10 of Jax's Most Endangered Historic Places

December 10, 2015 19 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

7. Brooklyn's Park Street
Park Street between Forest Street and the Lee Street viaduct

One of Jacksonville's oldest African-American urban neighborhoods, Brooklyn was platted shortly after the Civil War by Confederate veteran Miles Price in 1868. After years of blight, decay and abandonment, Brooklyn has become one of the hottest places for redevelopment in the city. Unfortunately, instead of a balanced blend of old and new, preserving attributes of a neighborhood that make it unique, much of historic Brooklyn is in danger of being completely eliminated altogether. The challenges of integrating old and new can be clearly seen along Park Street. Once filled with brick warehouses and storefronts tightly hugging the street, it's rapidly gaining its fair share of demolished sites in anticipation of new development. While its future is still undecided, in a city not known for its historic preservation policies, Park Street's older buildings may be living out their final years.

8. The red light district's last remaining bordello
615 Houston Street

A century ago, then as Ward Street and located two blocks from Union Terminal, Houston street took the crown as Jacksonville's undisputed Red Light District. For those who don't know, a red light district is a place where there is a high concentration of prostitution and sex-oriented businesses.  San Francisco had the Barbary Coast, D.C. had 14th Street, in New Orleans tricks were turned in Storyville, and in New York, it was "The Deuce."  If you were willing to pay for a lady of the night in Jacksonville, you headed to LaVilla's Ward Street.

When this brick building was constructed in 1914, more than 60 whore houses lined a four block stretch of Ward Street west of Broad Street.  A popular strip for Jacksonville tourist and sailors, J.E.T. (Just Easy Times) Bowden used a pro-prostitution platform to win the mayor's race of 1915. Today, this is the last bordello building still standing that directly relates to Houston Street's colorful past. However, it won't be around long. A 7-story, 72-unit affordable housing development for seniors is planned for the site.

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