There are more than 500 neighborhoods within the area of Jacksonville, Florida, the largest city in the contiguous United States by area. These include Downtown Jacksonville and surrounding neighborhoods. Additionally, greater Jacksonville is traditionally divided into several major sections with amorphous boundaries: Northside, Westside, Southside, and Arlington, as well as the Jacksonville Beaches.
There are four municipalities within Duval County that are outside of Jacksonville’s city limits: Baldwin, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Jacksonville Beach. The latter three communities, all located on a coastal barrier island, form part of the area known as the Jacksonville Beaches, together with Mayport within the Jacksonville city limits and Ponte Vedra Beach in St. Johns County.
Jacksonville consolidated with Duval County in 1968; as such its city limits largely match the county borders. The City of Jacksonville estimates that there are over 500 neighborhoods within this area. In addition, the greater area of Jacksonville is often divided into several large sections with amorphous boundaries. The areas include both urban neighborhoods within the old city limits as well as further-out suburban and rural communities. Three have “directional” names, a common characteristic in geographical areas. The most commonly used vernacular areas are Northside, located north of Downtown; Arlington, east of Downtown across the St. Johns River; Southside, across the river from Downtown to the south, and Westside, to the west of Downtown. Additionally, the Jacksonville Beaches designates the group of towns and communities along the Atlantic coast.
Additionally, the City of Jacksonville uses six planning districts for some governmental purposes such as organizing Citizens Planning Advisory Committees (CPACs). These districts partially correspond to the vernacular areas. They are the Urban Core, comprising Downtown Jacksonville and some urban neighborhoods to the north; Greater Arlington/Beaches, including the Arlington area north of Beach Boulevard as well as the parts of the Beaches within the Jacksonville city limits; Southeast, corresponding to the Southside area south of Beach Boulevard; Southwest, consisting of the southern Westside; Northwest, comprising areas to the north and west of the Urban Core; and Northside, representing the northernmost parts of the county.
Downtown Jacksonville is the historic core and central business district (CBD) of Jacksonville, Florida. It comprises the earliest area of the city to be developed and is located in its geographic center along the narrowing point of the St. Johns River.
Downtown Jacksonville is one of eight districts in the city. The other seven include: the Central Core (or Northbank), the Southbank, LaVilla, Brooklyn, the Working Waterfront, the Cathedral, the Church, and the Entertainment & Sports District. Downtown Jacksonville is the home to several major corporations, including CSX Corporation, Fidelity National Financial, TIAA Bank, Black Knight Financial, Rayonier Advanced Materials, Interline Brands, Haskell, FIS, and Stein Mart.
The site of modern Downtown Jacksonville originated at a crossing of the St. Johns River known to the Seminole as Wacca Pilatka, to the Spanish as the Pass de San Nicolas, and to later British settlers as the Cow Ford. Histories of the city report that there was once an Indian village at the site called Ossachite. White settlement in the area began during Florida’s British period (1763–1783), when the East Florida government built the King’s Road to connect St. Augustine with the British colonies to the north. A ferry and tavern were built, and when Spanish rule resumed in Florida, Fort San Nicolas was built beside the southern landing of the King’s Road ferry. American farmer Robert Pritchard became the first white settler on the north bank of the Cow Ford when he received a 450-acre land grant from the Spanish government in 1791, however, he died shortly after and the area was abandoned.
LaVilla lies to the northwest in Jacksonville’s downtown. It is bounded by State Street to the north, I-95 to the west, Broad Street to the east, and Brooklyn to the south.
LaVilla is a historic African American neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida and a was formerly an independent city. It developed after the American Civil War and was eventually annexed to the city of Jacksonville in 1887 and is now considered part of downtown.
