County School Board member Ned Searcy proposed naming the school after Samuel W. Wolfson, who had recently died in 1963. Wolfson was a noted industrialist and philanthropist who owned the Jacksonville Braves baseball team. Wolfson had also served on the board of directors of Jacksonville University, Barnett National Bank, the Gator Bowl Association, and Jacksonville Charities, Inc.
Before Searcy asked the board to consider naming the new school for Wolfson, he read a letter from the Wolfson Foundation. The letter stated the foundation was prepared to donate $50,000 toward construction of the new school to be located on a tract known as "Skinner's Pasture," south of University Boulevard and between the Florida East Coast Railway track and Old. St. Augustine Road. Searcy said it would be fitting to name the school after Wolfson, not only because of the donation, but because "he was such a good citizen of our community."
6. Apartment Complexes
After the opening of Samuel W. Wolfson High School in 1965, several apartment complexes were built surrounding the school, between Powers Avenue and Old Kings Road. This land use buffered existing San Jose Estates residents from new industrial uses that began to locate between Powers Avenue and the Florida East Coast Railway tracks. The first apartment complex opened in 1966. The last was completed in 1978.