Brooklyn's Riverside Avenue: Before and After
Jacksonville's urban core is home to a number of historic walkable neighborhood commercial districts. Many are a direct result of the city's former electric streetcar network that operated between 1880 and 1936. Due to urban renewal, some are barely recognizable anymore. Today, The Jaxson takes a before and after look at an example undergoing a 21st century makeover: Brooklyn's Riverside Avenue.
Article by Ennis Davis, AICP
Before: During the mid-1880s, Henry B. Plant’s Jacksonville Street Railway Company had extended its streetcar network to connect Downtown Jacksonville with Five Points through Brooklyn. The streetcar system’s extension south of McCoys Creek included the construction of car barns at the present day intersection of Riverside Avenue and Leila Street. This photograph captures the former streetcar barns in 1920. (State Archives of Florida)
After: The former streetcar maintenance yard is now used as a maintenance yard for the JTA Skyway.
Before: On February 24, 1893, the first electric streetcar in Florida rolled up Main Street from Downtown to Springfield. As the system grew, steam generation power plants were constructed on Riverside Avenue to produce the electricity needed to operate the streetcar network. This photograph captures a streetcar power plant located just north of the intersection of Riverside Avenue and Leila Street in 1936. (State Archives of Florida)
After: The former Times-Union building and parking garage is now located on the site of the Jacksonville Traction Company power plant.
Before: Looking south at the intersection of Riverside Avenue and Leila Street.
After: Looking south at the intersection of Riverside Avenue and Leila Street.
Before: Looking north at the intersection of Riverside Avenue at Forest Street in 2006.
After: Looking north at the intersection of Riverside Avenue and Forest Street.
Before: Looking towards Downtown from Magnolia Street in 2006.
After: Looking at Unity Plaza from Magnolia Street.