Peterbrooke Chocolatier and the Story of Mixon TownJanuary 20, 2015 6 comments Print Article
Peterbrooke Chocolatier recently announced plans to transform an abandoned bacon slicing plant into a new state-of-the-art chocolate factory. While this is big news, the most interesting part of the story is their decision to invest in the revitalization of Mixon Town. Here's the background story on this long overlooked neighborhood on the outskirts of downtown Brooklyn and Riverside.
Religious Mixon Town
Mixon Town is home to several historic religious structures. Many of which are still in use today.
The Macedonia Primitive Baptist Church, on Forest Street, was built in 1934.
King Solomon United Baptist Church constructed this large sanctuary in 2004.
The former King Solomon United Baptist Church building is located across the street and dates back to 1900. Peterbrooke Chocolatier's new chocolate factory can be seen in the background.
Now owned by Clara White Mission, the former Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church was constructed in 1915.
For more history and a 2011 photo tour inside of the then abandoned structure: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2011-oct-abandoned-jacksonville-our-lady-of-the-angels-church
Built in 1908, Greater Bethany Baptist Church's sanctuary may be the most impressive in Mixon Town.
Commercial Mixon Town (Edison Avenue)
Every historic Jacksonville neighborhood is home to its very own "town center". Edison Avenue is Mixon Town's commercial district. Once as vibrant as Five Points, San Marco Square and Park & King, Edison Avenue has suffered with the construction of Interstate 10, which parallels the roadway one block south.
The City of Jacksonville's Animal Care & Protective Services shelter opened at the intersection of Forest and Edison Streets in 2009.
This commercial structure at the intersection of Edison Avenue and Broward Street was completed in 1930. For years, a small neighborhood market operated out of this location.
This two story building at 531 Osceola Street was built in 1922. It sits a few hundred feet south of Edison Avenue.
A popular neighborhood restaurant used to occupy this commercial building at the intersection of Edison Avenue and Osceola Street.
Mixon Town Green Space
In general, parks are considered to be an amenity in walkable neighborhoods like Mixon Town. Unfortunately, Mixon Town's green spaces are some of the most contaminated parcels of property in the City of Jacksonville. Any revitalization of this neighborhood must involve the clean-up and transformation of Mixon Town's parks and waterways.
Once a popular active neighborhood park, Forest Park and its community center are closed to all activity. The 4.4-acre green space is an EPA superfund site. From 1910 until the 1960s, the City of Jacksonville operated the Forest Street Incinerator on portions of this property and a now closed elementary school next door. Here, the City of Jacksonville disposed of combustion ash, clinker and ash residues for five decades. After the incinerator ceased operations, this park and a neighborhood elementary school were built in its place.
[ quote ]Cleanup Progress
"The City of Jacksonville installed a fence to restrict access to the most highly contaminated areas of the Forest Street Incinerator in the 1990s and at Lonnie C. Miller, Sr. Park in 2005. The City covered exposed ash with gravel, sod and compost to reduce contact with soil contamination. In 2006, EPA initiated and completed short-term cleanup at the 5th & Cleveland Incinerator portion of the site. Cleanup activities included digging up contaminated soil and placing two feet of clean soil in the location of a planned tennis facility. EPA also initiated and completed a short-term cleanup at the Forest Street Incinerator portion of the site to allow for construction of an animal care and control facility. The City of Jacksonville began cleaning up soil contamination on affected residences in 2010. EPA placed institutional controls on some properties to restrict certain types of digging. The City cleaned up approximately 400 residential yards."
In 2007, this 1,330' long multiuse path was constructed within the McCoys Creek Greenway (originially McCoys Park). It is a reminder of Mixon Town's heyday. This space was an original part of McCoys Park. McCoys Park was 29 acres of linear green space that was created with the 1930 channelization of McCoys Creek. Unfortunately, years of neglect and industrial contamination have resulted in McCoys Creek being one of the most polluted waterways in Duval County.
Over the last decade, a failed bulkhead and continuous flooding has resulted in the stretch of the greenway between Osceola and Copeland Streets reverting back into wetlands.
After eight decades of neglect and silting, Joseph E. Craig's vision of an inland waterway for barges and sport boating can still be seen from the Cash Building Materials bridge in Mixon Town.
Mixon Town is located just north of Interstate 10 and west of Interstate 95.
Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at firstname.lastname@example.org