Urban Neighborhoods: Miramar

Located off the beaten path just south of San Marco, Miramar is a neighborhood with a unique history and atmosphere of its own.

Published March 18, 2010 in Neighborhoods - MetroJacksonville.com

Red Bank Plantation House

The land on which this house is situated was designated as "Red Bank" by Spanish surveyors as early as 1793 when it was owned by Francisco Flora.  Six years later, William Craig gained title to the land.  From the 1820's until after the Civil War, the property was owned consecutively by three of Jacksonville's most prominent men: Isaiah D. Hart; Isaac Hendricks, pioneer settler of South Jacksonville, for whom Hendricks Avenue is named; and Albert Gallatin Philips, Duval County's sheriff from 1833-1839, who operated a plantation on the 450-acre Red Bank site.  First Philips built a frame house on the property, which burned a few years later.  In 1854, he began construction of the present house, building it with bricks hand-made from a vein of red clay on the plantation.  In 1873, Philips died, and much of the plantation land was sold.  

At that time, a "thriving little town" of sixty families had grown up around the railway station near Red Bank.  The settlement was named Philips and remained in existence until after World War II.  During the 1920's and 30's, the plantation house was turned into a restaurant, "The Candlewick Inn," and later became "Johnson's Chicken House."  It has continued as a private residence since 1937.  As the Colonial Manor subdivision was developed surrounding the house, its front door faced the wrong way.  The main entrance to the house was originally on the east side and featured a two-story columned portico.  The entrance was moved to the north facade facing Greenridge Road, and the present small porch was added.  The Red Bank Plantation House is the second oldest building in Jacksonville still being used as a residence.  Henry B. Philips, son of the builder of Red Bank Plantation, was a prominent local judge for whom Philips Highway (often misspelled with two L's) was named.
Source: Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage, Page 257

Colonial Manor Lake Park

Colonial Manor Lake Park is a .08-acre passive park. The site is a grassy strip located along the lake on San Jose Boulevard between Northwood and Mapleton Roads. The site has recently been upgraded to provide benches, trash cans, signs, landscaping and parking.

Oriental Gardens

In 1925, George W. Clark, a Riverside resident, began planting overflow from his botanical collection on a vacant bluff overlooking the St. Johns River.  Eventually, this 18 acre private estate would open to the public.  From 1937 to 1954, Oriental Gardens became Jacksonville's major attraction.

During this period, the gardens featured hourly concerts, 500 year old Live Oaks and 100 varieties of tropical and subtropical plants, shrubs and trees.  Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.  In 1954, the private estate was purchased by State Investment Company and carved into 33 single family home sites.

River Oaks Park

River Oaks Park is situated along Craig Creek, in the San Marco section of Jacksonville. William Craig established a large plantation in the area around 1800. Developers of the River Oaks and the Brookwood Terrace subdivisions donated most of the park property to the City between 1935 and 1937. One block south of the park, lovely Oriental Gardens opened in 1937. The Works Progress Administration (WPA), established by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935 to provide public service jobs for the unemployed during the Great Depression, supplied the labor and most of the funding to create the park, which opened in 1940. Portions of the grounds form a flood plain, with areas of natural wetlands. Groups such as Greenscape of Jax and the Audubon Society have worked to enhance the park, whose stately trees and lawn provide a natural landscape and visual enjoyment for the residents and passing pedestrians and motorists.

River Oaks Park was featured in the recently released Southeast Jacksonville Visioning Plan, as an example of an existing public space that could be greatly enhanced and better utilized.


Originally located just outside the City of South Jacksonville, the subdivision of Granada opened in early 1926. Despite its fully paved roads and ornamental street lights, due to the Florida real estate bubble bust, Granada remained largely vacant until the end of the Great Depression.

Granada Park sits west of San Jose Boulevard, in the heart of the Granada subdivision. When Howard Properties platted the property in 1925, it dedicated the .4-acre park to Duval County. Granada displays the Spanish theme and Mediterranean architecture that were very popular in Jacksonville during the 1920's. The rectangular park lies in the middle of Granada Boulevard. Granada is a city in Spain, noted as a capital for the Moors, who invaded and ruled much of Spain from the 8th through 15th centuries. Landscaping projects in 2002 and 2003 have beautified Granada Park. It displays a well-kept playground, green expanse of open lawn, flowerbeds, several shade trees, and a scattering of benches.