It was struck by the Great Fire of 1901. During its height, the area was referred to as Harlem of the South and considered “the mecca for African American culture and heritage” in Florida, particularly its northern sections. It remains primarily an African-American neighborhood. The Ritz Theatre, Richmond Hotel, and the Clara White Mission are among the historic buildings in the area. Several are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The area became a transportation hub with rail service developed by Henry Flagler and was also a cigar making center that included Greek and Syrian immigrants.
Brooklyn is a neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida, considered part of the downtown area. Originally a residential suburb, commercial uses became prominent during the 20th century, particularly along the St. Johns River and Riverside Avenue, and the area became included in Jacksonville’s central business district. In the 21st century, it has become the site of mixed-use developments.
Brooklyn is located along the St. Johns River, south of Lavilla and the Downtown Core, and immediately north of Riverside. It is roughly bounded by McCoy’s Creek and the CSX Railroad lines to the north, the river to the east, and Interstate 95 to the south and west. Brooklyn has come to be considered part of Jacksonville’s greater downtown.
The area was first settled in 1801, when Phillip Dell started a large 800-acre plantation there known as Dell’s Bluff. Dell’s Bluff changed hands several times before the American Civil War. After the war it was acquired by Miles Price, who sold the southern half of the property to be developed as the suburb of Riverside. The northern section he retained and developed himself as Brooklyn.
Riverside and Avondale
Riverside and Avondale are two adjacent and closely associated neighborhoods, alternatively considered one continuous neighborhood, of Jacksonville, Florida. The area is primarily residential, but includes some commercial districts, including Five Points, the King Street District, and the Shoppes of Avondale.
Riverside was first platted in 1868 and was annexed by Jacksonville in 1887. Its greatest growth occurred between the Great Fire of 1901 and the failure of the 1920s Florida land boom; this period included the creation of the original Avondale development in 1920. Today, Riverside and Avondale are notable for their particularly diverse architecture and their emphasis on planning and historic preservation, which have made them Florida’s most architecturally varied neighborhood. Both neighborhoods are listed as National Register Historic Districts.
Riverside and Avondale are located to the southwest of Downtown Jacksonville along the St. Johns River. The neighborhood’s boundaries are roughly Interstate 10 to the north, the St. Johns River to the east, Fishweir Creek to the south, and Roosevelt Boulevard and the CSX Railroad line to the west. It borders the Brooklyn and North Riverside neighborhoods to the north, Murray Hill to the west, and Lake Shore and Fairfax to the south. The boundary between Riverside and Avondale is not clear cut, even for those living in the neighborhood. It is sometimes given as Seminole Road and Belvedere Avenue, the northern limit of the Avondale Historic District. Alternately, author Wayne Wood of the Jacksonville Historic Landmarks Commission puts it at about McDuff Avenue.
Springfield is a historic neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida, United States, located to the north of downtown. Established in 1869, it experienced its greatest growth from the early 1880s through the 1920s. The Springfield Historic District is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and contains some of the city’s best examples of 19th and early 20th century architecture. The boundaries of Springfield are well defined. Hogan’s Creek lies along its south edge, and railroad lines are found on the north and east. Boulevard defines the western limit of the district where a later commercial strip abuts the earlier residential area. Contemporary with the overall residential area are two commercial strips along Main and Eighth Streets which join at the heart of the district. The district contains 119 city blocks in an area of approximately 500 acres (2 km2), or slightly less than one square mile. Hogan’s Creek separates the residences of Springfield from the downtown business district. North of the creek few buildings rise above two stories and parks and tree lined streets are common.
San Marco (Jacksonville)
San Marco is a neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida, south of Downtown across the St. Johns River. The neighborhood was formerly the independent city of South Jacksonville until it was annexed by Jacksonville in 1932. The neighborhood is primarily residential, with an integrated commercial sector known as San Marco Square.
The South Jacksonville community emerged after the American Civil War and incorporated in 1907. It saw its greatest growth after the Acosta Bridge was completed in 1921, connecting the neighborhood to Downtown Jacksonville. This period included the construction of the original San Marco development, which eventually gave its name to the area as a whole. Since the 1990s, the neighborhood has seen several historic preservation and redevelopment projects. It is home to fourteen city parks, several schools and other amenities.
