Author Topic: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon  (Read 69628 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« on: August 29, 2008, 05:00:00 AM »
Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon



Presently the site of Tillie K. Fowler Regional Park, this land was once home to a vibrant community called Yukon.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/883

stjohnsguy

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2008, 06:51:18 AM »
What a great Dog park this could be with the River as a back drop.

BridgeTroll

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2008, 07:21:12 AM »
JL Trents seafood has been there for years... Outstanding food that only the locals know about...
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

heights unknown

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2008, 08:17:59 AM »
As a young man in the Navy, I lived in a trailer park on Timuquana Road (Ware Trailer Park?) and used to take long walks (this was back in 1979ish).  One day I made a right into a path just after (east) of the Ortega Bridge (the one that goes over the Ortega River on Timuquana) I think it was, heading South in the woods in that area.  It wasn't that dense in the brush and after about 20 minutes, I stumbled upon old over grown streets, many empty foundations, and came to the conclusion that some type of residence or town was once there; after reading this post, I now know that was Yukon.  There was even an old playground "up in there."
Interesting.

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TD*

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2008, 09:02:41 AM »
They probably will put a CVS here in a few years.. just a guess

Jason

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2008, 09:13:36 AM »
Man, that's only 30-40 years of tree growth in an area that was wide open spaces.  Mother nature sue took that back pretty quick.

second_pancake

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2008, 09:14:26 AM »
Wow!  What a great story.  Interesting that the area was unfit and a "safety" issue for people living there, but it's ok as a playground for children.  Boy how the times change.
"What objectivity and the study of philosophy requires is not an 'open mind,' but an active mind - a mind able and eagerly willing to examine ideas, but to examine them criticially."

Ocklawaha

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2008, 09:28:35 AM »
Black Point Community was at the end of the streetcar line, on the St. Johns, just South of the current end of the runway. A brick highway set in concrete was called the "Old Orange Park Road" and it wandered over the ACL tracks and through Yukon on it's way north toward the city. At the time the Florida Guard operated a small base out at the point called Camp Fowler. When WWI came along, the Army went on to purchase all of what is now NAS. It was named Camp Joseph E. Johnston, after the famous Confederate General. Most of the Buildings including the church were relocated to Yukon, about a mile West of the new base HQ.

When the Navy came along in WWII, the streetcar line was gone, a newer more direct road "Roosevelt" was built as US 17. The navy purchased a huge tract of land in Clay County. It ran from Highway 21 west to the County line, and from Duval County line south to Keystone Heights. This was to be the scene of NAS JAX... a MASTER AIR BASE. The COJ wanted the base in town and pushed for the reopening of Camp Johnston. So in a 4 way swap, the Army took the lower half of the new navy reserve, this became Camp Blanding. The Northern Half was turned over to the State as a State Forest. The Navy got the Camp Johnston site and went about moving any remaining civilian buildings out. They also built the huge Dewey Park subdivision.

Even as late as 1963, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad still scheduled the fast streamliners to make a stop at Yukon, as long as the ticket read to/or/from North of Savannah, or South of Orlando. So it was not unusual to see Amtrak-Like trains pull up to the trim little white deopt with the purple trim (later converted to green trim when no solution could be found for the purple fade). The agents name was Pete Rood. I went to school with his (daughters? neices?) beautiful twins. Also with Mr. Hastings kid, Kevin. Hastings was an executive for the ACL.

The Post Master lived above the little Post Office which closed within the last 20-30 years. Their names were Webb. Butt's road is named for the family of Mr. Willis Butts, a local millionaire, from the old south school of culture. Willis was my dad's best friend and they even had a running joke back in 1959, dad bought a new white Caddie - Sedan De Ville (the one with crazy tail fins). When we got to that little church, Willis was crest fallen. So the next sunday, here comes Willis in a new identical caddie, only in black. Dad had a blackish color trilby hat, well Willis got out with a white one! It became a local ledgend. Between that and the bribes they would offer at the local restaurants to managers or waiters over who got to pay the Sunday Dinner bill.
Willis Butt's owned the Butt's mobile homes dealerships that were once a North Florida fixture. He always called me "Hamburger".

Yukon and the "40 acre field" were the playground of the boys from John Stockton Elementary School, our school had students from Ortega Forest and from Ortega Hillks, Yukon was the middle ground. The so called "40 acre field" is where the current warehouse complex is going in today, next to the park. Some developer cleared it, and was going for a shopping center. My understanding is they couldn't get a permit for the needed railroad crossing next to the Yukon Depot, so after much gound work, it was abandoned. Many machines sat out there just to rot... of course they became every manner of fort, tank, train or ??? Some of the most epic mud ball fights (and fist fights) in Jacksonville history took place out there.

After the housing moved out, a forboding cable gate went up across the intersection at Butts Road and Yukons Main street. It was manned by armed marines. I never could figure out what was so important about our old playground until I spotted what might have been an early dopler radar on a tall forest type tower in the SW corner of the old development. We tried to break through the lines and sneak a peek, but never got close. Looks like it's gone today too. Local lore says the Ortega was dredged to an extreme depth and submarine pins were built behind the Yukon Community early in the fight. I know there are old piles out in the river, but never found so much as a trail down to the water... The water IS very, very, deep.


OCKLAWAHA

Jason

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2008, 09:28:36 AM »
Wow!  What a great story.  Interesting that the area was unfit and a "safety" issue for people living there, but it's ok as a playground for children.  Boy how the times change.


True!  But look at all the homes up against Mayport, Cecil, Craig, Herlong, etc....  This place was no more dangerous than them.

Jason

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2008, 09:32:30 AM »
Ock, you are a true wealth of knowledge and history

Bike Jax

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2008, 10:10:05 AM »
I have been working with this park for some years now doing trail maintenance. This park is one of the best  parks in Jacksonville. It has just under 7 miles of biking/hiking trails. The vast majority of the park is not accessible due to the wetlands that runs the length of the park.

There is a 3 story tower that overlooks pine uplands to the south and the wetlands to the Ortega River to the north.

Stjohnsguy, a couple of years ago we had a city council person attempt to sneak a dog park within this park. He had city work crews out to clear cut a large section of the park. You can still see the bright florescent orange paint the trees today. What most don't know about this park. It is listed as nature park within the city park system. But the property is owned by NAS and only leased to the city on a 99 year contract.

All improvements (i.e. dog park) must go thru channels that include NAS. NAS's interest is in the park as a buffer for the flight path of the runway. Clear cutting of trees tend to eliminate such buffers. So there will not be a dog park in Westside Regional Park (Tillie K. Fowler Regional Park).

My favorite feature about the park happened a couple of years ago. We found a very rare (to North Florida) native orchid. Westside Regional is now the known northern terminus for the Tooth Rein Orchid.


gojeffrey

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2008, 10:36:26 AM »
This was a fascinating read, both the main post and the comments.  Before I read this, Yukon was just J.L. Trent's and Murray's Tavern to me (both of which I visit, as they each have their own unique charm).

Jason

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2008, 10:36:33 AM »
Why does the dog park area have to be clear cut?  Can't the brush simply be cleaned up to leave the tree canopy intact and still allow ample space for the dogs to run wild?

kirkerer

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2008, 05:59:43 PM »
I believe that J-ville poet laureate Allan Justiss was born in yukon.

blizz01

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Re: Jacksonville's Ghost Town: Yukon
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2008, 06:48:59 PM »
There was a Navy plane crash in that area recently (last year?) - I wonder if it was near where the homes would have been.