Exhibiting the Spanish flair which typified Granada, this was the second home completed in the subdivision in 1926.  The multilevel tile roof is pierced by a scrolled parapet at the center of the second story, adding interest and variety to the facade.  Symmetrically arranged arches flank the porch, which is decorated with ceramic tile.  The house was constructed with an enclosed patio and pool at the rear.  It was originally occupied by Lawrence Howard, the principal developer of Granada.
Source: Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage, Page 258

Kelnepa Houses

Lumber dealer Thomas M. Keller and his wife Ella Canipa Keller combined their surnames to coin the name "Kelnepa," which they gave to this block long subdivision.  Kelnepa was typical of many of the 1920's Florida land boom developments, born of speculation and left unfinished when the real estate bubble burst in 1927.  The Kellers employed Victor Zambetti, a contractor who owned the Art and Ornamental Stone Company, to handle the construction in Kelnepa.  The houses are highly unusual in their use of concrete blocks in conjunction with the Mediterranean Revival style.
Source: Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage, page 259

Residential Miramar

Architectural diversity a special characteristic of Miramar. Mirarmar's residential portfolio contains a diverse and interesting mix of traditional and modern architecture placed side by side.  If the community were a historic district, this architectural creative scene would not exist.

Hendricks Avenue

Named after Isaac Hendricks, the founder of the City of South Jacksonville, Hendricks Avenue serves as the commercial spine for Miramar.  Hendricks Avenue connects the community with San Marco to the north and Mandarin to the south.

Southside United Methodist Church

Since 1938, guest have continuously been served in this establishment.  In 1992, it became home to the Metro Diner, which is now one of Jacksonville's favorite local restaurants.

The Metro diner in San Marco is Folio Weekly readers' first choice for breakfast, whether they're craving a classic like steak and eggs or something more imaginative - like pound-cake French toast.  It's likely this duality - the combination of old-fashioned charm and modern creativity - that's won The Metro Diner this year's Best Breakfast award.

While the restaurant's traditional breakfast dishes are not to be overlooked, the menu's idiosyncrasies make The Metro Diner's specialty offerings hard to resist.  The original Breakfast Pie is a customer favorite, says Mark Davoli, chef and co-owner of the diner since 2000.  The pie consists of layers of eggs, cheese, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and herbs in a red-sinned potato pie crust.  Also popular is the grilled breakfast burrito, a soft tortilla stuffed with eggs, black olives, onions, peppers, salsa, cheese and meat or black beans.

The crab cakes Benedict - like eggs Benedict, but with grilled crab cakes instead of bacon - is a hit with the restaurant's regular crowd.  And shrimp and grits is one of the diner's daily blackboard specials, as is the three-egg seafood omelette, the Tuscan and Mom's, made with chicken, asparagus, mushrooms, Swiss cheese and hollandaise sauce.  Add warm cornbread, and your meal is square.

For those who prefer something sweeter, the pound-cake French toast is an indulgence that will last you all day.  The Belgian waffles are among the fluffiest in town and The Metro Diner is pancake lover's dream.  Go for the 10-inch Challenge, an enormous pancake that can be stuffed with blueberries, banana, apple, granola, nuts, chocolate chips, even wheat germ.  Davoli recommends the banana-granola combination.  "You don't even need syrup," he says.

Davoli says The Metro Diner uses only the finest ingredients for his dishes, despite the fact that this policy eats into profits.  "I'd rather make a little less money and make the customer happy," he says, And thanks to his Pittsburgh upbringing, his portions aren't dainty.  As Davoli puts it:  "You never leave hungry."
http://www.metrodinerjax.com/Folio Weekly Best Breakfast 2004.htm

Hendricks Elementary School

Hendricks Avenue Elementary School, located in Jacksonville, Florida, serves grades K-5 in the Duval County Public Schools district. It is among the few public elementary schools in Florida to receive a distinguished GreatSchools Rating of 10 out of 10.

Hendricks Avenue Elementary School has approximately 22-acres of land available for active public recreational use. The school is located between San Jose Boulevard and Hendricks Avenue just south of Inwood Terrace. The site is characterized by open grassed play areas with mature oaks and pines scattered throughout. The existing recreational facilities include a basketball court, softball field, baseball field, play equipment, swings and climbers.

Miramar is located along the St. Johns River, where Emerson Street meets Hendricks Avenue, in Jacksonville's Southside.

Photographs by Daniel Herbin and Ennis Davis

This article can be found at: https://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-mar-urban-neighborhoods-miramar

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