Monday, March 31, 2014

Walking in Historic Springfield

Springfield is the oldest residential area in Jacksonville. Established in 1869 Springfield saw tremendous growth after the Great Fire of 1901 destroyed the downtown area. An eclectic grouping of bungalows, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Prairie School, Mediterranean and Stick style homes sit along tree shaded streets. By the 1920's many of Jacksonville's richest and most powerful families lived in Springfield.  

By the time I worked at the Springfield Atlantic Bank at 8th and Main in the late 1970's and early 80's many families had abandoned the area in favor of newer neighborhoods. The area was blighted and many of beautiful homes were left to deteriorate.

In 1987 the Springfield neighborhood was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. There was a renewed interest in the area and in 2010 Southern Living magazine spotlighted Springfield as the #1 comeback neighborhood of the South.. In 2013 This Old House placed Springfield fourth on their list of sixteen of the Best Old House Neighborhoods in the South.

This was the first walk we took with the First Coast Trail Forgers walking club. The walk started at 10am with about 15 people. We enjoyed walking with Mark and Gloria a couple that have been involved with the club for many years.

It was a really nice walk with beautiful houses and big trees. The 5K walk took us about an hour and then we ate lunch at a little cafe at the start point of the walk. The Three Layers Cafe located at 1602 Walnut Street offered a lunch menu of salads, sandwiches, soup and the most wonderful looking desserts. I had a turkey and artichoke grilled sandwich with chips. John had a Cuban with potato salad. I stole a taste of the potato salad and it was very good. Even though we passed on dessert it was the perfect way to end a walk.

At the start of the walk we were all together. That didn't last long as
the power walker blew on down the road. 
A small sampling of the renovated homes.

I would love to see inside that room at the top of the tower.

St Mary Episcopal Church on N Laura Street. 
It was a sweet surprise when we spied this little gem in the middle of a residential block. St Mary Episcopal Church. There she was. Red door and all...I wonder if the power walkers even noticed?

There's still work to be done...

Lots of interesting places to see...

Are you ready to lace up your shoes and go walking?

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