Author Topic: Brooklyn's Riverside Avenue: Before and After  (Read 803 times)


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Brooklyn's Riverside Avenue: Before and After
« on: December 07, 2020, 09:54:18 PM »

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. Due to urban renewal, some are barely recognizable anymore. Today, The Jaxson takes a before and after look at an example undergoing a 21st century makeover: Brooklyn's Riverside Avenue.

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Re: Brooklyn's Riverside Avenue: Before and After
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2020, 11:36:06 PM »
Riverside Avenue in Brooklyn is unrecognizable from its past.  The only buildings along there that remain from just 35 years ago are the Times Union (whose days are numbered), Peninsula Plaza (now FIS), the Florida Blue complex and two small buildings at the corner with Edison.  Most all of the north side of the street was demolished when the road was widened by FDOT setting up the current developments.  With the advent of Haskell and Fidelity, most of that has been remade now too.  My guess is, with the exception of Florida Blue, all of these older buildings will be gone in another 10 years or less.

Gone from the mid-1900's are Big R(iverside) Chevrolet (now Nimnicht), the original YMCA, Professional Insurance, Delchers, Trophy Shop, Green Derby, Jacksonville Bus Co., Monticello Drug Co. (with their landmark "666" cold medicine neon sign), the original Acosta Bridge with that awful elevated "T" intersection at its northern foot, the fire station, etc.

Of course, at the turn of the last century, Riverside Avenue was lined with riverfront homes so this is not the first reinvention of the street.  The house below stood where the Times Union is now.  Not sure if the "car dealership" that replaced it (per the article below the picture) was adjacent to or became Riverside Chevrolet.  Per Nimnicht's website, their dealership (see second picture below) was located where Haskell is now so right next door to the Times Union site.

This photo doesn't do justice to the splendor that was Mayor Greeley's Riverside Avenue home. This showplace was located north of the gallery of elegant mansions called The Row, which developed mostly during the early 1900s. The residence was located on what is now the site of a large office building just south of the Florida Times-Union headquarters. The Greeley residence had originally been a typical, two-story, Southern country dwelling made of wood, with a wide, double-storied front porch. During the early 1890s, however, the house was made much larger by the addition of three more stories, including a tower with French doors and a gallery. A three-story porch fronted the mansion, and extremely fancy scrollwork decorated the porch. Townsfolk loved the look. Mayor Greeley's house stood until 1916, when it was replaced by a car dealership. No doubt it would prove a historical treasure today had it survived.

Above from the Jacksonville Historical Society at:  /1/][1502]/1/

Riverside Chevrolet (now Nimnicht), founded in 1941, at the site of the Haskell building.  Note the street car tracks Lake mentions in his article.

Adam White

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Re: Brooklyn's Riverside Avenue: Before and After
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2020, 07:38:10 AM »
I hate what they've done to the area. I appreciate that it was in decline for many years. But I don't like the way Jax tends to pretty much completely bulldoze areas and then build a bunch of crap on top. They destroyed La Villa and now they have destroyed Brooklyn.

As an aside, I cannot believe we allowed the Germania Club to be demolished. I remember seeing pics of that and wondering where it had stood. It was a striking building (or at least the pictures make it seem like it was).
“If you're going to play it out of tune, then play it out of tune properly.”


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Re: Brooklyn's Riverside Avenue: Before and After
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2020, 08:05:05 AM »
The After Pic of "Northeast corner of Riverside Avenue & Edison Avenue" is enough to make
any preservationist (that building!) and urbanist (narrow sidewalk & wide road) cringe.