Springfield is located in the heart of Jacksonville, just north of downtown. It is one of 4 National Historic Districts in the city.
In 1869, John H. Norton offered Springfield as a planned residential community and in 1897, a horse-drawn street car line was built from Bay Street downtown up Main Street through the middle of Springfield. A building boom occurred after the Great Fire of 1901 when most of downtown was burned down and many residents were left homeless Over two-thirds of the residences were built before 1921. The popular architectural styles from 1901-1925 are most prevalent because of this. These would include: Colonial Revival, Queen Anne, Victorian, Prairie School, Mediterranean, and Bungalow.
Like so many other cities in the United States, Springfield fell into a decline in the mid-20th century. In fact, a city ordinance in 1925 allowed businesses to be placed within the residences which resulted in depreciated property values. Over time, the residents moved to other neighborhoods in Jacksonville, leading to the decline. However, after years of neglect, Springfield began to be redeveloped in the latter part of the 20th century. In 1979, a newly formed local organization, Springfield Preservation and Restoration, succeeded in having the neighborhood down-zoned and most of the commercial zoning was zoned residential again. In 1987, Springfield was placed on the National Register Of Historic Places.
Because of the era in which Springfield was developed, the area is very walkable and bike-able. There are also a variety of parks throughout. Springfield’s commercial corridors are also being redeveloped with a variety of restaurants, boutiques, and breweries popping up.
Springfield is also known for it’s community involvement and social events, including Jacksonville’s popular Porchfest – an outdoor music festival with musicians from all over playing on residents’ porches.
Springfield is an eclectic neighborhood with a diverse population – many drawn there because of the history and architecture but who stay because of the strong community.
Jacksonville’s first zoo was located in Springfield at 1st and Laura. It was founded in 1893 and was moved to Heckscher Drive in the 1920’s.
In the early 1920’s a lot of movies were filmed in Springfield and it had the nickname “The Winter Film Capital Of The World.”
The first Prairie-school style house in Florida was designed by Henry J. Klutho on Main Street. He moved it around the corner in 1925 to 9th Street and converted it to a duplex. He moved back in to the building in 1935 where he lived until he passed away.
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