Author Topic: Walkable Jacksonville: San Marco Square  (Read 1095 times)


  • The Jaxson
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Walkable Jacksonville: San Marco Square
« on: November 24, 2020, 07:32:56 AM »

Jacksonville's urban core is home to a number of historic walkable neighborhood commercial districts. Many are a direct result of the city's former electric streetcar network that operated between 1880 and 1936. Today, The Jaxson highlights a popular destination that developed to support one of the Southside's first town centers: San Marco Square

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Re: Walkable Jacksonville: San Marco Square
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2020, 10:47:11 PM »
This building was completed in 1927 and was the location of San Marco’s Setzer’s Supermarket for a number of years. Setzer’s was a grocery chain that was founded by Benjamin Setzer in Springfield. By the time the company was sold to Food Fair Stores in 1958, it had grown into a 40 unit chain with stores throughout Florida and South Georgia.

It should be noted that when Setzer sold out, he started Pic N' Save which similarly grew to about the same number of stores over a similar geographical area.  He apparently retained ownership of the San Marco store as it was a Pic N' Save for several decades afterwords.  To clarify, I recall it only ran the length of the cream colored portion at the end of the building stretch in your picture.  Was probably the smallest Pic N Save in the chain.

A & P used to have a store in San Marco too, where I believe the Bank of America building now sits.  I think a duck pin bowling alley was next store.  Peterson's 5 & 10, Utseys Shoes, Arcades Men's Shop, Bowlons (sp?) women's store (where Sherman Williams/Underwoods is now), Geisenhoffs (sp?) gift shop (where Industry West is now), Herman Jackson's Atomic Cleaners, Corey Walker Drugs, etc. were some other past and long lasting stores in San Marco Square.

As noted, a gas station was in the center of the Square where the rotunda now sits.  A Shell station was where Rue St. Marc is now.  I believe there was at least one other gas station at the southwest corner of Atlantic and Hendricks.

Firehouse Subs used to be a Goodyear tire store.  A Stand "N Snack sandwich shop was around where Beach Diner is now. Matthews was a savings and loan.  American National Bank's art deco building took up most of the block where Publix is headed.   The portion facing Atlantic at the southeast corner of Atlantic and Hendricks was a strip of stores including, I believe at one time, a delicatessen and an orthodontist and doctor offices.

Notably, the most enduring occupants around the Square are the AT&T (formerly Southern Bell) windowless switch building, the two theaters, the fire station and the two churches.

In the 60's and 70's the Square was really just another neighborhood place to shop, not the "uptown" spot it is now.

By the way, the worst thing ever done to the Square was to cover the entire fountain (pre-lions) with a Lucite dome to discourage vandalism, mainly by kids saturating the water with detergent to create overflowing bubbles everywhere.  The dome often misted or fogged up and soon yellowed to the point where you could hardly see the fountain under it.  It was quickly ridiculed and eventually removed.