Then and now: The evolution of Jax's neighborhoods

November 21, 2016 0 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

A brief visual glimpse of the evolution of select neighborhoods throughout Jacksonville.

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In 1876, Florida's first state fairgrounds were established near the second paved road in Duval County. 1880, the fair's popularity led to the City of Fairfield was incorporated as a suburb of Jacksonville. Fairfield was annexed into Jacksonville seven years later. In 1918, Fairfield's waterfront was utilized by the US Government Emergency Fleet Corporation's (EFC) attempt to develop concrete ships for World War I. Between 1918 and 1921, Toldedo-based firm A. (Anderton) Bentley & Sons built and launched 7,500-ton concrete tankers for the war effort. After the cancellation of the ship program, the north portion of the site was sold to Henry Ford, who built Jacksonville's Ford Motor Company Assembly plant along the St. Johns River. At its height, the plant employed 800 workers producing 200 Model A cars a day. In 1953, the Fairfield was permanently divided with the construction of the Mathews Bridge.

Grand Park

Between 1940 and roughly 1955, Grand Park was a circular public space built around Lake Juanita in Northwest Jacksonville. By 1965, the park had been relocated two blocks north to a larger space. In 2005, the relocated Grand Park was renamed in honor of Johnnie W. Walker, the former president of the Grand Park and Brooklyn Community Associations. Over time, Lake Juanita has disappeared and the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Fire Station 7 occupies the original park space.

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