Jacksonville's Next Historic District: Brooklyn?

September 4, 2013 42 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

One of Jacksonville's oldest African-American urban neighborhoods, Brooklyn was platted shortly after the Civil War by Miles Price, a Confederate veteran, in 1868. Unfortunately, with its buildings coming down one by one, it's slowly disappearing from existence. Now, if the Jacksonville Historic Commission has their way, a few blocks of the neighborhood will become Jacksonville's next historic district.

During Jacksonville's fourth occupation of the Civil War, a large contingent of Union soldiers were stationed in Brooklyn. 328 Chelsea Street is believed to be one of the last post-Civil War cottages remaining in the urban core, providing a direct link with Jacksonville's Reconstruction.

Built in 1925, Chelsea Street's Church of God in Christ Temple is one of the only buildings in the proposed district that contains a full basement. 328 Chelsea Street can be seen in the background next door.

These duplexes are the only two-story residences remaining withing the proposed historic district boundary. Located at 1210-1212 and 1206-1208 Price Street, both were constructed by Walter E. Boyles in 1927.

The vacant sanctuary of Mount Calvary Baptist Church is located at the intersection of Dora and Spruce Streets. Completed in 1948, the chuch was designed and built by noted African American contractor, James Edward Hutchins.  Hutchins designed and constructed many African American churches in the city and residences in the Durkee Gardens and College Park areas northwest of downtown Jacksonville.

The architecture of Brooklyn's residences reflect variations of the Folk Vernacular Style. According to the City of Jacksonville Historic Preservation Office, these buildings represent vanishing examples of how rural and lay builders utilized simple and time tested construction principles, as well as local building materials of the 19th and early 20th century.

Five residences within the proposed historic district boundary reflect a building type known as "shotgun houses."  They are characterized as being narrow, front facing gable houses that were common in the urban South between 1880 and 1930.

364 Spruce Street is a hall-and-parlor residence that date backs to the 19th century. A hall-and-parlor is a side gabled house that is usually two rooms wide and one room deep. It is the most common design for folk houses in the rural South.

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