Forgotten Jacksonville: Westbrook Park
Nestled in the middle of an industrial corridor and railroads, Westbrook Park may be one of the most overlooked public spaces in Jacksonville's urban core.
Published March 11, 2014 in Neighborhoods - MetroJacksonville.com
Westbrook Park anchors the 20-block Westbrook neighborhood, which is bounded by McDuff Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue, Three Mile Branch and the CSX railroad line paralleling West Beaver Street. The park and the surrounding community date back to 1911, when they were platted within walking distance of Lackawanna's massive Seaboard Air Line Shops and Terminals.
The park, and the mixed-use neighborhood surrounding it, grew rapidly during the early 20th century. By 1929, the park contained a one-acre playground, swings, a slide, and a clay play court for basketball and volleyball. Between 1933 and 1937 additional property was acquired, expanding the park south to Broadway Avenue. During this era, Westbrook's commercial district, stretching from the park to McDuff Avenue also grew to the point where it had its own movie theatre, the Dixie Theatre.
Today, the park and Tree-Mile Branch, the creek that flows through it, are a quiet Westside retreat. With most of the grounds remaining in a natural state, the 103-year-old park is known for its mature landscape, foot bridges, and community center.
The streets around Westbrook Park are full of surprises from Jacksonville's past. For example, while most of Westbrook consists of small modest single story frame houses, 918 Garfield Street (shown above) overlooks Westbrook Park. 918 Garfield dates back to 1914 when it was built by German immigrant Conrad Elmaurer and his son-in-law Peter Reisz. Following its completion, the Elmaurer family resided in this location for over 25 years. Westbrook Center and Park is located at 905 Westbrook Road, Jacksonville, FL 32209.
Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article can be found at: https://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2014-mar-forgotten-jacksonville-westbrook-park