Forgotten Jacksonville: Westbrook Park

March 11, 2014 6 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Nestled in the middle of an industrial corridor and railroads, Westbrook Park may be one of the most overlooked public spaces in Jacksonville's urban core.

Westbrook Park anchors the 20-block Westbrook neighborhood, which is bounded by McDuff Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue, Three Mile Branch and the CSX railroad line paralleling West Beaver Street. The park and the surrounding community date back to 1911, when they were platted within walking distance of Lackawanna's massive Seaboard Air Line Shops and Terminals.

The park, and the mixed-use neighborhood surrounding it, grew rapidly during the early 20th century. By 1929, the park contained a one-acre playground, swings, a slide, and a clay play court for basketball and volleyball.  Between 1933 and 1937 additional property was acquired, expanding the park south to Broadway Avenue. During this era, Westbrook's commercial district, stretching from the park to McDuff Avenue also grew to the point where it had its own movie theatre, the Dixie Theatre.

Today, the park and Tree-Mile Branch, the creek that flows through it, are a quiet Westside retreat. With most of the grounds remaining in a natural state, the 103-year-old park is known for its mature landscape, foot bridges, and community center.

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