Durkee Gardens: Jax's first black historic district

Situated on the opposite side of Interstate 95 from Downtown Jacksonville, Durkeeville is a historic neighborhood that most Jaxsons may not know or have visited. Developed for Jacksonville's rapidly growing middle class black community during the prime years of Jim Crow, a portion of the neighborhood is now designated as a National Register of Historic Places historic district.

Durkee Gardens Photo Tour

1147 McConihe Street was completed in 1939. MoConihe Street serves as Durkee Gardens’ southern limit. The neighborhood is named after the Durkee family. Captain Joseph Harvey Durkee was a union veteran who relocated to Jacksonville in 1865 to serve as a disbursing officer and superintendent of schools under the Freedmen’s Bureau.

Born in Mississippi, Dr. Emmett H. Washington (Inez) (Mississippi) - was on of the first residents at Sugar Hill’s Brewster Hospital in the 1930s, becoming an expert in the early diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis. By 1939, Dr. Emmett and Inez Washington had constructed this residence at 1125 West 8th Street.

The majority of the buildings in Durkee Gardens were constructed prior to 1950. 1192 and 1198 West 8th Street.

Completed in 1938, 1157 West 8th Street was the residence of Luther Wells. Born in South Carolina, Wells was a clerk for the US Post Office.

1183 West 8th Street was built in 1939 for Ned and Alice Young. Ned was employed as a mail carrier at the US Post Office. Next door, 1191 West 8th Street was completed in 1938 for Georgia born Allen C. Joyner, owner a dry cleaning business.

1145 West 8th Street was completed in 1948 for Manuel Rivera. An Afro-Cuban, Rivera owned Manuel’s Tap Room, Lounge and Grill at 622-26 West Ashley Street in LaVilla. Open 24 hours a day, it was said to be the most exclusive place of its kind in the city for drinking, dining and dancing.

1168 West 9th Street was completed in 1940 for Edward Sowell.

Completed in 1940, 1187 West 10th Street was the residence of John Grimm.