The rise and fall of a streetcar suburb: Lackawanna

April 11, 2017

The rise and fall of an overlooked historic Jacksonville streetcar suburb: Lackawanna.

Industrial Lackawanna

Lackawanna owes its existence to industry. Developed to complement SAL's railroad shops and the former West Jacksonville railyard, it continues to be home to several industrial, railroad and logistic land uses.  While residential uses dominate the south and east sections of the neighborhood, industry tends to straddle the CSX railroad (former FC&P) that serves as Lackawanna's north boundary.


The former West Jacksonville yard is now a superfund site.  Portions of the site are also home to CSX security, railroad police, train dispatching and the company's office train cars.


What remains of the adjacent West Jax Yard is primarily used for receiving Conrad Yelvington rock trains.


Burris Logistics operates a large cold storage facility bordering the West Jacksonville yard at 4501 Dignan Street. Services provided at the 226,160-square-foot facility include blast freezing, importing, exports, rail service, freight consolidation and seasonal inventory activity.


Reddy Ice Holdings, Inc. is the largest packaged ice manufacturer in the country.  Lackawanna’s ice plant is one of eight the Dallas-based corporation operates in the state of Florida.


Constructed in 1925, for many years this warehouse was home to Florida Carbonic, a company specializing in cylinder gas and dry ice.  The company is now located in an industrial area adjacent to Lane Avenue and Interstate 10.


Adjacent to the former West Jacksonville railyard, Strickland Avenue is home to a number of small industrial buildings dating back to the 1920s.  This structure was built in 1960 along the SAL as a dairy for Velda Farms.  Founded in 1947, Velda Farms would go on to purchase Jacksonville’s Skinner Dairy in 1996. In 2011, with two remaining dairies in Florida (Winter Haven and Miami) the company changed its name to Borden Dairy Company to help relaunch the brand and expand its distribution in Florida.


This metal industrial building, built in 1950, at 2937 Strickland Street was once the home of the Sellers Bag Company.


Located at 2960 Strickland Street, the Western Natural Gas Company has been in business for 75 years.  Today, it is one of the largest independent propane suppliers in Florida.


Lackawanna's Seaboard Air Line Shops and Terminals employed as many as 1,000 workers in 1909. Dating back to the late 19th century, the complex once included diesel locomotive shops, steam locomotive shops and a 165' turntable.  Operations ceased in 1985 and contaminants were found in the ground water in 2009.  


During the 1960s, J&K Freezer, Inc. at 4120 Dillon Street, was a new all zero cold storage plant offering 192,000 cubic feet of space at Seaboard Air Line's West Jax Yard.

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