Ortega is a neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida, US. It is located south of downtown Jacksonville on a peninsula off the western bank of the St. Johns River. It is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Jacksonville, and is the location of many historic homes and buildings.
The peninsula containing Ortega is bounded by the St. Johns and Ortega Rivers, and is bisected by Roosevelt Boulevard (U.S. Route 17); the area to the east of Roosevelt is known as Old Ortega, while the area to the west is known as Ortega Forest. On July 14, 2004, a section of Ortega to the east of 17 and north of Verona Boulevard was designated as the Old Ortega Historic District by the National Register of Historic Places.
Ortega got its start in 1763, shortly after Spain ceded Florida to England. By 1780, Colonel Daniel McGirtt moved into the Jones Plantation and served with rebel troops in Georgia against the British. After some skirmishes, he later changed sides and joined the British, plundering the rebel troops and stealing Georgian cattle. Soon he formed a band of outlaws and terrorized the British, as well. The British governor, eventually had him court martialed and jailed at Castillo de San Marcos in Saint Augustine, but he escaped. There are a road and a park in the neighborhood still named after him to this day.
In 1902, J. Pierpont Morgan helped a local Florida senator finance what is modern day Ortega. By 1908, the Ortega Company had completed a wooden bridge across the Ortega River, connecting to Avondale. A clubhouse was built and was designed by famed architect Henry Bacon of Lincoln Memorial. Bacon also built a house in the neighborhood, of which neither the original clubhouse nor his house remain. The final construction boom occurred during the 1920s and Ortega has remained a neighborhood filled with wealthy businessmen and old families.
New Town (Jacksonville)
New Town is a neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida. A primarily residential neighborhood, it is located in Jacksonville’s Urban Core, immediately northwest of Downtown.
New Town was developed in the early 20th century for African-American workers in the railroads and industrial areas to the east, south and west. By the 21st century, the neighborhood show considerable signs of urban decay, with residents plagued by crime, failing schools, health problems, and endemic poverty. In 2008, Jacksonville mayor John Peyton and other parties established the New Town Success Zone, modeled after New York City’s Harlem Children’s Zone, which provides comprehensive social and educational programs and services to children in the neighborhood.
New Town is home to Edward Waters College, Florida’s oldest historically black college. New Town is located in the city’s Urban Core, immediately northwest of Downtown. It is bounded by King Street to the north, I-95 to the west, Seminary Street to the east, and Beaver Street to the south.
Southpoint is a commercial section of Jacksonville, Florida on the city’s Southside area, eight miles from Downtown. The area is composed primarily of commercial buildings, apartment complexes and professional office centers.
Southpoint is located in the fast-growing southeast quadrant of Jacksonville, along J. Turner Butler Boulevard, an expressway which serves as a major thoroughfare to and from the Jacksonville Beaches.
Southpoint’s boundaries are Bowden Road to the north, Belfort Road to the east, Butler Boulevard to the south and Interstate 95 to the west. Some businesses between I-95 and Philips Highway use Southpoint to reference their location, and there are many small hotels on that strip of land. Streets within Southpoint include Southpoint Parkway, Southpoint Drive North & South, Southpoint Boulevard, and Salisbury Road.
When the initial segment of J. Turner Butler Boulevard (State Road 202) was completed in 1979, access to land around Butler Blvd improved, facilitating development of the area east of Interstate 95. Gate Petroleum partnered with the Bryant Skinner Company in 1980 to create the 250-acre (1.0 km2) Southpoint office park and the area northeast of the intersection became Southpoint.
St. Lukes Hospital, built in 1984, is on the corner of Southpoint. It is now known as St. Vincent’s Medical Center Southside. Many of the hospital’s doctors have offices in Southpoint and employees live in nearby apartments.